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9/27/2005Middletown, Ohio Installs Cameras at Safe Intersections
Red light cameras were installed in Middletown, Ohio even though accidents were already down 21 percent.
Middletown, Ohio officials installed a pair of red light cameras in April claiming an urgent need to address a safety problem at intersections with a large number of accidents. WLWT-TV in Cincinnati put Middletown's claims under scrutiny, asking how many of the accidents at those intersections were related to red light running.
"We don't actually have that data," Chief Mike Bruck said in a television interview, available here. "Peek [the company that operates the cameras] didn't have the data either. They used the data that we have. Our records system does not check the data that detailed. We'd have to go back to every single crash we have, and that's too time consuming."
The WLWT investigation found that before the cameras were even installed, accidents had been dropping by 21 percent. In 2004, there were 646 collisions, down from 819 in 2000. Middletown Mayor Noah Powers still insists that accidents are the motivation for cameras, and not revenue.
"Some people think it's all about the money," Powers said. "It's not about the money."
State Rep. Jim Raussen introduced a bill that would put more oversight on the companies and cities that use the camera system. "It creates an incentive for them to issue as many citations as possible, because the camera [company] has a goal to make so much revenue from each community in which they operate cameras," Raussen said.Source: Tri-State Officials Give Red Light Cameras The Go-Ahead (WLWT-TV (Ohio), 9/22/2005)
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