Why Red Light Cameras are Bad for Your Community
They don’t actually make intersections safer
- In Maryland, 40% increase in rear end accidents immediately following installation of red light cameras, $2.85 million in revenue
- In Georgia, a 21% increase in accidents ~ $1 million following red light camera installation
- In Virginia Source(http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/news.asp?ID=117)
- The cameras are correlated with an increase in total injury crashes, with the increase being between 7% and 24%.
- The cameras are correlated with an increase in rear-end crashes related to the presence of a red light; the increase ranges between 50% and 71%.
- In Ontario:
“After evaluating the performance of red light cameras at 68 sites over two years, the report concluded that jurisdictions using photo enforcement experienced an overall increase in property damage accidents of 18.5 percent coupled with a 4.9 percent increase in fatal and injury rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions involving property damage alone jumped 49.9 percent.”Source: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/02/288.asp
Ticket recipients are not notified quickly.
People may not receive citations until days or sometimes weeks after the alleged violation. This makes it very difficult to defend oneself because it would be hard to remember the circumstances surrounding the supposed violation. There may have been a reason that someone would be speeding or in an intersection after the light turned red. Even if the photo was taken in error, it may be very hard to recall the day in question.
Doesn’t allow for extenuating circumstances
There are some instances where it is safer to run a red light
Slick surface from rain on the road, someone tailgating you and you don’t see the red light until its too late. Police officers can account for these situations, cameras can not.
Ticket cameras do not improve safety.
Despite the claims of companies that sell ticket cameras and provide related services, there is no independent verification that photo enforcement devices improve highway safety, reduce overall accidents, or improve traffic flow. Believing the claims of companies that sell photo enforcement equipment or municipalities that use this equipment is like believing any commercial produced by a company that is trying to sell you something.
These devices discourage the synchronization of traffic lights.
When red-light cameras are used to make money for local governments, these governments are unlikely to jeopardize this income source. This includes traffic-light synchronization, which is the elimination of unneeded lights and partial deactivation of other traffic lights during periods of low traffic. When properly done, traffic-light synchronization decreases congestion, pollution, and fuel consumption.
Cameras do not prevent most intersection accidents.
Intersection accidents are just that, accidents. Motorists do not casually drive through red lights. More likely, they do not see a given traffic light because they are distracted, impaired, or unfamiliar with their surroundings. Even the most flagrant of red-light violators will not drive blithely into a crowded intersection, against the light. Putting cameras on poles and taking pictures will not stop these kinds of accidents.
There are better alternatives to cameras
If intersection controls are properly engineered, installed, and operated, there will be very few red-light violations. From the motorists’ perspective, government funds should be used on improving intersections, not on ticket cameras. Even in instances where cameras were shown to decrease certain types of accidents, they increased other accidents. Simple intersection and signal improvements can have lasting positive effects, without negative consequences. Cities can choose to make intersections safer with sound traffic engineering or make money with ticket cameras. Unfortunately, many pick money over safety.