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(Phys Org2)   Study shows red light cameras don't reduce accidents or injuries but do waste drivers' time and money   (phys.org) divider line
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1357 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Nov 2020 at 6:35 PM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-11-24 6:01:05 PM  
If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.
 
2020-11-24 6:13:33 PM  
They don't seem to be having any effect on me at all
 
2020-11-24 6:19:52 PM  
When they installed a red light camera near my office, they also shortened the turn arrow and yellow light times.

Pretty much it's all about revenue and not safety. And the private company that runs it gets most of the revenue.
 
2020-11-24 6:21:20 PM  
preview.redd.itView Full Size
 
2020-11-24 6:40:31 PM  

edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.


In Chicago, a red light used to mean "4 more cars!"

That stopped after red light cameras were installed. Most intersections did not have the cameras, but the behavior changed drastically.
 
2020-11-24 6:41:30 PM  

edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.


They put up a few red light cameras on my commute last year. According to my dashcam the week before they put them up they reduced the yellow light time from five seconds to three seconds. Three seconds a lot of times isn't enough time to safely stop when you're doing 55 in a 55 especially during traffic when there's someone tailgating you.

But yeah, those cameras are totally for public safety and not to line the pockets of city councilmen who approved it.
 
2020-11-24 6:43:11 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-11-24 6:45:12 PM  
Honestly? The standard two streets crossing at 90 degrees from each other is extremely inefficient. Roundabouts and diverging diamonds are much better for traffic flow.
 
2020-11-24 6:46:00 PM  
I think the reason most white people hate red light & speed cameras is because they (the cameras) are color blind. There's no white privilege.
 
2020-11-24 6:48:59 PM  

I just lurk here: I think the reason most white people hate red light & speed cameras is because they (the cameras) are color blind. There's no white privilege.


Black Uber driver in Denver told me: I get pulled over 3 or 4 times a month and it's ok, because I'm not doing anything wrong.
 
2020-11-24 6:49:28 PM  
I don't know about the safety stats but my local red light camera has caused many a grocery scattering.
 
2020-11-24 6:50:33 PM  

iheartscotch: Honestly? The standard two streets crossing at 90 degrees from each other is extremely inefficient. Roundabouts and diverging diamonds are much better for traffic flow.


There was an article not too long ago about a town that replaced traffic lights with roundabouts, and found a drastic reduction in accidents and an increase in efficiency.
 
2020-11-24 6:52:13 PM  

I just lurk here: I think the reason most white people hate red light & speed cameras is because they (the cameras) are color blind. There's no white privilege.


I could buy that.

For me, it's more that it's an automatic ticket, whether or not I have a good excuse (light never changed because a single car was not enough to trigger the light, for example). At least if I got pulled over, I could potentially avoid the ticket without having to go to court to fight it.
 
2020-11-24 6:52:21 PM  
Damn, how many studies are needed to point out the obvious?
 
2020-11-24 6:53:25 PM  
Last study I read it increased rear accidents.
 
2020-11-24 6:56:58 PM  
If the camera were to be more obvious, that would help safety but reduce income.

Let's see what they prioritise.
 
2020-11-24 7:06:52 PM  
The only people I consistently see blatantly run red lights are the cops (and they most certainly aren't going to get a ticket for it). Pretty much every other time I see it, it's either someone accelerating to just make it and coming up a tiny bit short (how many people can honestly say they've -never- done that), or it's something like 4AM with no traffic anywhere in sight on a slow road, and... yeah. Neither of these are exactly giant safety hazards.
 
2020-11-24 7:07:31 PM  
I suspect the real problem is not the tool, but those who use it. If the real reason is to raise money then the odds of it being effective for public safety are nil. But that is also true most anything.

Maybe traffic fines should  donated for foreign aid. It certainly mean that any fines would not be motivated by extracting money from the driver.
 
2020-11-24 7:15:31 PM  

fnordfocus: When they installed a red light camera near my office, they also shortened the turn arrow and yellow light times.

