Research Supports Use of Red-Light Cameras: Professor

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Friday, Jul 22, 2011  |  Updated 11:22 PM CDT
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New findings from a University of Missouri expert claim red light cameras are an effective way to deter accidents. Some drivers however, aren't convinced.

Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW.com

New findings from a University of Missouri expert claim red light cameras are an effective way to deter accidents. Some drivers however, aren't convinced.

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Dallas says a recent study shows that controversial red-light cameras are effective in improving safety and reducing crashes.

Carlos Sun, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Missouri, said he reviewed many studies on the cameras.

"The studies have shown -- even though there's some controversy -- that the red-light running cameras can be effective if deployed appropriately," he said.

Sun's findings were published in the Journal of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy.

"Overall, there's a net benefit," he said.

Dallas Councilman Dwaine Caraway has been a strong supporter of red-light cameras for years.

"I applaud the professor and his findings, because it's paramount that we continue to focus on safety," said Caraway.

City of Dallas data shows a 61 percent decline in accidents at red-light camera locations.

"We're breaking even now -- the city -- primarily with the red-light cameras, but we're saving more lives, and folks are a little bit more aware of running a red-light knowing that they are possibly going to receive a ticket in the mail, so it has been proven to work," said Caraway.

Houston turned its red-light cameras on again this month after a judge ruled a voter referendum against the cameras was invalid.

Frisco turned its cameras on again earlier this year after police said red-light running crashes increased in the two years the cameras were off.

But some drivers say they are not convinced.

Chris Martinez said he received a $75 Dallas red-light running citation for legally making a right turn on red.

"I'm not in favor of it," Martinez said. "The police should be doing their work and not having a camera do it for them. That's why we pay them with our tax money and everything."

Amber Spencer, who also has received a red-light running ticket, said she believes the cameras are worthwhile.

"It puts a scare into a lot of people, and I think it's done a lot of good more than bad," she said.

Dallas has more than 60 cameras operating currently, but warning signs are posted at many more locations.

Workers move the cameras to different intersections occasionally so drivers can never be sure which intersection with signs may record a red-light running photo.

More: Dallas Red-Light camera locations as of July 21, 2011

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