6/16/2017Five Of The Six Safest States Ban Photo Ticketing
While the nationwide road fatality rate increased slightly, many of the safest states have banned red light cameras and speed cameras.
Advocates for red light cameras and speed cameras insist that the devices save lives. The latest figures from the US Department of Transportation suggest, however, that five out of the six states with the lowest fatality rates have banned the use of automated ticketing machines.
The data released Tuesday by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's National Center for Statistics and Analysis revealed the average number of traffic fatalities per 100 million miles traveled was 1.13 nationwide in 2015, the lates year for which statistics are available. This represents a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year. A growing economy means more drivers are getting in their cars to go to work, which means more people are exposed to risk as the number of miles traveled jumped 3.5 percent to an all-time high of 3.1 trillion.
Despite the high traffic levels, the densely populated state of New Jersey enjoyed the nation's fourth lowest fatality rate, 0.75, in its first full year without red light cameras. Garden State lawmakers rejected calls by interested parties to reauthorize the use of photo ticketing, restoring the preexisting ban in state law.
In the third safest state, Minnesota, the state Supreme Court in 2007 ruled that photo enforcement violates due process because it "eliminates the presumption of innocence and shifts the burden of proof from that required by the rules of criminal procedure" (view ruling). Despite the lack of cameras, residents enjoyed a low fatality rate of 0.72.
Rhode Island is the only state with red light cameras to find itself on the lowest fatality rate list. New Hampshire has never had camera enforcement, but the legislature took the additional step of enacting a law in 2007 outlawing cameras that identify the occupants of vehicles. The state enjoyed a fatality rate of 0.87. Vermont and Massachusetts have likewise never had ticketing cameras, but the laws preventing the use of cameras are only implicit. Vermont's fatality rate is 0.78, and the rate in Massachusetts is the nation's lowest at 0.52.
Despite the uptick in the fatality rate, overall roads are far safer than they have ever been. In the past decade, the fatality rate nationwide has dropped 20 percent. Since 1975 it has dropped 66 percent due to increased safety of vehicles and better medical care.
A copy of the report is available in a 700k PDF file at the source link below.