Study Shows Red-Light Cameras Save Children’s Lives

The American Academy of Pediatrics presented a new study at its annual national conference concerning red light cameras, enforcement of red light camera laws, and traffic fatalities involving children in some states. According to the Traffic Safety Coalition, failing to use existing red light cameras and enforce laws related to red light cameras resulted in a substantial increase in serious motor vehicle crashes. More specifically, weak red light camera enforcement laws correlated to a rise in traffic fatalities involving children. Not surprisingly, the conclusions of the study also indicated that other safety features, such as seatbelt and car seat usage, also reduced the number of child deaths from motor vehicle accidents. Simply increasing usage of these safety features by 10% could result in saving 1,500 children’s lives over a period of five years.

Using data from the U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researchers analyzed over 18,000 children over a period of four years who were involved in fatal crashes. While the number of child fatalities from motor vehicle accidents differed from one state to the next, about 16% of the total children studied passed away as a result of their injuries. In more rural states, the rates of death to children tended to be higher, largely due to the rural nature of the roads and a higher percentage of unrestrained children in vehicles.

This study only complements the research findings of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Institute’s study found that the number of fatal accidents caused by drivers running red lights increased by about 30% when red light cameras were not in use. As of 2014, the Institute found that using red light cameras in 79 cities across the United States saved the lives of almost 1,300 individuals.

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