4/10/2009Corpus Christi, Texas Red Light Cameras Increase Accidents
A three-year review shows accidents and injuries increased at red light camera intersections in Corpus Christi, Texas.
A review of preliminary collision data supplied by the city of Corpus Christi, Texas shows that the installation of red light cameras has done nothing to improve safety. Overall, the accident situation worsened at photo enforced intersections at a time when decreased traffic levels have brought accident rates nationwide to an all-time low.
The total number of accidents in Corpus Christi increased 14 percent, from 310 incidents to 353, at nine locations where automated ticketing machines were stationed. Contrary to the claim that red light cameras reduce the severity of collisions, the number of accidents involving injuries increased 28 percent from 140 to 179. Rear end collisions also increased by nearly a third from 160 to 208.
The city's data compared about nineteen months of accident history at nine intersections before cameras were installed compared with a roughly equal period during which the devices were actively issuing citations. Although the cameras are often sold as devices that "save lives," there were no fatal accidents recorded at any of the nine intersections during the three-year study period, with or without the cameras.
Upset by the dismal results, state Representative Solomon Ortiz, Jr. (D-Corpus Christi) introduced House Bill 3275, a measure that requires that the Texas Department of Transportation conduct public hearings before any camera can be installed on any state road.
"The data's starting to come back, and some studies suggest that red light cameras have actually increased rear end collisions," Ortiz said in a video message to constituents. "Many cities are now abandoning their red light camera programs. A red light camera program shouldn't just be a cash cow for cities, and I think that you deserve to have input on these controversial cameras."
View the draft accident data compiled by the city of Corpus Christi in a 200k PDF file at the source link below.