A study by the University of Illinois at Chicago has determined that car accidents at red-light intersections have actually increased five percent. These findings are contrary to recent statements by the Chicago Department of Transportation which claim that the cameras have made intersections safer for motorists. The UIC study also compared the total number of Chicago car accidents throughout the entire city before and after the installation of the cameras. The results showed that while the total number of accidents decreased in the city as a whole, Chicago car accidents at red light camera intersections have actually increased about five percent.
Proponents of the cameras claim that the data generated by the study is disproportionately high as the state considers accidents within 250 feet of a traffic light to be an intersection related crash. The city’s own data also shows a 20 percent reduction in red-light crashes.
However, opponents of the cameras are crying foul. In addition to the recent findings of increased accidents at red light camera intersections, a separate investigation has uncovered that yellow lights are disproportionately shorter at intersections controlled by the camera devices. Opponents of the cameras have long maintained that the devices are merely a means to generate revenue for the city and not a measure to increase public safety. The disproportionate yellow lights coupled with the recent neutral UIC study bolster this claim. In fact, it would seem that cutting the length of yellow lights at camera controlled intersections would most likely endanger the public for the purpose of filling city coffers. The results of the UIC study could be indicative of this phenomenon.
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