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Red-light Cameras Increase Crashes, Florida Researchers Find
Science Daily ^ | 3-12-2008 | University of South Florida Health.

Posted on 03/12/2008 6:42:23 PM PDT by blam

Red-light Cameras Increase Crashes, Florida Researchers Find

Rather than improving motorist safety, red-light cameras significantly increase crashes researchers at the University of South Florida College of Public Health conclude. (Credit: iStockphoto/Sue Smith)

ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2008) — Rather than improving motorist safety, red-light cameras significantly increase crashes and are a ticket to higher auto insurance premiums, researchers at the University of South Florida College of Public Health conclude. The effective remedy to red-light running uses engineering solutions to improve intersection safety, which is particularly important to Florida’s elderly drivers, the researchers recommend.

“The rigorous studies clearly show red-light cameras don’t work,” said lead author Barbara Langland-Orban, professor and chair of health policy and management at the USF College of Public Health.

“Instead, they increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections. If used in Florida, cameras could potentially create even worse outcomes due to the state’s high percent of elderly who are more likely to be injured or killed when a crash occurs.”

Red-light cameras photograph violators who are then sent tickets in the mail. Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously agreed earlier this month to install the cameras at several major intersections in the county. The devices could be adopted by more cities and counties if Florida legislators pave the way by changing a state law this spring.

The USF report highlights trends in red-light running in Florida, summarizes major studies, and analyzes the automobile insurance industry’s financial interest in cameras. Among the findings:

Traffic fatalities caused by red-light running are not increasing in Florida and account for less than 4 percent of the state’s yearly traffic deaths. In contrast, more than 22 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities occur at intersections for reasons other than red-light running. The injury rate from red-light running crashes has dropped by a third in less than a decade, indicating red-light running crashes have been continually declining in Florida without the use of cameras. Comprehensive studies from North Carolina, Virginia, and Ontario have all reported cameras are significantly associated with increases in crashes, as well as crashes involving injuries. The study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council also found that cameras were linked to increased crash costs. Some studies that conclude cameras reduced crashes or injuries contained major “research design flaws,” such as incomplete data or inadequate analyses, and were conducted by researchers with links to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS, funded by automobile insurance companies, is the leading advocate for red-light cameras. Insurers can profit from red-light cameras, since their revenues will increase when higher premiums are charged due to the crash and citation increase, the researchers say. Langland-Orban said the findings have been known for some time. She cites a 2001 paper by the Office of the Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives, reporting that red-light cameras are “a hidden tax levied on motorists.” The report concluded cameras are associated with increased crashes, the timings at yellow lights are often set too short to increase tickets for red-light running, and most research concluding cameras are effective was conducted by one researcher from the IIHS. Since then, studies independent of the automobile insurance industry continue to find cameras are associated with large increases in crashes.

Red-light running can be reduced by engineering improvements that address factors such as signal visibility and timings, wet roads and traffic flow, the USF researchers say.

The researchers suggest local governments follow the state’s lead in designing roads and improving intersections to accommodate elderly drivers, which would ultimately benefit all drivers.

The report " Red-Light Running Cameras: Would Crashes, Injuries and Automobile Insurance Rates Increase If They Are Used in Florida?" was published in March 2008 in the Florida Public Health Review, the online journal of the college and the Florida Public Health Association. Etienne Pracht, PhD, and John Large, PhD, were the other authors of the USF public policy report.

Adapted from materials provided by University of South Florida Health.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cameras; crashes; floridasafety; redlight

1 posted on 03/12/2008 6:42:26 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
Red-light Cameras Increase Crashes, Florida Researchers Find

So, it's the money that matters. It always is!

2 posted on 03/12/2008 6:43:21 PM PDT by unixfox (The 13th Amendment Abolished Slavery, The 16th Amendment Reinstated It !)
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To: blam

Red-light Cameras Increase Revenues, Florida Researchers Find


3 posted on 03/12/2008 6:44:06 PM PDT by umgud
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To: umgud

Red-Light Cameras Increase Job Security for “Traffic Analysts,” Florida Researchers Find


4 posted on 03/12/2008 6:45:42 PM PDT by conservativeinferno (My SUV is the urban squirrel's worst predator.)
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To: blam

Even I know that red-light cameras are about revenue enhancement, not public safety.

5 posted on 03/12/2008 6:46:57 PM PDT by coloradan (The US is becoming a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: blam

Can we do anything without the gov in our face anymore?


6 posted on 03/12/2008 6:48:26 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: umgud
Red-light Cameras Increase Revenues, Florida Researchers legislators Find

There now! I'm sure that was just a typo, so I fixed it for you. LOL ;o)

7 posted on 03/12/2008 6:50:28 PM PDT by NRA2BFree ("The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves!")
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To: blam; unixfox
It's just about the money, alright. This study was rejected by Hillsborough County.

It'll probably be rejected by Pinellas Co too (where I live).

With no State Income tax, FLA has to create other ways of taxation ......... FRegards

8 posted on 03/12/2008 6:51:21 PM PDT by gonzo (Tag under construction ..........................................)
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To: mylife

Burn down the mission....


9 posted on 03/12/2008 6:51:39 PM PDT by JoeA (JoeA / The defintion of insantity is repeating an action and expecting a different result.)
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To: blam

10 posted on 03/12/2008 6:51:47 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Democrat Happens!)
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To: blam

Away from the cities, red light and speeding cameras are better known as Targets of Opportunity for paintball throwers and pellet guns.


11 posted on 03/12/2008 6:55:53 PM PDT by Starwolf (I rode to work today, did you?)
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To: blam

What do the communities that put them in care? They get more MONEY! Screw the people!


