Despite the proliferation of red-light cameras, crashes at intersections are increasing.
The National Motorists Association says it’s no coincidence.
Public service announcements touting National Stop on Red Week, Aug. 3-9, assert traffic cameras help make roads safer. To drive home that claim, one video spot replays deadly intersection crashes.
“Those accidents are recorded by the very red-light cameras that are supposed to prevent such collisions,” said National Motorists Association spokesman John Bowman. “A red-light camera can’t stop drivers who are distracted, impaired or responding to an emergency situation—it can only mail them a ticket after the fact.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 30,800 intersection crashes in 2012, the latest year for which totals were available. That was up from 29,867 in 2011.
The number of red-light cameras increased during the same period, generating millions of dollars in new revenues for communities that sign contracts with vendors.
Many of the traffic-safety groups promoting Stop on Red Week are, in fact, bankrolled by camera companies.
The El Paso, Texas-based Traffic Safety Coalition acknowledges it is supported in part by “the traffic safety camera industry.”
Bowman agrees encouraging drivers to stop at red lights “is a worthy goal and has important safety benefits.”
“But pushing red-light cameras as a way to do it is not in anyone’s best interest, except for those who benefit from the ticket revenue produced by those cameras.”