There is an old rule in politics that states that for every letter of complaint
you receive, there’s at least another 100 you should have received
but were never written. This is important to remember when considering a
recent letter of sent to the
Gazette of Colorado Springs, in which a local resident expressed serious concern
over intersection safety in the city. In particular, they stated they
had seen countless drivers go straight through red lights and never any
law enforcement intervention. Within the letter, the author mentioned
that traffic cameras could be a useful deterrent.
Are Traffic Cameras Effective?
As the concerned
Gazette reader pointed out, there are not many traffic cameras throughout Colorado
Springs. But why not? Aren’t they effective at preventing accidents?
Wouldn’t the investment be worth it to the city?
Studies conducted by the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, the
Federal Highway Administration, and
other safety organizations concluded that traffic cameras placed at key intersections are effective
at protecting drivers, but not in the way you might expect. Rather than
flat-out reducing the number of collisions, the presence of a traffic
camera appears to reduce the number of right-angle or “T-bone”
collisions, which are the most common when someone runs a red light. In
a strange correlation, the number of rear-end accidents appear to increase
by an amount similar to the right-angle accident decrease. But why would
this be the case?
Red Means Stop But Only to Some
When a reckless driver sees a traffic camera, they are more likely to hit
the brakes and stop at the intersection; this causes the total number
of right-angle accidents in the area to decrease, for they are no longer
rolling through busy intersections. But if there were
two reckless drivers in the same lane, the second one will likely not notice
that the first has stopped at the intersection, crashing right into them;
this could be an explanation as to why rear-end accidents tend to increase.
Although, this is only one theory of many, as the exact reasoning is not
understood with total certainty.
What is clear, however, is that rear-end accidents are less devastating
that T-bone collisions. The people struck usually suffer lesser injuries
and vehicle repairs are typically inexpensive in comparison. Thus, even
if traffic cameras are the direct cause of rising rear-end accidents,
it can be considered a positive yet ironic tradeoff if they are also decreasing
the number of right-angle accidents.
While Colorado Springs residents await to see if the city will install
more traffic cameras, they can come to Clawson & Clawson, LLP for
legal help if they are hurt in a
car accident at an intersection. Our Colorado Springs personal injury lawyers can assist
you with your claim from start to finish, taking the most workload off
Contact us today for more information.