Study: Without Red Light Cameras, Violations Skyrocket

By Erica C. Barnett August 22, 2011

Anti-regulation crusader Tim Eyman has turned the elimination of red light cameras in cities from Mukilteo to Bellingham to Redmond into his cause du jour, arguing that cities only want the cameras because they raise revenues, not because they prevent accidents. A recent study from the  Texas Transportation Institute suggests (once again) that cameras at red lights not only prevent accidents, they dramatically reduce the number of drivers who run red lights---and that once the cameras are removed, violations skyrocket.
Troy Walden, an associate research scientist at TTI, said a study of one typical town, which he wouldn’t name because the study hasn’t been released, showed that weekly red light violations decreased from 2,445 to 1,738 when red light cameras were installed.  But after they were removed, violations rose to 4,755.

“Once the red light cameras were inactive, we saw an increase of violations about twice as many as what you had seen” before the cameras were in place, Walden said in an interview with Transportation Nation.  Walden said he believed similar results would be seen in other cities that removed the cameras.

Los Angeles and Houston are two of the cities that are poised to get rid of red light cameras. Currently, about 540 cities and towns have installed the cameras, which photograph the license plates of cars that run red lights, which law enforcement agencies use to send tickets to drivers.
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