The City of Fort Worth, Texas turned on its ninth red light camera today. This one is at the intersection of East Lancaster and Sandy Lane. These cameras take still pictures of the front and back of your car if you run a red light. You then receive a $75 citation in the mail. While they obviously collect revenue for the City, the main purpose is to discourage people from running the red lights and causing accidents. The other intersections where cameras currently operate are:
• Eastchase Parkway and Meadowbrook Blvd
• E. Long Avenue and Deen Road
• S. Hulen Street and Bellaire Drive South
• McCart Avenue and Westcreek Drive
• Bryant Irvin and West Vickery Blvd
• Eighth Avenue and Elizabeth Blvd
• N. Beach Street and Western Center Blvd
• East Lancaster and Riverside Drive
As a lawyer who handles car accidents, among other cases, I am acutely aware of the dangers caused by running a red light. The impact is often in the side of one of the cars (called a T-bone) and results in horrible injuries as there is not much protection on the side of your car. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that in 2006, in the United States alone, there were 171,000 crashes, 144,000 injuries and 887 deaths related to red light running.
So, do these cameras work? Yes, they do. Like everyone else, I try not to run red lights. On my way to and from work, I go through one of the intersections with a red light camera. I must say that I am a lot more careful and aware at this intersection. More important than my personal observations are the statistics. The statistics also show that these red light cameras definitely help to reduce accidents. Many cities across Texas and the United States have installed them and have reported a large decrease in both red light violators and crashes. Other local cities that have them include Arlington, Grapevine, Southlake and Dallas. There has been a reported 20% to 50% in crashes at these intersections. Sounds like a good thing for the local cities to do.