Justin Beck's Feb. 1 letter is filled with errors, hyperbole, and totally baseless claims.
First, Mr. Beck claims that red light safety cameras will somehow lead to "abnormal behavior" and "panic," thus causing more rear end other intersection accidents. The evidence shows exactly the opposite to be true.
A recent Texas Transportation Institute study of 11,122 crash records from 275 intersections in Texas found 633 fewer crashes and a 32 percent decrease in right-angle crashes at intersections with red light safety cameras. The study also concluded that, "Evidence suggests that rear end crashes are not a result of the lead unit braking hard to avoid running a red signal and being struck from the rear." In other words, rear-end collisions occur because drivers follow the lead vehicle too closely or fail to control their speed, not because of the presence of red light safety cameras.
An even more powerful confirmation of how red light safety cameras positively affect traffic safety came in 2011 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report. Researchers found that the rate of red-light running fatalities in 14 large U.S. cities with red-light safety cameras was 24 percent lower than it would have been without cameras in use. The finding translates to 159 lives saved in a five-year period. Had all 99 large U.S. cities used cameras, including cities in Connecticut, 815 deaths could have been prevented.
Mr. Beck's letter next claims vaguely defined "negative psychological effects" that will lead to people leaving the state, loss of business, and decreased property values. There is not a shred of evidence to substantiate this. To the contrary, there are currently some 555 communities in 24 states and the District of Columbia utilizing red light safety cameras to make their roads safer. There have been absolutely no reports or studies which have found "negative psychological effects" or lower property values do to red light safety cameras in any of these communities.
Finally, Mr. Beck claims that red light safety camera tickets must be "in the multiple hundreds" to pay for the cameras. The fact is that legislation in Connecticut has proposed a $124 ticket for red light running violations. Further, the vast majority of industry vendors pay for the installation and maintenance of red light safety cameras. Most contracts are based on a fixed fee, with no tie to the number of violations and have built-in safeguards to ensure that taxpayers are never left paying for the operation of the program.
Put simply, red light safety cameras work. They reduce serious accidents and save lives. The Connecticut legislature should give communities, if they so choose, the option to utilize this proven traffic safety technology.
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