• Apr 5, 2006
Anne Arundel County in Maryland has been running five red light cameras for five years, during which period they raised a fat $2.85 million in ticket revenue. Unfortunately, a comparison of accident statistics shows that the cameras have increased the rate of accidents.
Immediately after installation, the cameras sparked a 40-percent increase in rear-end collisions, and never looked back, with five-year increases in accident rates far exceeding a 10-percent increase in traffic.

Unfortunately, this is hardly an isolated phenomenon. TheNewspaper.com reports similar results in the state of Georgia, where the city of Duluth's one and only camera is forecast to generate a whopping $1 million next year, at the cost of a 21-percent increase in accidents. A study by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed red light cameras were linked to an increase in accidents, injuries and revenues across the state, although there is early indication that the rate of serious accidents in intersections is falling.

Critics charge that cities are at best trading one kind of accident for another, and that the proliferation of traffic cameras is really just a money generator, while advocates maintain that they encourage safer driving.

[Sources: theNewspaper.com, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      The problem with these cameras is that they don't get the people who cause the BIG t-bone accidents. There is very little chance of someone getting t-boned by someone who crosses in the middle of a yellow light. Those people who run the light 5 seconds AFTER it turns red are the danger. And the cameras don't get them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Red Light cameras are for one reason, and one reason only: To generate revenue. The red light camera is a solution to the answer of a question nobody asked. Was running red lights such a huge problem to begin with?

      We do not need more cameras to give us tickets, we need more cameras to warn us about accidents ahead, and bad weather. Of course, you see, it's not about us. It's about sustaining the illusion that more restrictions are going to make our lives better.

      • 8 Years Ago
      So far, the only thing red-light cameras due is generate revenue (not unlike a motorcycle cop, whose only purpose is to generate revenue).

      There have actually been studies that show longer times on yellow reduce the number of accidents, yet cities will actually SHORTEN the yellow-light time to increase revenue.

      These cities need to be sued for their blatant disregard of safety in favor of generating revenues.

      It is sad that our government's view as as nothing more than a stream of cash. The police aren't there to protect and serve (unless they are serving you a ticket!). These governments spend more and more time figuring out how to strip funds from their citizens and nothing else.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I would accept more rear enders if it meant less broadsides.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The problem has a simple solution.

      The timing needs to proportional to the size of the intersection and the given speed limit. People need to be able to concentrate on stopping or proceeding and not worrying about a ticket.

      By making the yellow lights longer, people will have a fair amount of time to proceed or stop safely, without flooring it or slamming on the brakes.

      Keep the cameras in place as they will then catch the people who are blatently running the lights.

      Nothing is perfect and there will still be problems, but this solves the biggest issues.

      I think the government is in the business of entrapment then anything else with the current setup.
      Jake
      • 8 Years Ago
      >>advocates maintain that they encourage safer driving.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bernie, I couldn't agree more.

      Tailgating is pandemic and the cops do virtually NOTHING to keep drivers safe. I've put a warning sticker on the back of my Prius. "50 MPG. 0-60 in 10 seconds. WARNING TAILGATERS: 55-0 IN 35 YARDS."

      So, if some pinhead slams into me, I'm going to sue the sh!t out of the state because I've written letter after letter to the Governor, State Police, etc., asking the state cops and county mounties and local yokels to enforce the "distance law" - to no avail.

      Since Michigan is a "no fault" state, I apparently can't sue the pinheads driving 2 feet from my bumper, (SUV headlights in my rearview mirror, they're obviously upset because I can't go any faster - of course the traffic in front of can't either....) so I'll end up suing the state. But perhaps I could sue the sh!t out of the organization that provided him or her drivers training, in addition to the state. And, I've never sued anyone and don't like flippant nonsensical lawsuits at all. But I'm ready to get a lawyer if someone slams into me from behind.

      When I was teaching my youngest son to drive, we were going along on US 31 here in northern Michigan and I saw 3 cars coming the other way - just the 4 of us on the roadway at that moment, within sight, anyway.

      Some hapless sap was being tailgated SO CLOSELY by a cop that it looked like he had about 3 feet or less between them. That was bad enough.

      But the cop was being tailgated by some moron at a distance closer than the cop was tailgating the car in front of him.

      I was not sure which of the two were more STUPID and IGNORANT - the cop or the guy tailgating the cop. Or, was it a tie?

      Maybe we need some police training to show the cops HOW TO DRIVE WITHIN THE LAW and provide an example, too?

      Just as a side note, my youngest son wishes to become a police officer. Hopefully one day, he'll actually be able to give out tickets for following too closely. He's been literally run off the road several times - twice in one day, in fact, by people here in Michigan who also don't understand the concept of actually STOPPING at those funny red octagonal signs?

      Hopefully some day, he'll be in an unmarked cop car and when that happens, he's going to have one busy day at work.
      • 8 Years Ago
      But see Carlos, that's the problem: In the studies cited, net injuries doubled, rear-end accidents doubled, but t-bones stayed relatively the same (22 vs. 18).
      • 8 Years Ago
      ...And when you get that camera picture of your license plate in the mail with a ticket, send them a picture of your check.
      • 8 Years Ago
      To #1, Peter W -

      We had those lights at the on-ramps here in Detroit. They worked for a couple of years (i think) but no one paid attention to them, and now they sit non-working testaments to the driving skills of people here in Michigan.
      • 8 Years Ago
      There is an article in one of the car magazines about 2 years back citing a case right here in NoVA. They put up a red light camera at a busy intersection and the nearby hospital started to get flooded with rear-ended victims. Guess what, they went back and did a proper traffic study and lenghthened the yellow to red timing for another ~3s, the rate of rear end collisions (and red-light runners) at that location dropped drastically and VA went away with red light cameras all together about a year ago. Check with your local governments, you will be surprised that in most cases, they put up cameras without conducting any engineering study or impact survey. It's all about what goes into the county coffer.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's only a matter of time before someone sues a city because they wrecked their car from being blinded by one of the traffic cam flashbulbs. I know on a number of occasions I've been distracted by them. Anyone?
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