Exclusive Investigation:: Do red light cameras reduce accidents? - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

NewsChannel 10 Investigates: Do red light cameras reduce accidents?

AMARILLO, TX- There's been long debate over whether red light cameras do more harm than good. 

We've obtained accident data to let you decide whether the program is working. 

Red light cameras are becoming the big brother for law enforcement agencies not just here in Amarillo, but across the nation. 

"I think it's effective," Mayor Paul Harpole said. "It raises awareness and it makes people think when they are driving around the city." 

However, red light camera video NewsChannel 10 viewed makes us wonder if the cameras could be causing more accidents because of motorists either slamming on their brakes or speeding through the intersection to avoid getting caught on camera when the light turns red. 

"It's slowed down accidents," Harpole said. "Obviously there is a concern about people having rear end accidents but the data shows that it really hasn't been as much as people might be fearful of." 

We analyzed accident data two years before the cameras were put up and then compared the results to the number of accidents after the installation.

Below is the data the City of Amarillo provided us with:

Location 1: Coulter and I-40 North Frontage Road

Before: 14 accidents

After: 23 accidents

Location 2: Coulter and Elmhurst

Before: 13 accidents

After: 13 accidents

Location 3: Ross and I-40 south frontage road

Before: 23 accidents

After: 17 accidents 

Location 4: S.E. 11th and Pierce

Before: 16

After: 15

Location 5: S.E. 3rd and Pierce

Before: 14

After: 10

While two intersections did not yield ideal results, three intersections did see a reduction in accidents. 

The contract is now up for renewal and the city has appointment a sub committee of the traffic commission to collect data to present to the city commission at a future date. 

"The citizens advisory commission has 8 intersections that they are looking at but I don't know what will be passed up to the city commission," traffic engineer Jerry Bird said. 

Since the cameras were installed in 2008, more than 57,000 violators have been caught on camera. 

Just over 7,800 violations have been documented since the beginning of this year. 

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