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3/19/2013 - NCSR: Red-light cameras save lives

Red light cameras have been mounted at a growing number of intersections across the country.

With several municipalities opting to discontinue red-light camera programs after years of having them in place, a leading safety organization has doubled down on why they're so important to commuters everywhere.

Recently, the National Coalition for Safer Roads has come out in full support of the traffic cameras, which are traditionally mounted at intersections and determine whether a motorist traveled through the section of road without coming to a complete stop, whether on accident or intentionally.

Melissa Wandall, traffic safety advocate and president of NCSR, noted that traveling through these highly trafficked areas has led to far too many auto insurance claims that could have been avoided simply by following the rules of the road.

"Red-light running is dangerous and all too often deadly," said Wandall. "We have the tools available to reduce red-light running and positively change driver behavior."

She added that she's a proud supporter of making these cameras more ubiquitous, as she has been personally affected by traffic fatalities caused by driver inattention.

NCSR cite the reams of data suggesting that red-light cameras help diminish accidents on the road, including one conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, where a 2011 analysis found that red-light collisions fell by 24%. Similarly, a recent report out of Florida found that more than half of the communities who had the cameras in place saw a reduction in crashes at intersections.

Not everyone has been swayed by these studies, however. Communities in California and New Jersey, among others, say that they all too often are inaccurate, prompting legislators to take down the cameras. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner recently stated that the city would discontinue its program, citing complaints from people who were sent tickets for violations they didn't commit.

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