Study: Red light camera program is making intersections safer

Updated: 08/22/2014 5:11 PM
Created: 08/22/2014 4:50 PM WHEC.com
By: Rachel Spotts

You either love them or hate them. Red light cameras usually prompt some kind of opinion from drivers. Opponents say they're just a money-grab for the City but the City says they promote safety.

The study found that people tend to be more cautious when driving through intersections with red light cameras. The number of crashes are down almost 40-percent but is it really changing driver's habits? City officials say yes.

Drive through the intersection at Alexander Street and Monroe Avenue and you'll see a red light camera. It's one of the 38 intersections that the across the city monitored by cameras.

City leaders say the goal is to increase safety by issuing tickets for anyone who runs a red light. Now, for the first time, concrete numbers show it is working.

City of Rochester Engineer James McIntosh said, “Some cameras have been in since November of 2010, so I think they really say that you need about three years of data before you can really see something, so on those, we were certainly able to go three years before and three years after.”

The study by SRF Associates shows overall crashes dropped by 38-percent at red light camera intersections. Collisions caused by disregarding the red light dropped 72-percent and accidents with injury are down 81-percent. McIntosh said, “We continue to get people not stopping but certainly a lot fewer than we had in the past.

Drivers caught on camera running the red lights receive a $50 ticket in the mail and a photo and video of their car at the time of the infraction.

This report is only a draft. We’re told it likely won't be finalized until October and after that, City Council will decide whether or not to continue the program.

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