7/18/2006Bakersfield, California: Red Light Cameras Increase Accidents
Red light cameras in Bakersfield, California have increased the numbers of accidents and injuries.
After three years of use, red light cameras in Bakersfield, California have increased the number of injuries and accidents at the eight intersections where they are used. Overall, the annual collision rate increased 17 percent. This increase is caused by a shifting of accident types from T-bone, down 28 percent, to rear end, up 47 percent. The shift in accident type, nonetheless did not reduce the number of injuries.
"Overall, injuries have gone up at some intersections," Detective Ryan Paslay admitted to the Bakersfield Californian.
Sixteen collisions occurred at California Avenue and Stockdale Highway a year before cameras were installed, for example. In the subsequent year, twenty-nine accidents occurred. The findings in Bakersfield match those found in a number of independent research studies that have concluded red light cameras increase accidents. Studies in Virginia and Winnipeg, Canada show that the increased accidents are injury accidents and of increased severity.
Despite the disappointing results, the city is not ready to declare the system a failure. Bakersfield collects $381 for every red light camera ticket that Australian vendor Redflex is able to issue. More than $7,239,000 in revenue has been generated since 2003 from 19,000 citations. Of this amount, Redflex has taken $1,691,000 and the city $1,600,000 with the state and county governments pocketing the remainder.