Red light cameras provide few safety benefits: Tribune study

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City Hall’s long standing defense of red light cameras for safety’s sake is under attack from a first of its kind scientific study.

Now, some are saying they could be doing more harm than good.

The study commissioned by the Tribune finds the cameras don’t reduce accidents as much as advertised and actually increase some kinds of wrecks.

Mayor Emanuel has quoted statistics saying the cameras reduced T-bone accidents by 47 percent.

But the study found such broadside collisions that caused injuries were down only 15 percent at intersections monitored by cameras.

On the other hand, those intersections saw an increase in rear end collisions with injuries of 22 percent.

Traffic experts say the study shows the cameras should be reevaluated.

With more than 200 cameras, Chicago’s is the largest program in the nation.

Drivers have paid more than $500 million in fines since 2005.

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4 comments

  • John

    Is anyone surprised by this? Not at all. Everyone knows that it is all about the money, plain and simple! It is just another way for the city to strip us of our hard earned money.

  • Dom

    The only thing that benefits from those cameras are the pockets of the politicians in this corrupt city. I moved out of chicago and try to stay away at all costs. I’m much happier for it and so is my wallet.

  • Robert Kastigar

    The cameras don’t cause rear-end collisions, rear-end collisions is cause by people driving too fast and following to closely.

    More technology is needed: add roadside cameras that monitor distance between cars and issue tickets to drivers who follow too closely behind other drivers. A little more sophistication could be found to set this up. What will it take to make drivers more more carefully, more slowly, and keep a space between themselves and the driver in front?

    The Tribune only runs a story like this to draw attention and to get more readers. This isn’t about safety, it’s about increasing circulation and subscriptions.

    • Martin

      You are the biggest idiot I have ever seen. I can’t process the pure stupidity of your post. Logically, it makes sense that rear-end accidents are caused by drivers following too closely, however at intersections with cameras those accidents increased 22% (according to this study) probably due to folks braking for fear of being ticketed. These cameras do contribute to unnecessay accidents. Your comments about cameras catching people driving too closely is so completely moronic, I suggest you get a mental evaluation. There are many better, more effective ways of reducing accidents and increasing safety other than cameras. The only thing cameras do is make a fortune for those who make them happen. Why not use speed bumps near schools instead of speed cameras? Seriously what logical answer can one give to defend a speed camera over a speed bump? There is absolutely none. Speed bumps don’t bring the revenue of the cameras. Do these people think we’re stupid?