San Diego’s red-light camera program on the line

San Diego's red light cameras have an uncertain future.

San Diego's red light cameras have an uncertain future. | Photo Credit: Photos.comBy Michael Pines, Accident & Injury Prevention Expert

Despite the car accidents they intend to prevent, red-light cameras in San Diego may become a thing of the past pending Friday’s announcement from Mayor Bob Filner and police Chief William Landsdowne.

Since 1996, red-light cameras have operated at 15 intersections throughout San Diego, markedly those with high traffic and incidence of accidents. But as of Thursday at midnight, these cameras are set to be shut off unless city officials soon take action.

There’s no doubt that red-light cameras have long been controversial throughout their existence. Some favor their ability to reduce car accidents in San Diego while others argue they are an invasion of privacy.

According to the City of San Diego, red light cameras are installed at:

  • 10th Avenue at “A” Street
  • 10th Avenue at “F” Street
  • Aero Drive at Murphy Canyon Road
  • Camino Del Rio North at Mission Center Road
  • Camino De La Reina / Camino Del Rio North at Qualcomm Way
  • Clairemont Mesa Boulevard at Convoy Street
  • Cleveland Avenue at Washington Street
  • Del Mar Heights Road at El Camino Real
  • Grape Street at North Harbor Drive
  • Kearny Villa Road at Balboa Avenue
  • Mira Mesa Boulevard at Scranton Road
  • Mira Mesa Boulevard at Westview Parkway
  • Mission Bay Drive at Garnet Avenue
  • North Torrey Pines Road at Genessee Avenue
  • Rosecrans Street at Nimitz Boulevard

These red-light cameras will shut off Thursday at midnight if the city’s contract isn’t reinstituted.

Car Accidents Attributed to Red Light Running

Whether you agree with red light cameras or not, the truth is that if a driver runs a red light, the risk of causing a car accident increases astronomically.

Red-light running is considered a serious issue in the United States with an estimated 165,000 traffic injuries caused each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, intersection-related car accidents accounted for 2.3 million collisions, 7,7770 fatalities and 733,000 serious injury accidents in 2008. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that of the deaths that occur as of red-light running, half of all individuals who die are those struck by the red-light violator.

3 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Red-Light Running

If you want to prevent red light-related car accidents, it all starts with you – camera or not. Here are 4 ways you can reduce your risk of running a red light.

  1. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions contribute to over 80 percent of all car accidents according to a joint study at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Don’t talk on your cell phone or text and drive, and reduce other distractions such as radio or GPS when you get behind the wheel.

  1. Know the Law
In the state of California, you must stop for a yellow light if you are able to do so safely. Yellow lights give the driver 3 seconds to safely cross the intersection before the light turns red. Always stop for a yellow light if you have not already entered the intersection. Never try to beat a yellow light.

  1. Be Alert
School-age pedestrians are most likely to be hit between 7 and 8 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. It’s critical to pay special attention to roadways as you approach stoplights, stop signs and crosswalks. Slow down, watch for small children and expect unpredictability when you pass schools or residential neighborhoods.

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