3/12/2008Tennessee: Red Light Camera Crash Causes Critical Injuries
Kingsport, Tennessee red light camera wreck sends man to the hospital in critical condition.
A red light camera in Kingsport, Tennessee caused an accident yesterday that transformed a Honda sedan into an unrecognizable mass of twisted steel. Rescue crews employed the jaws of life to save the victims, two of whom were sent to the hospital where at least one is listed in critical condition. Kingsport Times-News videographer Erica Yoon caught the rescue effort on tape.
The incident took place at the intersection of Clinchfield Street and Stone Drive where, last year, Kingsport installed a red light camera. The city hoped that the fear of receiving a ticket would change drivers' reactions to the traffic signal. In this case, the driver of a blue Honda reacted by stopping short at a yellow light to avoid that ticket. The 18-wheeler behind, however, could not match the smaller car's braking ability and slammed into the Honda. Kingsport Police Deputy Chief David Quillin told the Times-News last month that he knew accidents like this would happen, but he downplayed their importance.
"There was a concern at the beginning that the number of rear end crashes would go up, and the numbers show that did in fact occur," Quillin said. "We have had an increase in the number of rear end collisions, but I think what's important for people to remember is that rear end collisions for the most part are so much more survivable than a T-bone or right-angle collision." (View interview video)
The Honda's fate is not unique. At the first six Kingsport intersections receiving red light cameras, rear end collisions increased from 2006, without cameras, to 2007, with cameras. Independent research from the Virginia Department of Transportation and The Washington Post newspaper showed that over a period of seven years, the number of rear end collisions and injury accidents did not decrease after ticketing began in either the state of Virginia or the District of Columbia.
Last year, Kingsport cameras generated tickets worth between $91,400 and $202,050 every month. Profits were split between the city and Redflex, the Australian vendor that issues the citations.
"The program's working," Quillin told the Times-News. "It's doing exactly what we hoped it would do."