Commentary

Red light camerasógood at raising revenue, not so good at reducing accidents

They’ve generated nearly $3 million, but

Red light cameras in Anne Arundel County, Maryland failed to reduce accidents in five years of use. A set of five cameras were set up in the communities of Arnold, Pasadena, Parole, and Crofton in 2000, but a comparison of accident statistics five years before and five years after their installation shows accidents have increased beyond the ten percent increase in traffic volume. Upon installation, the cameras caused an immediate 40 percent increase in rear-end collisions from 53 in 1999 to 74 in 2000. Overall accidents were up between 25 percent and 41 percent from 107 in 1999 to 134 in 2001 and 151 in 2002.

According to this piece from The Newspaper, Virginia and West Virginia have recently ended the practice of photo-ticketing. For a round-up of red light camera studies, go here. For more on regulating for revenue/government greed, go here, here, and here (note: parking cops are “revenue enhancers,” not “congestion cutters,” “pollution reducers,” or anything that has to do with the efficient use of curb space for shoppers, residents, etc.) In other highway news, an Ohio lawmaker introduced a bill that would stiffen fines for “urine bombs.” The bill comes in response to an Ohio DOT study that found that each year nearly 1 million containers of urine are dumped along roads. Article here; via Fark.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.