Red Light Camera Company Posts Car Crash Montages On YouTube

We’re all familiar with traffic cam footage being used in local news highlights of rain-slicked roads or cars drifting through snowy intersections, but one of the country’s biggest suppliers of red light traffic cameras has been posting collections of crash clips on YouTube to show how dangerous running a red light can be.

“Each year more than 100,000 people are injured and hundreds are killed in red-light running related collisions,” reads the text at the beginning of one montage taken from various cameras in New Jersey. And after all the smashing, sliding, crashing and crunching is done, more text states, “Please, Stop on Red. The life you save may be your own.”

But while a rep for the company, American Traffic Solutions, tells NJ.com that cameras like the ones it produces “change driver behavior and help save lives,” a rep for the National Motorists Association points out that the videos don’t exactly demonstrate this behavior change: “Oh, so they’re showing how their red light system doesn’t stop crashes?”

Regardless, we know why you’ve read this far. To get to the video. So without further blah blah, here are a bunch of people in New Jersey crashing into each other:

N.J. intersection crashes are posted on YouTube by red light camera system provider [NJ.com]

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  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    “Oh, so they’re showing how their red light system doesn’t stop crashes?”

    I don’t drive very much so I don’t really have much of an opinion pro or con red light camera, but if the theory is that the information goes to police, who then issue traffic tickets, then perhaps people will reconsider speeding through the red light because they suspect they’ll be caught on camera and thus, fined. And if they don’t speed through the red light, they won’t hit other vehicles and cause injuries.

    So the system doesn’t actually you know, throw up a big bouncy wall that prevents vehicles from crossing into the intersection, it could theoretically make people rethink how fast they’re going to beat the light.

    • cosmic.charlie says:

      It is all about revenue, not about safety. Sometimes they end up causing more accidents because people know where the camera is and will slam on their brakes when they see the yellow instead of judging if it is safe or not to enter the intersection.

      • Tim says:

        [citation needed] on the “it’s all about revenue.” Obviously, contractors want revenue; there’s no debate about that. But that’s how government contracting works. Why aren’t we up in arms about defense contractors, for example?

        And yes, red light cameras have been shown to cause more rear-end collisions. But they also decrease side-impact collisions. And since cars are better designed for front-back collisions than side-impact ones, the red light cameras reduce the severity of crashes and the number of fatalities.

        As for stopping on yellow, yes, that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to err on the side of stopping, but keep going if it’s not safe to stop (most people do the opposite, go if it’s safe to do so, stop if it’s not).

        • cosmic.charlie says:

          “[citation needed] on the “it’s all about revenue.”

          http://theexpiredmeter.com/2011/11/accidents-jump-at-des-plaines-rlc-intersection/
          http://www.illinoispirg.org/home/reports/report-archives/stop-taxpayer-giveaways/stop-taxpayer-giveaways/caution-red-light-cameras-ahead-the-risks-of-privatizing-traffic-law-enforcement-and-how-to-protect-the-public
          It is a 52 page report but it should cover the point.

          “Why aren’t we up in arms about defense contractors, for example?”

          This is a different discussion. Keep on topic.

          Citation needed for the last two sentences of your second paragraph.

          “As for stopping on yellow, yes, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

          False! From the Illinois Rules of the Road: “The yellow light warns that the signal is changing from green to red. When the red light appears, you may not enter the
          intersection.” If you are stopping on yellow, you are causing accidents.

          • Tim says:

            As I said, the cameras reduce the severity of crashes. The first thing you linked to said that though crashes increased to seven from four, injuries decreased to zero from one. Proves my point.

            As for the second link, PIRG is opposed to a lot of government contracting, as am I. I’d prefer that governments run red light cameras themselves, or that contractors aren’t given incentives as more people are caught. PIRG’s report doesn’t say much more than the basic lines about how bad government contracting is; it doesn’t have anything about how red light cameras themselves are bad.

            Your quote from Illinois (one state out of the 64 states and territories in the U.S.) doesn’t prove me wrong. I’m not saying it’s necessarily illegal to run a yellow, I’m just saying that yellow is designed to advise you to stop, because it’s turning red soon. It’s like the flashing hand for pedestrian signals; it’s not illegal to start walking when the hand is flashing, but that’s not what it’s meant for.

            And actually, in some states, like Oregon, it’s illegal to run a yellow light unless you can prove it wasn’t safe to stop.

            • cosmic.charlie says:

              Exactly, people should not be slamming on the brakes for a yellow. That is the point. Red light cameras lend people to being more prone to that this results in more accidents.

