|By Treasure Coast Newspapers, Stuart, Fla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
While no local governments in our region employ red light cameras, at least two cities have proposed installing the cameras. And
Still, cameras are used by dozens of local governments in
The state, not surprisingly, reaps the biggest financial windfall from this technology, which was sold to the public as a safety device.
Evidence to support this claim is mixed.
Brandes is highly skeptical of the "safety" claim and quick to highlight other possible flaws in the red light camera program.
"We know standards are being applied differently in different municipalities," he said. "There are instances where yellow lights have been shortened to state minimums (to increase the number of drivers who run red lights). The only reason to do that is to generate revenue."
Brandes also points to one community --
Quite an achievement for a city of 2,500.
If lawmakers truly are concerned with safety at intersections, they would consider a recommendation by researchers at the
USF researchers found that "comprehensive studies conclude cameras actually increase crashes and injuries, providing a safety argument not to install them." The study also offered basic solutions to the problem, one of which is adding "a brief, all-red light clearance interval to allow traffic in the intersection to clear prior to releasing cross traffic."
Given the fact "nearly 80 percent of red-light running occurs in the first second after the light changes" (USF study), this one step, in combination with others, could reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities at intersections.
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