The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

More Traffic Camera Fraud from LAPD.

Posted by iusbvision on November 24, 2009

Be sure to examine our Camera Fruad category.

Via Reason Magazine:

Police Defend, Lie About Devices That Extract Money From and Cause Bodily Harm to Citizens

In Los Angeles, there are 32 intersections outfitted with red light cameras. “The LAPD,” reports David Goldstein of the local CBS television affiliate, “claims accidents are down after they installed cameras, but are they telling the whole truth or just trying to make money off motorists? We crunched the numbers and the results may surprise you.”

Well, they won’t surprise you, maybe, but they’re jarring nonetheless:

We wanted to know actual numbers of accidents at red light camera intersections to see if they really went down.

When we asked, the LAPD became very defensive. The sergeant in charge told me in an e-mail, “The city would hope that it is the goal of KCBS/KCAL to discuss the positive aspects of the photo red light program.”

So we filed a public records request. The department charged us more than $500 for a computer run. When we got the numbers back, they told a different story.

We looked at every accident at every red light camera intersection for six months of data before the cameras were installed and six months after.

The final figures? Twenty of the 32 intersections show accidents up after the cameras were installed! Three remained the same and only nine intersections showed accidents decreasing.

The problem? Motorists see the cameras flash, slam on their brakes, and get rear-ended. Helpfully, the LAPD does not measure rear-end crashes in front of red-light intersections; but only the crashes of people who’ve run a red. Those are down 34 percent, which the department crows about. When confronted with overall intersection data, which tells an unhappier story, the LAPD suddenly says this:

“It would be improper to draw a correlation between all accidents going up and the red light cameras,” a spokesperson from the LAPD said.

Read the whole thing; link via LA Observed. Reason on red-light cameras here.

3 Responses to “More Traffic Camera Fraud from LAPD.”

  1. Barmet said

    Statistics or Superstition?

    According to the Temple Terrace Police, FL the number of accidents at intersections with red light cameras from when they first went operational October 2008 through February of this year was up 133 percent compared to the previous year when there were no cameras.

    No one doubts that red light cameras can reduce red light violations by some measure. What is being investigated in many places is the probability that the presence of red light cameras will raise the collision rate at those intersections.

    For another recent major example;
    Please read the article from CBS in Los Angeles, please click on the appropriate video link in the upper right hand side of the story to see the TV report as well. http://cbs2.com/goldstein/Red.Light.Cameras.2.1301941.html

    Some by about triple the former rate, at 3 intersections the accident rate remained the same, and at 9 the accident rate went down. For a safety program, these are disastrous results to have raised the accident rate at 62.5% of the intersections equipped with cameras and achieved no positive results in another 9.375% of those intersections—for a failure rate of almost 72% to achieve any positive safety gains with that camera program.

    Also please review http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-red-light-cameras-22-nov22,0,2590486.story with links to the in-depth statistics and side bar regarding an ex-alderman, I feel sure it will add to your knowledge base.

    At least 9 cities have had public votes on red light cameras which led to the cameras being banned.
    1) Chillicothe, Ohio November2009,
    2)Heath, Ohio November2009,
    3)College Station, Texas November 2009,
    4) Sulphur, Louisiana April 2009,
    5)Cincinnati, Ohio November 2008,
    6)Steubenville, Ohio November 2006,
    7)Anchorage, Alaska April 1996,
    8)Batavia, Illinois March 1992,
    9)Peoria, Arizona March 1991.
    To my knowledge, red light cameras have never withstood a public vote or referendum on their use.

    A total of 15 states have either a legal ban on the use of red light cameras or restrictions that they cannot be used in any practical sense: AK, AR, GA, IN, ME, MI, MN, MS, MT, NB, NV, NH, UT, WV, and WI. Some of these bans came about because of the high probability the cameras would raise the intersection accident rates. Others were enacted to prevent the predatory use of the cameras for revenue purposes, sometimes enhanced with improper intersection engineering such as using too short of yellow intervals.

    Traffic regulations should be designed, written and enforced to prevent traffic accidents and fatalities. An absolutely essential component to achieve that goal of preventing accidents and fatalities is the optimum engineering of all traffic regulations for safety purposes alone, using the engineering criteria that maximize safety first. In almost all cases, if the intersection engineering is done correctly, including proper yellow light intervals and the other common sense criteria, the camera vendors will have no chance to make a sale because the cameras won’t record enough violations to even pay their basic costs of operation.

    Traffic regulations and their enforcement always need to respect the Hippocratic Oath Principle: First, “Do No Harm”.

    I believe that your city, and every city that has or is considering red light cameras, needs to first review all the engineering parameters of their intersections to optimize safety with correct engineering. In almost every case, the need for the cameras will disappear.

  2. Keith Richard Radford Jr said

    got a ticket. Said I ran a red, but I stopped over the line and backed up. when I did I could see a guy with a state sticker in his front window on the right side of our car but can not see the car in the picture the metro transit mailer sent with pictures of the incident where I clearly rolled over the line and backed up for the light where no one was in the intersection. I know from experience downtown Burbank CA, that people click the lights to turn so was this guy just helping out?

  3. Paul Geer said

    “…15 states have either a legal ban on the use of red light cameras or restrictions that they cannot be used in any practical sense: …IN,…”

    I’m glad to see Indiana on that list. But how much time will pass before the feds will coerce those 15 states into installing cameras like they did with the seatbelt law by threating to withhold federal highway funding? Will those 15 states have the courage to turn down federal funding or even lose it?

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