Chicago Tribune Notices More Accidents Happening At Many Intersections With Red Light Cameras

from the and-again dept

Dark Helmet was the first of a few to send in a Chicago Tribune article looking at redlight camera accident rates and seeing (as many other reports have shown before) that in many cases the number of accidents went up. The report looked at fourteen intersections. Seven showed increases in accidents, two stayed the same, and five dropped. Even more interesting: at one of the intersections the number of t-bone "broadside" collisions (the ones that defenders of the cameras insist decrease) went up significantly. That was just one intersection, though. Others saw the more traditional decrease in broadsides, but significant increase in rear-end accidents as drivers slam on their brakes. The other interesting finding from the data: contrary to the claims of camera defenders, over time the rate of accidents did not appear to decrease "as drivers learned about the cameras."

Once again, we're left wondering why people still claim the cameras increase safety, when there appears to be no evidence to support that at all. There is a clear and proven way to increase safety though: (1) increase the length of the yellow and (2) increase the delay (or, for places like California which have no delay, put in a delay) when lights in all direction are red, before switching the new direction to green. Any municipality that puts in redlight cameras without doing those two things above, and then claims its about "safety" is lying. Bizarrely, though, the supporters in the Chicago area are still defending their system:
Even if not reflected in accident statistics, Belwood Police Chief Robert Collins Jr. said he sees drivers being more cautious as they approach stoplights. "Driver behavior has definitely changed," Collins said...
Changed for the worse, apparently. Are we to believe the police chief's anecdotal insistence or what the stats actually say?
Roger Pawlowski, a division chief at the Oak Lawn Police Department, said the benefits of red-light cameras can't always be extrapolated from crash statistics.
Ah, then what are we to extrapolate the benefits of redlight cameras from? Checks cashed by the city?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:01am

    Hard to seperate out data

    One of these problems of "see, it didn't work" looks at data like this do not take into consideration the hundreds of other factors that could lead to more (or less) accidents.

    How many snow or rain days in each year? How is the overall traffic flow? Are more cars using these intersections? Can the increase in accidents be attributed to people stopping to avoid running a red light and getting hit from behind by other cars? Has the location of the accidents changed? Was anything else changed at these intersections, such as decreasing light times, adding or removing turning arrows, etc? It can take time for the drivers to adjust to new configurations or expectations.

    While going from 34 to 44 accidents (one example) appears to be a bad thing, unless you can qualify the accidents and show what is actually causing them, there is potentially no connection to red light cameras in either manner.

    Also, there is no indication as to the number of people running the lights. What was it before, what is it now?

    Incomplete data means that it is all speculation, not based on fact.

     

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      Jon Bane (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:16am

      Re: Hard to seperate out data

      I can play this game too!!

      And the same can be said about the pre-camera statistics. Where there things going on at those intersections which increased the risk of accident. Like rain, or construction, or people standing in the middle of the street dressed like a troll. If there was an elevation prior to the installation, then that would only further prove the growing trend that camera cause additional accidents.

      I suspect there is an equal level of probability that the risks were elevate above normal levels due to external events prior to the camera installation as there was after the installation.

       

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        The Anti-Mike, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re: Hard to seperate out data

        Over a longer period of time, the variables can be often played down, mostly for things like weather and such. You only need a few extra snow or ice days in a city like Chicago in a single year to move the numbers. So a single year measurement to a previous single year isn't a good way to measure efficacy of a program.

        You are right, there are risks that were there before and after. An increase in 10 accidents in a year (less than 1 per month average over the time period) is likely within the risk windows for this situation. Without knowing if other things have increased (is traffic up 25%?) the numbers are nice but without true meaning.

         

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      Esahc (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:22am

      Re: Hard to seperate out data

      Are you going to disagree no matter what subject is brought up on this site? Because it really makes you look like a paid commenter.

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:39am

        Re: Re: Hard to seperate out data

        Hey, I think I've seen this somewhere before. Let's see...
        Man: Is this the right room for an argument?

        Anti-Mike:(John Cleese)
        I've told you once.

        Man: No you haven't!

        Anti-Mike: Yes I have.

        Man: When?

        Anti-Mike: Just now.

        Man: No you didn't!

        Anti-Mike: Yes I did!

        Man: You didn't!

