What might we see in a RLC presentation by RedSpeed?

Stick 'em up!

Stick 'em up!

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.

We’re next.

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.

Another accident prevented by RLC...wait, no, scratch that...

Another accident prevented by RLC...wait, no, scratch that...

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.

Another accident prevented by RLC...no, not this one either...

Another accident prevented by RLC...no, not this one either...

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.

4. Speeding

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.

6. Weather.

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:

redlight_sequence-01 redlight_sequence-02 redlight_sequence-03

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.

Artists rendering of R.A. Retting, called the father of the red light camera industry.

Artist's rendering of R.A. Retting, called "the father of the red light camera industry".

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.

Near fatal rear end collision recorded by RLC in Oxnard CA.  Not prevented by RLC, recorded by RLC.  RLC cannot prevent any accidents.

Near fatal rear end collision recorded by RLC in Oxnard CA. Not prevented by RLC, recorded by RLC. RLC cannot prevent any accidents.

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.

RLC didnt stop this accident either.

RLC didn't stop this accident either.

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?

Yeah, RLC caused this one.

Yeah, RLC caused this one.

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

The Associated Press 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.

RLC caused this one too.

RLC caused this one too.

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:

RLC caused this dump truck accident.

RLC caused this dump truck accident.

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.

Didnt cause this one!  Didnt stop it either.

Didn't cause this one! Didn't stop it either.

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!”

OK some people are just idiots. This guy ran into a RLC.

OK some people are just idiots. This guy ran into a RLC.

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.


3 Responses to “What might we see in a RLC presentation by RedSpeed?”

  1. Barnet Fagel Says:


    The Chicago Tribune’s February 7th editorial focused on the CTA being “encouraged” by the driver’s union to pay their member’s 1,200 red light camera tickets for a total of about $120.000! The CTA deemed the tickets to be a “bureaucratic nuisance” even as the rest of the public has to pay whether you own a car or not! It’s not inherently fair nor is it legal to hold one group of persons “above the law” while indiscriminately punishing another equal group for the same offenses. Citing CTA schedules and passenger safety excuses for running red lights doesn’t is no justification.

    Hundreds of millions in ticket revenue is just too tempting of a windfall for the city to ignore. Especially when it’s done under the “color of authority”, the color red. The entire city has become one enormous red light district. Traffic signals have historically been set to established national traffic engineering standards. The accepted rules of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers were established to promote safety, but they aren’t acknowledged in Chicago! Other city’s traffic experiences have shown accident increases after their respective red light camera installations.

    Red light cameras serve obediently 24 hours a day dutifully snapping pictures of license plates and converted at the “light speed” into a constant revenue stream that beats to the pulse of the politician’s pocketbook. What a golden thing it is to behold. The robocops have no regard for real traffic requirements such as the 85th percentile speed, approach velocity, forward head room, visual safety perception, mechanical maladies or radio frequency interference.

    Chicago joins the growing list of maniacal metropolises that include Chattanooga, TN, Dallas, TX, Springfield, MO, Lubbock, TX, Nashville, TN and Union City, CA that have been caught grossly cheating their drivers by local media using short-timed yellow traffic lights. News outlets shined the light of truth and turned the cameras back onto this seditious and dangerous practice to allow the cities to balance their particular budgets. Subsequent lengthening the yellow light timing results in fewer violations, less accidents, safer roads far less cost.

    Ticketed drivers can appear in front of a trained ticket clerk, but they soon find out that their “administrative” red light ticket challenges are stiffed by the political provisions of the ordinance. While these citations don’t currently add points to driver’s licenses, IT “CONVENIENTLY OUTLAWS” ANY LEGAL OR ETHICAL CHALLENGES. If drivers want to appeal their cases to a higher court another charge of $95 for a filing fee plus a mandatory downtown appearance. The city fathers figured the vast majority of drivers can’t afford the time coupled with almost no chance of winning to justify the effort.

    Apparently the laws of physics, motion or logic don’t apply within the windy city. The city has determined that all vehicles, drivers and intersections are identical by their very nature so a single three second yellow light timing standard is all that is needed, when actually it is barely the federal minimum. The city knowingly takes no notice of real world factors such as driver response times, vehicle size, inertia, road or visibility conditions that are recommended by traffic.

    Because accepted traffic signal engineering practices are ignored the city it consciously and directly participates in ongoing cases of “spontaneous legal entrapment” each time any of the stop lights turn red. The city stifles the increased rear-end accident facts after red light camera installations in many other cities. “The city that works”, makes drivers work for the department of revenue and leaves the city politicians with dirt on their hands!

    • kurt Says:

      not sure where your hatred comes from, but you seem overly informed on the evils about these programs, but are blind to their positive aspects. I suppose it would take a tragedy in your own family to understand the dangers of people who don’t respect what a red light means.

      • markthoman Says:

        Hatred? Your words not mine. When I call out the perpetrators of this scheme as, in my opinion, lying scumbag thieves, there is no hatred; do the research and read the studies and make up your own mind.

        There are no positive aspects past RedSpeed gives campaign contributions to politicians, and splits the take on the revenues generated. They have consistently misrepresented what they do and how they do it, along with using faulty studies that have been disproved several times over by health, education, state, and federal studies.

        Doesn’t the fact that Illinois now proposes to make moving violations- speeders- effectively immune to the three tickets you lose your license bother you? And exactly how does a passive recording device prevent an accident? It can record them, but it is passive.

        The facts remain: Red light cameras generate revenue at the expense of safety, and intersection safety is tied to sound engineering, not passive recording devices.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: