Local News

Study: Red-Light Cameras Fail To Reduce Accidents

Posted February 16, 2006 8:02 a.m. EST

— Some people don't like red-light cameras, while others have a better opinion.

"As much as I didn't like getting a red-light ticket, I think that they really do the job," said one local driver.

The "job" is making intersections safer, and a new study says the cameras are not doing the job. After a five-year study of 300 Greensboro intersections, researchers say red-light cameras actually increase rear-end collisions.

"Red-light cameras were invented because timid local politicians were afraid to raise taxes if they could call it a safety issue, and that's what red-light cameras are," said attorney Bob Hensley. "They claim that it's a safety issue. This study now shows that it's not a safety issue."

So what does a city like Raleigh, which already operates red-light cameras, actually do with such a study? Raleigh city manager Russell Allen said they'll continue the program all the way.

"It's not news to any of us at the city level that the rear-end smaller kinds of collisions would increase from this kind of technology in place," said Allen.

Allen said the city installed the cameras to cut down on dangerous, high-speed side collisions. An N.C. State study released last February shows that side crashes have decreased by 42 percent at Raleigh's 12 red-light camera intersections. The study showed a 7 percent increase in rear-end crashes.

Raleigh says it doesn't make money off its red-light cameras. Currently, citations just pay operating costs.