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Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 01-31-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
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Kansas City, Missouri Red Light Cameras Increase Accidents

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Red light camera vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) is furious that police in Kansas City, Missouri released a report last week evaluating photo enforcement intersections without giving the company a chance to modify the data. In many cities, ATS plays a key role in authoring such studies, but in this case the Kansas City police department went its own way, arriving at conclusions consistent with other, independent research on the topic.

[...]

Despite the mixed safety results, the cameras over the study period issued 197,494 tickets worth $19,749,400. As a result, the city police commission ordered the police special operations division to re-write the report under the supervision of ATS.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:18 PM   #2
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Shocking. Positively shocking.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:32 PM   #3
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I've read a few studies and the conclusion is usually the same: accidents up, fatalities down.

It comes down to your morals:
- do you prefer more deaths from huge accidents running red lights
- do you prefer more injuries from more accidents from sudden stops

I think most people would choose fewer deaths, yet it is a hard choice as there's such an increase in accidents.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:09 PM   #4
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I'm not in any way suggesting that the public should choose the "more deaths" option, but if you look at the long-term effects of injuries related to serious rear-end collisions, that's not really a desirable option either.

Say what you want about it being a cop-out that accommodates people who wish to break the law, but it has been proven over and over that proper light timing will reduce both the deadly collisions and injury collisions at intersections.
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:45 AM   #5
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"Kansas City, Missouri Red Light Cameras Increase Accidents "


OMG...they have installed death rays at those intersections? The headline should say..."Kansas City, Missouri drivers cause more crashes because they can't stop safely at red lights". Defensive drivers consider every "stale" green light as one that will change to yellow and then red. They pick a point of no return as they approach and are ready IF it turns yellow. They have decided if they can stop, or must continue because they are so close. Speed,following traffic and road conditions are used to pick that point.

Unless the city shortened the yellow light times, nothing had changed from before the camera installations. What has changed is that people who previously ran the lights didn't care enough to handle them properly before. Now there are consequences and they are still driving the same way as they approach the lights, so they finally decide to act by slamming on their brakes instead of doing a proper stop. This is not rocket science and these are definitley NOT NASA engineers. I would be willing to bet that hundreds of thousands of cars go thru those intersections every week and only a very small percentage can't figure out how to stop safely. Lot easier to blame "defective" lights than the defective driver.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:14 AM   #6
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what we need here is cameras for red light left turners...
I swear every intersection I'm at every single time when it's busy... always a snake pile for the left turn, always at least 1 car usually more pushing their way through a red

for the first time in a long time the other night I saw a camera flash for this guy turning on a red, but I was still left wondering if he's actually gonna get that ticket since those lights are meant for people running straight reds.. I don't know if it's able to capture his license plate at an angle since he's turning
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:09 PM   #7
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Zulutango, the MVA requires a driver to stop for a yellow light unless it is unsafe to do so. Can you give some examples of situations that would fall into the "unsafe to do so" category?
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:36 PM   #8
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Soitenlee....in my best 3 Stooges voice.

What I teach about yellow lights, starts with a stale green. Approaching it, you must expect that it will turn yellow (thus prohibiting you entering the intersection, like on a red) and be prepaired to stop. You continue towards the stale green asking yourself..."if the light turns yellow can I safely stop before the edge of the crosswalk". As long as you answer "yes"...then you must. Once you cannot safely stop as described, you have passed the point of no return...and you continue at the same speed (no slowing or speeding up). Before you enter the intersection you scan left, centre, right and then continue.

The factors that adjust the point of no return are:
Traffic behind you..... Closeness, size of vehicle, closing in on you etc.
Road/weather.... Icy, snowy, lots of rain, gravel, new pavement, going down steep hill etc.
Speed you are going.... Exceeding the posted limit is not an excuse, nor is going too fast for conditions. Faster speeds require longer stopping distances which is why Hwys put those yellow overhead signs with flashing yellow lights on them on 80k plus roadways. Double the speed, quadruple the stopping distance. Going 100k requires 4 times as much physical distance as does 50k.

When I issued tickets for running yellows I would take all those factors into consideration and usually ended up writing those who were running yellows that turned red before they cleared the intersection. Enough of them to not CS marginal calls. I took lots of notes and was able to articulate to the JP as to why the VT was issued and was "fair" and never lost a trial. My partners who did the same also were successful, those who didn't, sometimes were not.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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Keep in mind it has been reported that contracts between cities and traffic camera providers were worded to prevent the city from extending the yellow light timing, and the times were sometimes found to be shorter than standard engineering practices called for.

