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 your plate. Contact us today for more information.