Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Red-light cameras linked to rise in accidents

As several revenue-hungry Florida cities rush to put up cameras that will snap photos of cars running red lights, so the owners can be ticketed by mail and fined, a study at the University of South Florida finds that collisions increase where such cameras are used.
"People see a yellow light and normally they would drive through it, but at camera intersections they do the quick stop. They slam on the brakes and that means everybody else behind them slams on the brakes," said Barbara Langland-Orban, one of three co-authors of the study and an associate professor at USF's Department of Health Policy and Management.

USF examined five red-light camera studies. It concluded two were flawed and found the other three drew the same basic conclusion about cameras at intersections. "Overall, they have been found to increase crashes and injuries," Langland-Orban said.

She pointed to a seven-year study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council that showed crashes at intersections with the cameras increased 29 percent.

Another study, by the Urban Transit Institute at the North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, looked at almost five years' worth of data. The study concluded accident rates increased 40 percent at intersections with cameras; injury crashes rose between 40 and 50 percent.

The USF review contradicts other studies showing a decline in wrecks, including a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that is frequently cited by camera advocates.
Since safety is the ostensible reason for installing red-light cameras, the Florida Legislature ought to slow down and think again before authorizing them statewide. Here's more about the study, as reported in the Tampa Tribune.

1 comment:

C.L.J. said...

I have to call "bullshit" on this one.

When the light turns yellow, you're supposed to slow down. The fact that we've gotten so lax that we ignore our laws that now that we are obeying them we're having problems only demonstrates that we've let this problem go on too long.

Tell me, did this study compare the aftermath of yellow light collisions to the aftermath of running the red light collisions?

Because, more than the number of ACCIDENTS, we should be considering the number of CASUALTIES.

And if you run into someone who's actually stopping for the light LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO, it's because you're a lousy driver. Start yanking those licenses.

No, this study doesn't sway me from wanting to see cameras on every traffic light in South Florida one iota. To me, it proves that it's looong overdue.