        Anti-Mike: I did!

        Man: You didn't!

        Anti-Mike: I'm telling you, I did!

        Man: You did not!

        Anti-Mike: Oh I'm sorry, is this a five minute argument, or the full half hour?

        Man: Ah!
        (taking out his wallet and paying)
        Just the five minutes.

        Anti-Mike: Just the five minutes. Thank you. Anyway, I did.

        Man: You most certainly did not!

        Anti-Mike: Now let's get one thing quite clear: I most definitely told you!

        Man: Oh no you didn't!

        Anti-Mike: Oh yes I did!

        Man: Oh no you didn't!

        Anti-Mike: Oh yes I did!

        Man: Oh no you didn't!

        Anti-Mike: Oh yes I did!

        Man: Oh no you didn't!

        Anti-Mike: Oh yes I did!

        Man: Oh no you didn't!

        Anti-Mike: Oh yes I did!

        Man: Oh no you didn't!

        Anti-Mike: Oh yes I did!

        Man: No you DIDN'T!

        Anti-Mike: Oh yes I did!

        Man: No you DIDN'T!

        Anti-Mike: Oh yes I did!

        Man: No you DIDN'T!

        Anti-Mike: Oh yes I did!




        Man: Oh look, this isn't an argument!

        (pause)

        Anti-Mike: Yes it is!

        Man: No it isn't!

        (pause)

        Man: It's just contradiction!

        Anti-Mike: No it isn't!

        Man: It IS!

        Anti-Mike: It is NOT!

        Man: You just contradicted me!

        Anti-Mike: No I didn't!

        Man: You DID!

        Anti-Mike: No no no!

        Man: You did just then!

        Anti-Mike: Nonsense!

        Man: (exasperated) Oh, this is futile!!

        (pause)

        Anti-Mike: No it isn't!

        Man: Yes it is!

        (pause)

        Man: I came here for a good argument!

        Anti-Mike: AH, no you didn't, you came here for an argument!

        Man: An argument isn't just contradiction.

        Anti-Mike: Well! it CAN be!

        Man: No it can't!

        Man: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.

        Anti-Mike: No it isn't!

        Man: Yes it is! 'tisn't just contradiction.

        Anti-Mike: Look, if I "argue" with you, I must take up a contrary position!

        Man: Yes but it isn't just saying 'no it isn't'.

        Anti-Mike: Yes it is!

        Man: No it isn't!

        Anti-Mike: Yes it is!

        Man: No it isn't!

        Anti-Mike: Yes it is!

        Man: No it ISN'T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

        Anti-Mike: It is NOT!

        Man: It is!

        Anti-Mike: Not at all!

        Man: It is!

        (The Arguer hits a bell on his desk and stops.)

        Anti-Mike: Thank you, that's it.

        Man: (stunned) What?

        Anti-Mike: That's it. Good morning.

        Man: But I was just getting interested!

        Anti-Mike: I'm sorry, the five minutes is up.

        Man: That was never five minutes just now!!

        Anti-Mike: I'm afraid it was.

        Man: (leading on) No it wasn't.....

        Anti-Mike: I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to argue any more.

        Man: WHAT??

        Anti-Mike: If you want me to go on arguing, you'll have to pay for another five minutes.

        Man: But that was never five minutes just now!
        Oh Come on!
        Oh this is...
        This is ridiculous!

        Anti-Mike: I told you... I told you, I'm not allowed to argue unless you PAY!

        Man: Oh all right.
        (takes out his wallet and pays again.)
        There you are.

        Anti-Mike: Thank you.

        Man: (clears throat) Well...

        Anti-Mike: Well WHAT?

        Man: That was never five minutes just now.

        Anti-Mike: I told you, I'm not allowed to argue unless you've paid!

         

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:32am

      Re: Hard to seperate out data

      "One of these problems of "see, it didn't work" looks at data like this do not take into consideration the hundreds of other factors that could lead to more (or less) accidents."

      While I actually agree with you, it works both ways of course. This is why in my story submission, I broke down for Mike why one of the intersections I'm very familiar with actually should have seen a decrease in accidents due to decrease in traffic for a very specific reason.

      Wish I had retained a copy of the submission so I could repost. Mike, feel free to do so on your own if you wish, or post it in the comments....

