A recent audit of the red-light cameras in Stockton, California showed that accidents significantly increased at intersections where the ticket cameras were installed. In contrast, intersection crashes were down overall at intersections without the cameras. With those facts in mind, it’s clear that removing the cameras is the right thing to do if the city is concerned about safety.
However, the city has decided to take a different approach. They want even more cameras installed. It seems like an inexplicable decision until you look at how much money each ticket brings in. A violation carries a $349.50 fine and the city, county, state, and the camera manufacturer all get a cut. That’s a lot of money that would disappear from the budget if the cameras were removed.
Even so, you wouldn’t think that they could get away with this kind of blatant disregard for the safety of drivers without the media calling them on it. Unfortunately, the local papers have bought into their spin. The Stockton Record ran this headline: “Report says red-light cameras working.” But in the text of the article they concede that “the number of car accidents at [camera-enforced] intersections has increased since cameras were installed, from 160 crashes one year before installation to 177 accidents one year after”.
It hardly seems like that qualifies as “working.” Let us know what you think.