Red Light Technology can Help Reduce Car Accidents
Over the last decade, cities across the state of Texas have consistently begun adopting the use of red light technology, which is believed to reduce accidents and make roads safer for users by issuing tickets to those who run red lights. However, the adoption of this technology has not come without its fair share of controversy, as many residents argue that the lights do not actually improve safety, but are only designed to generate revenue. In fact, one state senator recently promised to file a bill that would ban cities from using red light cameras to assess civil fines in lieu of state criminal traffic charges.
For the time being, the cameras will remain in many cities, so if you were involved in an accident where the at-fault party ran a red light, this technology could come into play. To speak with an experienced car accident attorney about your options, please contact our legal team to schedule a free consultation.
How do the Cameras Work?
Red light camera systems, which are positioned at intersections, are made up of cameras, computers, and triggers. The triggers are engaged when a car moves past a length of electrical wire that is buried under the asphalt. The computer, which is wired to the cameras, the triggers, and the traffic light circuit, constantly monitors the traffic signal then takes two pictures of the vehicle, one when the car is just entering the intersection and another as it leaves.
Criticism of Red Light Technology
When a person runs a red light in a Texas city that has red light technology, the owner of the vehicle will be issued a ticket. This is true regardless of who was actually driving the car at the time. Critics claim that alleged violators are denied the presumption of innocence and that far from actually preventing accidents, this kind of technology actually increases them. Voicing concern over the collection of civil fines for violations, the Texas Conservative Grassroots coalition is demanding that the governor call for a statewide ban on red light cameras.
This is not the first time that voters have requested a ban. In 2006, Houston started using a red light camera system, but in 2010 the program was ended four years early by the city council.
Does the Technology Work?
A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) compared large cities that used red light systems with those that did not. According to the results, fatal front-to-side crashes caused by drivers who ran red lights was lower by 21%. Other data suggests that the rate of fatal crashes from drivers who run red lights was actually 30% higher when cities decided to terminate use of the program early. Despite this evidence, there is still significant concern that red light camera systems actually increase certain types of car crashes, including rear-end collisions at intersections. In response to these concerns, some lawmakers have suggested implementing Halo technology, which detects cars that are likely to run a red light and then delay the light for cross traffic from turning green. However, it is unclear how effective this type of technology would be on a statewide scale.
Call Today for Legal Counsel
To speak with an experienced attorney about your own car accident-related questions or concerns for free, please contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 713-221-6800 today.