After the break, a presentation in blue in favor of Red Light Cameras. This and similar presentations have been used extensively in dozens of other communities to sell something that will reduce driver safety in the name of stealing money generating revenue from taxpayers.
That revenue would be for the village and for RedSpeed Illinois, a RLC provider.
Here, Lynnwood, WA dutifully posts up what it thinks is objective information about how RLC’s will make taxpayer drivers safer in their city. Note the regurgitation of the same set of “facts” (know in the rest of the world as “lies”) as discussed here and all over the internet:
Red Light Facts
What are the facts about red light running?
A crash caused by a driver who runs a red light is more likely to result in serious injury or death.
- Deaths caused by red light running are increasing at more than three times the rate of increase for all other fatal crashes.
- More people are injured in crashes involving red light running than in any other crash type.
- Reduction in red light running through a comprehensive red light camera program will promote and protect the public health, safety and welfare of Lynnwood’s citizens.
The first three suppositions are disingenuous or flat out incorrect.
Deaths caused by red light running have been dropping across the board, including, at intersections with properly engineered and timed lights, deaths caused by red light running. In states that have done studies, like the 2006 Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles study, it was found those specific types of accidents dropped by a third without any RLC’s being deployed.
In particular, item two is just a flat out lie. The AAA keeps comprehensive stats and updates them regularly. Distracted drivers is the #1 cause of accidents.
1. Distracted Drivers
” says Officer John Carney of the Fairfax County Police. “Rubbernecking is the most dangerous distraction, in my experience.”
After rubbernecking, other common driver distractions included:
2. Driver Fatigue
Drowsy drivers account for about 100,000 accidents every year in the United States, according to the U.S. National Traffic Safety Administration.
3. Drunk Driving
In 2004, an estimated 16,654 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, according to NHTSA. This is an average of one death almost every half-hour. Drunk drivers were responsible for 30 percent of all fatal crashes during the week in 2003, but this percentage rose significantly over the weekends, during which 53 percent of fatal crashes were alcohol-related.
Speeding reduces the time to avoid a crash and makes the crash more severe if it does occur. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (a different branch than the one hyping BS RLC’s, BTW) says when speed increases from 40 mph to 60 mph, the energy released in a crash more than doubles.
5. Aggressive Driving
Anyone who operates a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold or pushy manner, without regard for the rights or safety of the other users of the streets and highways.
Inclement weather, including heavy rain, hail, snowstorms, ice, high winds and fog can make driving more difficult.
Let’s continue with our pro RLS presentation:
Stop Preventable Collisions
(another accident recorded, but not prevented, by a RLC)
Most people run red lights because they are in a hurry, when in fact they only save seconds.
- Almost all drivers (96%) fear being struck by a red light runner.
- A majority of Americans (56%) admit to running red lights.
- Red light runners can be anyone who drives.
- One in three Americans knows someone who has been injured or killed in a red light running crash.
- Red light running is often a result of aggressive driving, and is completely preventable.
Sources: “Stop Red Light Running,” Federal Highway Administration Safety Website: safety.fhwa.dot.gov/programs/srlr.htm.2002.
R. A. Retting and A.F. Williams, “Characteristics of Red Light Violators: Results of a Field Investigation,” Journal of Safety Research (1996): 27.1, 9-15.
Notice there is no connection to RLC. Also note the presence of R.A. Retting as an authority. Mr. Retting is called “the father of Red Light Cameras”, and has since moved from the IIHS to private consulting with RLC companies. See my previous opinions on his skulduggery, smoke, and mirrors by searching red light cameras in the search bar.
Also, note that the vast majority of red light running accidents occur 6-9 seconds after the light has changed. This website examines and finds conclusive evidence from the cameras themselves that this is the case.
What information supports that red light cameras improve driver behavior?
- In Garland, Texas, crashes caused by red light runners decreased by 56 percent (from 43 crashes to 19) at the four intersections where red light cameras were installed. Overall, crashes were reduced by 25 percent and all injury crashes were reduced by 27 percent.
- Following the first six months of operation of the Intersection Safety Program in Houston, Texas, Mayor Bill White reported a 30 percent decrease in overall crashes.
- From 1994-2005, red light running violations decreased 73 percent in New York City.
- Collisions are down 11 percent in the intersections with red light cameras in Arnold, Missouri according to Police Chief Robert Shockey. At the Rockport intersection located in front of a school, accidents are down 50 percent.
- According to a study completed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in January 2007, red light cameras in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania reduced violations by 96 percent at enforced locations.
