A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics claims to find that red-light cameras save the lives of children. The study, presented during the AAP national conference late last month, showed findings that motor vehicle crashes increase when the cameras are taken out of communities that previously had them.
Running red lights: deadly
States that ended their red-light camera programs saw a rise in traffic deaths – some substantially. Houston, Texas ended their red-light camera enforcement, and since, serious motor vehicle crashes have tripled. The study used four years of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including the data that 18,116 children aged 15 and younger were involved in fatal accidents, 16 percent of which died. They then looked at the mortality rates per state, which ranged from .25 per 100,000 in Massachusetts to 3.20 per 100,000 in Mississippi.
The Traffic Safety Coalition said that the study agrees with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s own research that fatal car crashes due to drivers running red lights increased after the red-light camera programs were shut down. The IIHS study also found that 1,300 lives were saved in 79 cities as of 2014 because they used the red-light camera operation.
Other factors can save lives
The study also found that other safety precautions help save children’s’ lives – including seat belts and car seats. The study suggests that if we could increase the usage of seat belts and child seats by just 10 percent nationally, is could save 1,500 or more children’s lives over the course of five years.
So buckling up children can help on top of continuing to use traffic monitoring programs, such as the red-light cameras. What else can the government or the public do to save lives, including those of children? We can start with eliminating distracted driving, which will require much more education to the public, who still continue to do it despite the deadly consequences.