Philadelphia's red-light cameras save lives

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James C. Walker doesn't believe red-light cameras improve road safety ("Stop the Red-Light Cameras: They Raise Money But Do Not Improve Traffic Safety," June 25 Perspectives). Maybe he should take a drive down Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia.

This busy stretch of highway (U.S. Route 1) used to be known as the "kill zone," and it was frequently included among lists of America's most dangerous roadways. That all changed in 2005, when the city's red-light camera program took effect. There hasn't been a single fatality as a result of a T-bone crash or pedestrian strike since then.

As the number of collisions goes down, so do violations. In Philadelphia, red-light running violations were down an average of 48 percent after 12 months, which shows drivers are changing their behavior to abide by the rules of the road. Philadelphia's experience with red-light cameras is not unique. Cities across the country are announcing similar results.

A popular assertion by Mr. Walker and those opposed to red-light cameras is that the technology increases rear-end crashes. However, long-term studies of intersections in Philadelphia show there are fewer rear-end crashes today than there were even before cameras were installed.

Keep in mind: Running a red light is against the law and endangers drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists alike. More than 550 cities in the United States use red-light cameras for a good reason. The devices change dangerous driver behavior, reduce serious accidents and save lives.

Executive Director
Philadelphia Parking Authority


First Published June 28, 2012 12:00 AM


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