You’d think that devices like red-light cameras are being put up in the name of safety to catch those who decide to run them, like drunk drivers or just plain idiots.
However, I don’t find it surprising at all that a new study finds that red-light cameras actually have a backfiring effect. I remember being a regular at a Starbucks in Central Jersey, and at the busy intersection of Tices Lane and the awfully overly congested Route 18 in East Brunswick, the town decided to erect a red-light camera. Except, it didn’t really do much because people were more often heard and seen jamming on their brakes or rear ending someone when compared to the time it didn’t exist.
According to a recent study conducted in the city of Tampa, Florida, they found red-light cameras actually have caused more accidents instead of preventing or mitigating them.
“We were told this would help and stop crashes and it’s not,” said Yvonne Yolie Capin, Tampa’s councilwoman, to local affiliate, WTSP-TV. “I look at these numbers and I don’t see the value to our tax dollars.”
Getting to the nitty gritty, at 23 intersections where red-light cameras are installed throughout the greater Tampa area, the stud noted that crashes increased by as much as 40 to 51 percent at these specific intersections.
But the city of Tampa isn’t alone as the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is also keeping tabs on traffic statistics and they’ve even noted a 14.6 percent increase in crashes at intersections where red-light cameras were installed, throughout the state.
So, does this pattern also apply to the country’s overall specific statistics for red-light cameras and increase in crashes? Or are Floridians just terrible drivers?
Well, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 439 red-light camera programs exist throughout the entire US as of late, which is less than in October of 2012, when there were 540 programs in the US.
The reason for the decrease is because Tampa’s not alone–other cities in the US are finding that red-light cameras, simply do not work as intended in theory. They’ve also become a status of targeted enforcement traffic revenue, rather than one of safety.
Is this surprising to you?
For the full report, head on over to the special study conducted by Pete Bigelow at AutoBlog.
– By: Chris Chin