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4/30/2007
Rhode Island: Red Light Cameras Do Not Reduce Accidents
Despite 8651 tickets issued, red light cameras have not reduced accidents in Providence, Rhode Island.

Providence, RI mayor
After one year, the set of fifteen red light cameras installed in Providence, Rhode Island have failed to produce any measurable safety benefits -- contrary to the promises made when the devices were installed. Although the number of accidents at intersections has not declined, Providence intends to add even more cameras to city streets for safety reasons.

As Mayor David N. Cicilline stated in a March 23, 2006 press release, the program's initial goal was, "deterring people from causing accidents by running red lights."

The system was also expected to generate $1.9 million in revenue for the fiscal year. So far, it has issued 8651 tickets worth $648,825. Paid citations generated $315,297 with the state taking $105,000 and Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) taking $153,673. ACS operates every aspect of the program in return for its cut of the revenue.

"In most instances, the private company responsible for the cameras gets a 'kickback' for every ticket issued," Rhode Island ACLU Executive Director Steven Brown wrote to Cicilline when the proposal was first aired. "It is thus in their best interest -- as well as the city's -- to have people running red lights. This is precisely the opposite of what the city's goal should be -- ensuring better safety at dangerous intersections."

City revenue official Alan R. Sepe believes changes will be made to bring in more profit from the program.

"I know the city's not making as much right now on the revenue side, Sepe told the Providence Journal. "Eventually it will."

The program could come to an end as the legislation authorizing red light cameras in Rhode Island expires in July 2008. The cameras will shut down if the legislature declines to re-authorize them.

Source: Effectiveness of red-light cameras not yet in focus (Providence Journal (RI), 4/26/2007)

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