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.

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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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