Thursday, 24 June 2010

Los Angeles Red-Light Cameras - Boycott or Safety Issue?

Today the LA Times reports about the Los Angeles City Council members decision to continue the red-light camera program, even though the camera systems operator is an Arizona based company - which should be boycotted under the political decisions of the council related to Arizona's new immigration-enforcement policy.

The cameras are operated at 32 intersections, and the  LA Police Department says red-light-related accidents declined about 9% those intersections. However, those appear to be the overall statistics, because at half of those intersections, no change in accidents or an actual increase was observed. No doubt about it, Los Angeles intersections are car accident prone, and those varying stats might not be significant in showing that accidents are less likely at camera controlled intersections.

Interestingly, the financial aspects of the red light cameras don't make sense - a report from the City of Los Angeles budget advisor says the revenue from tickets in less than payments to the Arizona Company and the LAPD's costs to run the ticketing program.

If the statistics are clear for safety, and money isn't being made, maybe it is time for a new program to lower southern California injury and accident rates? Better laws, education, and punishment for alcohol related accidents might be a good start, as prevention of the most dangerous accidents should be a priority.

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