A&M Researchers Find Red Light Cameras Cut Accidents by 30 Percent

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

It's a technology that's garnered lots of attention, but A&M researches say it's netting results.

A Texas Transportation Institute study finds red light cameras cut down on wrecks by about 30 percent, based on statistics from various cities throughout the state. But what impact do they have here at home?

Here's a look at the numbers.

Twelve thousand and counting, that's how many people have been caught on red light cameras in College Station.

"The reason why we have those camera systems there is to try and change driver behavior, so they don't continue to risk running red signals and get involved in a crash," Troy Walden with the Texas Transportation Institute said.

Walden says so far it appears to be working. Walden looked at 56 intersections with the cameras, spread across 10 different cities, College Station being one of them.

This is what he found:

-Right angle collisions down 43 percent since cameras installed.
265 in 2007, 151 in 2008

-Rear end collisions up 5 percent.
106 wrecks in 2007 to 111 in 2008.

-Other collisions down 30 percent.
215 collisions in 2007 to 151 in 2008.

"Preliminary evidence shows they are doing their purpose, reducing the number of red light violations that occur within those intersections and as a result of the reduction of red light violations it correlates to a number of reduced crashes," Walden said.

College Station stats, however, have remained pretty steady across the board.

Since the cameras were installed back in February through last month, there have been 23 accidents at the four intersections cameras are located.

Compare that to February 2007 through November of that same year, there were 22 wrecks at those intersections before cameras were installed.

Here's the breakdown of those numbers by intersection according to College Station Police Department's stats.

-Harvey Road at George Bush:
2007: 3 accidents
2008: 3 accidents

-Wellborn Road at George Bush:
2007: 17 accidents
2008: 15 accidents

-Texas Avenue at Walton Drive
2007: 0
2008: 2

-Harvey Road at Munson
2007: 2
2008: 3

Officials say people just knowing the cameras are there can make a big difference in the long-run.

"It provides a general deterrent effect in that it makes people think twice before running through, and continue to take risks," Walden said.

The City of College Station's Traffic Engineer says the number of wrecks at camera monitored intersections may actually be lower than they appear. He says the numbers could be affected by the approach of the accident. Meaning, whether or not the accidents happened in the direction facing the red light cameras.

Currently 12,324 violations have been handed out. The City's Traffic engineer adds a committee will meet Wednesday night to talk about where they could extend cameras in the future.

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