       

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      nasch (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:35am

      Re: Hard to seperate out data

      Of all your questions, only "Was anything else changed at these intersections?" is relevant.

      Incomplete data means that it is all speculation, not based on fact.

      No, incomplete data means incomplete data. Speculation means speculation. They are not the same thing, and data are almost always incomplete.

      What's going on here is Chicago law enforcement said, "these things are for safety." The data show at best a mixed picture of the safety record. The best they can come up with in response is "no really, it's safer despite what the data say, trust us." Instead, if they can "complete" the data, showing confounding factors as you suggest, then that could support their position. As it is, they have failed to show an improvement in safety.

       

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        The Anti-Mike, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 7:27pm

        Re: Re: Hard to seperate out data

        No, incomplete data means incomplete data. Speculation means speculation. They are not the same thing, and data are almost always incomplete.

        Thank you captain obvious. My point is this: With data sets that are so incomplete, attempting to draw any conclusion in either direction is entirely speculation.

        It isn't just a question of filling in or completing the data for a single year, because the sample size may not be large enough to make any increase or decrease meaningful. As a result, it is very difficult to show any improvement in safety, at least in the short run.

        It would certain be interesting to see the differences in the types of accidents and numbers of injuries, to see what is going on.

         

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          Dilbert, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 9:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hard to seperate out data

          TAM is obviously not in a scientific field.

          Additional data points are always welcome, however - since there is never enough data to draw a 100% correct conclusion, TAM suggests that we should not even bother looking at the data because it is meaningless.

          Nice - TAM must be one of those MBA types with pointy hair.

           

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      Hulser (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:44am

      Re: Hard to seperate out data

      Can the increase in accidents be attributed to people stopping to avoid running a red light and getting hit from behind by other cars?

      This is in fact one of the popular theories on why the number of accidents at intersections with red light cameras actually increases instead of decreases.


      And on a related note, I think there's actually a connection with another popular TechDirt topic: illegal downloading of copyrighted songs. See, with illegal downloads, the recording industry is getting too hung up on the legal and ethical issues of people downloading songs when they don't have permission. They've lost sight of the real goal, to make money. Similarly, (some) proponants of red light cameras are getting too hung up on punishing the red light runners. They've lost sight of the real goal, making intersections safer.

       

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      Joe (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 6:33pm

      Re: Hard to seperate out data

      I operate under the belief that the yellow light time is usually decreased when the cameras are installed, presumably in order to generate more tickets/revenue from people who would have otherwise safely made it through the intersection during that stage of the light cycle. If not at the time of installation then later in the life of the cameras. I'd be interested in knowing if that was the case here.

      I hate the red light cameras as much as the next guy, but I would agree that in a city like Chicago, seeing an additional 10 accidents in a year doesn't really mean much; watching those numbers in the coming years (and comparing them to the past handful of years) would be much more interesting.

       

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    Action, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:05am

    Cue the Anti-Mike attempt at rhetoric in 3 .. 2 .. 1

     

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    Chris, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 11:57am

    Red light cameras

    Another opportunistic attempt to make the headlines... why don't you (the Tribune) get yourself some proper scientists to do the accident analysis of the intersections. The sample of sites looked at (14) is just too small to show any significance in this case. What was the period you looked at? You need several years at least - accident statistics vary enormously from year to year due to random effects.

    Have you looked at the severity of the accidents occuring? Nope. Many safety treatments 'swap' deadly accidents (T-bone) for less severy property damage ones (rear-end).

    While red-light cameras are never popular with the public, they do save lives. Same as seat belts and motorcycle helmets - both are the things that have been shunned in the US due to public back-clash. At the end of the day it's your lives people. I'd rather comply witht the law and stay alive.

    Ponder on that.

     

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      Hulser (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:22pm

      Re: Red light cameras

      While red-light cameras are never popular with the public, they do save lives.

      Citation needed.

      Same as seat belts and motorcycle helmets - both are the things that have been shunned in the US due to public back-clash.

      I think you've misundestood the objections to red light cameras. Unlike red light cameras, most people who don't want to wear seat belts or motorcycle helmets would admit that they increase safety. They may just think that they're inconvenient/uncomfortable or they may not like the government forcing them to do something that only affects their safety, not the safety of others. But with the issue of red light cameras, there is serious doubt on 1) whether they actually do increase overall safety and 2) whether there isn't a much simpler, albeit less income generating solution.

