Red-Light Cameras Just Don’t Work

Paging the legislature. Paging the legislature.

according to study after study, rather than improving motorist safety, red-light cameras significantly increase crashes and therefore, raise insurance premiums. In fact, the only studies that have shown any benefit to red-light cameras were either done by the IIHS…the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or researchers funded by them. How very strange, don’t you think?

The most recent study revealing the truth about the cameras was done by researchers at the University of South Florida College of Public Health.

17 comments

  1. cheapseats says:

    Everyone has always acknowledge that the number of “crashes” goes up – it’s the number of serious injuries that are dramatically reduced. Of course, we all know that it’s more important to save money than save lives or prevent injuries.

    Besides, it’s also pretty well accepted theory (hard to prove) that many of those involved in the rear-ender-fender-benders after the installation of the cameras are caused by people who have a habit of running red lights.

  2. Rick Day says:

    I want all my Repulican lawmakers to read this post. Then read it again. And the next time you have some bonehead well intentioned law you want to use as fodder for your re-election tri-folds, read the damn thing again.

    There is a good reason the insurance companies like this idea. Ask your lobbyist over your next lobster and rib dinner about how they love this technology.

  3. gatormathis says:

    Icarus // Aug 22, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    The worked well enough to get $70 out of me. For a freaking turn lane yellow to red to green.
    Outlaw them now.

    I just want to know why a red light camera generates an instant fine, yet, the kwickie store camera that gets good color productions from store hold-ups and full “shoot-em up” type robberies, can’t convict considerably worse crimes, much less, require the “testimony” of “expert” witnesses just to stand up in court.

    Go figure hoss, I thought all lawyer types needed was a precedent………………….

  4. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    Rep. Barry Loudermilk championed legislation that passed that regulates the red light cameras so heavily that no one will put one in any more. The original bill was to outlaw them completely on the grounds that they are unconstitutional.

    I don’t know if you have ever noticed what kind of intersections they are placed at…they are not the kind of intersections with lots of bad accidents. They are placed at high traffic, low speed intersections where you are going at a snail’s pace and if you are not careful, are caught in the intersection. There is also evidence that the officials in charge of placing the cameras have the yellow lights shortened to catch more people. If it was about safety and not about revenue, the yellow lights would be lengthened, since that cuts down on accidents more than the unconstitutional cameras.

    In any case, check out http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/sum/hb77.htm

  5. Dave Bearse says:

    I oppose red light cameras as cash cow revenue generators. In such cases fines should be reduced so that the revenue is not much more than that required to maintain systems and administer enforcement, or revenue in excess of that directed to highway safety. That said, North Georgia Girl’s statement that cameras are not placed at intersections with lots of bad “accidents” is false at least as concerns most such installations in metro Atlanta.

    I’ve yet to witness an or otherwise be affected by a crash since cameras were installed at the Buford Highway / I-285 ramp intersection two years ago. My personal experience with the intersection in the preceding few years follows:

    I was prevented from returning home overnight because a gasoline tanker trucked tipped over turning left in racing to run a red light.

    One of the 12 neighbors on my street was hospitalized for days, and took months to recover after being struck by a red light runner.

    I witnessed two crashes where a driver ran a red light.

    I was treated to the spectacle of a dead pedestrian covered by a sheet in the middle of Buford Highway (though that may very well have had nothing to do with red light running).

    NGG – Please name a few metro Atlanta intersections where such cameras have been installed where there are/have not been a lot of crashes/red light violations.

    (I include violations because red light cameras as a means of law enforcement has merit. Any “law and order” conservatives care to argue otherwise?)

    NGG – Please cite evidence that yellow light cycles at metro Atlanta intersection where cameras have been installed have been shortened to increase violations.

  6. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    I don’t have the actual statistics handy, but I have been told that this was confirmed in the committee hearings given on this particular legislation.

