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Red Light Cameras: May Do More Harm Than Good

March 14, 2013 by admin

By Chris Ceglecki

 

Red Light Cameras:
  They were put into place at dangerous intersections in order to reduce the number of crashes and incidents, but New Jersey's red light cameras have actually seen an increase in collisions.
   In a study done by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, of approximately 25 New Jersey intersections that have had red light cameras for at least a year, saw that accidents have increased and the accidents are higher in cost.
   “I don’t believe in red light cameras because it only tickets the owner of the car, not the actual driver,” said George Baumann, a 20-year-old, fourth-semester, business major from Freehold.
   Incidents, especially rear-end collisions, went from 286 before there were cameras, to 343 after the cameras were installed, according to the analysis. That is an estimated 20 percent increase in crashes at red light camera intersections. 
   In addition, the study says that the "crash severity cost," which includes vehicle and property damage, emergency response and medical care, has risen over $1 million after the installation of the cameras.
   "The pilot-program was created to assess whether these devices improve safety at intersections with a history of high accident rates and severe crashes. As the year two report indicates, the Department recommends that the pilot-program be continued to collect more data that would serve as the basis of an informed final decision,” said the D.O.T.
   New Jersey just finished the fourth year of a 5-year initial red light camera program that will end in 2014. However, as said above, the D.O.T. acknowledged that more studies are needed in order to assess the program’s success.
   Additionally, the study only analyzed intersections in which there have been a minimum of one year of collected data. Therefore, the study lacks many other locations in which there are red light cameras. According to NJ.com, the D.O.T.’s study only included 24 out of 85 red light camera intersections in the state.
   Furthermore, the D.O.T. suspended 63 of the 85 cameras over concerns that yellow lights were not long enough, therefore not allowing drivers enough time to get through intersections. However, New Jersey lifted the suspension about a month later after they found that all the red light cameras met state standards.
   “Despite the more accidents, I think that red light cameras are there to protect us and keep us safe,” said Ashley Sweeney, a 19-year-old, second-semester, liberal arts major from Howell.
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