      It'd be like if the government skipped the step of citing you if they happen to see you're not wearing a seatbelt and went right for putting Big Brother type cameras in every car on the road to ensure people were wearing their seatbelts. Because, "it's your lives people" after, right?

       

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        Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:43pm

        Re: Red light cameras

        Hulser wrote:

        While red-light cameras are never popular with the public, they do save lives.

        Citation needed.

        Chris already explained why this is so: because it replaces more deadly side-on collisions with less serious rear-end collisions.

        Which is the point that no-one else in this discussion seems to get: it’s not about reducing the number of accidents, but about reducing their severity.

         

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          ac, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:54pm

          Re: Re: Red light cameras

          Except that we don't have any hard data to prove whether that is true or not. We do, however, have plenty of data that confirms what Mike wrote: that increasing the yellow light time and increasing and/or creating a delay between red light to green light activation DOES make intersections safer all around. Why aren't those two things done first, rather than resorting to cameras? I have a feeling money has something to do with it.

           

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          Hulser (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:59pm

          Re: Re: Red light cameras

          Chris already explained why this is so

          As ac pointed out above, providing an explanation, albeit one that is logical, is quite different from actually providing a citation of evidence. Chris didn't say "I believe red light cameras save lives because they trade fewer more-severe accidents for more less-severe accidents." He made a difinitive statement.

           

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          Innocent Bystander, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 9:09pm

          Re: Re: Red light cameras

          I think the evidence shows that the sole purpose of red light cameras is revenue generation. Your safety is just the rational used to justify the additional expenditure of your tax dollars.

           

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      ac, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:49pm

      Re: Red light cameras

      Chris says that "While red-light cameras are never popular with the public, they do save lives." That's fine, Chris, but what I--and most other reasonable red light camera opponents, such as Mike--are asking for is some REAL data to support the notion. From even casual inspection and research from multiple cities and sites, it doesn't appear that red light cameras make intersections safer. If you have some data or evidence that proves otherwise, I'd love to see it.

       

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      JustAskin, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:24pm

      Re: Red light cameras

      So Chris,

      How many shares in Redflex Traffic Systems do you own ?

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:48pm

      Re: Red light cameras

      Another opportunistic attempt to make the headlines... why don't you (the Tribune) get yourself some proper scientists to do the accident analysis of the intersections.

      There have been some studies done like that, and we've pointed to them.

      The sample of sites looked at (14) is just too small to show any significance in this case. What was the period you looked at? You need several years at least - accident statistics vary enormously from year to year due to random effects.

      It did look at several years.

      Have you looked at the severity of the accidents occuring? Nope. Many safety treatments 'swap' deadly accidents (T-bone) for less severy property damage ones (rear-end).


      Did you even read the article, or the post? We discussed how some of the lights actually showed an INCREASE in t-bone accidents.


      While red-light cameras are never popular with the public, they do save lives.


      Proof please?

      The point we've raised is that there doesn't appear to be much, if any, evidence to support that. There is, however, significant evidence of other ways to save lives (increasing length of yellow light, increasing time of all-way red).

      Ponder on that.

       

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        The Anti-Mike, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 7:33pm

        Re: Re: Red light cameras

        Mike, right at the bottom of the article is this:

        Melrose Park installed two cameras on North Avenue in November 2007, and accidents afterward jumped at both. But there may be a more nuanced view to the safety impact of the device installed outside Kiddieland.

        Total crashes rose, largely because of a big jump in rear-end collisions -- an effect often seen when drivers suddenly slam on brakes at camera-monitored intersections to avoid tickets. But broadside collisions fell from five in 2006 to one in 2008.

        The best safety results were logged at 87th Street and Cicero Avenue in Hometown, where cameras went up in September 2007. Total accidents fell from 45 in 2006 to 27 in 2008, with broadsides dropping from four to one.

        Police Chief Charles Forsyth said preliminary data indicate 2009 numbers will be even better. "People that don't get the violations love it," Forsyth said. "We're very happy."


        This seems to indicate both a signficiant decrease is broadside accidents, and seems to move the accidents that are happening into the rear end style accidents as people brake to avoid running the light. It would seem that the cameras in these cases are doing exactly as intended.

