Although independent studies have shown a link between the use of photo enforcement equipment and a statistically significant increase in the number of collisions, opponents of photo radar have produced few concrete examples of these incidents. In Arizona, the group CameraFraud.com has begun using freedom of information laws to get its hands on examples of accidents that would not have happened but for the presence of a speed camera van (view studies).
At around March 17th at about 4 p.m. a gray 2005 Ford SUV was driving on State Route 202 passing through the city of Gilbert. Traffic was light on the six-lane, 65 MPH freeway on a clear and bright day. When the 32-year-old Ford driver saw a speed camera van up ahead, he slammed on his brakes and slowed to just 35 MPH — a common reaction near cameras as drivers seek to avoid receiving an expensive citation in the mail.
At the same time, a 22-year-old in a red 2008 Pontiac G6 was following behind without speeding, according to police estimates. The Pontiac driver briefly looked away from the car in front of her so that she could change lanes to the right. She did not expect the car ahead to suddenly scrub drop its speed by 30 MPH. As a result, the two cars collided just a few yards from a Redflex speed camera van.
Such incidents are quite common. A 2007 study by Arizona State University concluded that there was a 54-percent increase in rear-end collisions and a 9-percent increase in injuries from rear-end collision on the Loop 101 freeway during the state’s first experiment with automated freeway ticketing. The study’s author, paid by the city of Scottsdale, dismissed the significance of this finding by saying, “Increases in rear-end crashes are traded for reductions in other crash types.”
According to a comprehensive British Medical Journal study published in 2006, that trade-off may not actually be worth making. The report found that police claims of a safety benefit from the use of speed cameras turned out to be false. To the contrary, an examination of actual hospital records showed an increase in the number of patients admitted from road accidents following the widespread introduction of automated ticketing machines in England (view study).
A copy of the accident report obtained by CameraFraud is available in a 400k PDF file at the link below.