Some Californian Cities Shut Down Red-Light Cameras as Research Raises Safety Concerns

Mar 13, 16 by Jorian Goes

Some Californian Cities Shut Down Red-Light Cameras as Research Raises Safety Concerns

Californian officials and law enforcement officers often claim that red-light cameras increase traffic safety. The increased revenue is just a bonus. But independent research into California’s red-light camera programs shows otherwise.

California Red Light Program Brings in Big Dollars

In a now famous investigative report conducted by Los Angeles report David Goldstein it was revealed that 20 of the 32 L.A. intersections equipped with a red-light camera actually saw an increase in traffic accidents. Some of these intersections actually saw their accident rates triple after cameras were installed.

The particularly disturbing part of the Goldstein’s report had less to do with what he discovered and more to do with how he discovered it. Goldstein had to pay the LAPD $500 to pull the red-light camera intersection data off their computers. The fact that the data came off of Police Department computers suggests that the LAPD were likely aware that traffic accidents were on the rise at red-light camera intersections, while the excessive fee suggests they might have been trying to hide this from the public. Revenue—it appears—was more important than safety.

Expensive and Excessive Red Light Cameras Must Go!

Yet there are reports out there that seem to show that red-light cameras do decrease red-light violations. These reports are usually not as straightforward as they appear. Take for instance the 2002 San Diego report that claimed red-light cameras had significantly decreased red-light violations. Two things should be noted about this report.

“First, it was funded—like many of these positive reports are—by the people who benefit from red-light cameras at the expense of drivers.”

In this case, the San Diego report was funded by what amounts to a red-light camera lobbyist. Other reports are often funded by the governments that benefit the most from the additional revenue. Second, it turns out that the red-light cameras had nothing to do with the decrease. It was a longer yellow-light that decreased the red-light violations. The report writers just buried this fact deep in the report to trick readers into crediting red-light cameras with the decrease.

Some California communities have gotten wise to the red-light camera scam. By 2014, 60 Californian cities and counties—mostly in the Southern California—had ended their red-light camera programs as accidents increased. Yet not every California community has come to the same conclusion. There are still 46 Californian cities and counties that use red-light cameras as of March 2016.

Ban the Red Light Cameras Statewide

There have been efforts in the California State Assembly to issue a state-wide ban on red-light cameras. In 2015, Assemblyman Matthew Harper proposed a bill that would have prohibited the installation of red-light cameras throughout the state. Unfortunately, the allure of red-light camera revenue and tweaked safety reports were enough to keep the threat of red-light cameras alive and well in California.

If you or someone you know has been hit with a ticket from these unfair and unsafe red-light traffic programs, then contact Ticket Snipers—California’s most efficient and effective legal group—and let’s help you beat that ticket.