January 7, 2010

Red Light Cameras scare the crap out of me

Perhaps you've been going through an intersection and suddenly you're hit with a bright light. Hopefully you didn't jerk the steering wheel and careen into a fire hydrant. Those are actually from intersection cams, designed to help catch red light runners.

Problem is, they go off at 5:30 in the morning when I'm headed off to work. And the stoplights have been turned into flashing yellow lights for the early hours, meaning its impossible for me to run a red light. Wonderful... and they don't actually make these intersections any safer.

Intersections where Spokane installed red light cameras in 2008 in the name of safety saw an increase in crashes and injuries in the first year of the controversial program.

There were 38 collisions at the three intersections the year after the city began fining violators caught on tape. That’s up from 32 the previous year, according to police collision reports provided to The Spokesman-Review.

Injury accidents at the intersections also rose from 11 the year before to 14 after.

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner called the data “interesting,” but cautioned that it’s too early to make a final judgment on camera enforcement.

“The program has been effective in that we seem to have caught a lot of people running red lights,” Verner said. “If we’re not seeing a decline of injury collisions, then we need to figure out why not.”

... well crap, that's not good. Here's any idea, lose the flash that blinds drivers for a short period of time.

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