November 1, 2005

RED-LIGHT CAMERAS DEACTIVATED IN LOS ANGELES:

The city’s red-light cameras haven’t been working since June and could remain idle for several more months, a Los Angeles official said Monday. The contract for operating the cameras, which take photos of drivers who plow through a red light, expired as the city was deciding which company to choose for the next contract, Councilman Dennis Zine said. “I’d say it’s a victim of bureaucracy,” Zine said. “I’d be surprised if any of them were online before next year.”

That’s just as well, in light of this report:

A Fort Collins, Colorado intersection has suffered an 83 percent increase in accidents since a red light camera system was installed in 1997. The city’s program generates $734,000 in annual revenue from $75 citations issued at the intersection of Drake Road and College Avenue. Despite the lack of demonstrable safety benefit, officials are planning to add at least one speed camera this year and possibly another red light camera next year.

According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan analysis, which considered ten years of accident data, the collision rate at the intersection with a red light camera jumped from 1.31 per million vehicles entering the intersection in 1994 to 2.4 in 2004.

Philadelphia, too:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania began its red light camera program last year claiming the device would reduce accidents, but accidents have actually increased betweeen 10 and 20 percent since the cameras began issuing $100 citations.

But traffic-ticket revenues are up, and that’s more important than your safety!

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