It seems these days that red light cameras, speed cameras and other such devices are on the rise, and of course the issue of revenue raising is brought up time and time again by motorists. Usually the politicians will deny this, claiming that the primary purpose of the cameras is to increase safety by acting as a deterrent to dangerous driving. But studies in Australia by two independent institutes, as well as studies done in Canada and the United States reveal alarming statistics – alarming for the politicians anyway. It seems as though red light cameras are not only ineffective in reducing dangerous driving and crashes where they are installed, but instead increase the number of accidents by not insignificant amounts.

A 1995 study in Australia that examined statistics for 5 years before the introduction of red-light cameras and 5 years after the introduction of them revealed that “the installation of red light cameras at these sites did not provide any reduction in accidents, rather there has been an increase in rear end and adjacent approaches accidents on a before and after basis and also by comparison with the changes in accidents at intersection signals. There has been no demonstrated value of the red light camera as an effective countermeasure.”

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A Canadian study in Winnipeg completed in February this year confirmed this conclusion, stating that injuries had increased by 64% since the introduction of red-light cameras.

It seems that red-light cameras are instrumental in increasing the number of rear-end crashes, as revealed by a study done in the US state of Virginia, as well as a study undertaken by the Washington Post, which outlined that rear-end crashes had increased between 50% and 71%, and that injurious and fatal crashes had increased by 81%.

While there was no reason given for why there might be more rear-end crashes due to red-light cameras, one of our own theories is that maybe drivers are rushing to get through a yellow light, noticing the ‘red-light camera’ signs, and slamming on their brakes to avoid the fine, causing the car behind them to rear-end them.

So, with all the evidence in place against red-light cameras, and the politicians’ saying that they are not for revenue raising but rather for our own safety you would think that red-light cameras would be removed, or at least phased out, right? Wrong. It seems that even more red light cameras are being put in place, and once again the politicians are saying that it’s for revenue raising our own safety.