Proficient driving with safety as the goal is NEVER about avoiding a traffic ticket….which is much of the focus in the news media.
Red light cameras project NO impact (pun intended) on skilled drivers because the threat of a ticket coming in the mail doesn’t motivate them to stop safely at a red light.
A skilled driver understands the significant risk to themselves and other road users if they run a red light…If I don’t have use of the road someone else does and the odds of a serious crash go up.
Unfortunately, thanks to this country’s minimal-skill-required approach, most drivers DON’T operate their vehicle with skill. How does this fact affect their behavior at red light camera intersections?
Some will drive more cautiously, especially in the beginning and because of this adjustment red light violations and crashes may decline. But long term, many will revert back to the habit of approaching a “stale green light” at high speed, which increases their chances of running a red light.
Other drivers will make no change to their driving behavior. The threat of receiving a ticket in the mail is certainly not greater then the threat of being killed or killing someone in a red light crash, which is the real risk at every intersection.
Sometimes rear-end crashes increase at these intersections because drivers don’t adjust their approaching speed. They slam on their brakes to avoid running the light, unaware of the fact they were being tailgated.
Because of “risk tolerance,” many drivers stop at the camera-enforced traffic light but either run another light or drive dangerously fast to make up for the “lost time.” So any safety gain at the red-light camera intersection is negated by increased crashes further along their route.
Enforcement is a necessary part of maintaining safe roads, but ultimately the foundation for driving with skill and a sense of responsibility to all road users is built on knowledge and techniques.
Improving our drivers’ training is where we should spend our resources if we want safer intersections! Do you agree? Tell Trish! Contact her at trish.johnson@ApexResourceCenter.com or (904) 394-2912.