What It Takes To Cut Traffic Fatalities

Why is the rate of traffic fatalities falling faster in Europe than in the U.S.? The reason, according to a broadcast on NPR, has to do with how each uses available technologies and how each focuses on safety.

One example the broadcast cites is a decision by voters in Houston to ban cameras designed to catch people running red lights. The winners argued that cameras were there to raise money, not to improve safety.

But, it adds, safety experts say traffic tickets aren’t written for everybody, just people who break the law.

“We’ve sort of lost track of the fact that the real victims of red-light running aren’t the red-light runners; it’s the people they’re running into,” says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “There is a segment of the population that seems to feel that they have the right to violate speed laws and run red lights without getting caught.”

“It’s not that they have technologies that we don’t have; it’s that they use them more extensively and they manage their highway safety programs more [intensely] and better than we do,” says Indiana University’s Clinton Oster.

One Response to “What It Takes To Cut Traffic Fatalities”

  1. Brian says:

    The problem with the red light camera thing is that they ARE often put there to raise revenue. Usually they get people who are ‘breaking the law’, but only on a technicality. They don’t get those who usually are flagrant violators. Most red light camera tickets are for rolling right turns on red. This is ‘breaking the law’ but not particularly dangerous at a slow speed. Also, municipalities have been caught shortening yellow light times to increase red light camera revenue. Not to mention that the cameras do malfunction and sometimes get innocent people. The people who say “People who oppose these just want to break the law” have little idea how things work in the real world.

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