    I can only speak of the red light cameras I am familiar with in Rome, GA, but they are not at intersections that had bad accidents, only fender benders. The first camera put in is at an intersection at with a shopping center on two sides, with traffic that is so congested that it crawls through. I have never gone through that section any faster than 20 miles an hour. The city of Rome has made lots and lots of money off of that camera.

    Anyway, I am sure Rep. Loudermilk has documentation of these things from his committee hearings. I do know that the DOT said that traffic accidents at red lights would be reduced simply by lengthening the yellow.

    Here are a few links I have found about shortened yellow lights:

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/reports/rlcreport5.asp

    http://www.motorists.org/blog/red-light-cameras/6-cities-that-were-caught-shortening-yellow-light-times-for-profit/

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/06/687.asp

    http://www.highwayrobbery.net/TickRedCamArmey01rlcdt-rep.asp

    There are many other links available…

    I would hope that those city and county officials who have installed these devices truly have safety in mind, but it seems like they are just another version of a “speed trap” and revenue raiser, rather than for safety.

    Add that to the fact that it is unconstitutional (you can’t face your accuser) and they are just a bad idea.

  7. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    I can only speak of intersections I am familiar with in Rome, GA, but they are definitely not intersections where bad accidents occur (only fender benders). The first camera put in is at an intersection where there is a shopping center on two sides, with traffic so congested that I have never driven through it faster than 20 miles an hour. The city of Rome has made a lot of money off of that camera. They were not happy with a proposal to send all of the fine money above cost to fund trauma care.

    Here are a few links about red light cameras:

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/06/687.asp

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/reports/rlcreport5.asp

    http://www.motorists.org/blog/red-light-cameras/6-cities-that-were-caught-shortening-yellow-light-times-for-profit/

    I am sure this happens here. I believe I was told that the shortening of yellow lights was discussed when this bill was in committee hearings. I’m sure Rep. Loudermilk would be glad to send you documentation of this.

  8. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    I apologize for double posts…my computer was acting funny and I didn’t think it went through. They both say essentially the same thing…

  9. Dave Bearse says:

    NGG -I’m familiar with all but one camera intersection in the City of Atlanta, and with many in the northeast suburbs. These cameras are at appropriate locations—I can’t speak to camera locations in Rome.

    Camera enforcement can have merit at intersections where there are numerous red light violations and crahses are minor. Lack of enforcement rewards discourtesy, and denigrates respect for traffic signals as safety devices in general.

    Thanks for the links, but they’re not evidence that yellows have been shortened to increase revenues in Georgia. Radar speed enforcment has been abused in a few instances (Ludowici and Cusseta, GA come to mind) so radar enforcment should be prohibited everywhere?

    Revenue often substantially declines within a couple of years of installation, the cameras have the desired effect of reducing violations.

    I’m not familiar enough with Rep Loudermilk’s legislation to have an opinion on it, but I support the establishment of reasonable standards being met before camera enforcement is permitted, and some restrictions on the use of the excess revenue.

  10. Tea Party says:

    Has a interesting discussion about auto-radar on 285, whereby you would get a ticket if your vehicle was, say twenty miles over the limit, around 80mph. I love the idea.

    The attorney made lots of noise about ‘what if I lend my car out’ and then I get a ticket, to his ‘rights.’ I say, “Screw you, dumbass.”

    So when gas hit $4+ I began to drive around 55-60 on 285. (Note to self: Forget that). People would pass, on the right (It’s a Suthern’ thing) in the emergency lane!

    So my point is that where are MY rights to drive knowing some self-important SOB won’t T-Bone me or blow me off the roadway?

    Until traffic deaths/injuries are vastly reduced, I support these measures. Mr. Bearse is correct, in the ATL the cam-sections are some of the worst in the Region.

    Drive safely, slow down, and pay attention, because you can bet the other driver isn’t….

  11. Game Fan says:

    As sort of a Paleo-Libertarian, I’ve always been vehemently opposed to giving the “green light” to any form of government surveillance. In many respects, erosion of our rights and privacy simply results in a transfer of wealth from the people to government and large corporations. (In this case whatever camera manufacturer is in bed with the politicians)

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