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Traffic enforcement cameras lead to increased accidents, injuries, and deaths

Redlight CamerasRed-light and speed enforcement cameras greatly increase the number of accidents.

Red-light Cameras cause an increase in rear-end & t-bone crashes. They also don’t stop people from running red-lights. “The most serious violations, those occurring more than 5 seconds into the red phase, did not drop in the three year period after the program began issuing tickets.”

Arkansas, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Utah and West Virginia have enacted laws banning speed cameras. Two other states dropped their use of speed cameras after they generated intense public outcry. If traffic enforcement cameras were such a good thing, would they do that?

Lets take a look at some scientific studies for a possible explanation:

2006 Winnipeg, Canada found a 58% increase in the number of accidents. The accidents caused were also more costly to repair.

2005 the Virginia DOT found that cameras increased collisions there by 8-17%! Also a Washington Post story reported crashes at locations with cameras more than doubled, and that injury and fatal crashes climbed 81 percent! Yes, you read that right. The presence of these cameras make it more likely not less that you will be killed! T-bone collisions, rose 30 during that time frame.

2004 North Carolina A&T University study found no change in angle accidents and a large increases in the number of rear-end crashes when compared to other intersections.

2003 Ontario Ministry of Transportation study found average yearly number of reported collisions increased 15.1 per cent after cameras were installed.

1995 the Australian Road Research Board did not find any reduction in accidents. Instead they had increases in rear end and adjacent approaches accidents on a before and after basis and also by comparison with the changes in accidents at intersection signals. Monash University found: no significant relationship between the frequency of crashes at RLC and non-RLC sites.

Yet our elected officials want to make the same mistakes here? Why? Because money, not safety is behind the drive for traffic enforcement cameras. Contact your city council member and tell them you strongly oppose their dangerous fundraising scheme.

Australian Study of Red Light Cameras (Andreassen)

An exhaustive ten-year study of the effect of red light cameras on accident rates in Australia.

The most complete study of the correlation of accidents and the use of red light cameras. It closely examined every accident report filed over a ten year period (including several years before and after cameras were installed). It found the cameras provided no benefit.

The results of this study suggest that the installation of the RLC at these sites did not provide any reduction in accidents, rather there has been increases in rear end and adjacent approaches accidents on a before and after basis and also by comparison with the changes in accidents at intersection signals.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/95aussie.pdf 2.4mb PDF file.

Burkey-Obeng Red Light Camera Study

The most extensive U.S. study of the relation of accidents and red light camera usage.

Their own summary says it best: “The results do not support the view that red light cameras reduce crashes. Instead, we find that RLCs are associated with higher levels of many types and severity categories of crashes.”

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/burkeyobeng.pdf 366k PDF file.

Buckingham Speed Camera Study

UK/Australia study shows speed cameras reversed a decades-long trend toward fewer accidents.

Dr. Alan Buckingham of Bath Spa University College in England examined the safety data for speed cameras in both the UK and Australia. His results, published in the Australian journal Policy, show that speed camera usage actually reversed a decades-long trend toward fewer accidents.


Impact of Red Light Camera Enforcement on Crash Experience

This study reviews all prior studies conducted on the safety effects of red light camera systems.

Despite the claims of camera proponents, the safety benefit of cameras has never been proven in a statistically reliable study. This extensive review of existing material on cameras presents some very interesting information and exposes a number of flaws in methodology. Take into consideration the list of individuals who “contributed” to this review — the insurance industry’s Richard Retting and several other officials personally involved in running camera programs — and realize even implicit criticism is quite significant.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/syn310.pdf 1.4MB PDF file.

Virginia Transportation Research Council

The Virginia Transportation Research Council studied all of the state red light camera programs and found an overall increase in injury accidents.

Virginia DOT Study Shows Cameras Increase Injury Accidents
The cameras are correlated with an increase in total crashes of 8% to 17%.

The cameras are correlated with an increase in rear-end crashes related to the presence of a red light; the increase ranges between 50% and 71%.

The cameras are correlated with a decrease in crashes attributable to red light running, and the decrease is between 24% and 33%.

The cameras are correlated with a decrease in injury crashes attributable to red light running, with the decrease being between 20% and 33%.

The cameras are correlated with an increase in total injury crashes, with the increase being between 7% and 24%.

…but it obscures the that only a small percentage of crashes are attributable to red light running. Data from Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, suggested that in 1998 (a year when no red light cameras were in operation), only 3.3% of all crashes involved a driver who “ran traffic control” (DMV, 1999). Page 124

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/05-vdot.pdf 1.7mb PDF file.

US Intersection Fatalities and Camera Enforcement

Many types of intersection fatalities would not be prevented by red light cameras.

