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Do Red Light Cameras Make Phoenix Safer?

Whether you love them or hate them, red light cameras are a part of life if you reside in the greater Phoenix area. Some cities have added them while others have removed them in recent years but as most motorists drive through multiple cities on a daily basis, these cameras affect almost everyone.

Publicly, most local governments state that the purpose of the cameras is to promote public safety. They can also be significant revenue generators as well as these cameras issue a greater number of tickets than a typical officer would patrolling an intersection during a shift.

But are red light cameras really making Phoenix safer? The answer to that question depends on who you ask.

City officials from multiple areas have stated that enforcing laws against running red lights have helped them avoid an untold number of car accidents at the intersections with cameras, reducing the number of residents who are injured and killed each year. The belief is that motorists who are cited for a red light violation will be more cautious in the future so that they are not cited again, leading to safer conduct on the roadways and a benefit for all drivers. An additional argument is that drivers who simply know the cameras are present and watching their moves will act by the letter of the law, making them more likely to stop for yellow and red lights. This “Big Brother” effect is thought to curb dangerous driving habits among those who are never cited for red light violations or never charged with such acts.

But others point to incidents all around the nation where the installation of red light cameras resulted in an increase of rear-end car accidents at those intersections. In these cities, drivers became so frightened of a potential violation that they began stopping aggressively and in an unsafe manner, leading to other vehicles striking them prior to an intersection.

Finally, there are skeptics all over the Valley who claim that an argument in favor of safety is nothing but a facade as these local governments seek only to raise revenues by the installation of red light cameras.

So who is correct? When it comes to Phoenix, it may be too early to tell. Presently, nine communities in Arizona have red light cameras and 12 have speed cameras which indicate a lot of support for these devices among local lawmakers. Yet some areas have ditched the cameras as of late, and Chandler in particular went from having cameras to eliminating cameras and now will be reinstituting cameras this week.

At this time, know that red light cameras probably cannot be avoided if you drive in Maricopa County. But also know that if you proceed on green and stop for red, these cameras should not cause you a hassle. Be cognizant of your own conduct while operating a car, truck, or bus and be aware that even the presence of red light cameras cannot guarantee your safety.

Prior Blog Entry:

Another 35-40 Million Vehicles Recalled for Faulty Air Bag Inflators, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published May 10, 2016.


Chandler photo enforcement returning May 16; citations coming June 20, by Lucas Robbins, The Republic,, published May 12, 2016.

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