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Denver considers if red light cameras reduce car accidents

Patricia M. Jarzobski

A new bill is once again under consideration to eliminate the use of red light cameras across Colorado. Lawmakers hope this bill will finally be the one to succeed in the elimination of cameras that they claim don't actually reduce car accidents, but instead change the type of accidents that commonly occur and are simply money-making mechanisms. Cities across Colorado, including Denver, have conflicting views about the use of these controversial devices.

The Denver Police Department claims that the cameras do in fact reduce the number of car accidents, particularly side-impact crashes. They report that accidents are reduced by as much as 60 percent and side-impact crashes by a startling 80 percent, thanks to the cameras. While rear-end collisions increase after the installation of cameras at an intersection, over time, those crashes also decrease. Due to these statistics, Denver is considering adding more red light cameras.

Some feel that, before Denver can expand its red light camera program, it must first attempt other methods of reducing red light running. It has been found that many yellow lights in Denver aren't long enough to meet the minimum recommended duration. Having short yellow light cycles keeps drivers from being able to either safely stop before the red light or continue through the intersection on yellow. It has been found in some cities that, by increasing the yellow light duration by only one second, the red light violations were almost completely eliminated. In an attempt to do its due diligence, the city of Denver has decided to conduct a study over nine months to determine if adjustment of the yellow light durations will eliminate the need for the red light cameras before the investment to install more is made.

Whether one agrees with the use of red light cameras or not, the fact that red light running must be controlled is something on which we all can agree. It causes many car accidents and results in many rider and pedestrian deaths each year. Those hurt by the negligence of another have the ability to seek financial compensation for their damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist a victim in filing the correct type of claim for his or her situation, whether that is a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

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