RED-Light Cameras make intersections MORE Dangerous?!

Posted on November 10, 2009


Red Light Cameras Risk Safety for city profit

Excerpt from CBS2 News:

Videos, provided to us by companies that sell red-light camera systems, show gruesome accidents and red light violators caught on tape. It is images like these that sell cities on the use of red light cameras. The pitch is that these cameras will increase safety and reduce accidents. Also, the cities will make some money on the side at more than $400 a ticket! In Los Angeles the LAPD claims accidents are down after they installed cameras, but are they telling the whole truth or just trying to make money off motorists?

We crunched the numbers and the results may surprise you.

“Your data is shocking to me,” Sherman Ellison said. Ellison is a ticket attorney and part time judge, who believes the cameras are there for one reason.

“No question. Purely a revenue generating device,” Ellison said.

Is it money or safety? We wanted to know actual numbers of accidents at red light camera intersections to see if they really went down.
When we asked, the LAPD became very defensive. The sergeant in charge told me in an e-mail, “The city would hope that it is the goal of KCBS/KCAL to discuss the positive aspects of the photo red light program.” So we filed a public records request. The department charged us more than $500 for a computer run. When we got the numbers back, they told a different story. We looked at every accident at every red light camera intersection for six months of data before the cameras were installed and six months after.
The final figures? Twenty of the 32 intersections show accidents up after the cameras were installed! Three remained the same and only nine intersections showed accidents decreasing.

At Manchester Avenue and Figueroa Street, accidents more than tripled from five before the cameras were installed to 16 afterwards. Westwood Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard tripled from three to nine. At Rodeo Road and La Brea Avenue, collisions nearly tripled from seven in the six months before the cameras were installed to 20 in the same period afterwards.
The reason?

“People see the light flash and they slam on their brakes,” Ellison said. “That’s just human nature. As a result, more accidents, more rear end accidents.”