The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) is condemning the regrettable decision by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners to put money before safety in its vote to end the city’s successful red light safety camera program.
“Ending this very successful and effective program will put innocent lives at risk,” said David Kelly, president and executive director of NCSR and former acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “There is a mounting body of evidence showing red light safety cameras change dangerous driver behavior — saving lives and reducing injuries in Los Angeles and across the country. Los Angeles residents and officials need only look at the local and national results to see the positive effects of these safety programs.”
In a February letter to the city’s Board of Police Commissioners, Los Angeles Chief of Police Charlie Beck highlighted the “measurable safety improvements” that resulted from the city’s Photo Red Light (PRL) Program.
“From January 2004 to December 2009, red-light collisions at PRL intersections have decreased by 63 percent,” wrote Beck. “Additionally, there has been an overall decrease of 10 percent in all types of collisions, and no red light related fatalities since program activation (compared to five fatalities in the three years prior to PRL enforcement from January 2004 to December 2006).”
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that 676 people were killed and 113,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running in 2009. Two-thirds of the victims in these crashes were pedestrians, bicyclists or occupants of vehicles hit by the red light runners.
The study also showed red light safety cameras helped save more than 150 lives in 14 of the biggest U.S. cities from 2004 to 2008. Had the cameras been operating in all 99 U.S. cities with populations more than 200,000, more than 800 lives could have been saved.
“It’s unconscionable for the board to put money before safety in Los Angeles,” said Kelly. “We must do everything in our power to protect innocent motorists, pedestrians and cyclists and prevent senseless deaths from reckless red-light runners. Red light safety cameras are proven to change dangerous driver behavior and reduce red-light running.”
The issue now moves to the Los Angeles City Council for a final vote.
NCSR is a nonprofit advocacy organization that brings together industry leaders, community leaders and concerned citizens in support of red light safety camera technology. Coalition members include the National Safety Counicl, Child Safety Network, National Organizations for Youth Safety, America Walks, and Red Means Stop. NCSR receives funding from American Traffic Solutions. NCSR helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red light safety cameras can improve driver behavior. For more information, visit http://SafeRoadsSaveLives.org/, follow @SaferRoadsUSA on Twitter and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SaferRoadsUSA.