Red-light cameras, economic downturn, possible reason for fewer Chicago car accidents at intersections

Recently out Chicago car accident lawyers reported on the dangers of intersection accidents in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois.

The ink wasn’t even dry on that blog yet when the National Safety Council released a report saying crashes at intersections equipped with traffic lights have decreased by 17 percent in the last five years, while those involving red-light runners have dropped by 27 percent.Part of the reason could be the economic downturn, during which many states, including Illinois, have reported record-low numbers of fatal traffic accidents. And part of the reason could be the increasing use of red-light cameras.

The study used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to review accident rates in all 50 states.

“This report shows that we are making large strides as a nation in reducing crashes at intersections,” said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

Yet intersections remain among the most dangerous places on the road for all sorts of accidents, including bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Chicago. The report still found 12,396 fatal crashes occurred at intersections during the five-year period, including 4,394 crashes involving red-light runners.

“While we are making progress, the 13,266 fatalities from these crashes remind us that we have much more to do,” Froetscher said. “Each of us should consider these statistics and the measures we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.”

Illinois was one of few states that reported little change in the percentage of fatal crashes occurring at intersections, in fact the total increased from 8 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2009, compared to the 11 percent reported when the study began in 2005.

As we have reported, the economic downturn has led to back-to-back years of record-low fatalities for the first time in nearly a century of reporting. Advocates of the city’s camera program also contend that Chicago’s 200 red-light cameras are having a positive impact. A recent study suggested 22 fewer fatal Chicago crashes were blamed on red-light runners from 2004 to 2008, than the 69 deaths reported in a similar period from 1992 to 1996.
Recent Blogs:

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog:

Red-light cameras reducing number of fatal Chicago car accidents.

Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog: Are red light cameras increasing the risk of Chicago car accidents?

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