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Kansas City’s red light cameras contribute to big reductions in intersection crashes

Analysis of statistics conducted by the Kansas City Police Department in Missouri shows that traffic fatalities in the city are at zero and dangerous collisions are down significantly at the 17 intersections equipped with red light cameras from American Traffic Solutions (ATS). The report on camera effectiveness found red-light running crashes decreased 65% in the first year with cameras in use and 54% in the second year. The crash reductions show the direct contribution that red-light cameras can make to road safety, because they reduce the most dangerous type of collision – the T-bone or angle crash, which most often results in injury or death. Another indicator of improved safety on the streets is the steady decline in the number of citations issued since cameras became operational.

For the study, police reviewed more than 2,500 case reports. The three-year analysis compares crash and violation statistics from the first full year before each of the city’s 29 cameras were installed, with the two successive years since installation. The last camera became operational on August 1, 2009. Since the cameras came online at different times, different starting points were used for each location. Notable findings within the report show that at the intersection with the most collisions before cameras were installed, crashes decreased from nine to zero in the first year after installation, to one in the second year – a decrease of 100% in year one and 89% in year two. Violations in the first year with cameras to the second decreased 33% from 68,777 to 45,793.

From August 2009, when the program was fully deployed, through February 2012, every month had fewer citations issued than the same month of the previous year. The statistics also show that 92% of drivers receiving a citation did so only once, while 99% only received two or less based on license plates. The police say the low rate of repeat offenders suggests a change in driver behavior, with driver inattention and poor weather the most frequent causes of rear-end crashes. “Red light cameras are clearly working in Kansas City to modify driver’s behavior when it comes to intersection safety,” commented ATS president and CEO, James Tuton. “The most satisfying finding in the report is the sharp decline in collisions and injuries caused by crashes due to someone running a red light.”

May 25, 2012

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