It happens all the time on the road. You approach an intersection only to have that green light turn yellow. Do you slam on your brakes and try to stop or do you goose the gas and go through the intersection?
If there are red-light cameras in your area, then you're more likely to slam on the brakes. But is this really helping with accidents and safety in the long run?
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Data posted to the city's website indicate that crashes at red-light camera intersections decreased 33 percent between 2005 and 2012, with a 22 percent drop in crashes that resulted in serious injury. The city's data also indicate rear-end crashes decreased 7 percent at those intersections during that period."
But researchers from the Chicago Tribune are calling shenanigans on the Sun-Times findings. In an independent study, the Tribune found that the Sun-Times results were more than a little skewed.
In an independent study, the Chicago Tribune found that the results were "grossly exaggerated." And by that I mean that there was a 22% increase in accidents that caused serious injuries at intersections.
And that's not all. There was also no definitive proof that the red-light cameras made intersections any safer. Even worse, a different study found that 13,000 drivers were cited for traffic violations from red-light cameras when they had done nothing wrong. So why do cities keep the cameras?
The simple answer is money. Chicago alone has raked in $500 million since 2002, and that's just one city. Imagine how much is generated nationwide in that time.
Advocates of safety are pushing for removal of the red-light cameras and instead adding timers to the crosswalks that correspond to the lights. What do you think? If you have something to add to the conversation, let me know in the comments section below!