Red-Light Safety Cameras Are Keeping Us Safe On and Off the Road

It is clear that red-light safety cameras have made roads safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike. They improve driver behavior; reduce accidents in intersections; and save lives. These cameras are also keeping communities safe in other ways.

From 2011 – 2012, local police departments from 172 communities across the country requested 4,262 red-light safety camera videos for use in solving crimes. This video footage from key intersections has helped to determine fault in hit-and-run accidents, catch vandals, and even solve shooting investigations. Of these requests:

  • 46% helped resolve vehicle collision investigations
  • 34% were used in various police investigations
  • 10% aided in robbery cases
  • 5% assisted in homicide investigations
  • 5%  involved miscellaneous county or city needs


A few states utilized these videos more than others. Communities in Florida totaled 1,634 requests over the two-year period, while New Jersey requested 412 video clips, and Missouri had 320 instances where the camera footage aided in investigations.

Earlier this year, a red-light safety camera in Ocoee, Florida captured video that was used as evidence in a home invasion/homicide case. The camera, situated about a mile from the scene of the crime, recorded footage of a car the suspect was allegedly using, contradicting the suspects police testimony that he was at his home located several miles away. In another incident in Surfside, Florida, a red-light safety camera led police to arrest a suspected rapist by placing him at the exact location and time of the crime. A red-light safety camera in Boulder, Colorado snapped a photo of a man driving a pickup truck that was reported as stolen a month prior. The stolen truck was eventually located and the police were able to identify the suspect as a result of the camera footage. In these cases – and many more – red-light safety cameras have helped bring justice to victims and protect communities.

Lawmakers in the state of Washington have taken note of these unintended benefits of traffic cameras. A new bill under consideration would allow law enforcement officials to file for a warrant to access camera photos in an effort to solve crimes beyond traffic infractions. Current law in Washington only allows for the use of these images to enforce traffic laws. Seattle’s assistant police chief Jim Pugel acknowledges that the cameras “don’t prevent crime, but they do increase the solvability factor of crimes at an incredible rate.”

Across the country, red-light safety cameras are proving critical in solving crimes, aiding investigations, and keeping residents safe on the roadways.


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