Pretty much it's all about revenue and not safety. And the private company that runs it gets most of the revenue.


That's just the beginning of the sleaze.  They also re-time the lights so you miss as many as possible, get frustrated, and run one.
 
2020-11-24 7:18:06 PM  

edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.


More accidents
 
2020-11-24 7:21:05 PM  

jaytkay: edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.

In Chicago, a red light used to mean "4 more cars!"

That stopped after red light cameras were installed. Most intersections did not have the cameras, but the behavior changed drastically.


We also had the shortened yellows to deal with
 
2020-11-24 7:26:55 PM  

Nhojwolfe: Last study I read it increased rear accidents.


Pooping your pants?
 
2020-11-24 7:28:47 PM  

edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.


Haha. You loveable and absolutely gullible rube. You think, honestly and for even a picosecond, that the purpose of red light cameras is to prevent accidents? Were you born at night? Was it last night?

The purpose of red light cameras is money. Pure and simple. To extract money out of the population, let whatever private corporation operates the red light cameras skim their share off the top, then let the police department and/or the city line their coffers with what remains. That is the only purpose for them.

Oh, and I guess a secondary purpose is to punish the poor for being poor, since any action which is punishable by a fine basically means "legal for rich people, punishment for poor people".

Still, though. But you know, your naivete is refreshing in our hypercapitalist hellscape.To imagine that the state cares about the wellbeing of you and I, and not just about squeezing every cent out of the poors.
 
2020-11-24 7:29:24 PM  
I'm guessing subby's a Libertarian.
 
2020-11-24 7:34:06 PM  

chitownmike: jaytkay: edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.

In Chicago, a red light used to mean "4 more cars!"

That stopped after red light cameras were installed. Most intersections did not have the cameras, but the behavior changed drastically.

We also had the shortened yellows to deal with


Yeah - the combination of the cameras AND the short yellows made things more dangerous than they were previously.  I grew up in a suburb neighboring Chicago, and the difference between suburban yellow lights and Chicago yellow lights was very noticeable.

(It also was obvious when you were in the city because the old sodium lights were such a different color.)
 
2020-11-24 7:56:30 PM  
Red light or speed cameras are stupid. If it was a safety issue put points on a license. I'm also concerned that they make it impossible for defendants to have their fair day in court. Law enforcement should not be about squeezing money from people. Also, traffic fines are too high in general.

/Cop
 
2020-11-24 7:57:59 PM  
We have red light cameras and the incidents of running the light has gone down tremendously. Interesting because most of the civilians don't know that most of the cameras are not active. Some are, but very few.
 
2020-11-24 8:02:41 PM  
Cameras were never about public safety, they were only ever about raising revenue.
 
2020-11-24 8:03:12 PM  

jaytkay: edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.

In Chicago, a red light used to mean "4 more cars!"

That stopped after red light cameras were installed. Most intersections did not have the cameras, but the behavior changed drastically.


This isn't bullshiat. One of the first things you learned driving here was you didn't go when the light turned green unless you wanted to die.

Red light camera stopped that nonsense.
 
2020-11-24 8:03:52 PM  

SaintAnky: Red light or speed cameras are stupid. If it was a safety issue put points on a license. I'm also concerned that they make it impossible for defendants to have their fair day in court. Law enforcement should not be about squeezing money from people. Also, traffic fines are too high in general.


I would prefer this except you can't see the driver's license with a red light camera, so you don't know who to give the points to.
 
jvl [BareFark]
2020-11-24 8:11:02 PM  
In my part of California, about 20 years back morons started deciding to go later and later into the red. Just jaw-dropingly late. My brother lost his pickup to a moron by "foolishly" going on green.  Dude was so late that even on a 35 mph road with plenty of yellow and a one-second pause between red and green, there was enough time for my brother to move completely into the intersection before the moron entered the intersection.

