Do Red-Light Cameras Cause More Accidents?

First, we find out that daylight-saving time might actually waste energy. Now comes word of another study that upends conventional wisdom: Red-light cameras may actually ...
by | March 14, 2008
 

Redlightcamera_2 First, we find out that daylight-saving time might actually waste energy.

Now comes word of another study that upends conventional wisdom: Red-light cameras may actually increase traffic accidents at the intersections where they're installed. That's just what a new study from the University of South Florida found.

"People see a yellow light and normally they would drive through it, but at camera intersections they do the quick stop. They slam on the brakes and that means everybody else behind them slams on the brakes," said Barbara Langland-Orban, one of three co-authors of the study and an associate professor in USF's Department of Health Policy and Management.

The new study contradicts other reports that show a decline in wrecks, including one report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that's frequently cited by advocates of these cameras.

Nonetheless, the University of South Florida study isn't the first to find an increase in accidents at camera intersections:

[Langland-Orban] pointed to a seven-year study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council that showed crashes at intersections with the cameras increased 29 percent.

Another study, by the Urban Transit Institute at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, looked at almost five years' worth of data. The study concluded that accident rates increased 40 percent at intersections with cameras; injury crashes rose between 40 percent and 50 percent.

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