Study: Red Light Camera Stats Show No Impact on Accidents

By: Tallahassee Reports; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Tallahassee Reports; Lanetra Bennett Email

Updated by Lanetra Bennett 3-17

A Tallahassee intersection monitored by red light cameras has seen an increase in traffic crashes.

This is raising concern for drivers who travel that stretch of road everyday.

The first camera was installed at The intersection of Capital Circle Northeast and Killearn Center Boulevard. But there have been more reported accidents since the cameras were installed.

This makes some drivers question the safety and necessity of the cameras.

Tallahassee motorist Steve Norris said, "It's a very dangerous situation when people start running these lights."

That's why the City of Tallahassee began its Red Light Camera Safety Program.

But, the fact that the number of accidents have gone up at the intersection of Killearn Center Boulevard and Capital Circle Northeast have some drivers thinking red light cameras do more harm than good.

Tallahassee motorist Brett Vincent said, "I know I find myself when I go through there kind of try to make a different judgment. If it's still green, I'm still kind of weary about going through the intersection just because of it. So, I can definitely see where that could be a problem for some people."

Killearn Center Boulevard/Capital Circle was the first intersection to get a red light camera.

Since that first camera installation in August 2010, there have been five crashes reported at that intersection.

Before the cameras, during the same time period the year before, there were three crashes.

"Personally, I don't think it's because of the cameras." Said, Norris.

City administrators say a factor that has changed in that area is the increase of traffic volume because of the new I-10 exit.

Some drivers say knowing a camera is there makes them slam on brakes, which can cause an accident.

Norris said, "If that happens, they're probably going too fast to start with and that means the car behind them is following too close so they can't stop in time. If you get up there and the light's yellow, you can certainly continue right on through. But, if you got enough time to stop, you need to stop. I still think that cameras are a wonderful thing."

City administrators say this six month period is not enough to make a complete assessment as to whether the cameras promote safety.

Administrators say several cities eventually saw a decline in crashes, like Aventura, Florida, where there was a drop by 200 over a three-year period.

City administrators say they expect there'll be a decrease in Tallahassee as well.

Administrators say there were 172 red light violations in one day at that same intersection during their testing phase before installing the cameras.

Now, they say, it's down to an average of nine violations a day.

City officials say the total number of violations at the two cameras at Capital Circle/Killearn Center Blvd. is 1,068.

Because the full $158 from each violation fine does not go to the city, the City of Tallahassee netted $33,500 from those violations at that intersection.


Tallahassee, Florida -- March 17, 2011 --

The red light camera program implemented by the City of Tallahassee was promoted as a way to increase safety at dangerous intersections. A recent national study concluded that the program was making intersections safer. Based on this premise, the City began installing red light cameras across the city. Currently there are 17 red light cameras installed at 6 intersections.

Others have argued that the program is just a way for the City to raise more revenue in tough economic times. The City has budgeted to raise approximately $500,000 through the red light camera program. This money goes into the City’s general fund.

Tallahassee Reports requested traffic accident data for the intersection of Killearn Center Blvd. and Capital Circle NE. This was the first intersection to have a red light camera installed.

More on this story can be found at Tallahassee Reports.

Stay with WCTV for more on this story later this evening.

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  • by aka rc Location: St. Marks on Mar 18, 2011 at 10:19 AM
    I would like to know what "study" Tallahassee used to make their decision. Since most studies demonstrate that "crashes increase" at these intersections and many communities stopped using them for that reason! And why the cities that were violating state law by using them when they were already illegal were allowed to keep using them and use failure to pay tickets as an excuse to put liens on cars and homes. Why when Christ as attorney general stated they were against the law and then as governor allowed the law to pass. Why nobody has mentioned Goldman Sachs investment in redlight camera companies has never been mentioned? And why studies that show that extending the yellow light fractionally "does" reduce crashes has not been mentioned. The city of Tallahassee cant plead ignorance because we have spent two years providing them with this info. Want to know the truth? Follow the money. Type red light cameras in the search box here and prepare to get angry at this total charade that puts dollars above lives! rc
  • by ReefDweller Location: Tallahassee on Mar 18, 2011 at 09:06 AM
    The safety problem with individuals running red lights does not occur at 5:00 in the afternoon when vehicles reach a maximum speed of 20 mph, rather it occurs during none rush hour times when vehicles are traveling at posted speed limits or higher and run red lights. The red light cameras have been placed in the highest traffic areas and typically capture violations during rush hour. This is like shooting fish in a barrel; the city and state pad their pockets and use safety as reasons. I am sure the increased accidents are as a result of the cameras, and I am willing to bet they are minor in property damage, "fender benders." PROVE US WRONG CITY & STATE
  • by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2011 at 07:41 AM
    Take'em Down!!!!!! The people who believe these cameras are an asset would agree to paying taxes to relieve thmselves in rest rooms.
  • by Lip Cheese on Mar 18, 2011 at 06:57 AM
    I was standing if front of one of those cameras and it flashed while I was looking at a bird sitting on it. I now see spots and am visiting a Lawyer this morning. I am going to sue the vendors, the city, state and federal Government for losing my sight. I am also feeling weak today as a result of this incident. They should have thought of public safety before they installed such bright flashes. And by the way Anonymous on Mar 18, 2011 at 09:09 AM, I had the same thing happen, really miffed the lady behind me. She called me something I cannot put in here.
    • reply
      by Chuck on Mar 18, 2011 at 07:16 AM in reply to Lip Cheese
      Try slowing down before entering the intersection. I get tired of hearing excuses. ALL lights have a built in delay from yellow to red so quit fibbing about it. If you are driving with caution as you approach the intersection (yes, that means to slow down), there should be no need to slam on your brakes.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2011 at 06:09 AM
    I almost got a ticket this morning because the light turned from yellow to red so fast i didnt know what to do so I slammed on my brakes for fear of getting a ticket. the guy behind me almost hit me and very mad back there cussing and flinging his arms everywhere
  • by @gram on Mar 18, 2011 at 05:53 AM
    you missed my sarcasm...
  • by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2011 at 05:45 AM
    Just because you see a flash doesn't mean a photo was taken of an infraction and that a ticket will be issued. Use some common sense. If you abide by the rules of the road then the cameras are nothing more than a piece of metal and plastic on the side of the road. I don't even realize they are there because I am not worrying about them.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2011 at 05:35 AM
    Hey Bill, pay attention. You sound like you are someone with the city that wanted these camaras up. I personally sat last week and watched 5 cars have their pic taken when going through a green light. Does these camaras just take pics all the time?? Why are they taking pics of cars going through the green lights or are the flashes just a way to release energy by the camaras??
  • by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2011 at 05:31 AM
    The city was told that this would happen before they spent the money to put up the camaras. When will the commissoners start to listen to experts and stop listening to the few whiners. Come on. Let stop this farce and save our tax money.
    • reply
      by Danno on Mar 18, 2011 at 06:01 AM in reply to
      The city did not spend one red cent to install the cameras. A private vendor agreed to foot the bill in return for a percentage of the fines collected. The percentage that they receive is reduced in the second or third year of the program.
  • by Surprise Location: leon county on Mar 18, 2011 at 04:05 AM
    When anf if? I hope all the moneys gained by this has to be paid back plus interest. In the mean time I'm gonna work to vote out all that signed on to this extortion of We the Peoples moneys. GRrrrrrrrrrr.
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