They added cams to a small number of intersections, and the problem of total morons went away.  I drive through a cam every day and somehow have never been ticketed.
 
2020-11-24 8:12:55 PM  
If it were about safety, then they wouldn't hide the cameras.

If it were about safety, they wouldn't use plain-clothes traffic cops.
 
2020-11-24 8:17:28 PM  
1.bp.blogspot.comView Full Size
 
2020-11-24 8:30:21 PM  

Nhojwolfe: Last study I read it increased rear accidents.


I got popped for slowly carefully going through a yellow light at 3 in the morning with no traffic around

.6 seconds too late

also got caught by a real cop slowly following cars and didn't quite make the access point

took what was was actually a fairly useful driving course in terms of how local laws work

now I either stop or accelerate no more proceeding with caution
 
2020-11-24 8:39:28 PM  
Remember its all about $afety.
 
2020-11-24 8:48:06 PM  

chitownmike: jaytkay: edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.

In Chicago, a red light used to mean "4 more cars!"

That stopped after red light cameras were installed. Most intersections did not have the cameras, but the behavior changed drastically.

We also had the shortened yellows to deal with


They did not shorten the yellow lights in Chicago.
 
jvl [BareFark]
2020-11-24 9:18:36 PM  

PirateKing: If it were about safety, then they wouldn't hide the cameras.

If it were about safety, they wouldn't use plain-clothes traffic cops.


If you assert something, it must be true.
 
2020-11-24 9:21:22 PM  

edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.


No, because they change things like the length of the yellow to make sure that violations remain the same.  Some contracts require the city to pay the contractor more if violations fall below a certain level.
So no, your theory is wrong.
 
2020-11-24 9:26:54 PM  

shinji3i: edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.

They put up a few red light cameras on my commute last year. According to my dashcam the week before they put them up they reduced the yellow light time from five seconds to three seconds. Three seconds a lot of times isn't enough time to safely stop when you're doing 55 in a 55 especially during traffic when there's someone tailgating you.

But yeah, those cameras are totally for public safety and not to line the pockets of city councilmen who approved it.


I got a red light ticket at an intersection where the yellow was short enough that you often couldn't stop when it changed.  In my case, the light was green when I entered the intersection, it turned yellow then red before I could get across a five lane cross-road at the posted speed limit!  Then the city sent the ticket to my old address. The USPS returned it "not at this address". The city sent it to the same address, got returned. Mind you, in Oregon, you have 30 days to change your address at DMV, which I had done before the ticket was issued the first time.  Finally, after adding penalties and interest and scheduling me for court, the notice got to my new home.  The judge looked at the video, saw what had happened, including just my rear bumper was still in the intersection when the light turned red.  He cancelled the penalties and interest and gave me 30 days to do online training instead of paying the fine.

Which I did. Every page told me I couldn't have read the material so fast and made me wait long enough for the average mouth-breather to read the page.

But, yeah, it's all about safety.
 
2020-11-24 10:56:43 PM  

jaytkay: edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.

In Chicago, a red light used to mean "4 more cars!"

That stopped after red light cameras were installed. Most intersections did not have the cameras, but the behavior changed drastically.


And that's exactly the type of behavior they were intended to stop. You can't really use accident figures to show the effectiveness of the cameras in these situations because they do it within the first second or two of the red, when the other side hasn't started into the intersection yet.

Now for cities that shortened the yellow time in conjunction with the cameras, that's a whole other story.
 
2020-11-25 12:28:52 AM  

edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.


I know this is Fark, but you could have read the article.  The cameras changed behavior.  Just not for the better.  There were the same number of overall accidents with the same degree of severity.  Just more rear-end collisions, and fewer t-bones.  The biggest impact the cameras had was to make more people waste more time in traffic, which reduced overall quality of life.
 
2020-11-25 1:06:12 AM  

Rereading TekWar: fnordfocus: When they installed a red light camera near my office, they also shortened the turn arrow and yellow light times.