- Public safety officials in Columbus, Ohio report a 72 percent decline in red light violations between March and August 2006. Additionally intersections monitored by cameras previously averaged 5 to 14 crashes caused by red light running per year, and since the program was implemented, only one crash has been recorded.
- In Fairfax, Virginia after one year of camera enforcement, violations were reduced by about 40 percent. Additionally, 84 percent of its residents supported the use of red light cameras.
- Significant citywide crash reductions have followed since the introduction of red light cameras in Oxnard, California:
- 7 percent overall crash reduction;
- 29 percent reduction in injury-related crashes;
- 32 percent reduction in front-into-side crashes;
- 68 percent reduction in front-into-side crashes involving injury.
- California State Auditor Red Light Camera Programs Report concluded that red light cameras reduced the number of collisions statewide and locally.
- Charlotte, North Carolina reported the following findings based on a before-and-after study done at 17 intersections:
- 37 percent decrease in angle crashes at intersections with cameras;
- 60 percent decrease in angle crashes at approaches with cameras;
- 19 percent reduction in all crash types;
- 16 percent reduction in crash severity.
- Red light running accidents decreased 30 percent in the year after red light cameras were installed in Baltimore County, Maryland compared to the prior year.
- Washington, DC experienced an 88 percent reduction in fatalities in the first 2 years and 75 percent reduction in violations since 1999.
Sources: “Red light Cameras: A Proven Method to Save Lives,” National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running, www.stopredlightrunning.com/html/redlight.htm.
“Report on the Effectiveness of Automated Red Light Enforcement,” City of Garland Transportation Department, Sept. 2006
“Mind Those Traffic Lights,” Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, Status Report, January 27, 2007, pp.2-4.
Wow, that all sounds really impressive until you do a little homework.
Of all the Texas cities using red-light cameras, only Garland has been operating a system long enough to have collected annual data on violations and citations. Since installing the cameras at the end of 2003, Garland has seen violations and citations drop in each successive calendar year.
The city launched its program with three cameras, added one a few months later, and installed a fifth camera in 2005. (The fifth camera has been excluded from the analysis because it malfunctioned during the final three months of 2005.) Program data show that average monthly violations per camera decreased 27 percent from 2004 to 2005, and average monthly citations fell 14 percent over the same period.
How did they do it?
Garland, Texas has essentially made up its own definition of red light running to ticket motorists who had not violated the law. Since Garland was one of the first cities to adopt red light cameras, its ordinance served as a model for the rest of the state. Most other cities use Garland’s definition of red light running. Since then, Garland has changed it’s habit of ticketing drivers who committed no violation.
Houston accidents went up, not down!
07:46 PM CST on Wednesday, December 31, 2008
HOUSTON – A study of red-light cameras installed in Houston showed that traffic accidents doubled at those intersections in the first year after they were put in.
Fairfax VA? The VDOT released two studies years apart that conclude RLC’s cause more accidents and risk more lives.
Oxnard CA? This was the original slanted study that put RLC on the map. Today? Oxnard has the second highest traffic accident and fatality rates in all of CA.
That California State Auditor Red Light Camera Programs Report? Here was the actual conclusion of the report:
Although we found that traffic safety was usually the reason for selecting intersections for red light camera enforcement, we could not always verify that local governments addressed engineering solutions before placing red light cameras at intersections. The Federal Highway Administration recommends that before installing a red light camera system, traffic engineers review the engineering aspects of the potential sites to determine whether the problem of vehicles running red lights could be mitigated by engineering changes or improvements. San Francisco best demonstrated that it met this best practice, while the other local governments we visited conducted their engineering improvements on a more informal and ongoing basis.
We recommended that before installing red light cameras, local governments should first consider whether engineering measures, such as improving signal light visibility or using warning signs to alert motorists of an upcoming traffic signal, would improve traffic safety and be more effective in addressing red light violations.
Charlotte NC? Oops:
Authorities in Charlotte, North Carolina have switched off their red light and speed camera units. The move stems from a May 16, 2006 decision by the NC state appeals court directing some 90 percent of proceeds to state schools, not to the city or the company that operates the cameras.
Yeah, that’s about safety. “If we gotta give the money to the schools, forget it!”
The story so far, anyone can pull numbers out of their hat, and when it comes to statistics, all you have to do is tailor your raw data to get the results you want. When RedSpeed Illinois makes their presentation keep that in mind. they’ll quote impressive numbers and great strides made in safety, and they’re painfully aware there will be people like me saying it’s not about safety, and they’ll try and negate what are the facts.
The facts remain:
Red light cameras generate revenue at the expense of safety,
intersection safety is tied to sound engineering, not passive recording devices.