Posted at 8:18 PM on March 17, 2008
by Bob Collins
There's new data to consider on the question of whether those red-light cameras -- struck down by Minnesota courts after they were installed in Minneapolis -- actually help safety. Unfortunately, the data comes down squarely on both sides of the issue.
First, a study by the University of South Florida College of Public Health said they don't work.
Thus, even if red light cameras could be effective in the long run, which is debatable, they are associated with an added cost, consisting of fines, crashes and injuries that could have been avoided by using engineering solutions, which are effective in both the short term and the long run.
Meanwhile, Dallas has found they work and work, perhaps, too well. It turns out people are changing their behavior and not running red lights, which is resulting in fewer traffic fines for running red lights.
And that, of course,has sparked a renewed debate over whether government's interest is in public safety, or making money.
A bill making it way through the Minnesota House of Representatives would put the red-light cameras back in action in Minnesota.