Local News

Red Light Cameras Cutting Down on Crashes

Posted December 19, 2006

Nearly 40,000 drivers a year are caught running red lights in Raleigh and Cary.

At intersections with cameras, however, police find that drivers are doing better at obeying the law.

In Cary, traffic cameras catch close calls on tape along with blatant violations and routine ones. Police say the cameras—and the fact that people know about them—have helped reduce the number of wrecks.

“During the first year a red light camera is in operation, you will have a slight increase in rear-end collisions, but then that levels off and goes back down to the old levels before the camera went in,” said Chris Davis of the Cary Police Department.

The big benefit comes when the number of T-bone crashes goes down, reducing serious injuries and deaths.

Cary police have found that they are writing fewer citations for light violations at the camera intersections than they wrote before the new technology was installed.

In Raleigh, too, police report that serious wrecks and citations are down at all 13 of their red light camera locations.
15 Comments

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  • walkermr Dec 20, 2006

    And just so you know philsinit4fun@yahoo.com there is a big difference between public and private. As the Supreme Court (that's the big white building where they decide the constitutionality of laws) said "What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection" Katz v. United States, 389 US 347, 351 (1967).

  • walkermr Dec 20, 2006

    And just so you know philsinit4fun@yahoo.com there is a big difference between public and private. As the Supreme Court (that's the big white building where they decide the constitutionality of laws) said "What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection" Katz v. United States, 389 US 347, 351 (1967).

  • walkermr Dec 20, 2006

    But then again, there's no research out that shows they work. Except from the companies that sell them.

    Yeah, right.

  • walkermr Dec 20, 2006

    But then again, there's no research out that shows they work. Except from the companies that sell them.

    Yeah, right.

  • walkermr Dec 20, 2006

    The authors concluded that the economic costs from the increase in rear-end crashes were more than offset by the economic benefits from the decrease in right-angle crashes targeted by red light cameras. Not all studies have reported increases in rear-end crashes. The Cochrane Collaboration (an international organization that conducts systematic reviews of the scientific literature on public health issues) recently reviewed 10 controlled before-after studies of red light camera effectiveness in Australia, Singapore, and the United States.9 The authors reported a 16 percent reduction in all types of injury crashes and a 24 percent reduction in right-angle crashes. The review did not find a statistically significant change in rear-end crashes.

  • walkermr Dec 20, 2006

    An Institute review of international red light camera studies concluded that cameras reduce red light violations by 40-50 percent and reduce injury crashes by 25-30 percent.7

    Some studies have reported that while red light cameras reduce front-into-side collisions and overall injury crashes, they can increase rear-end crashes. Because the types of crashes prevented by red light cameras tend to be more severe than rear-end crashes, research has shown there is a positive aggregate benefit. A recent study sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration evaluated red light camera programs in seven cities.8 The study found that, overall, right-angle crashes decreased by 25 percent while rear-end collisions increased by 15 percent. Results showed a positive aggregate economic benefit of more than $18.5 million over 370 site years, which translates into a crash reduction benefit of approximately $39,000 per site year.

  • walkermr Dec 20, 2006

    For those of you who say they make no difference, you might want to check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They don't sell the cameras. They just compile research and present information. Here's a section from there website:
    6. What safety benefits do red light cameras provide? Cameras have been shown to reduce red light violations and intersection crashes. Institute evaluations in Fairfax, Virginia, and Oxnard, California, showed that camera enforcement reduced red light running violations by about 40 percent.3,5 In Oxnard, significant citywide crash reductions followed the introduction of red light cameras, and injury crashes at intersections with traffic signals were reduced by 29 percent.6 Front-into-side collisions — the crash type most closely associated with red light running — also were reduced by 32 percent overall, and front-into-side crashes involving injuries were reduced by 68 percent.

  • bamoore Dec 20, 2006

    Is the reason Cary police are writing fewer tickets b/c the company that is running the 'service' is automatically generating the tickets? I'm glad the tapes are beng 'reviewed' but it's my understanding the company generates the ticket when the camera trips, not the police. You're supposed to get a ticket in regular mail with resolution instructions. Given that my local mail service is not the most reliable, I hope I never have a violation!!

  • Z Man Dec 20, 2006

    Well of course they are writing fewer citations at these intersections. They have cameras doing their job!

  • Z Man Dec 20, 2006

    And maybe fewer citations are being written because police are no longer monitoring these intersections because they have cameras!

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