True or False: Red light cameras help to reduce the risk of intersection accidents in Fort Lauderdale? As we reported recently on our Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, accident at intersections outfitted with red light cameras continue to stir debate over their use in South Florida.
West Palm Beach car accident attorneys suspect that cameras are working at intersections, but not in the manner in which everyone thought. It is probable that motorists who tend to run a red light are getting nabbed so T-bone collisions are being reduced. But rear-end collisions have become more prevalent as a result of drivers slamming on their brakes to avoid getting a ticket in the mail.
If instant gratification is what city officials and communities are looking for then the answer to the question is false. However, the cameras have only been in use for a short time and have already proven to help at three of the six intersections. A 50 percent success rate is worth acknowledgment.
The Sun Sentinel reports that accidents, when compared to the same time frame last year, have increased in the last four months at two intersections, decreased at three intersections, and remained unchanged at one intersection where the cameras have been placed.
Nationally, it has been estimated that over 800 lives could be saved each year if all big cities were to install the cameras at their most dangerous intersections, as we reported previously on our Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog.
Florida drivers who ran red lights caused 56 fatal accidents and another 5,190 injury accidents in 2009.
The question really becomes are they cost effective? The Fort Lauderdale Police Department can’t keep up with all the offenders committing red light violations. Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent prosecuting violators. Two public safety aides are doing the work of 5 people in reviewing approximately 1,000 violations per week but are falling behind by about 600 cases per week. A larger staff with less time associated with proving guilt would make the system work much more productively.
One location that has produced the most accidents in the past is West Commercial Boulevard and Powerline Road. In the four months after the camera was installed, the reported accidents went from 17 down to 11 when compared to the same four months of last year. If safety matters in this debate, then officials should consider the success rate.
Boynton Beach and Hollywood have both jumped on the red light camera bandwagon, installing the cameras at four and six of the most dangerous intersections in each city respectively.
Each city is willing to use a wait and see approach to determine the success of the program. We think the wait-and-see approach will ultimately show a reduction in serious and fatal car accidents. Whether that ever translates into a financial windfall for the municipalities is another matter altogether.
Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez represent car accident victims and their families in West Palm Beach, Margate, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. If you have been injured, call us at 1-800-529-2368 to make a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights.