Say Cheese: Cameras at Intersections Reduce T-bone Accidents

Even if you have yet to watch the video of Missouri's worst red-light accidents, you probably know you can get caught on camera running a red light and receive a fine. Take a look at the video, however, and you will certainly see the state has a serious safety issue on its hands.

According to KSDK.com, red light cameras operated by Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions captured nearly 300,000 red-light violators on camera in St. Louis alone over a period of more than two years. The video, released by ATS, features auto accidents resulting from these violations the company deemed the worst.

How Red Light Camera Systems Work

More than 30 cities have adopted automated camera ordinances in Missouri, allowing cameras to catch cars running red lights to be installed at certain intersections. The camera photographs the car from behind so the license plate and red light are visible; an additional picture shows the car in the intersection. Police issue $100 fines that motorists have the option of contesting before a judge.

The Pros and Cons

Opponents claim these cameras invade privacy rights and encourage rear-end motor vehicle accidents when people slam on the brakes to avoid running red lights. Critics point to statistics like those of a Missouri Department of Transportation, or MoDOT, report showing a 14 percent increase in these collisions, generally less dangerous than right-angle crashes, known as T-bone accidents. MoDOT reported a 45 percent reduction in T-bone crashes causing fatalities and serious injuries at intersections using the cameras.

According to Fox2now.com, there is also mounting criticism of the millions of dollars those devices generate for ATS and cities that hire the company. Proponents say the reduced number of injuries and loss of lives justifies the costs.

Focus on Yellow Lights Instead?

One especially vocal opponent is Missouri Senate member Jim Lembke, who fought back after he was fined for running a red light. According to Fox2now, Sen. Lembke introduced a bill to ban red light cameras, claiming they are unconstitutional. He wants the state to standardize how long traffic lights remain yellow instead.

While the debate over red light cameras carries on, motorists continue to get in accidents. Such motorists, whether or not a red-light runner caused the accident, should seek legal representation by a skilled personal injury attorney to fight for the compensation they deserve.