Remember when Albemarle first started planning red light cameras to reduce accidents at intersections and lots of people pointed out that VDOT’s own studies found that they increase the rate of accidents? The Board of Supervisors didn’t believe that, and one year ago they put up red light cameras at the intersection of Rio and 29N. The numbers are in and—lo and behold—the number of accidents at 29 and Rio increased with red light cameras, Rachel Ryan reports for CBS-19. There were 23 crashes from December through July, up from 22 during the same period one year earlier.
OK, so the goal of reducing accidents didn’t work out. But this intersection was chosen because of the high rate of people running the light there—they’ve at least caught a lot of people, right? Nope. The county pays the first $10,000/month in traffic fines to a private firm (RedFlex, an Australian company) to operate the system, and not once have the cameras even brought in enough money to cover those costs. Still, Albemarle County Sergeant Darrell Byers claims that they’ve been effective. By what metric, though, he’s not saying. The county has a three-year contract with Redflex, and getting out of it requires paying unspecified termination fees. There are no plans to reconsider the use of the cameras.