A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that red light cameras save lives. The study, released February 1, examined U.S. cities with populations over 200,000, comparing those with red light camera programs to those without.

The research revealed that, in the 14 large U.S. cities that had cameras during 2004-2008 (including the City of Garland), the combined per capita rate of fatal red light crashes fell 35 percent, compared with 1992-1996. (The rate also fell in 48 cities without red light cameras in either period, but only by 14 percent.) Eighty-three lives were saved in the cities with cameras during the study period.

The benefits of red light programs were even greater when researchers considered the rate of all fatal crashes at intersections, rather than only those attributed to red light running.The rate of all fatal crashes fell 14 percent in camera cities, but increased two percent in non-camera cities. Considering the decrease in all fatal intersection crashes, 159 lives were saved in cities with cameras.

Based on these findings, the study determined that if red light cameras had been in place all five years in all cities over 200,000 in population, a total of 815 deaths could have been avoided.  In sum, the study concludes that red light camera programs save lives by reducing fatal red light running crashes, as well other types of fatal intersection crashes. The study is available online at

Even mounting evidence of the benefits of red light programs won’t sway some Texas legislators. In fact, at least one bill S.B. 500 has been filed already to eliminate the cameras. More are sure to come.

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose.
No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the
Texas Municipal League.

Back to Legislative Update Index