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Red-light cameras reduce crashes that cause casualties


The deterrent effect of cameras that record the licence plates of cars passing through red lights at junctions reduces the numbers of accidents that cause injuries.

Current estimates suggest that by 2020 road traffic injury is likely to become the third greatest cause of death and disability in the world. Drivers running (‘jumping’) red lights are a leading cause of crashes at traffic-light controlled junctions, and incidents involving one car crashing into the side of another carry particularly high risks of injury.

By reviewing 10 controlled studies from Australia, Singapore and the USA, Cochrane Review Authors have shown that red-light cameras reduce the number of crashes in which people are injured.

It may also be that having a camera installed at one junction improves compliance with traffic law at other intersections in the area.

“UK camera partnerships are required to place warning signs at camera sites but this may be limiting their ’halo’ or ’spillover’ effect. The most effective red light camera programme identified used warning signs at major entrances, i.e. not camera sites, and thus discouraged red light running at all signalised junctions,” says lead author Amy Aeron-Thomas.

“The review team looked for reliable data from all possible sources, anywhere in the world where these cameras have been used,” says Paul Chinnock, Managing Editor of the Cochrane Injuries Group. “Their statistical analysis and conclusions were then checked by independent specialists in this field. We have to find out which approaches to cutting death and injury on the road work and which do not work. To do this a rigorous and unbiased approach is necessary.”

Julia Lampam | alfa
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