Study: Accident Statistics Mixed at Red Light Cam Intersections

Depending on accident type, data shows swings in either direction

A study released this week by the state Department of Transportation shows mixed results for intersections outfitted with red light enforcement cameras.

The study, mandated under the law that has temporarily allowed the use of the controversial cameras, looked at two different types of accidents: right angle crashes and same direction crashes. Colloquially, right angle crashes are known as "t-bone" crashes and same direction crashes are known as "rear end" crashes.

Red light cameras, such as the ones set up at three major intersections in Brick, are meant to reduce right angle crashes, but have been said to slightly to moderately increase same direction crashes.

The study showed significant a decrease in crashes at two intersections, both in Newark, where there were two full years of data. Specifically, there was a 57 percent overall decrease at those two intersections – an 86 percent reduction in right angle crashes and a 42 percent reduction in same direction crashes.

But the data showed that in the wider study of all the state's red light camera intersections with one-year data, the total number of accidents was up slightly, from 577 in the year before the cameras were installed to 582 the first year.

At the 24 specific intersections studied, right-angle crashes decreased by 15 percent, but same direction crashes increased to the tune of 20 percent during the first year cameras were installed.

The number of summonses being generated by red light cameras went down over time, the study said. Month-to-month citations decreased by 50 percent at intersections studied in the wider, one-year sample. At the small, two intersection sample of two-year data, the number of citations generated between the first month and month 24 were down a staggering 85 percent.

Brick Township has three intersections – Route 70 and Chambers Bridge Road; Route 70 and Brick Boulevard; and Brick Boulevard and Hooper Avenue – with cameras installed.

A Brick-specific study released in March 2012 showed that the number of right-angle crashes was cut in half in 2011 compared with 2010. The number of same direction accidents remained virtually flat, rising from 13 to 14.

About 70 percent of the summonses generated by the Brick cameras were issued to non-residents, the data showed.

Opinionated November 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Logic dictates that we will see a reduction of "t-bones" thanks to the cameras because people are now stopping sooner on the red lights. However, this increases the "rear enders" because the person in back says, "yes, we can make it", and the on in front says, "no, we can't". Personally over the years, I have seen where I have gone through some yellow lights and thought that I was too late and one or more cars followed me. I would like to see statistics done for the lights that have the "countdown timer". I bet those will show a significant drop in accidents. I honestly believe the red light cameras are there for the money and nothing else. They do cause accidents especially the "rear enders" due to that difference of opinion that I stated above. I wonder if those involved can sue the towns if they can prove the cameras caused the accident, hmmmm.
A Resident November 29, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Red Light cameras do not cause accidents. People following too close/too fast/trying to beat the light cause accidents. "I have seen where I have gone through some yellow lights and thought that I was too late and one or more cars followed me" - proof enough.
mamamea November 29, 2012 at 01:49 PM
REALLY they needed studies to tell you this was going to happen....?
Xavier November 29, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Count down timers would be one of the best improvements they could possibly make. Along with adjusting yellow light timings to account for true traffic speeds (not posted speeds) and accounting for when drivers are traveling downhill as they approach an intersection. The last two improvements are basically freebies. If the government really cared about reducing accidents they'd look closely at these ideas.
Don Smith November 29, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Guess the bottom line is that the camaras do not make things safer but are in effect just a form of road tax. How about we lable the intersections as dangerous and let people pay closer attention to the cars on the road. To show you where this is going a friend got a speeding ticket from a camera cell.
Chief Wahoo November 29, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Scott Pezzaras and Juan Bellu would like to thank you all of you the cameras caught.....
DennyD November 29, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Does anyone know what Juan Bellu does? Take today for instance. What is he doing for the $150K? Can I see he job description? Scott, Steve, anyone on the Town Council? ANYONE??
Flying guard pull November 29, 2012 at 05:24 PM
The light cameras which really bug me, have changed my driving, I have to pay attention t the cameras as well as the lights. For instance, I will no venture into an intersection to turn during a green light for fear of getting caught out there and getting a ticket, so I stop at the corners holding up traffic as I now wait until I see its all clear with enough time to make the turn while the light is still green. I also feel that the cameras are there to generate revenue. I understand the camera owners get the lions share of the revenue. The cameras have changed my driving
Paul Martin November 29, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Well I am a very cheap individual and as soon as the light turns yellow i slam my brakes on so as to avoid a ticket. So much for safety!
Missing Brick November 29, 2012 at 07:43 PM
^^^must admit, I do that too^^^ I try not to, but it has happened a couple of times by accident. Sometimes trying hard to obey the rules, breaks other rules...so maybe the system is broken. That said, I did not get a ticket yet. ;>
jerzey fish November 29, 2012 at 07:53 PM
why not put the countdown timers next to the light so it can be seen more easily from further away
Tom November 29, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Want to rid the town of these camera robbing thieves ? Then rid the town of any official in favor of them.
Jose November 29, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Heil Hitler. If only the Gestapo had these back in the day of National Socialism. First they fine you then they kill you.
Richard Venneman November 29, 2012 at 10:46 PM
I am NOT going to get one of these money making tickets! So, if it is starting to turn yellow, and I am close to it, I am slamming on the brakes. I suggest if you see a big black pickup around one of these lights, keep your distance.
WMS826 November 30, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Put a timer in seconds to count down when the light will change so we know as we approach. Oh..that won't make any money.
john November 30, 2012 at 03:31 AM
john November 30, 2012 at 03:34 AM
red light camera is the best idea. Helps generate money for the state,cut back on the major crashes and injuries and showed us that no matter what safety thing you put out there...the typical idiots will still be on the road and will cry about the cameras
proudnot2bliberal November 30, 2012 at 09:53 AM
OK folks the realproblem is people do no tknow how to drive anymore especially here in NJ (as proof by highest insurance raets & ACCIDENT rates in the country) If you read the drivers manual you studied when you took the drivers test "a Yellow light menas stop if you can safely" it does not mean hit the gas to speed thru 5 seconds after it changes red. as for the rear-end collisons that goes back to tailgating or following too close another basic driving rule. Also you are supposed to come to a atop before you make a right on red not wizz thru at 20 mph. This is why NJ drivers (anyone from staen island to just the other side of philly) are ticketed at a much higher rate when they go out of state.
GT November 30, 2012 at 10:06 AM
I find it interesting that the study shows an increase in rear enders, an some folks here state they slam their brakes on. Hmmmmm ??? Avoid a $85 ticket for $4000 of damage to your car. Hmmmm ??? I'm sure the insurance agents love these cameras.Hmmm ???
sad but true November 30, 2012 at 01:45 PM
For some... with so many people unemployed, its a quick settlement for them...
Chief Wahoo November 30, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Don't forget the sales tax on all those damaged cars at the body shop. FOLLOW the money !!!!! Oh the rabbit hole goes very deep.


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