The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

IIHS Study: Red-Light Safety Cameras Prove Effective in Arlington County
Four red-light safety cameras installed in Arlington County have proven to do what proponents of cameras have long said they would: save lives. Evidence that the cameras are effective comes from the Arlington-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study. When researchers at the industry-supported facility heard that Arlington was installing cameras at four intersections in 2010, they began working with the county to see how well they worked.
Source: Washington Post

Ray LaHood to Step Down as U.S. Transportation Secretary
Ray LaHood will step down after four years as U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary. LaHood made great strides in turning distracted driving into a national crusade. There was no immediate word from the White House on who will replace him, but the fact that LaHood held off any announcement during a period when other second-term Cabinet appointments were being announced hinted that an active search may be underway.
Source: Washington Post

New Tax Hikes Eyed for Roads, Transit
States are scrambling to find taxes to pay for highway repairs and their public transit systems. Funding transportation has reached a point of national crisis, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, which estimates the country needs to spend $2.7 trillion on total infrastructure between now and 2020, but is falling more than $1 trillion short of that. A big reason for the hustle for new taxes: Federal and state gasoline taxes, the primary way of funding transportation, aren’t keeping up with demands as automobiles become more fuel-efficient, people drive less, and electric and hybrid vehicles increase in number.
Source: USA Today

Tallahassee City Officials say Red Light Safety Program is Working
Tallahassee City officials say reckless, illegal and dangerous behavior drove them to put nineteen red-light safety cameras at seven different intersections around town. They have found the cameras mounted on poles are helping to bring down the number of people running red lights. City Commissioners are open to add more safety cameras at other intersections and seek an update on the Red Light Camera Safety program.
Source: WTXL ABC – Tallahassee

Frederick Red-light, Speed Cameras Reduce Crashes and Violations
After seven years of red-light safety cameras and nearly two years with speed cameras, Frederick, MD police say the programs have noticeably improved traffic safety in the city. The city currently has seven red-light safety cameras and eight speed cameras, but the red-light program will more than double to 17 cameras in the coming months, according to Lt. Jason Keckler, commander of Patrol Operations for the Frederick Police Department.
Source: Maryland Gazette.net

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is dedicated to using research and data on important road safety issues to reduce the deaths, injuries and other damage caused by crashes. Recently it released a study on red-light safety cameras that provides even more evidence that cameras are effective. The study looked at a program in Arlington, Va., where red-light running rates have decreased at intersections with cameras. The most dangerous violations — those occurring 1.5 seconds into the red light cycle — dropped 86 percent.

Arlington installed cameras in June 2010 at heavily traveled intersections. IIHS started documenting violation trends by videotaping traffic during a 30-day warning period after the cameras were installed. It continued to capture footage a month after ticketing began and again after a year of operation.

The research revealed red-light running violations went down across the board at camera intersections. The odds of violations occurring 0.5 seconds into the red light were 39 percent less likely than at an intersection without cameras. This percentage only grows as the red light cycle progresses to at least 1 second (48 percent) and at least 1.5 seconds (86 percent).

 

The library of evidence in support of red-light safety cameras is rapidly expanding. This IIHS study was recently preceded by a statewide report with similar findings by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Not far from Arlington, traffic fatalities fell to a record low in Washington, D.C. in 2012 — the District Department of Transportation attributed this in part to the proliferation of red-light and speed cameras on roadways. Another IIHS study of large U.S. cities in 2011 found that safety cameras reduced the rate of fatal red-light running collisions by 24 percent.

Intersections are a major focus for improving road safety. In 2010, more than 2.2 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes involving an intersection led to 7,707 deaths and 68,000 serious non-fatal injuries. As proven in Arlington, Florida, D.C. and nationwide IIHS studies, red-light safety cameras are an effective tool in reducing a key contributor to intersection collisions — the deadly act of running a red light.

For the full study click here. To access research on all IIHS platforms visit www.iihs.org.

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

Global Road Safety Program Impacts 1.6 Billion with Improved Road Safety Laws
Bloomberg Philanthropies released its first progress report on its Global Road Safety Program, a five-year, $125 million investment to reduce preventable road traffic deaths and injuries. An estimated 1.6 billion people are now covered by strengthened road safety laws. It is projected that at least 12,670 lives will be saved in five years based on the program’s early accomplishments in target countries: Brazil, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam. The initiatives include increased seat-belt and helmet usage, reduced speed limits, drinking and driving enforcement, and improvements in road infrastructure and sustainable transport.
 Source: Bloomberg Philanthropies

D.C. Traffic Fatalities Fall to Record Low in 2012; DDOT Attributes Traffic Cameras
In 2012, Washington, D.C. logged the lowest number of traffic-related fatalities since at least the 1920s, and tied for the lowest numbers of pedestrians killed on record as well. The numbers are especially low compared with the peak set in 1934, when 135 people died in traffic crashes in the city, 95 of them pedestrians as trolleys and cars proliferated. But the statistics have declined markedly in recent years, dropping to a quarter of the 71 traffic deaths reported in 2001. George Branyan credits the proliferation of traffic cameras around the city with helping reduce the deaths. The District has 46 speed cameras and 47 red light cameras but plans to add 134 more this year.
Source: Washington Examiner  

