During a recent session of the Peoria, Arizona City Council, some interesting statistics were released on the city’s red-light cameras.
According to an article by the Arizona Republic, the city’s police department reported that accidents at intersections with red-light cameras more than doubled over the last two years. In the 2007 fiscal year, there were 36 collisions. In the 2008 fiscal year, there were 73 collisions.
As the article says:
Whether they like photo enforcement [or not], Peoria leaders seem to agree on one thing: it’s not clear whether red light cameras are actually making the city’s streets any safer.
With double the number of accidents, that’s certainly putting it lightly.
The city isn’t letting go of the the cameras that easily though. They insist that it couldn’t be the cameras that are causing the collisions and instead blame road construction.
While it’s true that evaluating traffic safety statistics year to year needs to be done carefully, one of the city’s councilmen makes a good point:
Councilman Ron Aames from the Palo Verde District said the increase suggests that the cameras might actually be making intersections more dangerous.
In response, Deputy City Manager Susan Thorpe said there are “multiple variables” affecting collisions and that the cameras shouldn’t be treated as the “single difference between one year and another.”
Aames replied, “I’m thinking if these numbers were reversed . . . I probably wouldn’t hear these other ways of explaining it.
There are numerous studies showing that red-light cameras lead to increased accidents. Yet, while cities will trumpet the smallest apparent ticket camera success, they will go to great lengths to avoid the idea that the cameras aren’t working. Especially when the cameras bring in so much revenue ($680,000 since January 2008 in Peoria).
Of course, with more and more poor ticket camera results becoming public, most people have figured out the true purpose of the cameras by now anyway.