Over the years, we've had a number of posts about studies showing that red-light cameras tend to increase
the number of accidents, even as cities that install them claim that they're doing so for safety reasons. The problem appears to be that red-light cameras cause more people to slam on the brakes at the last second, leading to more rear-ender collisions. Plenty of studies have shown that if you really want safer intersections, the solution is rather simple: increase the length of time for yellow lights and include a pause after a light turns red before the cross-traffic signal turns green. Some cities already do this, but many do not. A big part of the problem is that red-light cameras are big money makers for municipalities, who share the revenue with the makers of the cameras -- who have every incentive in the world to set the traffic lights to encourage more violations, rather than fewer. To give proof to the lie that municipalities are installing red-light cameras for safety reasons, the National Motorists Association is now offering $10,000 to cities
(found via The Agitator
) if it can't reduce by 50% the number of red-light violations using regular traffic engineering. They're only looking to do this at camera-enforced intersections that still have high numbers of violations. Of course, if the NMA can show such a reduction, the city would then be required to remove its red-light camera systems. What are the chances any city takes the NMA up on this challenge?