As an accidental death lawyer, I reviewed the results of a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study with both interest and optimism. The study found that red light cameras have reduced fatal car crashes by 24 percent in 14 large cities that began using red light cameras between 1996 – 2004.
In 2002, Pennsylvania passed a state law that allowed Philadelphia to use red light cameras. That law expires this year and state legislators will need to decide whether to abandon the use of red light cameras, continue the use of such cameras in Philadelphia only, or extend the use of red light cameras across the state.
There is some debate about what should be done. Some people believe that red light cameras are primarily being used to raise revenue and not to protect people from serious crashes. Of course, people can only be ticketed if they actually run a red light and perhaps a ticket for such an offense would prevent the driver from running a red light again and causing a serious or fatal crash.
We will continue to monitor the state legislature’s actions regarding red light cameras in Pennsylvania.