              If the point was to make the intersections safer there are other ways to do that” longer yellows, better views of intersections, not having traffic cross over, etc. Neglecting these and only putting in red light cameras result in revenue. Revenue=money. Hence it is not about the safety it is about the $$$.

              Also the laws in Oregon are similar: “811.260 Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices: (3) Steady circular yellow signal. A driver facing a steady circular yellow signal light is thereby warned that the related right of way is being terminated and that a red or flashing red light will be shown immediately…”

              • AstroPig7 says:

                How will lengthening yellow lights help? I understand the intention of allowing drivers more time to slow to a stop, but in reality it will only give drivers an excuse to legally blow through. If a driver must slam on your breaks to avoid running a red light, then they’re travelling too fast or not paying attention. In either case, it’s the driver’s own fault.

                • cosmic.charlie says:

                  The law dictates how long (at a minimum) the the light must be but it doesn’t have a correlation to how fast the cars are going on that road or the view of the driver to the signal. In cook county it is three seconds. So all the lights in Chicago regardless of the speed is 25 mph or 45 mph the yellow light is three seconds.

                  The point was if this is about safety there would be other factors. The red light cameras are not about safety.

                  • AstroPig7 says:

                    Traffic lights that aren’t visible from a distance are generally indicated by signs well in advance. Just because the speed limit is 45 MPH it doesn’t mean drivers shouldn’t be careful. Furthermore, what happens when someone rounds a curve and finds themselves at a yellow light? Will the driver who treats a yellow light as a signal to floor it slow down, or will they take advantage of the situation? I doubt the former is correct.

                    Some people drive more carefully when they know they’re being watched, which creates a safer environment. People who drive like idiots will drive like idiots regardless of red light cameras. Attempts to rig the system with illegally short lights and the like should be harshly dealt with, but claiming red light cameras don’t improve safety are groundless. (However, claiming they’re solely for safety is laughable.)

                    • operator207 says:

                      “Some people drive more carefully when they know they’re being watched,” No. People drive more *paranoid* when they think they are being watched or when they think they will get a ticket.
                      25 years ago, I remember a conversation with a few separate people, they were convinced the motion sensor on top of the stop light bar (the over head bar the lights hang from) was a camera and they were being watched. I even remember a local TV news piece on it. If your statement is true, its 25 years too late in relation to red light cameras. And if it were true, there would be signs EVERYWHERE statng that stop light is camera enforced. Just posting something like that (even if it were not a light with a camera), will get the attention of more people. Think of the fake camera’s in a convenience store. It is the same concept. If you think you are more likely to get caught, your not going to do it.

                      Now having said all that, there is no cure for stupid. If your simply not paying attention, nothing is going to help.

          • AstroPig7 says:

            A yellow light is an indicator to slow to a stop (or pass through if slowing down would be problematic). If that means you stop just before the light turns red, then so be it. Cars cannot instantly decelerate to 0 MPH. If you don’t expect someone to slow to a stop on yellow, then you shouldn’t be driving. (If you interpreted Tim’s statement as a literal implorement to stop on yellow, then you should have kept reading. The sentences following it clarify what he meant.)

          • borgia says:

            “If you are stopping on yellow you are causing accidents”. This is the dumbest thing I have heard in a while. The correct following space between cars allows for stops including emergency stops. If you ever hit a car from behind, you caused the crash, not the driver in front of you. By your very statement, you have to stop on yellow.

            “The yellow light warns that the signal is changing from green to red. When the red light appears, you may not enter the intersection.”

            This means your car will be stopped at yellow if you follow this rule as you cannot enter the intersection on a red. Read your own laws.

            • cosmic.charlie says:

              Stopping is not the same as stopped. Treating a yellow light as a red and not entering the intersection is not the appropriate response. I agree that everyone should leave enough space between then and the car in front of them. The fact of the matter is that people are so worried that they are going to get a pricy ticket that they are not driving safe and slamming on the brakes.

              If you are only interested in safety this is absolutely not the way to go.

      • unsmith says:

        Speed cameras are the ones that are all about revenue, not red light cameras.

      • tbax929 says:

        This is true in Phoenix. I saw a report on the news about how installing the cameras resulted in an increase of rear-end accidents as people slammed on their brakes in fear of getting a ticket.

        Anyone who says these cameras are for safety and not revenue is absolutely delusional. My fair city has tried to convince us that they’re LOSING money on the cameras. Yet every week they’re installing another one. Yeah, right.

