WASHINGTON — Red light cameras are helping drivers remember that red means stop and are saving lives, according to a new study out Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The study concludes that the cameras have cut the rate of fatal crashes by 24 percent in 14 large cities that introduced red light cameras from 1996 to 2004.

“There are hundreds of people who are alive because some communities had the courage to use this method of enforcement,” said institute President Adrian Lund.

In cities with the cameras, the study also noted drops in all fatal crashes at intersections with traffic signals, not just those caused by running red lights.

The institute claims that the reduction translates into 159 lives saved over five years in those cities. If all large cities had cameras, a total of 815 lives could have been saved, according to the study.

In 2009, 676 people were killed in red light crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.