If this doesn't say "we're trying to make money from these cameras" then I don't know what does.


I think what happens at intersections monitored by cameras is that people panic. Sure, they've picked their point of no return, but as the car behind approaches at a higher speed that point must change. People panic and slam on the brakes because they don't want to get a ticket.

We can talk defensive driving theory all we want, but time and time again it has been reported that intersections with red light cameras see an increase of rear-end collisions. Human behavior is such that we don't naturally cover the brake and prepare to stop for a green light.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:50 PM   #10
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"Rear end accidents increased 17 percent. Right-angle accidents dipped 4 percent."
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
Keep in mind it has been reported that contracts between cities and traffic camera providers were worded to prevent the city from extending the yellow light timing, and the times were sometimes found to be shorter than standard engineering practices called for.

If this doesn't say "we're trying to make money from these cameras" then I don't know what does.


I think what happens at intersections monitored by cameras is that people panic. Sure, they've picked their point of no return, but as the car behind approaches at a higher speed that point must change. People panic and slam on the brakes because they don't want to get a ticket.

We can talk defensive driving theory all we want, but time and time again it has been reported that intersections with red light cameras see an increase of rear-end collisions. Human behavior is such that we don't naturally cover the brake and prepare to stop for a green light.
The root of the problem is people tailgating each other. It's like the standard practice these days. Don't you have to keep a sufficient distance so you can stop in time even if the guy in front slam on the brake? This practice piss me off because it makes driving so much more stressful.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
Keep in mind it has been reported that contracts between cities and traffic camera providers were worded to prevent the city from extending the yellow light timing, and the times were sometimes found to be shorter than standard engineering practices called for.

If this doesn't say "we're trying to make money from these cameras" then I don't know what does.
Is there any proof of this?
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:26 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=sebberry;7784700]Keep in mind it has been reported that contracts between cities and traffic camera providers were worded to prevent the city from extending the yellow light timing, and the times were sometimes found to be shorter than standard engineering practices called for.

Before the cameras were the yellow lights too short? They were having crashes there at the existing length. Was it because the lights were "sometimes shorter" or because of bad drivers? Doesn't tell us if these "sometime shorter" lights were at this exact intersection mentioned.

They then say that the crash numbers went up after the cameras were installed but there is no mention of shorter lights, so that points to bad drivers as the cause. They were driving too fast to safely stop before the cameras and are still doing the same now. Only difference now is when they finally choose to stop legally they cause rear end crashes where before they didn't even try.

If the city wanted to stop all rear enders they should just remove the lights completely and this would solve the problem....or they could lengthen the yellow lights to 30 seconds and then the cars would still run the yellows, but it would be in that last 4 seconds of the time period. Like increased speed limits, the illegal light running would soon expand to fit the new paramaters. As long as they see it to be a yellow they will still try to beat it, fail and crash.
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:57 PM   #14
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Red Light Citations Drop Below One Per Day

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Red Light Citations Drop Below One Per Day
Increasing Yellow Light Time at Fairfax Red Light Camera Intersection Results in 94 percent Drop in "Red Light Violations."
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Skrum continued, "Fairfax County records show that 'events,' red light violations, captured by the camera fell from an average daily rate of 52.1 per day before the yellow time increase to just 2 per day afterwards, a reduction of 94 percent.


And for those who insist that drivers will adjust to the yellow light duration changes:

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The intersection of US 50 and Fair Ridge Drive was averaging 250 validated citations per month for the two months before the yellow lights were lengthened. For the next 18 months, the average number of citations was 15 per month, a decrease of 94 percent. The camera was then taken offline for eight months.

The cameras were then reactivated. During the subsequent 17 months, the average number of validated citations has been 26 per month.

This may be higher than 15 per month, but it is drastically lower than 250 per month, which is what it was before the increase in yellow light time.

This is still a 90 percent decrease in violations since the yellow lights were lengthened 43 months earlier.
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:00 PM   #15
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Yeah, but maybe this happens:

Before increasing amber light length
1st car sees light go amber and floors it and beats the light
2nd car sees the light go amber and floors it but doesn't make it and gets cited for a red light violation
3rd car has the presence of mind to stop cause he saw the amber and 2 cars running it already.

After increasing the length
1st car sees light go amber and floors it and beats the light
2nd car sees the light go amber and floors it but and still makes the light now cause it's on amber longer
3rd car has the presence of mind to stop cause he saw the amber and 2 cars running it already.

Unless that camera takes pics of people running the amber and not being able clear the intersection before it turns red as well.
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