Watch your rear bumper at photo enforced red lights. The same study that is used to support red light cameras, reveals there is an increase in rear-end crashes.

Before the installation of the enforcement cameras, there were only 45 rear-end collisions reported and, after installations, rear-end collisions rose to 121.

stats1 Signal Cameras Resulting Increase In Collisions

Troy D. Walden, PHD

Houston is not alone in reporting increased rear-end incidents at red light camera intersections. Corpus Christi did its own report regarding photo enforced red lights. The results recorded an increase of 14% in collisions and 28% for injury accidents. Corpus Christi statistics can be found here.

Portland, Oregon traded a 10% drop in red light running related incidents for a 140% increase in  collisions.

Fort Collins, Colorado recorded an 83% increase in collisions where signals were photo enforced.

College Station, Tx. has joined nine other cities in banning red light cameras.

Texas Transportation Insititute, Red Light Running Crisis (House Majority 2001 report),  and various documented successes, propose that there are alternative safe ways to decrease red light running. 

Methods identified were:

  • Yellow light lengthening
  • An all red light intersection phase
  • Improvements made to intersection, signange and brighter signals
  • Educating the public to intersection changes

Yellow light lengthening based on factors of individual intersections reduces collisons and red light running. 

  •  Fairfax County ,Virginia significantly reduced red light running with yellow light lengthening.
  • Shorter yellow lights can result in red light violation.
    dallas Signal Cameras Resulting Increase In Collisions

    (credit: Brandon Wade/Getty Images)***

    Dallas had to lengthen their yellow lights to state required lengths. Afterwards, red light cameras were removed because there was not enough profit to justify keeping them. 

Research strongly suggests that 80% of accidents occur in the first second of red light. An all red cycle following a yellow light would give cars enough time to clear the intersection and reduce accidents.

Improvements to lanes, intersection geometry, signage visibility,  signal visibility and public education campaigns are all  recommended methods to decrease red light running found in the  Red Light Running Crisis (House Majority 2001 report), chapter III, and in the Texas Transportation Institute Guide,  2004, table 5-5.  Reduced violation statistics are also posted in the literature and charts in both materials.

 The Texas Department of Transportation 2004 guide came to the conclusion that ” If the frequency of violations is excessive, the violations are most likely caused by congestion, dense traffic streams, or conditions that make it difficult for drivers to stop.”(5-6)

 Methods that greatly reduce all types of collisions and helps to eliminate red light running should be the focus.


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