Red light cameras are promoted as devices that “save lives,” but a review of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that many of the fatal accidents at intersections would not have been stopped by red light camera enforcement. For instance, a driver being pursued by police officers isn’t likely to stop because there is an intersection camera. Nor is a drunk driver or someone who is ill or blacked out likely to be concerned with getting a ticket in the mail.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2004-fars.pdf 3.9mb PDF file.

Study: Cameras Increase Fatal Rear End Accidents (Ontario)

A December 2003 study sponsored by the Ontario, Canada government finds increase in accidents and fatal rear-end collisions from red light camera use.

The report also concludes that there was an overall reduction in serious accidents and angle collisions. A closer look at the data found in this government-sponsored report show that intersections monitored by cameras experienced, overall, a 2 percent increase in fatal and injury collisions compared to a decrease of 12.7 percent in the camera-free intersections that were used as a control group (page 21). In fact, the non-camera intersections fared better than the camera intersections in every accident category. The report’s overall accident conclusions would have appeared significantly worse had the camera-free intersections been excluded from the final results.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2003-ontario.pdf 1.5mb PDF file.

Wales: 70% Increase in Camera Tickets, 20% More Deaths

North Wales sees dramatic spike in speed camera tickets and a higher death toll.

From March 2004 to March 2005 the number of speed camera tickets issued in North Wales jumped seventy percent — producing £360,000 (US $690,000) in monthly revenue. Despite the sharp increase, the overall death toll on northern Welsh roads last year rose 20 percent — 59 fatal accidents in 2004 compared to 49 in 2003. For the entire year, the speed camera program generated £3.4 million (US $6.5 million) in revenue in 2004. Even examining only those roads with speed cameras show that there was no decrease in the death toll where the devices were used.


UK Gov’t: Cameras Haven’t Reduced Speeding, Accidents

Full text of UK Department for Transport report showing no change in the speeds drivers travel since speed cameras were introduced.

Government statistics released this week from the UK Department for Transport undermine the claim that the devices have been effective in reducing vehicle speeds nationwide. According to the report, “The average recorded vehicle speeds hardly changed from those observed in previous years.”

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/05-transportstats.pdf 420k PDF file.

UK Stats Show More Speed Cameras Produce More Fatalities

UK Department for Transport statistics show road fatalities rise as more and more speed cameras are installed.

UK Department for Transport statistics show that road deaths have increased where speed cameras are most prevalent. In Cumbria, for example, when the number of speed camera sites grew by 48 percent the number of fatal accidents increased by 17 percent.

Before Cumbria’s speed camera partnership was formed in 2003, the area experienced 49 fatal road accidents in two consecutive years. But as soon as 33 speed camera sites became active, fatalities jumped to 54. Last year, with 49 speed camera sites there were 57 fatalities

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/05-ukdeaths.pdf 277k PDF file.

Secret UK Study: Speed Cameras Increase Injury Accidents

Full text of suppressed UK government study shows speed cameras increase accidents 31 percent on freeways, 55 percent in work zones.

The UK Department for Transport funded, then suppressed, a study that shows a 55 percent increase in injury accidents when speed cameras are used on highway work zones and a 31 percent increase when used on freeways without construction projects. According to the Transport Research Laboratory, the “non-works [personal injury accident] rate is significantly higher for the sites with speed cameras than the rate for sites without.”

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/04-trl595.pdf 620K PDF file.

Washington Post: Red Light Cameras Increase Accidents

Analysis of accident data shows accidents doubled at intersections with red light cameras in the District of Columbia.

Since the District of Columbia installed its first red light camera in 1999, The Washington Post has championed use of photo enforcement technology on both its editorial and news pages. Now, five years into the program, the District’s largest newspaper has discovered that accidents are up significantly as a result of their use.

The analysis shows that the number of crashes at locations with cameras 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.


Georgia: Accidents Skyrocket at Marietta Camera Intersection

The red light camera in Marietta, Georgia has caused a 51 increase in accidents.

While the number of traffic accidents throughout Marietta, Georgia has increased fractionally over the past two years, the number of reported incidents jumped over 51 percent at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Windy Hill Road. This intersection, the only one in the city with a red light camera, has seen a massive increase in primarily rear-end collisions. In 2004, there were 108 accidents of all types at the location. Last year, there were 163.

Statistics show the number of angle collisions, head-on collisions, sideswipes and rear-end collisions increased after cameras were installed.


Winnipeg, Canada Report Shows Accidents Increased with Cameras

Independent city audit shows Winnipeg, Canada police use misleading statistics to hide the increase in accidents caused by photo enforcement.

