Red Light Cameras Go Way Of The Dinosaur

In Victorville, one of the last San Bernardino County jurisdictions where the red light camera era in Southern California persisted, is now seeing the vestiges of those systems removed. A contractor who was hired to remove the ten red light cameras at seven of the city’s intersections took out a permit to do the work on August 18 and began the removals this week.
In addition to the cameras coming down, the conductors from the city traffic signal cabinets at each of the intersections are being removed.
Across Southern California in the early 2000s, scores and then nearly one hundred cities bought into the red light camera system concept. The systems were justified as a measure that would enhance public safety while generating revenue for local cities. In most cases, that did not occur. Some reduction in red light running sporadically occurred, with what some said was a statistically verifiable but minimal decrease in more serious so-called T-bone accidents in which cars were broadsided in an intersection. At the same time, the frequency of less serious rear end collisions at intersections substantially increased. The anticipated revenue to the cities never materialized in the degree touted by the systems’ proponents. The lion’s share of revenue was claimed by the red light camera companies themselves, all of which had their corporate headquarters outside the state of California or outside the United States.
Belatedly, many municipalities learned, when they attempted to discontinue the programs, that the contracts for the camera systems imposed heavy financial penalties on the cities for early termination.
Such was the case with Victorville’s experience with Australia-based Redflex Traffic Systems. Ultimately, the Victorville’s contract with Redflex was not renewed in March by the city council and the system’s authorization ended on June 30.
Reviews of the efficacy of the cameras’ presence in Victorville were mixed. While collisions at the intersections where the cameras were employed were down by a significant 91 percent, other city intersections where the cameras were not in place saw similar 91 percent accident reductions. Simultaneously, drivers appeared to be more cautious in Victorville overall, with a 54 percent drop in accidents citywide. Nevertheless, statistics paradoxically showed that drivers in Victorville were actually running red lights more often than prior to the cameras’ installation in 2007.

Leave a Reply