Recent Studies Show Protected Bike Lanes Bring Economic Benefits
Cities increasingly are building protected lanes for bicyclists, finding that they bring economic as well as environmental and safety benefits to communities. Protected lanes are different from traditional bike lanes that separate cyclists from motorists with just a stripe of paint. The protected lanes add a barrier, such as a curb, parked cars or plastic posts, between moving cars and bicycle traffic to make cyclists feel safer. Cities implementing these types of bike lanes include Chicago, Austin, Memphis, Portland, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.
Source: USA Today

Paralysis Program and Trauma Centers Stand to Lose if Red-Light Cameras End in Collier County
Within two years after red-light safety cameras in 73 Florida communities began catching red-light runners and issuing violations, nearly $15 million went to trauma centers statewide and to a Miami-based program to try to help those who are paralyzed. Collier County is considering putting an abrupt stop to their camera program. Local trauma centers are encouraging their elected leaders to reconsider and continue to recognize that broad-based funding for trauma is essential for the community.
Source: Naples Daily News

West Palm Beach Approves Expansion of Red-Light Safety Camera Program
West Palm Beach city commissioners approved 52 more red light cameras at 25 intersections throughout the city. There are already seven cameras located in several locations. City leaders plan to examine the new cameras as they’re installed. Law enforcement officers believe the cameras will help with traffic safety and will also reduce the number of officers assigned to intersections. City leaders plan to install the cameras over the next several months.
Source: WPTV – NewsChannel 5

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

Traffic crashes kill tens of thousands of people and injure millions more every year in the United States. These tragic events lead to substantial financial costs on loved ones burdened with emotional loss and on the businesses, governments and insurers that make up the larger community.

Although the economic impact of an injury or fatal crash cannot compare to the human grief involved, it is useful in measuring how one collision affects an entire community on the financial level. Used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the societal perspective captures the full scope of collision costs.

Over the last seven years, the total cost of a fatal traffic accident has been on the rise. Following an 87% increase from $3.2 million in 2005 to $6 million in 2009, the cost of just one accident continued to climb, reaching an estimated $6.4 million in 2012. When adjusted for inflation, this results in a 100 percent increase from 2005.

Injury crash costs follow the same upward trend. The community’s cost of an injury crash rose 85 percent from $68,170 in 2005 to $126,000 in 2009. With inflation factored in, the cost climbed to $134,555 in 2012, a 97 percent increase from 2005.

These climbing costs add to the already obvious safety reasons prompting communities to set better standards on roadways and drive down collisions. An important part in reducing fatal crashes is positively changing the behavior of drivers. Some communities are ahead of the curve with strict distracted driving laws, harsh consequences for intoxicated driving, and the presence of automated enforcement technology at intersections.

Red-light and speed safety cameras are one of the most effective ways to get drivers to slow down, stop on red and be more conscious on the road. Safety cameras are proven to reduce violations and fatal collisions. According to research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the rate of fatal red-light running crashes was 24 percent lower in cities with red-light safety cameras – from 2004-08 – than it would have been without cameras. IIHS determined that if cameras were operating in all major U.S. cities during the same time period, more than 800 lives could have been saved.

The reduction of fatal and injury traffic collisions not only saves lives but leads to real cost-saving benefits for U.S. communities. For more on where each state stands on highway safety laws see the annual 2013 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws released by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

Tenth Annual Roadmap Report Grades States on Highway Safety Laws
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety have released the 2013 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws evaluating all states and the District of Columbia based on their status of 15 basic traffic safety laws. The release of this report is especially important this year as NHTSA projects a 7.1 percent increase in vehicle crash fatalities from 2012 to 2011 – the largest jump in traffic fatalities since 1975. This article in the San Francisco Chronicle provides an at-a-glance look at the report findings with a state-by-state slideshow. To view the full report, visit Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Traffic Technology International’s Take on Red-Light Safety Cameras
The go-to publication for the traffic technology industry took on red-light safety cameras in the January 2013 issue. Their in-depth look at pro and anti-camera perspectives revealed that although the evidence in support of red-light safety cameras appears overwhelming, the minority opposition continues to push on. NCSR’s David Kelly participated in an interview for the piece providing a pro-camera perspective.
Source: Traffic Technology International (p. 4-8)

Guest Column: Red-Light Safety Cameras Reduce Crashes, Save Lives
Melissa Wandall, red-light safety camera advocate for Stop on Red Florida and NCSR, writes a powerful column on why the Collier County Commission in Florida should revisit their camera program. She points out that the Commission’s actions could undo the progress the county has made on road safety and lead to an increase in deaths and injuries on the roadways.
Source: NaplesNews.com

A Father’s Powerful Presentation on Distracted Driving Hits Home with Classroom of Teens
Joel Feldman lost his 21 year old daughter in a distracted driving collision while she was walking through a crosswalk in 2009. He has made it his mission to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while distracted by participating in speaking engagements across the United States and inspiring others to join the cause through the Casey Feldman Foundation. He most recently had a lasting impact on a classroom of ninth graders in Bensalem, PA – part of a larger campaign kick off by the Pennsylvania Young Lawyers Division of the Association for Justice that plans to spread Feldman’s message across the state.
Source: PhillyBurbs.com

Safer Roads Near Schools May Mean Fewer Kids Struck by Cars
After New York City made the streets near some of its schools safer, the number of children struck by cars each year dropped substantially, a new study shows. Researchers found that the rate of child pedestrian injuries during “school travel” hours fell by 44 percent around schools where the city made traffic changes. The changes included installing more traffic lights and speed bumps, putting islands in the center of wide streets, and setting up digital signs that tell drivers how fast they are going.
Source: U.S. News & World Report

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.