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?