        • Snoofin says:

          If assholes wouldnt tailgate then there wouldnt be so many rear end collisions. Youre supposed to leave 1 car length of space for every 10 mph youre going between you and the car in front of you. If you dont, youre tailgating and deserve to be in an accident. If you follow that rule youll have plenty of time to stop if someone slams on their brakes.

        • Charmander says:

          Yep, see my comment above.

    • Agozyen says:

      Some of these accidents weren’t caused by people trying to beat a yellow light. In at least two of them the accident occurs then the light turns to green within a second or two.

      Your attempt to label all red-light runners as people trying to beat a light is wrong. Some people are just not paying attention.

      I don’t have a problem with red-light cameras. I have a problem when a town installs red-light cameras and then shortens the timing on them so MORE people run red lights.

      http://tallahasseereports.com/2011/07/10/city-stalls-for-time-gets-red-light-camera-rule-changed/

      • Tim says:

        I agree with you, but honestly, people need to remember the purpose of a yellow light: the default action is to stop, but you can go if it’s not safe to stop. People take it the other way around and assume they can go.

        That being said, yellow lights should be time for the minimum amount of time it takes to ensure that motorists going the speed limit can safely stop. This calculation should obviously consider things like road design, lines of sight, etc.

        If you make yellow lights longer, people will just start to think even more that yellow is the same as green.

      • little stripes says:

        “Your attempt to label all red-light runners as people trying to beat a light is wrong. Some people are just not paying attention.”

        And … not paying attention is somehow … better? That’s just as bad, if not worse. Not paying attention while driving what is essentially a deadly weapon is just as bad as willfully running a red light.

        • Agozyen says:

          No it’s not better. I was just trying to point out that the cameras won’t solve much. If anything, a combination of cameras, increased yellow times and maybe an adoption of what some European countries use would be better. Some intersections have yellow lights that blink before they change, giving people more of a warning. They also give time, maybe 1 second, before the light changes from red to green so that all directions of an intersection are red for a brief period. This won’t solve all accidents, but if people got used to the idea of getting more information from the lights at intersections, maybe they would pay a little more attention to them when they approached them.

          • Snoofin says:

            If they used that method then the assholes will just count the number of yellow flashes and tell themselves well it flashed 9 times. I can still blow through here and beat the red light. The light could stay yellow for 30 seconds and assholes would STILL run red lights. What they need to do is have officers watching for red light runners and when someone runs a red light, revoke their license for life and impound their car. then people might think twice about breaking the law.

            • LocalH says:

              Thank god you have no power over my life. Heavy-handed knee-jerk reaction much?

              Seriously, you want to impound someone’s car over running a red light? Really?

              • aaron8301 says:

                Snoofin wants to take the license away from every single driver in the world except himself, because he drives absolutely perfect and everyone else is hell-bent on killing him.

          • IgnoramusEtIgnorabimus says:

            actually in the last video the camera clearly caused the accident, had it been a regular intersection that car would have made it clean across, instead, it stopped right in the way of another car. cameras are not safety devices, they are revenue generators, who do you pay the ticket to nhtsa or dept of revenue?

            • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

              It could just have easily been someone who realized at the last second “Oh crap, that light is red!” and tried to stop. Your assumption that the camera is at fault is exactly that, an assumption.

            • nodaybuttoday says:

              I agree though this is just a way for the city to make money. Cameras should not take the place of trained police officers. I know it’s not always the smartest thing to do, but when I am at a light with a camera, I only go faster past it so I don’t accidentally make a bad call with how long the yellow light is. Especially when you’ve been waiting in line for a light forever and it’s only green for like 5 seconds.

          • teamplur says:

            It’s been years since I’ve seen an intersection where there is NOT a 3 seconds delay from my lane going red to the perpendicuilar lane going green (or other way around). Not sure where you drive at, but switching immidiatly is outdated >_

        • IgnoramusEtIgnorabimus says:

          maybe if the speed limit made sense people would be weary of their surroundings

          • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

            I’m plenty weary of my surroundings and we don’t have red light cameras around here.

            OH, you meant “wary”.

      • jessjj347 says:

        I checked for an update to the story in your link. Apparently the city won and the yellow light was not shortened below state standards:

        “At a court hearing that took place on July 13, Assistant City Attorney Rick Courtemanche presented facts along with the testimony of three expert witnesses including two transportation engineers from the city and one from the Florida Department of Transportation. The evidence presented was conclusive and the subsequent ruling verifies that the signal timing calculations that the city uses are consistent with established engineering principals and Florida law.

