Denver says it aims to improve safety when it launches camera red light enforcement in the next two months, but the record in other cities suggests it is likely to increase accidents, reports the Rocky Mountain News. That’s what happened in Aurora and Fort Collins, Colo., and has been documented in studies. Accidents at four Aurora intersections with cameras went up 36 percent in 2006, the first year. Nor have the cameras cut the number of red light runners. Tickets were up more than 12 percent in 2007.
In Fort Collins, accidents went up 83 percent in 10 years at a corner after a camera went in, while tickets averaged 166 a month. After the yellow light was made one second longer in 2005, tickets went down to 21 a month and crashes dropped 29 percent. But even so, the accident rate is still 53 percent higher than the last year before the camera. “Cameras do not reduce accidents caused by engineering defects,” said one expert. Denver plans to mail $75 tickets to hundreds of drivers a week caught by the cameras. The city has $1.1 million in new fines already plugged into its 2008 budget.