Red light cameras: San Diego says yes

by Michael Pines

Accident & Injury Prevention Expert

While debates over red light cameras continue to rise throughout Southern California, nearly every city in San Diego County has opted to renew the program this year.

Officials throughout nine cities in San Diego County attribute safer intersections and a reduction in

car accidents

and other traffic violations after use of the program in San Diego cities including Del Mar, Encinitas, Vista Oceanside, El Cajon, Solana Beach, Poway, and Escondido.

In a case study out of Poway, nearly 17 percent of car accidents occurring within city intersections have been reduced as a direct result of red light cameras since their inception in 2006. And, in Vista, car accidents were significantly reduced by the implementation of red light cameras – nearly a 100 percent reduction.

Supporters of the program say red light cameras are essential for reducing the risk of car accidents within intersections since they strongly curb bad driving behavior like running a red light or speeding through a changing yellow light. Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also fortifies the city’s findings. In their reports, the IIHS, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, indicate that red light cameras have reduced car accidents within intersections by nearly 96 percent in some cities.

Even though red light cameras garner many supporters throughout San Diego County and throughout the nation, the program is not without its opponents.

Those in opposition say that red light cameras can be inaccurate, and less conclusive than reports may suggest. Many who are against the implementation of red light cameras also say they are simply installed for the sake of collecting additional city revenue.

But despite the naysayers, San Diego will extend the program with the Arizona-based vendor, American Traffic Solutions.

“Barring any surprises at the meeting, we are expecting to keep moving forward with the program,” said Bill Harris in a statement to the San Diego Union Tribune. Harris, a spokesman for the traffic department, insists the program is in place not for revenue gains but for safety.  “We’re not expanding the program, but we are not contracting it either. The City believes the (program) improves safety and reduces accidents at the intersection served.”

Accident prevention is the #1 priority

Even despite opponents of the program, research shows that red light cameras, at the very least, work to reduce the risk of car accidents. As accidents are reduced, the chance for

personal injury

is also reduced – and for the sake of overall accident and injury prevention, red light cameras are a safe bet and good for San Diego County.

Avoid a ticket at a red light near you by practicing common sense driving habits: slow down for a yellow light if you are not already in the intersection, do not turn right on a “No Turn on Red” intersection, and never roll into a right turn on red. Remember: red light cameras are ultimately there for the protection of

your

safety.

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