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Distrust of red-light cameras leads to decline

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that more than 800 people died in 2016 after someone ran a red light and crashed. Of these fatalities, more than half were individuals other than the guilty driver. Virginia residents are aware that running a red light is unacceptable, and they may be wondering what can help keep drivers from doing it and killing people.

This is where traffic-enforcement cameras can come into play. If these are installed, especially at dangerous intersections, they can take photographs of red-light runners and deter them from such behavior with a traffic ticket. The IIHS says that with red-light cameras, the number of red-light violations can go down 40%. Red-light running crash deaths are 21% less frequent in large cities with cameras than in large cities without them.

In spite of these advantages, red-light cameras have been taken advantage of by many local governments as a way to generate revenue, and this has alienated much of the public. From 2012 to 2018, there was a drop from 533 to 421 communities with red-light camera systems.

There are key steps that communities can take to ensure public support of cameras. For instance, they can clearly explain where the cameras are, post signs at those intersections and create an efficient system for answering the public's questions.

Having a camera capture the act of running a red light can benefit those who wish to file a claim in the wake of an auto wreck. After all, they will need evidence to support their claim. Before anything, though, victims may want to have a lawyer evaluate their case under Virginia's strict rule of pure contributory negligence. Under this rule, plaintiffs cannot recover damages if they are so much as 1% to blame for a crash.

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