UCPD chief: Safety reason for cameras

UCPD chief: Safety reason for cameras

Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 8:56 pm
By: Donna Ryder, Associate Editor

By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
It’s all in the name of safety.
As Union City Police Chief Joe Garner prepared to tell the Union City Council Tuesday night that intersection safety cameras are going online, the department’s reason for the cameras was backed up by a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The IIHS’s study reaffirmed that intersection safety cameras save lives and change driver behavior.
Researchers examined intersection fatal crash rates due to red light running in the 14 largest U.S. cities using intersection cameras. This is the first time researchers have been able to study fatal crashes across a diverse group of large cities with camera programs, according to a press release from the Traffic Safety Coalition.
“Red light cameras are working,” Institute president Adrian Lund told the Associated Press. “There are hundreds of people who are alive because some communities had the courage to use this method of enforcement.”
Overall, fatal crash rates involving red light running in cities with cameras were reduced by 24 percent. The study compared crash rates before and after cities started intersection safety camera programs, and compared cities with camera enforcement to those without, concluding 159 lives were saved in those 14 cities because of intersection cameras. The study concluded 815 lives could have been saved if cameras had been deployed in every major U.S. city with a population of 200,000 or more from 2004-08.
“Examining a large group of cities over several years allowed us to take a close look at the most serious crashes, the ones that claim people’s lives,” said Anne McCartt, IIHS senior vice president for research and co-author of the study. “Our analysis shows that red light cameras are making intersections safer.”
“We think that they are just paying more attention to intersections as they come up on them because they are more certain that if they violate the red light that they will get a ticket,” Lund said.
Union City’s intersection safety cameras are located at the intersections of West Reelfoot Avenue and Everett Boulevard, East Reelfoot Avenue and Home Street and East Reelfoot Avenue and Miles Avenue.
“The cameras will photo enforce red light and speeding violations at the intersections in an effort to reduce accidents,” Garner said, adding the red light cameras are functioning now and the speeding enforcement will be functional by the weekend.
There will be a 30-day warning period where warning citations will be issued before real citations will be issued, he said.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.2.11

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