        Why focus only on the negative?

         

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    ECA (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    I can

    I can suggest another reasoning for much of this.
    That the cameras see MORE accidents that are NOT reported.

    Hulser has a good thought.
    Another is that Red light camers only CUT DOWN on the personnel needed to give tickets, but does it SAVE money?
    Using OUTSIDE companies to do the service Probably dont save much. HIRING inside help to go thru pictures all day would PROBABLY save money. HIRE a couple rookies..

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:10pm

      Re: I can

      "I can suggest another reasoning for much of this.
      That the cameras see MORE accidents that are NOT reported."

      I don't believe that follows. Red Light cameras are supposed to be used only to issue tickets for those that go through the intersection when the light is red, not to report any additional accidents.

       

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      Rebel Freek (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:25pm

      Re: I can

      Accidents are reported accidents, which means that an officer responded to the scene and filled out an accident report.

      I don't see how your logic on how they cut down to save money on personnel on the street, as most of the town in Chicago have kept the same force on the street after putting the cameras up as well.

       

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    DH, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    I have noticed my own driving habits have changed significantly. Just yeasterday I jammed on the brakes when I could have probably easily made it through the intersection before it turned RED. I just don't want an expensive ticket in the mail so I will always slam on the brakes at intersections now. Yellow means sudden stops now, which will likely cause a rear-end collision but at least it's not my fault....

     

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      Am I passive aggressive?, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:30pm

      Re:

      I am looking for a used 1980s type beater pickup truck because so many people tailgate. Why own a nice or fuel efficient vehicle when it is just going to get smashed? Maybe I should just leave one car length per ten miles/hour in speed ...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    Stoplight Timing

    I've seen this mentioned a couple of times and I have to comment. Around here, people adapt to the longer yellow and 4-way red. They just keep going through the intersection against the red light for as long as they figure they can without crashing into something. Extending the delay is definitely not the solution here.

     

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      ac, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:58pm

      Re: Stoplight Timing

      Except that you're assuming that people will continue to push the boundaries of the yellow and/or break the red light even if the intersection were to continue increasing the yellow and the delay from red to green. And even if that were the case, the point is to make intersections safer, and even with your purely anecdotal data point about people 'adapting', that does not mean that EVERY driver is doing so. Were we to perform a true analysis on the intersection(s) "around here" as you note, I imagine you would see that the delays have indeed made the intersections safer. Completely accident-free? That's impossible and beside the point at hand, which is to actually make problem intersections safer.

       

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        Niall (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:21pm

        Re: Re: Stoplight Timing

        Living in a country where we have a) decent yellow timings and b) usually a temporary total stop for pedestrians, I notice very few people run reds, and there are not that many accidents at reds, especially not rear-endings at red-light cameras (we have several locally). So some of it seems to be down to the proper use and timing of yellows, and some driver education/etiquette - and of course, knowing how much you'll get your arse kicked by the police if they catch you...

         

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      DMM, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Stoplight Timing

      My observations agree with this. I spent 20 years driving in California, where there is no delay between one light turning red and another turning green. I have lived and driven in a state where there is a delay for over two years now, and I have seen more red light running here than I did in California. The difference? With a delay, when somebody runs a red, there is less of a chance that another car has started into the intersection because there isn't an instantaneous green light for traffic in another direction.

      Yes, this is anecdotal evidence, but it appears to be equally as valid as the evidence put forward by the supporters of red light cameras. I would have liked to see a detailed study before all these cities started installing red light cameras. But instead, I think the cities saw the perception of safety and dollar signs, and that was all the convincing they needed.

       

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      Vincent Clement, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 7:43pm

      Re: Stoplight Timing

      Hogwash. That is the same argument people use against raising speed limits. 'If you raise the speed limit, people will just drive faster'. Reality says otherwise. When Montana had no speed limits during the day, the average speed decreased.

      Will there be people that will drive faster? Yes. But they are the minority, and no amount of law enforcement will change their behaviour. The same applies to red light runners. If red light cameras are so bullet proof, why do people still get tickets?

