California: Accidents Increase at Photo Enforced Intersections

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
california accidents increase at photo enforced intersections

The city council in Highland, California decided three years ago to allow an Australian company, Redflex Traffic Systems, issue tickets at two intersections. Nearly 4300 “violations” have been generated since August 2008, each worth nearly $500. A committee of the council opened debate yesterday on whether the automated ticketing machine contract should be renewed. When the same question was debated last year, officials focused on safety.

“We’ve seen a reduction in serious traffic collisions where the cameras were installed,” Highland City Manager Joe Hughes told the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper in May.

More complete data show that this statement was not true and that red light cameras have had no clear, positive impact on intersection safety in Highland. The claim regarding “serious accidents” is undermined by the city’s current admission that accidents at the photo enforced intersections have always tended to be minor.

“Before and after the installation of the red light cameras we have had very few injury accidents at these intersections,” an April 12 presentation by Highland Police Captain Dave Williams stated. “Most accidents are non-injury.”

At the intersection of Highland Avenue and Victoria Avenue, the average number of accidents in the three years before installation of cameras was 7.7 per year. In the two full years following installation, the average increased 23 percent to 9.5. The raw number of injury accidents increased from 2 to 3 over the same periods. At Base Line Street and Sterling Avenue the accident rate was 5.7 prior to camera use and 8.5 after the devices were installed — a 50 percent increase. Injury accidents also increased from 2 to 4.

The small overall number of accidents makes it difficult to draw statistically significant conclusions, but the figures also show that Highland moved to install the red light cameras at Base Line Street and Sterling Avenue even though no accident at the location had ever been attributed by police investigators to red light running. At Highland Avenue and Victoria Avenue, there were just two such accidents in three-and-a-half years.

The city presentation suggests that because accidents in 2010 were not quite as high as in 2009 that collisions are “reverting back to normal levels” because drivers are becoming accustomed to the presence of the cameras. At the same time, accidents nationwide are down to an all-time low because of high unemployment and high gas prices have reduced the amount of driving.


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  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Apr 13, 2011

    Californians, watch your asses. Your state government is broke, and probably also your city and county governments. They see every citizen as a potential source of fines and taxes. Maybe I should have said "every driver".

  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Apr 13, 2011

    On Long Island, New York, Nassau County has just completed a 100 intersection scamera system. At $50 per, the cash strapped county is milking its residents. All I can say is "Destroy"

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.