Speed cameras and red light cameras: Drivers hate them. Some hate them so much that they invoke violence upon them, as I mentioned earlier this month when I told the story of a Howard County man who was arrested for allegedly slinging glass marbles at a speed camera van.
Drivers in Westminster are getting some relief from red light cameras. The town is shutting down two of its three remaining cameras, according to the Carroll County Times. (Two others had been shut down earlier.)
Who requested the shutdown? The town’s police chief, Jeffrey Spaulding.
“Spaulding recommended the cameras be deactivated at the intersection because there were more serious crashes caused by rear-end collisions than were attributable to vehicles running red lights,” the paper said. “The cost to run the cameras also factored into the decision.”
The town council gave his request a unanimous thumbs up.
Spaulding said the three cameras cost the department nearly $140,000 to operate, compared to the $216,000 in revenue generated.
The report did not provide the number of increased accidents at red light camera locations. The National Motorists Association cites several studies on its Web site claiming a higher rate of accidents at intersections with red light cameras.
A Washington Post analysis several years ago failed to find a decrease in accidents at red light camera locations in the District. In fact, accidents went up.
“Three outside traffic specialists independently reviewed the data and said they were surprised by the results,” the story said. “Their conclusion: The cameras do not appear to be making any difference in preventing injuries or collisions.”
There is still loud disagreement on this point, though. A Post editorial in 2011 said, “The evidence is incontrovertible that red-light cameras save lives and could save many more if they were in wider use.” You can read more on that here.
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