By Drew Johnson
Friday, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 10:37 am
 
While traffic-light cameras are be touted as safety devices, a new study finds that they might actually cause more harm than they prevent. A recent study by the University of South Florida Public Health shows that traffic accidents at intersections with traffic-light cameras have actually increased.

According to the study, drivers are more likely to slam on their brakes when the traffic signal turns yellow at a camera-equipped intersection, resulting in a higher number of rear-end crashes. Moreover, the study found that the cameras have not decreased the number of deaths due to red-light running accidents. "The injury rate from red-light running crashes has dropped by a third in less than a decade, indicating red-light running crashes have been continually declining in Florida without the use of cameras."

And the findings are not just limited to the roads of Florida. Similar studies have been conducted in Virginia, North Carolina and Ontario and have come up with the same results -- traffic-cameras increase the number of crashes but do not reduce the number of fatalities due to drivers running red-lights.

But with traffic-cameras fines contributing more and more to municipals' bottom lines, a sudden removal of the cameras doesn't seem likely.