11/12/2005Portland Cameras Cause 140 Percent Jump in Rear End Collisions
Portland, Oregon cameras generate $4.3 million in revenue and a 140 percent increase in rear-end accidents.
Since red light cameras were installed in Portland, Oregon more than four years ago, rear-end collisions at monitored intersections have jumped 140 percent, according to city statistics. Rear-end crashes increased from 1.5 to 3.6 crashes annually with total crashes increasing from 8.9 to 9.4. Police and city officials still maintain that the program is a success, as it generates approximately $4.3 million in annual revenue from the $237 photo citations. These findings are consistent with a number of studies showing red light cameras often cause an increase in overall accidents where they are used.
The KATU television news team also monitored the performance of the cameras and discovered that the devices were not flashing when they should. Portland's traffic engineer explained that drivers in an outside lane were beyond the camera's field-of-view and would not be cited. Moreover, about half of all potential tickets are dropped due to unclear photos. Oregon law requires a clear picture of the driver before a citation can be issued. The officials also admitted that one brand of license plate cover successfully deflects the camera, but they would not say which one.