        “Essentially, the ruling in this case confirms that the City of Tallahassee and its traffic engineers have timed traffic signals in accordance with the law, at all signalized intersections including those with red light cameras. This ruling should lay to rest any doubt that citizens may have about the accuracy and integrity in which yellow lights are timed,” said Courtemanche.”

        http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/City_Stalls_For_Time_Gets_Redlight_Camera_Rule_Changed_125306413.html

    • IgnoramusEtIgnorabimus says:

      uhmm no, watch that video again, count the number of people who are stopped at a red light and decide to brake the law vs the number that are A)too slow to react or B)never noticed they were at an intersection… you can’t regulate stupid, they just are, taking their license away only removes their incentive to drive sober…

    • Charmander says:

      Actually, they took down a red-light camera in my town because car crashes actually increased at that intersection after they installed the camera.

      The crashes weren’t from people running the red light, but rather, people who who would slam on their brakes before they were at the intersection, causing the cars behind them to rear-end them because they stopped so abruptly to avoid a ticket.

      Go figure.

  2. Dragon Tiger says:

    There might be fewer crashes if certain jurisdictions didn’t reduce the duration of the amber light at intersections with red light cameras installed (to increase traffic ticket revenue, donchaknow).

  3. comedian says:

    If they were at all interested in facts, instead of just money, they’d also put up video of some of the rear-end accidents at these intersections.

    Red Light cameras are really about the green.

    • AntiNorm says:

      If you rear-end someone, then you were either following them too closely or you weren’t paying enough attention to be able to stop in time. Either way, it was your fault, not the camera’s.

    • little stripes says:

      If you want to avoid rear-ending someone, then pay attention, and drive a reasonable distance behind the person. If you rear-end someone, it is your fault. Period.

      • dangerp says:

        And don’t drive anywhere where the yellow light has been shortened to increase red light camera revenue.

    • RJPA says:

      Disagree with stripes and norm. It is a fact that rear end collisions occur more often at intersections which drivers are aware of the presence of the cameras. They panic stop, causing a chain reaction. Red light cameras are not proactive. They are reactive measures = $$

  4. madanthony says:

    I live in Baltimore, which has one of the highest concentrations of speed and red light cameras. I know where they all are, so it changes my behavior… I slam on my brakes right before them, and then speed up when I’m out of my range. As does everyone else. I’m not convinced that makes anyone safer, although it’s probably good for the companies that make brake pads.

    • Robofish says:

      I live in Baltimore too. I HAAAATE These things. ( Never been nabbed by one ) but it’s getting a bit ridiculous. With them on the beltway, popping up by schools, and at random intersections. What burns me about them is that they only slow down traffic for the specific point where the camera is. They say it’s for overall safety, but everyone on 695 goes the normal speed until they get to liberty road with the camera. Then they all slow down, then they all speed up again. To me it just screams that it’s a giant money grab. I haven’t seen them do anything positive. People in the area have complained to the local reps, but they don’t seem to give two craps about their thoughts.

    • unsmith says:

      You think it’s bad in Baltimore, try Montgomery County.

    • AliceAitch says:

      It’s been shown that red light cameras result in a greater number of rear-end collisions due to exactly the behavior you’re describing, but the advocates of red-light cameras insist that rear-end collisions are less harmful than getting t-boned, so they’re OK with it.

      http://www.hsrc.unc.edu/safety_info/traffic_operations/red_light_cameras.cfm

    • AstroPig7 says:

      Just out of curiosity (sincerely, because I do it myself), why were you speeding in the first place?

      • bethshanin says:

        Because it’s good safe fun for the whole family. I always do 100+ in my Caravan with the kids running around the back (can fit more in without seats!)

    • SabreDC says:

      So, you think speeding, slamming on your brakes, and then speeding is a responsible way to drive?

  5. Cyfun says:

    The traffic camera company makes a good point: their cameras did jack shit to prevent accidents, and many of those accidents could have been prevented with a longer duration yellow light.

    • BalloonKiller says:

      Did we watch the same video? In each of those instances that was caused by someone running a red light, and not making a left turn, the light had not just changed. In more than one instance people had to go past multiple stopped cars before entering the intersection. These people might as well have been asleep at the wheel and neither a longer yellow light or the knowledge of the presence of the camera would have made a difference.

