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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Honest Truth About Ticket Cameras

Report thanks to Samuel Barradas at Landline. Link to their site below:

As the debate over red light ticket cameras is spreading to more and more states, politicians who are considering whether or not to use them have been looking at the data provided by those who have had programs in place for years. The rhetoric that we hear a lot is that you can either have ticket cameras or unsafe intersections. Since it’s presented as an either/or, the debate has been limited to either ‘for’ or ‘against’ with no other options. In actuality, we can work to make intersections safer in many different ways.
We previously covered a story that revealed that ticket cameras DON’T make anyone safer and actually increase the number and severity of crashes, but that’s not even the point. If we assume that the motivation for the red light cameras is actually to increase safety and not an unethical cash-grab, then there are many other more effective ways for towns and cities to be decreasing intersection accidents.

Jim Walker, a consultant for the National Motorists Association presented some surprising data.
“You can put in a camera, and after one year the typical reduction rate is 40 to 50 percent,” Walker told Land Line. “If you add a second to yellow you will normally achieve a 60 to 90 percent reduction rate in one day, but it guts the revenue stream.”
According to the data (and common sense), it seems as though we may be attacking the symptom instead of the source. I’d bet that the vast majority of people reading this have gone through an intersection while the light was red, but how many of us have thought “you know, I could stop safely, but I really just want to run that red light.” People are running reds not because they want to, but because yellow lights simply don’t last long enough.
Another way to drastically increase intersection safety while also keeping traffic moving as quickly as possible is to install backplates to traffic lights. According to Walker, this can lower red-light violations by nearly 50%.
OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer also weighed in on the topic, reiterating that the only reason to use red light cameras was as a source of revenue.
“If you re-engineer lights for inexpensive changes, you would do more for safety than can be accomplished with a camera, but it won’t make any money. Engineering for safety is not profitable.”
So: the honest truth about ticket cameras? They’re more expensive, more dangerous, cause more accidents, and are less effective than adding a one second to the time of a yellow light or installing backplates. The only reason to use them is to fleece money from drivers.
Source: landline

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