The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) is encouraged by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability’s report on red-light safety cameras, noting that traffic deaths and injuries have decreased dramatically since cameras were installed throughout the state.
The report has found that fatal collisions have decreased by 49 percent in the 12 counties studied, resulting in an estimated 18 lives saved. In addition, 68 fewer injury crashes occurred after red-light safety cameras were installed. While this information is overshadowed in the report, it is an important indicator that Florida’s camera programs are achieving their most critical purpose saving lives.
“If even one life has been saved, these cameras are doing their job,” said Melissa Wandall, President of NCSR. “While the report writers may want to gloss over these results, 18 lives makes an unbelievable difference to the family members and friends of the people who weren’t killed as a result of red-light safety cameras. Simply stated, these cameras reduce the risk of red-light running.”
Wandall’s husband Mark was killed by a red-light runner in 2003 while she was nine months pregnant. She has worked to pass the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, allowing Florida communities to install red-light safety camera programs. In the three years since the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act became law, the average number of citations issued per camera/ per month statewide has decreased by 40%.
“I only wish these life-saving cameras had been around when Mark was killed,” said Wandall. “If his life had been saved, it would have been everything to me and my daughter.”
In December, the Florida Department of Highway and Traffic Safety found that 95 percent of vehicles issued a red-light running violation in 2013 did not receive a second citation. A separate analysis released in December by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, shows red-light running fatalities decreased 27% in Florida, from 83 fatalities in 2011 to 61 in 2012, outpacing the nation’s 5% decrease.
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