    • neilb says:

      That is a very nice point. The world would be a much safer place if we had longer yellows.
      Most of us see yellows not as “Caution” but as “You are about to get a ticket! Do something extreme to avoid the ticket!”

      • AstroPig7 says:

        Won’t lengthening yellow lights give them more time to legally blow through the intersection? A longer yellow light will not fix speeders or distracted drivers.

        • neilb says:

          It is not really “blowing through” if it is legal and part of normal protocol, is it?
          I think going through a yellow IS part of the original intention of the lights…just be cautious and don’t ENTER the intersection on yellow if you can.
          It is a good point. I see there being guaranteed “issues” with lights. As in, we are guaranteed to have every ambiguous timing situation come up. All we can do is minimize them and handle them safely.
          If that means having longer yellows so the station wagon of kids (that has bad brakes) hauling a trailer of bricks going 35 into the new yellow can safely enter and exit AND have the left turners turn, well, I guess we should do it. It beats the consequences of this video, at least!

    • josephbloseph says:

      And the last one could have been prevented had the driver not used a turn only lane to pass cars already stopped at a cold red light. Actually, a lot of those incidents were drivers going through cold red lights.

    • Gorbachev says:

      Really?

      Every single one of the accidents on that video were caused by someone blatantly running a red light. I didn’t see the yellow light on any of them, and on several I saw cars STANDING at the red light prior to the car who ran the red light and caused the accident.

      • kbsparky says:

        Look again, Gorby! Try looking at 1:00 into the video: The light is YELLOW, and a car enters the intersection and hits someone from the other direction making a left turn who failed to yield the right-of-way. The light turns red at about the same time as impact!

    • webweazel says:

      What would work even better is when intersection North-South goes red, intersection East-West stays red for about 2-3 seconds before going green. Anybody running the N-S light will be clear before the other side moves.

  6. SilverBlade2k says:

    Seems like a lot of drivers think that a red light is only a suggestion…

    • ajlei says:

      Yeah, I was gonna say… these people are all just blowing through red lights like they don’t even notice they’re at an intersection. D:

      • edicius is an acquired taste says:

        Saw something like that on the way home from work a few weeks ago, coincidentally, in Jersey. Car just keeps driving through the red like nothing’s wrong. To give you an idea of how red the light was, I have absolutely no idea when it had actually changed to red, as it had been red during my entire approach to the light.

        However, the driver in question had Florida plates, so that might still be good for something on your Consumerist Bingo cards.

  7. Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

    The presence of red light cameras cause me to do two things:

    1. As I approach the intersection and I see the pedestrian walk symbol counting down, I’ll accelerate and speed through the intersection to make sure I don’t get caught in a shortened/tampered with yellow light.
    2. If it turns yellow and I’m not 1000000% positive I’ll make it through, I’ll slam on the brakes as hard as I can.

    • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

      “2. If it turns yellow and I’m not 1000000% positive I’ll make it through, I’ll slam on the brakes as hard as I can.”

      Me too. Especially if there’s some jag-off behind me with his high beams on.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        Rear-mounted guns that extend from your trunk will take care of those in a flash. What’s worse are the people using any bulbs advertised as “see farther”. What the advertisers fail to mention is that you’re blinding everyone in front of you.

        • rambo76098 says:

          No, that’s only people who retrofit HID kits into enclosures that were designed for incandescent bulbs.

          You would not be able to tell the difference between cheapo halogen and silverstars with oncoming traffic going 55. At most it would look slightly white instead of yellow.

      • adamstew says:

        You must be from pittsburgh!

    • Kitamura says:

      Most red light cameras here have photo radar built in too so if you just accelerate to beat a potential yellow, you’d just get a ticket for speeding instead.

    • glater says:

      aaaand that makes you a bad driver. sorry. i hate to break to you, but the cameras and lights aren’t responsible for your behavior: you are.

      • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

        I don’t care, I won’t get a ticket. If the person behind me slams into my back, it’s their fault.

    • randomneko says:

      Slamming on the breaks. yup I tend to stop pretty quickly in my town too. The camera doesn’t care if your halfway through the intersection when the light turns your still getting flashed. the stupid cameras in my city even flash you when you try and turn right. I ended up stopping halfway through a turn one day on my way to work after the flashbulb hit me…Those things are some pretty annoying surprises

  8. Dave B. says:

    It’s like watching breast feeding in public, you know you shouldn’t look but you just can’t help it.

  9. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Well that settles it: all cars should be illegal. Take away all the cars.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      i watched something that said if cars were invented today, it would not pass all the government regulations to be produced and sold to the public.

