How Effective Are Red Light Cameras?

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By: Mike Springer
May 10, 2013

Tallahassee, FL-Red light cameras are scattered throughout Tallahassee. The City says the cameras are all about keeping you safe.

"Running a red light puts people's lives at risk," said Michelle Bono, a spokeswoman for the City of Tallahassee.

The City uses 19 cameras at 7 different intersections. It says crashes are down 22 percent overall at those spots.

"People are definitely heeding the notice and saying, yes, we are going to be more careful," said Bono.

But according to the City's latest crash report, rear-end collisions are up at 3 of the 6 intersections.

While Monroe and Tennessee saw no change in its rear-end collisions, Apalachee Parkway and Magnolia saw the biggest increase.

Rear-end crash rose there from 19 to 24 between 2010 to 2011. T-bones are also up at 3 of the 6 over the same timeframe with Monroe and Tennessee faring the worse.

However, the total number of T-bone crashes at those intersections is down 60 percent overall. It fell from 15 to 6 after the cameras were installed, according to the City.

The only intersection to see significant drop in both rear-end and T-bone collisions was Capital Circle SE and Apalachee. Rear-end crashes dropped from 47 to 22 and T-bone crashes decreased from 3 to 1 after the cameras were installed.

Crash data for Mahan and Capital Circle NE is not available at this time.

"We don't have the ability to have hospital records and all the information that would show you injuries. But it certainly shows there's a decrease in those T-Bone type accidents," said Bono.

How much money are the cameras actually bringing in? In a 2012 audit, the City projected the cameras to generate between $1 to $2 million dollars annually. In 2011, the City pocketed roughly $650,000 dollars from the cameras. In 2012, it made just over $75,000. Most of the profit from went to the vendor ACS.

" We knew all along once people understood the program, started stopping, that the revenue would drop," said Bono.

Right now, the City of Tallahassee says it doesn't plan to add any more cameras for the time being.

However the City says it could take the cameras down all together if they're no longer profitable.

The City will have to decide by August of 2015 if it wants to renew its contract with ACS.

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