Another reason why seat belts may be absent: According to several biographical accounts of George Lucas posted online, Lucas dabbled in racing as a teenager, and one of the race cars he built had a half-ass seat belt system installed. The car went out of control one day and plowed into a tree at 60mph. The belt system failed and he was thrown free, only sustaining minor injuries. Had the seat belt worked, he would have almost certainly died, and we wouldn't have the Star Wars universe today.
Ever since I learned to drive, something about traffic lights has been glaringly obvious: The yellow light simply isn't sufficient warning of a light change. It may be okay if you're a long ways off, but I'm sure all of us have, on numerous occasions, experienced a "sour spot" (play on words of "sweet spot") where you are almost at an intersection, get the yellow, and have to make a split-second decision to "gun it" and try to make the light, or slam on your brakes to stop at it. Human nature is to "gun it" -- it's even a part of pop culture, the Starman "red = stop, green = go, yellow = go very fast" -- hence the type of red-light running that these cameras are tuned to maximize revenue from.
What I propose to all municipalities in states that have made the cameras illegal, as well as manufacturers of traffic-signal equipment:
Create a standardizable device which will let motorists know at a glance how much time is left on the green. It could be a numeric countdown such as the one on many pedestrian signals, a border of blue LEDs around the signal heads that extinguishes light by light as the yellow draws near, or (like in parts of Canada) a green light that flashes during the early part of the cycle, then goes to solid green 5-10 seconds before the yellow. Whatever the mechanism, it should give at least 15 seconds' warning of a light change, and do so in a manner understandable to most drivers of standard aptitude.
(I feel that a numeric countdown would be the best, as virtually everyone is familiar with countdowns [New Year's Eve, microwave oven timers, etc.])
Next, install this extra signaling scheme on busy intersections that formerly would have rated the installation of red-light cameras. Then trend the red-light-running and accident rates at these intersections for a few months (before and after).
I'd almost bet money that the red-light-running rate would drop precipitously.
Another way to improve traffic flow and cut down on light running, of course, is to synchronize signals on a city-wide basis, simply decreasing the number of opportunities to run a red. The technology exists for smart traffic control systems. It's time to implement them!
The thing that disgusts me the most about red-light cameras is the amount of manpower and technological muscle wasted to create and install these systems that could have been used instead to implement solutions like I outlined above. Red-light cameras are simply a profitable, Band-Aid solution for a real problem that has plagued traffic signals since their introduction. We must get rid of the Band-Aid and use the right tools to fix the issue.