I was caught in one of those cameras running a red light. I promptly paid the fine as I was surely guilty as shown by the video. It seems to me that the ones that complain the loudest are those caught but not wanting to pay the fine. Pay. Stronger enforcement rules would help.
A lot of people only correct their driving when they feel they are at risk of being caught. So, having red light traffic cameras remedies this situation by ensuring that bad drivers are punished, even when they are breaking the law in the middle of the night on an empty street.
Even if the cameras do not work, just the presence of them makes people think twice before running a red light and possibly causing an accident that could kill people.
Red light traffic cameras have been successful at reducing accidents at certain intersections, according to recent statistics. People simply don't want to pay the high fines that are posted and come with getting caught. They know those cameras are there, so they slow down and pay attention to the light. The data confirms that.
Running red lights is not only dangerous to the driver who ran the light, but the unlucky person who was following the law and got hit. Red light traffic cameras prevent this by enforcing the same threat of getting caught for running a stop light, as if a cop car was sitting at the intersection all day every day. This means people are forced to drive slower and more carefully, leading to less accidents from people who think they can run a red light when no one is looking.
Traffic laws are very likely the most disregarded laws in the country, outside of littering. When individuals are polled as to whether they consider themselves to be a safe driver, about 68% of them say they are "better than average" drivers, which is a statistical impossibility. However, it is very likely, because of this belief of superior driving ability, that so many drivers disregard traffic laws. They feel they are "above" them because of their driving skill. This leaves us with a dilemma. If drivers will not obey traffic laws because they believe the laws don't apply to them, how do we get these drivers to follow the rules? The only answer seems to be by deterrent, and traffic red light cameras are such a deterrent. It is the threat of receiving a fairly expensive traffic ticket in the mail that makes traffic cameras an effective deterrent in keeping the roads safer for drivers and pedestrians. It should be noted that road safety is only one (and probably not the primary) motivation for installing red light cameras. The primary motivation in most cities is to generate income for the city. Eventually, we may reach the point where these cameras also are used as "anti-terrorism" devices. Civil liberties notwithstanding.
Red light cameras are a great addition to the safety of the road, because they enforce the law when there are no cops around to enforce it. It catches people who run the red light and, instead of a cop sitting there to catch people violating this, those resources may be reallocated somewhere else, instead of the intersection.
I do not believe traffic cameras improve the safety of the road. In my small town there are 3 or 4 cameras on lighted intersections and I see the cameras go off all of the time. Sometimes it seems they go off when they shouldn't and other times you can see a semi-truck fully ignore the red light and fly through it.
People get nervous when they see traffic cameras and get into a panic so they either press on their breaks or speed and hope you do not cause an accident behind you OR in front of you. I did research on how sometimes traffic cameras just cause MORE accidents rather than preventing them.
Everytime you come up to a yellow light, you now have to instantly make a decision: slam hard on your breaks and risk an accident behind you, or slam on your gas and try to blow through the light, which might net you a ticket anyway, a speeding ticket if a cop is nearby, or a potential accident. However, as long as the government is making money from them, they will continue to put them up.
I read an article about the red light cameras and how, most of the time, they aren't even working. Yet, it still causes more accidents, due to people stopping when, in reality, they should've kept going. In fear of getting hit with a huge fine, they slam on their brakes, which causes them to be rear-ended. I have heard that, when the cameras are working, it does bring great revenue into the city, though.
When people know that a street has red light traffic cameras, they are more likely to jam on the brakes, instead of going through a yellow light. This causes chaos and accidents on the roads. Also, cameras can be faulty and issue incorrect tickets. Traffic tickets should only be given out by humans.
Not only do they not improve safety, the lights those cameras are attached to are timed differently than those without cameras. A light with a camera only allows just over 1 second between the yellow light and the red light. A traffic signal without a camera allows 4 seconds between the yellow light and the red. Clearly, the system is set up to create revenue for the city, and not safety for the public. Hazards that result from cameras on traffic lights include accidents caused when a driver slams on his brakes, trying to avoid a ticket, because he can't make it through the intersection before the light turns red. There are also multiple car crashes in the intersection caused when a driver assumes he still has the normal 4 seconds to safely pass through before the light turns red.
I have read a study that concluded that red lights are mostly run when the yellow (amber) light is too short. Lengthening the time the yellow light was on drastically reduced the number of red lights that where run. Cameras punish people who run red lights, even if they had no time to stop. Cameras also scare drivers into stopping suddenly and prematurely, which is very dangerous.
Though it is true that, for people who are caught running a red light by a traffic camera, traffic cameras may alter driving behavior, and most people will not ever be caught running a red light. Most people are never caught on camera running a red light, and are unaware even that traffic cameras are present. Because they do not know the traffic cameras are there, people do not change their road behaviors. So road behaviors are no different, and no safer, than when traffic cameras are not present.
The installation of red light cameras does assist in dangerous intersection accidents, but it causes thousands of dollars a year in rear-end crash damage. Drivers who come into a known red light camera area are more prone to slam on their brakes on a just-gone-yellow light, rather than risk getting a ticket.