    • Elite Marksman says:

      This video is from the People’s Republic of New Jersey, please don’t give my state legislature any more ideas…

  10. PaulR says:

    Actually, the company should be urging you to stop on the yellow light, not the just the red light.

    /scored really high on my driver’s exam.

  11. chemmy says:

    Meh. Some broad ran a red light this morning and damn near totaled me. No cameras around here, just texting on her cell phone. Make it like a DUI, they’re pretty much just as dangerous as a drunk.

    • wildbill says:

      Time to lawyer up. Did the cop cite her for texting on her phone? If so use that as evidence (if not maybe you can get the phone records), sue for all real damages (the insurance will get most of that if you win), then sue for punitive damages based on talking on texting while driving and causing you all sorts of “pain and suffering”. Lots of lawyers out there will take your case.

    • Jimmy60 says:

      Texting drivers are significantly more dangerous than drunks. Texting is slightly less dangerous than sleeping behind the wheel.

  12. neilb says:

    Great. I will stop buying that thing or I will buy that other thing.
    Oh, hold on, for a moment, I thought this site was about consumerism.

    It’s a nice reminder of 1) To pay attention. 2) That we are always being watched (in NJ, at least).

  13. DENelson83 says:

    Just needed Yakety Sax as backing music.

  14. Chmeeee says:

    The crashes that I see in that video don’t look like the type that enforcement that would prevent. In my experience, there is only one type of intentional red light running, and that’s trying to beat the yellow. All of those involved somebody going through at speed long after the light had turned, which means most/all of the drivers were probably just not paying attention and never even saw the red light. If they didn’t see the red light, then how would enforcement discourage them from running that light in the first place?

  15. Hi_Hello says:

    with all the idiots out there, it only a matter of time before they hit each other.

    I was at a red light. Two lane going north. I was on the left lane. There was another car on the right lane. There is two other lanes going south. There was a lady on the south bound lane with a left turn signal flashing… when the light changed to green, the lady went for the turn…she didn’t seem like she was trying to cut people, she was turning in a slow normal way. I noticed this and didn’t go on the green. The car to my right went… WHACK. They both look like they didn’t know what just happen 0-o…

    I only feel bad when an idiot take out a innocent bystander. I”m pissed when a drunk driver is on the road…

  16. unpolloloco says:

    So…..2/3 of these accidents were caused by people not looking before they turn left (helped by longer yellows) and the remaining 1/3 are caused by people that didn’t even brake before running the red (probably distracted/not paying attention/drunk). First category is hurt by traffic cameras (shorter yellows) and a small fraction of the second could be disincentivized. I wonder how many more accidents could be saved by lengthening yellows (and/or adding the green light countdown timers that you see in other countries) than adding speed cameras…..

    • Chmeeee says:

      Look at the video again. Those left turn collisions all showed a red light for the straight car, indicating that the left turning car probably had a green arrow.

      • unpolloloco says:

        So i looked at the video again. I saw:
        1 video where you’re right
        7 where the driver had a cold red
        1 where the driver probably had a yellow (based on the ambulance’s behavior), but the signal wasn’t in view
        1 where the car would have been completely through the intersection before it turned red had the left turning car not turned in its path

        So, we’re both equally wrong.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      I don’t care who has right-of-way. If you are turning left you have to be 100% sure that the idiot coming towards you is stopping. Dive defensively.

  17. Tim says:

    So people should be allowed to run red lights freely?

  18. Lydecker says:

    Their red light system doesn’t eliminate crashes.

    The only way they’d be able to tell if it reduces crashes is to track incidents of crashes before installation and after installation.

    There’s no way this video could demonstrate behavior change – I guess if they had the cameras installed for a time without ticketing people who ran the red lights, then compared it to after, that could work.

  19. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    That montage is pretty crappy.

    Some of the wrecks were caused by left-turners failing to yield (you don’t have the right to turn left if the intersection isn’t clear no matter what the lights show). Others were people completely ignoring or not seeing a long-steady red light (including the last one, which also disregarded the “must turn right” lane markings, probably a drunk). Hardly any were someone blowing through a light right after it turned red – I think I counted 2 where the camera flash went off, and in one of them the red light “runner” clearly entered the intersection on a yellow and someone turned left in front of him.

    • MrEvil says:

      Except for the green left or right turn arrow. That’s the only time you can make a left turn without yielding.

