Crashes Up At Photo Enforced Intersections - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/16/07

Crashes Up At Photo Enforced Intersections

Overall crashes are down 5.5 percent across Lubbock, but traffic accidents are up at intersections with red light cameras.

Two citizen groups studied the 12 intersections for three months. They compared their numbers to the same period last year, before cameras were installed.

Total crashes at intersections with red light cameras increased between July and September 30th of last year from 93 to 140 during the same period this year. Rear end collisions at those same intersections nearly doubled, going from 42 to 80.

The good news, however, is that the total number of injuries at those intersections is down, going from 28 to 22.

NewsChannel 11 spoke with Lubbock City Council Members about the findings, and they have different opinions on the study.  Councilman John Leonard says the study reflects what's already been proven, but Councilman Floyd Price says the problem is not the cameras.

"It was predictable. Every scientific study that's been done performed nationwide by universities, by other agencies have all come back with the consistent message that rear end collisions increase at photo enforced intersections," Leonard said. 

Leonard voted against red light cameras each time the issue came up, and his opinion stays the same.

"It's not about safety. Clearly it's not about safety; rear end collisions have gone up. The only thing it's for is revenue," Leonard said. 

Safety or money has been the battle since council first started the red light camera debate.

"Since this is about safety, I would encourage us to put up more cameras," Councilwoman Phyllis Jones said at council's June 26th meeting. 

"Red lights don't cause accidents; caution lights don't cause accidents. It's people who are negligent driving that automobile," Councilman Floyd Price said at council's March 22nd meeting. 

Price's opinion hasn't changed either. He told NewsChannel 11 over the phone Tuesday he would applaud a drop in red light revenue, because that would mean drivers are following the law, and increasing safety for everyone. He says the increase in rear end collisions could be because some drivers are hitting the brakes instead of running the light.

"Three months is just not enough time statistically to make a decision on that.  It will take at least a year for us to have good data to go back and see if we're really making any improvements due to the cameras or not," Marsha Reed with the City of Lubbock said. 

"Any chance Lubbock would see these cameras come down after seeing these numbers?" NewsChannel 11 asked. 

"Not with this particular council," Leonard said. 

We did try to reach Councilwoman Jones for comment Tuesday.  In the past she has said cameras are about safety, but she did not return our call.We also called Mayor Miller for comment, but we did not hear back from him Tuesday evening either.

NewsChannel 11 doesn't have any specific numbers about revenue from the cameras, but we do know that half of all red light camera money must go to the state, and the city tells us that only 60% of those who've gotten a ticket from the cameras have paid their fines.

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Red Light Camera Locations
Find out which Lubbock intersections have red light cameras.

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