New Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: Camera Programs Reduce Red-Light Running

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


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