  20. Nick says:

    I’m always puzzled by the people who oppose red light cameras. I agree that cities shouldn’t shorten the duration of the yellow lights to make money. In addition, I would be very concerned about shortening the time between one direction getting a yellow and the other direction getting a green (as decreasing that time would increase accidents). Nevertheless, I’d rather be rear-ended, honked at, and careful about braking on yellow than T-boned by some moron who thinks it’s ok to blow a red light.

    • Chmeeee says:

      I support red light cameras for locations where there is a demonstrated pattern of red light running collisions. Any camera that is installed at a location that does not have a pattern of accidents that is specifically related to red light running is just a money making machine, and therefore not in the public interest.

      • Costner says:

        They need them at intersections where people routinely blow red lights too (as in the case where four or five cars continue through after the light turns red because they want to squeeze in). I see this all the time – light turns yellow, a few cars go, light turns red… a few more continue through.

        That prevents people from the other direction or the turning lanes from being able to proceed, and in some cases results in cars blocking the intersection and impeding traffic flow. It is also dangerous since some people are so focused on the light that when it turns green they just start going and don’t notice someone who is 3/4ths the way through the intersection who they then slam into.

        I realize sometimes people just aren’t paying attention, but often people are just rude and/or feel they are important. These are the types of things I feel red light cameras help with. Since we can’t have a cop sitting at the corner 24/7… having a camera acts as a STRONG deterrent.

    • Actionable Mango says:

      In Seattle, WA, the city council stated to the media over and over that red light cameras would be installed for public safety and not for increased revenue. In the City Council’s meeting minutes discussing red light cameras, not a single council member mentioned public safety. Every single one discussed what the red light ticket revenue would pay for in his or her district. I can only conclude they were lying to the media and in fact the money is either the sole motive or primary motive for installation of red light cameras.

      The city of Redmond, WA recently tested red light cameras for one year and found that the number of accidents increased. The city decided that the increased revenue was not worth the ADDED DANGER of the red light cameras, and declined to keep them after the one year trial. So there’s one city that ACTUALLY cares about driver safety and was even willing to turn down new revenue in a down economy in order to keep its residents safe.

      Many cities, as you mentioned, actually decrease the yellow light duration in order to increase the number of red light tickets. Reducing the yellow light duration creates dangerous situations. Yellow light duration should be determined by the DOT for maximum safety, not by politicians for maximum revenue. Atlanta, GA in particular has decreased their yellow light times so low that the duration is often lower than that allowable by State law. When the State sued Atlanta, the city said they would suffer greatly from the loss of revenue associated with returning the yellow light durations to their normal levels, and asked for a few years to find other revenue sources. The State dropped the suit, leaving Atlanta in clear violation of the law and with dangerously short yellow light times. All in the name of money.

      So when we complain about red light cameras being about the money and not safety, we’re not pulling that out of nowhere. It happens to be true in many cases. I live near Redmond and Seattle, so their experiences are particularly relevant to me.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        Did the city of Redmond investigate whether the red light camera actually caused an increase an accidents or the increase was a coincidence? Also, you need a citation for that “most cities” comment. I believe that some cities do it, but most?

        • Actionable Mango says:

          To answer your question/comment:

          (1) Yes. The number of collisions overall city-wide fell by 9% in the same period, so an increase at red-light camera intersections or even a decrease smaller than 9% is damning.

          (2) I did not say “most”, I said “many”. I suppose that is a vague term, so I will follow up. The following seven cities have been caught ILLEGALLY lowering their yellow light durations (setting a duration shorter than allowable by state law): Union City, CA, Dallas, TX, Lubbock, TX, Nashville TN, Chattanooga, TN, Springfield, MO, and Atlanta, GA.

          Other cities have been caught shortening the duration “coincidentally” at red light camera intersections, either immediately or shorty after installation. They “coincidentally” failed to lower the yellow light durations at intersections without red light cameras. It’s not as scandalous because the duration is still within legal State limits. But legal does not automatically mean the duration also meets safe limits recommended by DOT for conditions at the intersection.

    • tbax929 says:

      I oppose cameras because they’re nothing more than a cash grab. The government has never, and will never, give a damn about your safety. My mother, who has never had so much as a ticket in her life, now has had three tickets. All of which have come at intersections with red light cameras. She’s not running red lights; she finds herself stuck in no-man’s land when the turning light doesn’t come on.

      The cops say that in that situation you should just sit there. My mother refuses to sit there because she’s afraid she’ll be hit by others turning left (I don’t blame her). So she goes, and then she gets the ticket. $330 a pop. It’s a bullshit racket.

