2/14/2005Fox News Channel Investigates Red Light Cameras
Fox News Channel takes a look at accidents and red light cameras.
The Big Story with John Gibson on Fox News examined the issue of red light camera enforcement in light of the Virginia Department of Transportation sponsored study that found an overall increase in injury accidents where the devices were installed.
Fox interviewed Prince William County, Virginia Supervisor John Stirrup and Leslie Blakey with the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running. The piece did not mention that the National Campaign is wholly funded by the red light camera manufacturers.
KENNEDY: As a member of Virginia's Prince Williams Counties Board of Supervisors, John Stirrup admits he never liked the idea of red light cameras.
JOHN STIRRUP, PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA: I think fundamentally in this country we have the right to face our accuser, rather than receiving a summons in the mail from a mechanized device.
KENNEDY: It was an argument that didn't get much traction when the cameras were introduced in the early '90s. Stirrup now says he has a better argument.
STIRRUP: The better argument is that we've been shown through studies that these red light cameras actually cause rear end accidents.
KENNEDY: In fact, the Virginia Department of Transportation recently released this report: it shows red light cameras in Virginia, not only cause an increase in rear end accidents, but also as much as a 24 percent increase in injury accidents. Stirrup says the cameras are not only Orwellian, they're unsafe.
LESLIE BLAKEY, NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO STOP RED LIGHT RUNNING: Red light cameras actually increase public safety.
KENNEDY: Leslie Blakey from the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running, the nation's leading advocate for red light cameras. She says that cameras are not the cause of the collisions.
BLAKEY: Speeding, following too close, and similar forms of aggressive driving cause rear end collisions. It's the driver who's coming behind who wants you to run the light, so that he can run the light, who's causing a rear end
KENNEDY: So you've got the pro-camera people saying it's not the cameras that are causing the accidents, it's bad drivers slamming on their brakes.
What do you say to that?
STIRRUP: Well, it does seem like the cameras actually are causing the accidents. The studies show that, and think of it, it's just human nature.
You're approaching an intersection, you realize that at the last moment that there's a camera at the intersection, the light turns yellow, you slam on your brakes because you don't want to risk a ticket, and the person behind you
driving doesn't realize that and rear ends you.
KENNEDY: Four states agreed with that assessment and recently voted against installing cameras. Still, four times as many have approved the motion sensing devices and find they are producing big bucks.