It’s difficult to talk about red-light cameras without bringing up the issue of their constitutionality. Those who are opposed to red-light cameras argue that they violated a person’s constitutional rights and even violate the privacy of citizens. Whether you agree with this argument or not, it’s difficult to ignore the other side of the discussion: red-light cameras can save lives.
According to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference in October that was outlined in a November article for the Washington Post, researchers believe they have discovered a link between red-light cameras and the number of fatal crashes involving children.
The correlation is a remarkable one: in states with “weak red-light-camera enforcement laws,” traffic fatalities involving children are on the rise. In fact, in Houston, Texas, after red-light cameras were turned off, serious vehicle crashes more than tripled, explains the Traffic Safety Coalition.
While there is still speculation as to why traffic collisions are higher in states that do not utilize red-light cameras, one reason could be that drivers who feel they are constantly being watched by police are less likely to speed, run red lights or commit other traffic violations that could lead to fines, criminal charges or, in the case of vehicles accidents, a personal injury lawsuit.
What does the data in Tennessee say?
Even though the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security has noted a slight decrease in traffic fatalities since 2012, it’s difficult to say whether this drop is because of red-light cameras or not. Furthermore, in 2015 alone, 962 people were killed in traffic collisions, which suggests we still have a major problem with unsafe drivers in our state. If this is the case, then it’s unlikely we will see traffic fatalities completely go away, even if the use of red-light cameras continues.