Busting 4 Common Myths About Photo Enforcement, Part II
You’ve probably heard plenty of rumors about automated enforcement – but with more jurisdictions embracing these safety tools, it’s imperative to distinguish between what’s accurate and what’s false. Here, building on our previous “Busting Myths” blog, we reveal the truth about four common misconceptions.
- Myth: Automated Enforcement is Only Meant for Speeding and Red-Light Running Fact: Automated Enforcement Offers Many Other Useful Applications to Improve Safety and Expand Mobility While automated enforcement is certainly effective for monitoring troublesome roadways with a history of speeding and red-light running, there are several other effective implementations of this technology. For instance, jurisdictions can use automated enforcement systems to deter drivers from illegally passing school buses, keep railroad crossings safer, monitor high-volume pedestrian intersections and preempt deadly crashes with the Redflex’s Hold the Red system. Automated enforcement makes streets safer for drivers, passengers, pedestrians – entire communities – by deterring dangerous driving behaviors. See Hold the Red in action:[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0TZXL3GMlc[/embed] In addition, automated enforcement tools can be used for reducing congestion on busy roadways and enforcing clean air zones. The data and insights delivered by automated enforcement inform smart policy and infrastructure changes, making travel easier and safer for everyone.
- Myth: The Cameras Issue the Tickets Fact: Real People Review the Data to Determine if a Violation Occurred Another misconception is that tickets are issued automatically via the photo enforcement system. In actuality, the cameras only capture the data needed to make an informed decision about whether a traffic violation is warranted. When an incident is detected, the evidence is digitally signed and encrypted. Then, it’s securely shared with law enforcement officials who make the decision on whether to issue a ticket. The bottom line: cameras do not make the call – real people do.
- Myth: Automated Enforcement Does Not Have Strong Public Support Fact: The Public Supports Automated Enforcement Programs, Recognizing the Safety Benefits People recognize the risks of dangerous driving and want to prevent behaviors that can lead to deadly crashes. A 2011 survey in 14 cities with longstanding red-light camera programs found two-thirds of drivers support their implementation. In addition, a 2012 survey in Washington D.C., which has an extensive camera program, found nearly 90% of residents support red-light camera use. Most recently, a 2017 survey in Iowa found:
- 67% of respondents supported local police departments in using cameras to assist in monitoring red-light violations.
- 2% of respondents supported local police departments in using cameras to assist in monitoring speed-limit violations.
- After learning more about traffic camera programs, how they work and their benefits, support rose to 73.6%. An increasing number of elected officials and their constituents agree automated enforcement play a role in improving public safety.
- Myth: Extending Yellow-Light Times is Enough to Prevent Red-Light Running
Fact: A Multi-Faceted Approach – Combining Numerous Proven Tactics – is Most Effective for Reducing Deadly Crashes
Successful traffic safety programs utilize numerous tactics to deter dangerous driving behaviors and to minimize the impact of environmental hazards. Yellow-light timing, specially marked bicycle lanes, carefully constructed medians, wide crosswalks and other similar measures each contribute to the overall safety of roadways. In areas experiencing deadly crashes at intersections resulting from red-light violations, automated enforcement can be a crucial component of a comprehensive traffic safety program.
Therefore, a multi-faceted approach, combining several tactics, to prevent collisions is the most effective approach. Numerous studies support the view that lengthening yellow-light time contributes to a reduction in red-light violations, but the yellow-time benefits do not necessarily outweigh the benefits of red-light cameras. Combining adequate yellow-light time with red-light cameras is more effective and saves lives: a 2008 study in Philadelphia found longer yellow-light times cut down on red-light running by 36%, but adding cameras reduced it by 96%.