Red Light Cameras—Still Not Reducing Accidents

In today’s Daily Progress, J. Reynolds Hutchins revisits the question of how effective that the red light cameras at Rio and 29 have been, and finds that they’ve correlated with a sharp increase in accidents that the intersection. There were 38 crashes there in 2010, before the cameras were installed. There were 49 and 2011, 31 in 2012, and 33 in 2013 as of July (on pace for 56 for the year). CBS-19′s Rachel Ryan reported this story last year, which the Albemarle County Police Department disputed via a story reported by Dave McNair in The Hook. The police explained that if you only look at the lanes covered by traffic cameras then there’s actually been a decrease in accidents, but why you would only look at those lanes, I cannot imagine. (How about if you only look at accidents when the moon is waxing? Or in days of the month that include the number “3″?)

The cameras are under scrutiny because of the county’s intention to put another photo-red system at the intersection of Stony Point Road and 250. I go through that intersection at least twice each day, on my way to and from town, and I can think of just one time in my life that I’ve seen somebody run the light there. I don’t have the faintest idea of why the county would want to put a camera at that intersection.

4 Responses to “Red Light Cameras—Still Not Reducing Accidents”


  • If it were just a safety issue, why is it that right turn lanes are monitored? The reason is that right-turn-on-red-after-stop is one of the biggest moneymakers.

  • “I don’t have the faintest idea of why the county would want to put a camera at that intersection.” other than the money?

    That of course was never discussed as the reason for approving it in the past of course

  • “I don’t have the faintest idea of why the county would want to put a camera at that intersection.” other than the money?

    I just can’t see how it’d make them money. I seriously doubt that intersection would hit the $10,000/month threshold, which is where RedFlex (the contractor) starts giving the excess back to the county.

  • It’s not just about speeding down the straightway through the red lights, how many inappropriate right turns or no u-turns and whatever else possible to trump up can be photographed (and clearly admitted in a traffic court of law.)

    RedFlex hitting that $10,000/month threshold Waldo is (no pun intended) worth doubting. How long (in regard to the Rio Road – US 29 intersection) does that expectation for “giving the excess back to the county” hold up and remain sustainable?

    I have already experienced two close instances, where just barely stopping in time with my car and still witnessing the overhead (auto)flash. Yes, infraction at that crossroads might very well have declined. At the price of exploiting those stats, who can deny in turn that such hasn’t created a rise in auxillary traffic hazzards? 

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