Red Light Cameras Are Changing How We Drive

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According to statistics the police have gathered during the five years that red light cameras have been operational in St. Louis, 88.5 percent of the drivers who received a fine in the mail are first-time offenders. An additional 9.5 percent of drivers are cited twice for running red lights.

These data lead St. Louis Director of Operations Captain Sam Dotson to state to KMOX news' Brian Blume that, "Red light camera systems, photo enforcement systems, are designed to change behavior. And in 98 percent of the time, it looks like we're changing behavior."

The operational words there are "looks like."

That same article notes that there are more than 50 intersections currently being monitored by red light cameras. Human behavior being what it is, I'd guess most of the people who get stung by a camera fine at a particular intersection would remember that the next time they came to that intersection. If they don't want another fine, the won't run that light, or any of the other 50-plus intersections that are monitored. But that doesn't mean they're not running lights at any of the hundreds of unmonitored intersections.

I've put in a call to Captain Dotson to find out if the actual number of citations given per year is decreasing -- which would seem to be a more solid indicator of the system changing driver behavior -- and also to find out if the number of overall citations quoted in the KMOX story are accurate. Only 217 citations in five years of operation seems low, but maybe St. Louis has far fewer red light runners than I suspect. [UPDATE]: KMOX just appended that 217 with a "thousand," so the true number of citations in five years is 217,000.



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Gzotta
Gzotta

"Red light camera systems, photo enforcement systems, are designed to change behavior. ' I thought it was about "safety?" In reality it IS about money.

Gene Ralno
Gene Ralno

Since most were first time offenders, I doubt they're changing HOW they drive.  They're obviously already safe drivers.  But I'd bet they're changing WHERE they drive.  Everyone in my family simply avoids camera-equipped intersections.  We've decided they're dangerous and we already face too many distractions while driving.  So, because it only takes a little longer to get where we're going, we've found new commuting routes and new places to shop.  We've also advised the dry cleaners, grocers, coffee shops, clothiers, et al., why we no longer patronize them.  The money cuts both ways and everyone knows that's what this issue is all about.

Guest
Guest

Here's a behavior to change: No War for Israel in Iran!No more wars for Israel. No more American lives for Israel. No more money for jewish lies against the White Race! 

Jewish_Lies
Jewish_Lies

Here's a behavior to change:

No War for Israel in Iran!No more wars for Israel. No more American lives for Israel. No more money for jewish lies against the White Race!

Yardapesbb
Yardapesbb

Changed my behavior.  I drive to St Charles to shop not Bridgeton.

ihatesuburbs
ihatesuburbs

All because you couldn't run a red light freely like a selfish jerkoff? You go you patriot.

Oh
Oh

"But that doesn't mean they're not running lights at any of the hundreds of unmonitored intersections."

So we should put the cameras at every intersection?

DiegoHenry
DiegoHenry

The cameras (indirectly) block emergency vehicles -because cars stopped at a camera hesitate to get out of the way! Other sideeffects: Rearenders, $$$ sent to Oz, AZ or Goldman-Sachs, where it won't comeback, and tourists and shoppers driven away.

Worse, a false expectation of safety, because camerascan't stop the real late runners, who cause the accidents. (If cameras worked,camera sellers wouldn't have the crash videos they supply to the media.)

Want safety, no side effects?

To cut car/pedestrian accidents, train your kids not tostep out just 'cuz the walk sign came on.

To cut nuisance running (a fraction of a second late),lengthen the yellows. It's cheap to do so can be done all over town.

The dangerous real late (multiple seconds) runs won't bestopped by the mere presence of a camera, because the runner won't know (a losttourist) or won't remember (a distracted or impaired "local") thatthere's a camera up ahead.  They're not doing it on purpose! To cut thereal late runs, improve the visual cues that say, "Intersectionahead." Florida's DOT found that better pavement markings (paint!) cutrunning by up to 74%. Make the signal lights bigger, add backboards, and putthe poles on the NEAR side of the corner. Put brighter bulbs in the streetlights at intersections. Put up lighted name signs for the cross streets.

Who needs cameras and their side effects?

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