       

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    DH, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    I agree with Rebel Freak on his point that the data can only track "accident reports" which based on what I have seen is probably a very very very small number. I think traffic cams are an idea that "sounds good" on paper but issuing tickets based on this is a really bad idea and I'm convinced it will actually make intersections more dangerous and drivers (myself included) suddenly stop to avoid a ticket, causing a rear end collision. I think a better use of these cameras would be to use them as a "review" tool in the case of an accident and assign fault using the camera data. However, I don't have any issue with cameras to detect speed on the highways. Maybe the technology is available to actually just apply the brakes for us automatically as we approach the intersection. Or adjust our speed for us automatically on the highway. Now that's some technology I can get behind, not this horrible solution.

     

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      CastorTroy-Libertarian, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      Think through the end of what you just said... The Government (or even a business) controling your car for you???? do you really want to have to ask permission to go some place???
      Im not bringing it up as tin foil hat thought, but just like databases, if you have it out there "they"(in what ever manner you choose, Government, big Pharma, Big tobacco, what ever) will abuse it, so why give to them at all...

      Just keep trading you freedom for that safety, and soon you will be the safest slave amongst many.

       

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    Rebel Freek (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:57pm

    Here is a good example for those of you who like red light cameras. One of the most deadly intersections in Illinois is IL-72 and Randall Road(Dark Helmet should be familiar with this intersection). They had at least 2 fatalities there a year over the 4 years leading up to 2009. This year I can not recall a single fatality there, and the number of accidents has dropped significantly. They were proposing to put a red light camera at this intersection, but want to know what really fixed it? They made the left hand turn lanes protected turn only...

    I know my results are not conclusive as of yet, but it is showing far better results then any of the red light cameras, considering this is a busier intersection then IL-72 and IL-31. This intersection is a 2 miles east of Randall, and happens to have the same numbers so far this year as it did last year without the red light camera...

    No wonder why IDOT doesn't want to put many more up...

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:08pm

      Re:

      "One of the most deadly intersections in Illinois is IL-72 and Randall Road(Dark Helmet should be familiar with this intersection)."

      Haven't you heard? I'm actually Mike Masnick, so the only two places I know are Staten Island and some place in California.

      Back to reality. I'm only vaguely familiar with that intersection, though it is near where Mama and Papa Helmet live. The one from the story I'm VERY familiar with is the one on North Ave. in Melrose Park. Up until last year there used to be a relatively popular children's amusement park there called Santa's Village. It closed in what seems like the middle of time during which these metrics were taken.

      You'd expect to see a decline in all accidents to coincide with the resulting decline in traffic. However, they went up across the board...

       

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        Rebel Freek (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:18pm

        Re: Re:

        Kiddie Land(this summer was its last) was in Melrose park right on North, Santa's Village(closed about 4 or 5 years ago) was in East Dundee at IL-25 and IL-72

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Kiddie Land(this summer was its last) was in Melrose park right on North, Santa's Village(closed about 4 or 5 years ago) was in East Dundee at IL-25 and IL-72"

          Dammit, you're right. I have always gotten those two mixed up, ever since I was a kid. That's why I wanted M&M to repost what I sent him, because I specifically looked it up to make sure I had the name right...

           

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 5:39pm

        Re: Re:

        Haven't you heard? I'm actually Mike Masnick, so the only two places I know are Staten Island and some place in California.

        Heh. To clarify, I believe I've driven through Staten Island about 3 times in my life (maybe 4), but otherwise, I've never been. Well, one time, I took the Staten Island ferry, but I never left the boat when we got to the Staten Island side.

         

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    PRMan, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    It's certainly not everywhere in California...

    I grew up in Cerritos and they had 4-way red over 30 years ago. It really cut down on accidents in the city. People don't "adapt" because they can still get tickets for running a red and nobody wants that ticket.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Red light cameras

    Which is the point that no-one else in this discussion seems to get: it’s not about reducing the number of accidents, but about reducing their severity.


    Why cant we do both? It seems very stupid to trade one crash for another - regardless of the severity. Assuming red light cameras actually DO reduce the number of side-impact collisions, the fact that the number of rear impact collisions increases with them should prove that they are ineffectual and should be dropped for a better solution - such as what was pointed out earlier - increase the duration of the yellow lights and the all-red lights.

    e.g. I don't like getting punched in the face, sure a punch in the arm is better - but i'd rather not be punched so find a better solution.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 3:40pm

      Re: Re: Red light cameras

      The political class has found a solution! If you do not like being punched then we will kick you. Problem solved!

