Eric Skrum, Communications Director for the National Motorists Association stated, "Red light violations are a problem created by government agencies, not the typical driver. It has been well proven that sound engineering practices improve compliance with traffic laws and traffic signals while reducing accidents. If large numbers of otherwise law-abiding citizens do not comply with a particular law or regulation, the root cause is NOT the citizens, but rather the law or regulation, or its implementation. We have re-learned this principle, in spades, with the apparent and dramatic increase in red light violations. Why are drivers-in large numbers-choosing to ignore a regulation they claim to respect?"
Skrum continued, "The real culprits here are the officials responsible for the installation, maintenance, and operation of traffic lights. And now, thanks to ticket cameras, they are being financially rewarded for their incompetence and failures.
"Fairfax County, Virginia has provided a perfect example of this. After eight months of operation, the county operated ticket camera at RT7 and Towlston Road has had no effect on red light violations. Tickets have averaged over 700 in number for the entire eight months the camera has been in operation, with no improvement in sight. In fact, the number of tickets may be increasing, indicating that the cameras may be doing more harm than good! However, in the same county, at another intersection, where signals are controlled by the State of Virginia, US50 and Fair Ridge Drive, there has been a 96% decrease in red light violations, but only after the yellow light time was increased by 1.5 seconds. A perfect example of how sound engineering practices can solve compliance problems and reduce accidents.
"Red light cameras are revenue generators, not safety tools. The insurance industry-funded 'Insurance Institute for Highway Safety' attempted to show that cameras reduce red light violations through their highly publicized 'Oxnard Study.' The report actually failed to provide any conclusive, objective data proving that cameras reduced collisions. The IIHS admitted that specific crash types-such as red-light violations-were not identified or isolated for analysis. In addition, 'crashes at the 11 camera equipped intersections were not analyzed separately' from the other 114 signalized intersections in Oxnard. The results from control group cities that showed equal or greater reductions in accidents, without ticket cameras, were buried or glossed over.
"While there exists no proof of the accident reduction effectiveness of red light cameras, there are many concrete examples of where sound engineering practices have dramatically improved the safety of intersections. We believe public officials should be held accountable for causing and correcting this problem. They should not be rewarded with a financial windfall from the pockets of exploited motorists who fall prey to improperly designed intersections, poorly maintained traffic signals, and management decisions that ignore reality, as well as sound traffic engineering practices," concluded Skrum.