Opportunities to improve traffic safety seem to increase by leaps and bounds on a regular basis these days. Although, it could be more apropos to measure by lurches and jackrabbit starts.
Just recently, Colorado Springs police released the results of the first two and a half months of traffic violations caught by new area red light cameras. Approximately 40 red light runners were cited each day, which is a big success towards the prevention of serious injury to pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicle drivers. But just over our Western horizon, there’s already a better traffic control technology being tested.
The city of Marysville, Calif., about 40 miles north of Sacramento, is the first U.S. location to test smart red light cameras at one of their more dangerous intersections. Instead of just photographing red light runners as they’re making the dangerous traffic violation, the new smart red light cameras detect when a vehicle is about to run a red light and tells the traffic signals to hold cross traffic until the violator has cleared the intersection safely. By holding traffic for just a couple of seconds, these smart cameras can save hundreds of lives plus thousands more from serious injury.
Smart red light cameras don’t stop at collision prevention though. Red light runners in Marysville will continue to be photographed making the violation and then slapped with the $400 fine.
Just imagine, with the added technology of smart red light cameras, Colorado Springs residents could face serious injury 40 times less often every day, and that’s at the very least. And consider that, at $400 per citation, violators would hand over more than $5 million to the city of Colorado Springs every year. At present, a red light runner caught on camera in The Springs receives a fine of only $75 for the offense.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the use of standard red light cameras in large cities cuts down intersection accident fatalities by 24 percent.