       

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    dave blevins (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    How do the drivers know to change ?

    Since most (all) red light cameras are kept secret and "hidden" the drivers don't know of them, at least most of the drivers. Ergo, how can they change at those intersections?

     

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      Rebel Freek (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 9:46am

      Re: How do the drivers know to change ?

      Law in Illinois says that all red light camera intersections have to be marked off with a sign at the intersections. Plus it is hard to miss the big pole off to the side of the street with a giant security looking camera pointed at the intersection...

       

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    Barnet, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Red Light Ticketing Cameras

    As a traffic researcher, I have timed over 50 Chicago traffic signals and found all them at camera-equipped intersections to have less than the federally required three-second yellow phase minimum as proven by video tape analysis (instant replay). Federal guidelines require a minimum of three seconds of yellow light time to maintain safe intersection traffic flow. Not only doesn’t Chicago provide the bare three second minimum of yellow, but swindles drivers out of at least another second or two by denying them of their perception/reaction time and signal timing based on the 85th percentile speed rule. Couple this with the lack of properly maintained white stop lines, traffic signals, camera warning signs and high traffic flow counts, drivers have very little chance of not violating the ordinance. Drivers are even cited for legal right turns on red even if they do come to a complete stop. Illinois state law does not provide for a certain length of time to be stopped, even a nanosecond is legal (1 billionth of a second). The state only requires the complete cessation of all forward movement. The video resolution and frame rate used by Chicago’s cameras tends to discount brief stops since they operate at a slower frame rates.

     

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      Chi Town Driver, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 5:09pm

      Re: Red Light Ticketing Cameras

      The accident data seems to be mixed at best. What the article points out is that these traffic cameras are really put in to generate revenue and safety is only a secondary concern. The vast majority of tickets issued by cameras (I'd have to check the article but it was near 80%?), were for right turn on red violations. Now can anyone tell me that all these tickets for right turn violations make these intersections safer?

       

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      byteme, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 12:22pm

      Re: Red Light Ticketing Cameras

      And this demonstrates the true reason behind installing these cameras...money. As has been stated, increasing the length of yellow lights helps to reduce accidents. In many cases, the length of yellow lights is reduced below the federal guideline limits AFTER the cameras are installed in an obvious attempt to increase revenue generated from these tickets. As drivers begin to realize they have very little time to stop at these intersections, they begin slamming on the brakes when the light turns yellow, increasing rear-end accidents.

      Another factor to consider is that although rear-end accident are usually less severe than t-bones, this is transferring the accidents from those who are running the lights to those who are attempting to comply with the law. How can this be seen as right in any way?

      Get rid of the cameras, increase the length of yellow lights and add/increase delays before green. Let the city/county figure out a way to generate more revenue in a way that doesn't screw those of us trying our best to do the right thing.

       

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    Shmaya, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 5:31pm

    Red Light Cameras in Australia

    The law in Australia requires that any red light camera must have three warning signs prior to the red light camera. Believe it or not, Motorists still get ticketed!

     

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      Vincent Clement, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 7:47pm

      Re: Red Light Cameras in Australia

      Exactly. Habitual offenders don't care about signs. They don't care about red-light cameras. And they don't care about the fine. Yet, we have to introduce 'solutions' that do not necessarily improve overall safety. Yes, a few less people may die, however, a few more people may be experiencing neck and back pain for the rest of their lives.

       

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    Tek'a R (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 9:20pm

    more "anecdotal" evidence, but it may have some bearing on numbers.

    While living in a metro-area suburb i had the misfortune to be involved in two separate fender-bender/rear end accidents and both at intersections. No, they were not my fault.

    Both us drivers pulled aside, of course. emergency blinkers and the like. In the first occasion there was no police response and in the second an officer slowed down Just long enough to ask if anyone was hurt or if we required help.

    Since no one was hurt, it turns out that there was next to no police reporting. It required a huge runaround with insurance companies to get anyone from the police to admit that there was an accident, since there was no trail of paperwork or Blood to splash all over.

    Short version- Numbers can be skewed by under-reporting/omission of these "unimportant" crashes, despite their huge impact on safety and property.

     

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