An official audit of the Winnipeg, Canada photo radar and red light camera system shows that the city used misleading statistics in an attempt to cover-up the program’s failure to reduce accidents. Independent evidence cited in the report released to the public Wednesday indicates that the number of insurance claims for accidents, injuries and property damage expenses went up significantly at sites using camera enforcement in the year following the introduction of the devices.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2006/winnipegaudit.pdf 541k PDF file.

UK Road Fatalities and Injuries Rise Despite Cameras

The UK speed camera enforcement policy has failed to reduce either road injuries or road fatalities.

UK Department for Transport statistics released today show that the number of fatalities on British roads has not dropped significantly, despite a record number of ticketing cameras used to enforce speed limits. The latest available figures show 3201 road deaths occurred in the UK in 2005 compared to 3221 in 2004 — a difference of just 0.7%.

Non-fatal road injuries, despite the claims of police, have also risen according to a British Medical Journal (BMJ) study published last week. The BMJ researchers examined the police claim that the road injury rate had fallen from 85.9 per 100,000 in 1996 to 59.4 in 2004 and found that it did not ring true. By examining hospital records, the study found the road injury rate increased slightly from 90.0 in 1996 to 91.1 in 2004. The study attributes the discrepancy to “under-reporting” on the part of the police.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2006/uk-casualties05.pdf 365k PDF file.

Bakersfield, California: Red Light Cameras Increase Accidents

Red light cameras in Bakersfield, California have increased the numbers of accidents and injuries.

After three years of use, red light cameras in Bakersfield, California have increased the number of injuries and accidents at the eight intersections where they are used. Overall, the annual collision rate increased 17 percent. This increase is caused by a shifting of accident types from T-bone, down 28 percent, to rear end, up 47 percent. The shift in accident type, nonetheless did not reduce the number of injuries.


Regina, Canada: Accidents Increase at Camera Intersections

City report shows overall number of accidents, property damage and injuries increased after red light cameras installed in Regina, Canada.

A Regina, Canada city report shows that accidents increased overall by 12 percent with injuries jumping 8 percent and property damage by 14 percent at the three intersections where red light cameras were installed in October 2000. The report considered eight years of data from Saskatchewan Government Insurance at the monitored intersections — four years before the devices were installed and four years after.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2006/regina.pdf 475k PDF file.

Swampscott, Massachusetts Report Rejects Red Light Cameras

A report by a town committee in Swampscott, Massachusetts recommends against red light cameras on the grounds of safety.

A committee established to determine whether Swampscott, Massachusetts should install red light cameras concluded Monday that the devices were not suitable for the town. In April 2006 town meeting, Swampscott residents rejected an initial attempt to install the devices. The selectmen created the committee to keep the camera idea alive. A former police officer and a former police chief along with an attorney voted 5-0 to approve the report.

“Analysis of this data revealed that, over the four year period, there has been a combined total of 10-13 angle crashes caused by red light running,” the report stated. “The limited number of angle crashes, combined with the likelihood that RLCs increase rear-end crashes, led the committee to conclude that the installation of RLCs is contra-indicated at all signalized intersections in Swampscott. Strictly on the basis of public safety, the committee recommends against the use of RLCs in Swampscott.”

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2006/swampscott.pdf 1.2MB PDF file.

Modesto, California Red Light Cameras Increase Injuries

Injuries from accidents at red light camera intersections up 19 percent in Modesto, California.

As red light cameras in Modesto, California are sending more people to the hospital, city officials have decided to double the number of intersections with the devices to increase revenue. Last year, each of the four intersections currently photo enforced experienced an increase in the number of collisions.

Although the total number of accidents is down slightly comparing 2006 figures to those in 2004 when the devices were first installed, accident severity has increased. Overall, the number of injuries at camera intersections jumped by 19 percent. A statewide Virginia Department of Transportation funded study of red light cameras arrived at nearly identical results in 2005.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2007/modestoreport.pdf 128k PDF file.

Red Light Running Crisis: Is it Intentional

The report by the former House Majority Leader Dick Armey investigating the causes of the so-called red light running crisis.

The groundbreaking report by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey that found changes in the national formula used to determine yellow light timing has decreased steadily since red light cameras were introduced. After the report was issued, internal memos were uncovered in San Diego, California proved the report correct in its assertion that cities were intentionally placing cameras at intersections with short yellows.

Every study claiming red light cameras increase safety is written by the same man. Before joining the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), he was a top transportation official in New York City at the time the city began looking into becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to install red light cameras. In other words, the father of the red light camera in America is the same individual offering the “objective” testimony that they are effective.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/finalreport.pdf 237k PDF file.

Bill Larson
Bill Larson
Bill Larson is  is politically and socially active in the community. Bill is a member of the Friends of Dunbar Cave. You can reach him via telephone at 931-249-0043 or via the email address below.

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