Red Light Cameras: Do They Really Make Nevada’s Roads Safer?

It is estimated that in 2017 more than 300 Nevada residents were involved in fatal accidents as a result of speeding drivers. More than half of these accident-related deaths occurred at busy intersections across the state. In an effort to combat this alarming statistic, Nevada’s Department of Public Safety (NDPS) has lobbied state legislators to pass a bill that would legalize automated traffic enforcement cameras. Beyond just red light cameras, the bill the NDPS is hoping for would also include speed cameras and school zone cameras that would catch drivers disobeying traffic laws and posted signs.

Nevada Traffic Law

Under current state law, Nevada law enforcement officers only have authority to use cameras to ticket a speeding driver if the video device is either handheld or installed on the officer’s vehicle. If Nevada’s legislature successfully passes a bill to the NDPS’s liking, video cameras would be mounted to traffic lights across the state in an effort to photograph the license plates of these negligent and/or speeding drivers. Should a violation be caught on camera, the owner and operator of the vehicle would receive a citation in the mail.

Jurisdictions across the country, however, are taking a last resort approach to traffic camera installations at its intersections. Despite red light cameras have already been made legal and installed in about 24 states across the nation, they have received much criticism and have been controversial since their inception. This is because while red light cameras do help catch more traffic violations than law enforcement officers on traffic patrol can do on their own, they are expensive to install and maintain. Some studies also show that these cameras actually increase the total number of accidents that happen at intersections, including rear-end crashes.

Decrease in Fatal Crashes

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), it is recommended that states like Nevada use traffic cameras as automated enforcement of traffic laws because statistically, they decrease the likelihood of annual number of traffic-related fatalities. When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted a study comparing cities with red light cameras to those that did not have the devices found that the former had a 21% lower fatal red-light running accidents than the latter. Likewise, those cities with red light cameras had an overall decrease of fatal crashes at intersections of 14%. It is estimated that more than 400 communities across the United States use red light cameras and more than 130 use cameras to enforce traffic laws.

Las Vegas Car Accident Attorneys

Only time will tell if the installation of red light cameras and traffic enforcement cameras will decrease accidents and traffic-related deaths in Nevada. If you or someone you know has been hurt in a Nevada car accident, contact the skilled Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau today. We can explain your rights and obligations under Nevada traffic law and seek the monetary compensation to which you may be entitled.

(image courtesy of Khoa Nguyen)