Pretty much it's all about revenue and not safety. And the private company that runs it gets most of the revenue.

That's just the beginning of the sleaze.  They also re-time the lights so you miss as many as possible, get frustrated, and run one.


The worst case of this I've ever seen was in DC, when I was living in Takoma Park.  On North Capitol, as you're leaving the city, there's about a 2 mile stretch after Michigan Ave. where there are no lights, cross streets, pedestrian traffic, or shoulders.  It's kind of like a little stretch of freeway in the city, except the speed limit is like 30mph or something ridiculous, and there's a combo speed/red light camera at the next intersection, Taylor Ave which has a notoriously long cycle.

So of course, what everyone does is drive a perfectly safe and reasonable 60-ish mph after crossing Michigan to try to make the light at Taylor, slowing down just before the light to avoid tripping the speed camera there and still make the light.

So the cops/traffic engineers, to be utter farking pricks,

a. set the Taylor Ave light to show you a green if you approach from the south, and
b. set up a radar system to detect your speed as you approach the Taylor Ave intersection, and purposefully change the light at the precise panic moment where you can only make the light before it changes by speeding through it.

And before you call me paranoid, I commuted along the route 5 nights a week late at night for about 3 years, and tested the theory pretty exhaustively.  Never once in all of that time did I make it home without having to sit through the Taylor Ave. light.  Moreover, my commute was exactly 4.7 miles, and I passed no fewer than 11 speed-red light cameras between work and my house, including two that were mobile and would change positions every month or so.  I never got a ticket, but I've never seen a more goldbricking, money-grubbing community than that in my farking life.
 
2020-11-25 1:40:52 AM  
IIRC, there was a study that showed lengthening the yellow and having a short interval where all lights were red during a change drastically reduced accidents and red light running. So much so that red light cameras would be uneconomical.
 
2020-11-25 4:45:48 AM  

dready zim: If the camera were to be more obvious, that would help safety but reduce income.

Let's see what they prioritise.


We only have a couple of RLCs where I live, but they seem obvious to me.  They're in big boxes on poles around two of the more major intersections and there are signs.

They didn't reduce the yellow light times either.

Anecdotally, there did seem to be more accidents in the first 6 months or so after they were installed, but now that they've been there for years, the problems seem to have shifted down the street towards intersections with no RLCs.
 
2020-11-25 8:28:53 AM  

jvl: PirateKing: If it were about safety, then they wouldn't hide the cameras.

If it were about safety, they wouldn't use plain-clothes traffic cops.

If you assert something, it must be true.


You're right. I have failed to account for the intellectual laziness of the average internet rando.
 
2020-11-25 9:55:22 AM  

My Sober Alt: dready zim: If the camera were to be more obvious, that would help safety but reduce income.

Let's see what they prioritise.

We only have a couple of RLCs where I live, but they seem obvious to me.  They're in big boxes on poles around two of the more major intersections and there are signs.

They didn't reduce the yellow light times either.

Anecdotally, there did seem to be more accidents in the first 6 months or so after they were installed, but now that they've been there for years, the problems seem to have shifted down the street towards intersections with no RLCs.


Sounds like, once they were noticed and were in the collective knowledge, the obvious cameras reduced accidents.
 
2020-11-25 10:10:13 AM  

fnordfocus: When they installed a red light camera near my office, they also shortened the turn arrow and yellow light times.

Pretty much it's all about revenue and not safety. And the private company that runs it gets most of the revenue.


Same here, in Toledo.

When I was in college, I always took the same route. Then they put in a red-light camera. Suddenly, yellow got really short- from the legally mandated 5 seconds to 3. I was at that intersection every morning for a year before that, it clearly was shortened. They also cut the turn arrow from a full green length to half.
 
2020-11-25 11:54:04 AM  

edmo: If behavior is not changing, that tells me the cost is not high enough. Raise the fines and see what happens.


