1/11/2008Texas Study: Red Light Camera Crashes Up in Lubbock
Six-month report on Lubbock, Texas red light camera performance shows accidents up 52 percent. Financial failure may doom the program.
The controversial red light camera program in Lubbock, Texas may come to an end after a report issued yesterday documented a significant increase in the number of accidents at photo enforced intersections. The results were consistent with a preliminary study completed last year that also failed to document a safety benefit following the installation of automated ticketing machines.
"Crashes at major intersections are up," yesterday's report concluded. "Rear end crashes are up."
Despite a 2.7 percent reduction in intersection crashes citywide, the total number of collisions increased at each of the eleven intersections with a red light camera when comparing the first six months of camera enforcement (July through December 2007) to the same period in 2005 without cameras. The totals reflected a 52 percent increase in collisions with rear end crashes up by 60 percent. The total number of injuries did drop about 9 percent, but the city's figure can vary with the number of passengers traveling in vehicles involved in an accident.
What might doom the system more than its safety performance, however, is its financial failure. City leaders had been counting on the eleven ticketing cameras to yield $2 million in profit to help balance the budget. But disappointing collections resulted after news reports disrupted plans to place cameras at intersections with short yellow warning times and little prior accident history. At present, ATS, the private vendor in charge of the ticketing process, pockets all of the revenue generated.
This has led to speculation that the city council will soon cancel the program outright. The council asked the new Citizen Red Light Photo Enforcement Committee, a task force mandated by a state law enacted last year, to expedite its recommendation on whether to keep the program, basing the decision on the first six months of the program instead of waiting for a full year's data.
A full copy of the city's report is available in a 580k PDF file at the source link below. View a set of independent studies that show red light cameras can lead to an increase in accidents.