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Published On: Thu, Dec 13th, 2012

St Pete City Council report misleads public on red light cameras

A new 122-page report from the St. Pete City Council attempts to tout the success of red lights throughout the Pinellas area. Unfortunately, less revenue than expected and more accidents at these intersections contradict the report’s claims.

St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster is seeking to add nine more cameras, so the City Council developed a report to demonstrate the increases in revenue and the improved habits of drivers.

The Thursday Tampa Bay Times article spotlights some dramatic contradictions from the report and reality:

  • Total crashes actually jumped 10 percent at intersections with cameras in the program’s first year.
  • St. Petersburg collected $707,226 for its coffers, about 17 percent less than expected.
  • The report didn’t include crashes involving pedestrians, bicycles and sideswipes

    Red light camera performance was the focus on the City Council report, but omitted data which shows an increase number of accidents photo video screenshot from CCTV camera

The total number of crashes increased from 298 to 328 at the 10 intersections with cameras between November 2011 and October. This data was included in two earlier council reports, key in determining where cameras should go.

“We need all the data to make an informed decision,” Council member Wengay Newton told the paper. “You can’t hide under the shroud of secrecy. We should just kill the program. This was put there for revenue.”

“We are not trying to hide anything,” Michael Frederick, a City transportation Manager countered. The Mayor and the Council instructed the transportation department to evaluate the “performance of the cameras” NOT intersections, he claimed, stressing three to five years of data is needed to accurately evaluate trends.

The Department of Highway Safety has reported that red light cameras increases the numbers of accidents 2-3% as drivers slam on their brakes to avoid going into the intersection and are then rear-ended.

Former Florida Highway Patrol and Deputy Sheriff Paul Henry detailed in a November 2012 article for the 1787 Network how his research confirms the increase in crashes, not a decrease.

“In St. Petersburg, I asked for the data used to make the 60 percent reduction claim. I received 38 crash reports from a three-year period. Each involved red light running as the cause. When I broke them down by year, I found the first year had 6, the next one had 12, and the third one had 10. After the use of the automated for-profit devices, the number remained at 10. This caused the average to increase from 9.3 to 10, a 7 percent increase.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Gene Ralno says:

    Cautious drivers who have never been cited, like myself, avoid cameras. Cautious drivers who cannot escape them create bottlenecks by driving too slow, or they jam on their brakes rather than risk a millisecond or two. Elementary. Seems hizzoner and the council are barely able to find their collective food bowl.

  2. St Pete City Council report misleads public on red light cameras « Palm Beach Traffic says:

    […] Article source: http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/st-pete-city-council-report-misleads-public-on-red-light-cameras-75… […]

  3. St Pete City Council report misleads public on red light cameras says:

    […] […]

  4. Aloysious Farquart says:

    [“We need all the data to make an informed decision,” Council member Wengay Newton told the paper. “You can’t hide under the shroud of secrecy. We should just kill the program. This was put there for revenue.”]

    Here’s some data for you: The vast majority of motorists do not find not running the light or crashing much of a challenge.

    How do you explain that…?

    Here’s a scientific principle for you: Correlation does not imply causation.

    Your “revenue” idiocy is obviously idiotic; the goal is to prevent violations, with the expectation violations will fall to insignificant numbers.

    But, I guess there’s nothing like pandering to voters as stupid as yourself after you’ve disposed of your capacity for embarrassment.

    “The first thing we must recognize is that crashes are not accidents.”
    -Ricardo Martinez, M.D., NHTSA Administrator, 1997

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