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Red-light cameras can benefit cities despite controversies

Michigan drivers have likely more than once seen someone run a red light. Perhaps they themselves did it. The fact is that running a red light violates traffic laws and puts others in danger. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that more than 800 people died in red-light running crashes in 2016. Over half the victims were pedestrians, bicyclists or occupants of vehicles other than the guilty party’s.

Cities can do something about this trend by installing red-light cameras, or traffic-enforcement cameras, at their intersections. IIHS studies have attested to the benefits of cameras. There are 40% fewer incidents of drivers running red lights when these are installed. Big cities with cameras also see 21% fewer red-light running crash fatalities than other big cities.

Still, one cannot ignore the controversy that has developed around red-light cameras. Some cities will install these and then shorten the yellow lights as a way to deal out more traffic tickets and generate more revenue.

As a result, fewer communities now have cameras. Their number was 533 back in 2012, but it dropped to 421 in 2018. There are ways that communities can earn the public’s trust regarding cameras, though. These ways include publicizing the early stages of the installation process, clearly marking cameras and properly training those who issue the citations.

Red-light runners are responsible for any motor vehicle crashes they cause, and they may face a claim from the victim. Michigan is a no-fault state, so there are restrictions on who can file a third-party insurance claim. Even when filing with their own insurance provider, though, victims may want a lawyer by their side. The lawyer might explain what different policies cover and determine if that coverage is sufficient for the victim’s needs. The lawyer may then negotiate for a fair amount in damages.

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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC

3049 Miller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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