You seem to be missing the fact that the cameras don't actually help.  They replace accidents in the intersection with accidents before the intersection and produce no net benefit, either in number or severity.

fnordfocus: When they installed a red light camera near my office, they also shortened the turn arrow and yellow light times.

Pretty much it's all about revenue and not safety. And the private company that runs it gets most of the revenue.


Exactly.  Cameras don't make economic sense unless there's something wrong with the intersection.  If there's a problem with the intersection, fix it!  Cameras are never the answer.

shinji3i: But yeah, those cameras are totally for public safety and not to line the pockets of city councilmen who approved it.


I don't think it's so much about their pockets, as about revenue without tax increases.

SaintAnky: Red light or speed cameras are stupid. If it was a safety issue put points on a license. I'm also concerned that they make it impossible for defendants to have their fair day in court. Law enforcement should not be about squeezing money from people. Also, traffic fines are too high in general.

/Cop


If the cameras record a video of the offense you can have a fair day in court.  I do not want to be accused by a robot whose testimony is impossible to check (the most common example being the radar gun picking up the wrong target), but a video of the actual scene (of the real light, not of an indicator in the camera!) allows independent determination of the offense (and the yellow time.)

trerro: The only people I consistently see blatantly run red lights are the cops (and they most certainly aren't going to get a ticket for it). Pretty much every other time I see it, it's either someone accelerating to just make it and coming up a tiny bit short (how many people can honestly say they've -never- done that), or it's something like 4AM with no traffic anywhere in sight on a slow road, and... yeah. Neither of these are exactly giant safety hazards.


Most red light tickets aren't even issued for actually "running" the light, but to right turners.  Watch how people actually behave when there's a line of cars turning right on red.  One car moves forward as far as it can without entering the cross traffic flow.  When it's clear that car goes and the next moves up to that position.  The stop line is ignored.  Any human watching can see what's happening and that it's safe behavior.  The camera tickets people.

PirateKing: If it were about safety, then they wouldn't hide the cameras.

If it were about safety, they wouldn't use plain-clothes traffic cops.


No--the point is you don't know whether you could be ticketed in the current situation, thus you behave safely always rather than just when you see a cop or camera.

natazha: I got a red light ticket at an intersection where the yellow was short enough that you often couldn't stop when it changed. In my case, the light was green when I entered the intersection, it turned yellow then red before I could get across a five lane cross-road at the posted speed limit!


I've gotten one red-light ticket and it was in a situation where it was impossible to avoid.  The road was completely open for me, I was going to turn left.  I knew the green was old so I held my speed as long as I reasonably could (obviously, I wasn't actually going to make the turn at the 45 mph of the street.)  I'm approaching, in the turn lane, looking at a **green** light when I start to brake.  The light goes yellow, then red--I thought I had entered the intersection by then (which is all that's required by local law), the cop said otherwise.  At the point the light went yellow I was way within minimum stopping distance--hitting the brakes harder wasn't an option.  Not hitting the brakes would mean losing control on the turn.  Going straight would have been a head-on into the opposing turners.  Zero options.  Somebody has successfully pointed out the problem with the old rules, I don't know if that has turned into corrected yellow timings, though--I'm sure there has been a lot of resistance.
 
2020-11-25 3:04:02 PM  
I pay close attention to the countdown when approaching our red light camera.  So if the light's green and the count is low I can judge if I need to slow down.  Without the count that intersection would be pretty stressful.  I actually prefer the cameras...at least the ones in my area are way more reliable than cops.  The last time I got a red light ticket from a cop I was certain it was yellow and took it to court.  The one time I got a camera ticket it came with pics and it was clear I ran the light, I had no problem with that.
 
jvl [BareFark]
2020-11-25 3:57:56 PM  

PirateKing: You're right. I have failed to account for the intellectual laziness of the average internet rando.


Your intellectual laziness in asserting something controversial without supporting argument or evidence was justified by.... the intellectual laziness of readers?  Weird; I just thought you wanted to leave open your ability to move the goalposts by not actually installing them in the first place.
 
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