• Oct 5, 2005

Despite a history of praising red light cameras to no end, the Washington Post reported today a study showing that in the six years since Washington D.C. has had them, accidents have actually gone up.
Washington D.C. has generated 500,000 offenses and $32 million in fines from the cameras, but it hasn't stopped the rising crash toll in those intersections: crashes have "more than doubled from 365 collisions in 1998 to 755 last year. Injury and fatal crashes climbed 81 percent, from 144 such wrecks to 262. Broadside crashes, also known as right-angle or T-bone collisions, rose 30 percent, from 81 to 106 during that time frame."

Officials claim that the increase can be attributed to higher driving volume as compared with stats from six years ago. The Post's study, however, shows that accident statistics in intersections without the cameras are the same or better than intersections with the cameras.

Thanks to Richard for the tip.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      Anyone remember Patrick Bedard's column on this thing from 3 years ago? Now we have two sources confirming this fact: we're being made to PAY for a device that GIVES US TICKETS and MAKES PEOPLE CRASH INTO US. Great government we got, eh? Check dis out: http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=27&article_id=2843
      • 9 Years Ago
      Maybe a "Yellow Light Line" might be the cheapest solution. Use the speed limit for the road with a resonable braking rate and the length of the yellow light and paint a line on the road. If you've crossed the line your clear to make the intersection, if its still in front of you start braking. If you would still want your revenue generating cameras, go for it because some people still won't take the hint that running a red light is dangerous so the general public might as well befiscally relieved by fining those that refuse to follow the rules of the road. Besides this revenue might eventually pay for a line being painted on a road.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Great story, Erin. This just shows it's really about the revenue, not about the safety. Not that there's anything wrong with growing your revenue from folks that are endangering public safety, but it'd be great to have our governments be a bit more honest with the reasons behind things. Just think how broke they'd be if everyone stopped running red lights. :)
      • 9 Years Ago
      This stat has been proven several times, at red light cameras in many states. There is also cases where local governments reduce the yellow light interval to increase the likelihood of people running red lights. Just wait until we have speeding cameras....
      • 9 Years Ago
      #21 is phony post.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Sure Jennifer, the consequence being that you'd get a $300(?) ticket instead. Gee, that might be why people do it. For a smartass, that wasn't the smartest comment.
      • 9 Years Ago
      What a complete waste of our money in the name of "safety". I hate these things because I can't slow my Excursion down in time to not run a red, and if it's yellow, I can't accelerate quick enough either!
      • 9 Years Ago
      All redlight cameras in VA have been taken down since July this year. VA voted not to renew the program after 10-year trial.
      • 9 Years Ago
      BIG BROTHER....Looking to make BIG MONEY!!!!
      • 9 Years Ago
      #18 Derek, I am sorry buddy that I drive into your city every day and you can't tax my income. I guess the sales taxes I pay to park at the garage don't go to the DC government, I guess the sales taxes on the lunches I buy don't go to the wasteful DC government, I guess the taxes I pay on my Nationsl season tickets don't go to the Marion Barry crack smoking cronies in the DC government. Not to mention all of my federal income tax dollars that flow into the city to maintain public grounds and pay for the services of the city, about $300 million dollars last year. Give me a break. If you have a traffic enforcement problem, put a cop out there and write the tickets. These cameras in DC are corrupt....and certainly no one from DC should lecture those of us in the suburbs to pay more to the DC government when you keep electing Marion Barry the crack head to city office who just this week was charged with income tax evasion.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The biggest problem is that since third-party organizations have installed the cameras, they've been decreasing the yellow-light times. People begin to realize the yellow-lights are faster (possibly after accidentally running a red light or two), they begin to slam on their brakes, making the yellow-light basically the same as a red-light, just suddenly after green. This causes even more accidents than before the lights.
      • 9 Years Ago
      #12 Mick - I don't know if people are out of their collective minds but on your other points I concur. Safety should be the serious issue and serious repercussions would change behaviour. The problem is that the revenue stream these interventions provide seem to prove irresistable to local governments. I lived in Ontario Canada when Photo Radar was introduced and subsequently dumped after it was revealed that the "tolerance" level (how far over the limit before a fine was levied) kept getting reduced because the system failed to meet revenue targets. Similar finagling with yellow light timing has also been reported in various jurisdictions. In fact, the shortening of the yellow light timing in these applications is one of the major contributors to increased accidents simply because it reduces the safe time for the intersection to clear. I agree - - sensible yellow light intervals and maybe a night in the slammer would address safety.
    • Load More Comments