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Critics challenge traffic study that says red-light cameras save lives

Staff Report • Feb 1, 2011 at 5:05 AM

According to a USA Today report the national debate over red-light cameras is heating up again as a new analysis from a traffic safety group argues that the controversial devices saved 159 lives in 14 cities during a five-year period.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says red-light cameras reduced the rate of fatal red-light running by 24% from 2004 to 2008. Had the cameras been installed in all U.S. cities with populations above 200,000, 815 deaths would have been prevented, says the Insurance Institute, a group funded by auto insurers that aims to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage caused by crashes on the nation's roads.

"The cities that have the courage to use red-light cameras despite the political backlash are saving lives," IIHS President Adrian Lund says.

The research was immediately challenged by camera opponents. Gary Biller, executive director of the National Motorists Association, a drivers' rights group, says cameras increase crashes in some areas and that other strategies are more effective in making intersections safer.

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