12 posted on 03/12/2008 6:59:45 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: blam
Red-light Cameras Increase Crashes

So what! They aren't there for traffic control. Their only purpose is to bring money in to the contractors with a little bit going into the political slush fund (city treasury). More accidents? Great for the lawyers who contribute to the greedy politicians.

13 posted on 03/12/2008 7:00:59 PM PDT by FreePaul
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To: blam

After about six months of use, the city in which I live removed their cameras. Part of it was increasing citizen pressure and that fact that collisions increased, insurance rates for residents increased, and the city was threatened with a downgraded bond rating because of the cameras.


14 posted on 03/12/2008 7:02:10 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: blam
---the timings at yellow lights are often set too short to increase tickets for red-light running--

I was wondering what the presence of a camera could possibly have to do with the frequency of crashes . . .

15 posted on 03/12/2008 7:03:58 PM PDT by smonk
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To: unixfox

Florida is hardly a fair test of anything.


16 posted on 03/12/2008 7:46:40 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: mylife

On public roads? You wanna’ drag?!


17 posted on 03/12/2008 7:47:18 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: smonk
I was wondering what the presence of a camera could possibly have to do with the frequency of crashes . . .

If a motorist knows he can stop before an intersection, but has doubts about the car behind, should he proceed or not? It's safer to drive at speed into an intersection 0.1 second after the light goes red (and 1.9 before the opposing light goes green) than to be pushed into it some time later, even ignoring the damage to the rear bumper implied by the latter scenario.

The does remind me of something I've wondered, though: if a motorist enters an intersection after his light turns red, but before any opposing signal turns green, is the opposing signal delayed? If not, that would seem to constitute proof positive the installers of the systems are not interested in safety.

Incidentally, do any of those systems vary the fine based upon timing, presence of opposing traffic, or other such factors?

18 posted on 03/12/2008 7:53:21 PM PDT by supercat
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To: blam

I don’t support red light cameras, but this actually surprises me. I would have thought crashes would be reduced.


19 posted on 03/12/2008 7:58:52 PM PDT by Pinkbell
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To: mylife

Yes. In order for these cameras to be any good, the law must be changed so that the owner of the vehicle is liable for the traffic violation regardless who the driver is. It’s a pretty easy argument to say this is a violation of our rights. All we have to do is start complaining and get a large enough group of people making enough noise.


20 posted on 03/12/2008 8:03:42 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?)
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To: Pinkbell

They probably could have saved themselves money in Florida by reading up on the studies conducted in Virginia, which showed similar results. Red-light cameras were in force for a year before the legislation expired.


21 posted on 03/12/2008 8:15:21 PM PDT by FoxInSocks (B. Hussein Obama: The Paucity of Hope)
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To: blam

I just got my citation in the mail yesterday for running a red light flanked by cameras. $100.


22 posted on 03/12/2008 8:31:25 PM PDT by goarmy ("McCain is a great American, a lousy senator, and a terrible Republican." - Hugh Hewitt)
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To: Starwolf
I can't wait to see some cameras around here. I've got a few rifles I need to sight in.

While visiting D.C. in a rental car I asked a local what are all those flashes I keep seeing. He replied that is you getting a speeding ticket. Anyhow the rental car company tried to bill me a few months later for some sort of stuff and I threw the bill away and have not heard from them since. I'll let the Judge throw Alamo in Jail!

I haven't got a ticket in years. So I don't know why DC should think I deserve so many for just a couple days. I already pay enough taxes! I'll let the suckers who live there support the traffic system. We hired a police officer out here one year and crime went way up, so we fired him and things are peaceful again. We just look out for ourselves and our neighbors.

23 posted on 03/12/2008 8:33:32 PM PDT by ME-262 (Nancy Pelosi is known to the state of CA to render Viagra ineffective causing reproductive harm.)
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To: blam

I ran a red light the other day.

I was driving past a school on an unfamiliar road. Immediately prior to the intersection was a designated crossing for the school - designated by a huge crossbar festooned with blinking yellow lights hanging across the road.

I spotted this a couple hundred yards ahead, mentally classified it as a distraction and unconsciously filtered it out.

So when the traffic light behind and inline with it went yellow, that got filtered as part of the crossbar and I never saw it until it turned red - which with reaction and comprehension time was too late.

This dangerous situation would clearly have been prevented with a shorter yellow and an expensive camera. /sarc


24 posted on 03/12/2008 8:40:30 PM PDT by CGTRWK
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To: Pinkbell
I don’t support red light cameras, but this actually surprises me. I would have thought crashes would be reduced.

Crashes through the intersection are reduced, rear enders immediately prior to the intersection greatly increased.

We have had red light cameras here for some years. Within a couple weeks, you learned to approach those intersections with genuine caution - not for the camera, but for the idiot in front of you panic braking at the first flash of yellow.

Of course nothing has changed; the county doesn't care about a few rear enders so long as their cut of the checks keeps coming in.

25 posted on 03/12/2008 9:04:17 PM PDT by CGTRWK
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To: blam

This data is suspect to me. In Dallas,Tx the number of side impact accidents has dropped 70% in two years - where there are cameras. I think cameras are a great tool of law enforcement. We have no problem using aerial robots and spy satellites to catch terror suspects, why should we have a problem stopping red light runners with a camera?


26 posted on 03/13/2008 7:24:56 AM PDT by q_an_a
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To: blam

Whether this is true or not (there are other studies that show the opposite), red light cameras are on their way in — not out. They bring in revenue.


27 posted on 03/13/2008 7:49:50 AM PDT by jim_trent
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