Fix The Problem, Not Your Budget (National Stop on Red Week)

September 2002

National Stop On Red Week should be renamed “get a ticket camera and make money.” This is a public relations device used to promote the use of red light cameras and raise revenue for unethical cities, while ignoring proven solutions that reduce accidents.

Actual experience has shown that the most likely solution to intersections with high rates of violations is a simple increase in the yellow light duration. Yet, ticket camera merchants and revenue-strapped cities refuse to apply this inexpensive engineering solution. They prefer to apply cameras that reward the city for poor engineering practices.

Every study that supports red light cameras has been discredited. It has been shown in each instance where red light cameras were credited to have decreased accidents, that the real cause was an engineering improvement to the intersection. Even the AAA has stated that engineering solutions should be the preferred method of decreasing violations.

But something as simple as increasing the yellow light duration has continually been rebuffed in favor of profit.

Ticket cameras greatest practical harm is that they reward and perpetuate improper installation, maintenance and operation of traffic lights. Motorists should not be penalized and cities rewarded because cities have failed their responsibility to provide safe, properly engineered intersections. Ticket cameras cannot correct traffic signal flaws and they do not eliminate intersection accidents.