Red-Light Cameras Do Not Reduce Right Angle Crashes

By Jim Baxter, NMA President

It seems that the most implausible myths are the hardest ones to kill off.

Other than within the institutional capital of the Flat Earth Society, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it is generally accepted that red light ticket cameras increase rear-end collisions, often dramatically. However, the supposed off-setting rationale for still using ticket cameras is that they reduce right angle or T-bone collisions. This has been said so often and so persistently that it’s accepted as fact.

It’s not fact and it never was.

An early comprehensive study of red light ticket camera programs, including a review of the supposed “research” supporting these programs, was done by the University of North Carolina A&T, which found that there was no evidence that red light cameras reduced right angle or T-bone crashes. No credible study that followed the North Carolina effort has contradicted this finding.

This inconvenient fact is obviously not included in the ticket camera press kits handed out to local officials and the media.

Serious crashes at controlled intersections can be attributed to a handful of causes, none of which involve entering the intersection a half second too late after a too short yellow light has turned to red.

Police pursuits, emergency vehicles entering on red, drug and alcohol impairment, obscured or confusing traffic lights, and distraction are the principal elements that cause these more serious accidents, usually long after the light has changed from yellow to red.

The presence of ticket cameras has no remedial effect on these more serious intersection crashes.

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6 Responses to “Red-Light Cameras Do Not Reduce Right Angle Crashes”

  1. Todd says:

    Maybe it would be ok if speed limits are set at a reasonable level and ticket cameras are used with properly adjusted yellow lights.

    Hmmmmm I wonder where what happened to all the other people like James Young, Officer Josh, Bruce Hallman, etc who use to post comments? Do they still visit the NMA's web site?

  2. Jeff says:

    Setting speed limits at 85th% speeds would be reasonable. Why won't many cities do this?

  3. RedFlex's own sales presentation to the Alexandria Louisiana transportation board included videos demonstrating this very point: their systems do nothing to actually reduce the occurrence of these kinds of accidents!


  4. A Texas judge said the company running a red-light camera was acting illegally because it did not have a private investigator license. On the basis of this ruling, motorists are challenging traffic tickets. New Texas legislation regulating certain electronic legal evidence work is causing problems for robo-cop traffic enforcement. See deails:

  5. breaker says:

    Bruce Hallman is a 'bicycle activist' (anti-car) and an infuriatingly pedantic irrational troll. He's taken up destructively editing wikipedia under the name saltyboatr and he won't be missed here.

  6. FrankieJ says:

    Just because some one is a bicycle activist does not make them anti-car. There is an excellent to avoid giving these entities your money. Just pay attention to the road.