By Mark Talbot, Americas Local Government, Xerox

Think about this the next time you and your family get in the car: According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, accidents caused by running a red light killed 676 people in 2009, but 159 lives were saved from 2004 to 2008 in the 14 largest U.S. cities that used red light cameras.Red Light Cameras: Safety First

If every city with more than 200,000 people was red light camera equipped between 2004 and 2008, 815 lives could have been saved. That’s a powerful number.

We’re aware that the cameras sometimes get a bad rap and we have our eyes wide open to the concern around them. You may even know firsthand that feeling of seeing a camera flash in your rear view mirror. So we were interested to see this story on TODAY about red light cameras; why some communities embrace them, but also why one legislator wants them removed. People have their opinions, we know, but the numbers don’t lie: the cameras save lives and change driver behavior for the better, saving people from some of the most dangerous accidents where drivers are caught completely by surprise.

So what’s Xerox doing talking about red light cameras? We help governments create photo enforcement programs in dozens of cities, counties and states around the world. And we stand tall in our effort to keep roads safe.

But there’s another benefit to red light cameras you may not be thinking about: Instead of taking time away from other police duties, cameras act as a “force multiplier,” which means that they free up police to focus on crime prevention and putting bad guys in jail. Safer roads, safer communities.

We know the debate over red light cameras won’t end, but we think the facts tell a compelling story and we’ve seen their benefits firsthand. What do you think? Let us know.