      • KLETCO says:

        Why does she move out to the middle of the intersection in the first place? The light probably didn’t turn because she didn’t trigger the sensor. Stay back and it will change AND she won’t be in the intersection. Clearly she is learning nothing from her tickets. Her behavior isn’t legal, sorry.

    • dolemite says:

      I would rather not be in an accident at all. I’ve almost been rear-ended many times for simply not running red lights. I have ample time to come to a complete, controlled stop, and the guy behind me decides he will run it (meaning the light is red before he even enters the intersection.

      Many people state that red light cameras increase accidents as people slam on the brakes more heavily, even when not necessary.

  21. foodfeed says:

    The National Motorists Association rep seems to have interpreted this video as directions instead of a warning of consequences. I’ll bet the stats show that people behave better when they know they’re being watched/ticketed.

  22. foofish says:

    I drive the intersection at :43 seconds (Pohatcong) pretty frequently. It’s an absolute jerk-magnet. Strip mall shoppers + commuters + New Jersey = Real Life Mario Kart.

  23. El_Fez says:

    Hurray for physics! Now someone needs to dub in Yakity Sax over those videos, STAT!

  24. Costner says:

    The last one was my favorite… not only did they run a red, but they attempted to go straight while in a turning lane.

    Brilliant.

  25. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i was hoping to catch a glimpse of RoofCoffeeCup in there.

  26. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Did you know you can’t turn left in NJ? What a weird place.

  27. kelcema says:

    Are there any tax benefits to running a red light?

  28. JosephFinn says:

    Oh, for F’s sake, National Motorists Association, no one claimed the red light cameras stop crashes. What they are is a tool to catch the lawbreakers who run red lights and punish them. Enough people get punished for stupid behavior, hopefully people learn and stop being idiots about red lights.

  29. tz says:

    What they have not posted is the rear end crashes from sudden stops from short yellows when the first car does an emergency stop just to avoid a ticket

    • tbax929 says:

      We get this here, even with speed cameras. People will slow down to well below the speed limit when they see a speed camera. It drives me crazy.

  30. The Lone Gunman says:

    Running a red light (at least in this sampling from NJ) can lead to an auto accident.

    Since these are from traffic cameras, the existence of which is widely known, having the cameras there did nothing to prevent the red light from being run.

    Conclusion: It did not matter if there was a camera or not at these intersections. The lights still would have been run, and the crashes still would have happened.

  31. umbriago says:

    Well, neat, though a lot of these seem to involve people getting in that last left turn before the light turns red!

    Also, as someone who has monitored online comments about stories involving red light cameras, the companies that market red light cameras are very good about putting positive comments about red light cameras into stories about red light cameras.

    In case anyone had any doubts.

  32. Megladon says:

    Maybe its me but I just dont get why anyone would drive at a red light like its green and they’re the only ones on the road. I can see someone gunning it to get through a yellow, or just after a red, but not a full on red with cross traffic moving. No traffic camera in the world is going to stop someone that wants to die.

  33. Republicrat says:

    Accidents are not caused by people who run a red light 1/4th of a second after the light has changed from yellow to red.

    The red light cameras have encouraged drivers to slam on their brakes at yellow lights, causing a significant jump in rear-end collisions.

    If the cameras had a reasonable grace period (say 1.5 – 2 seconds, you know, before the light in the intersection direction even turns green), then the cameras would serve their stated purpose of reducing one kind of accident without causing another kind.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      Why is someone driving in a manner that requires them to slam on their brakes at a yellow light? Furthermore, why are you defending them?

      • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

        Because after installation of red light cameras, yellow lights were shortened to increase ticket revenue. Even if driving the speed limit, slamming on your brakes is necessary to not be ticketed.

        Unless you wish to be an unsafe driver by driving well below flow of traffic.

        • AstroPig7 says:

          Are you psychic? Neither yellow lights nor a location to research them were mentioned. Other threads have already covered the fact that some cities (some being the key word) have been caught illegally shortening yellow lights, so I won’t rehash them here.

          • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

            I’m basing it on my experience with red light cameras. My experience is all that matters, because they are the ones I have to deal with every day. They very clearly shortened the yellow light to have the duration it used to be, easily identifiable by watching the countdown timer of the pedestrian walk symbol. It used to go yellow at 3 seconds remaining and red at 0. Now it goes yellow when it switches to the 1 second remaining, and red at 0.

            Giving one and a half seconds to slow from 45 to 0 is not enough. There are legal limits (Which, as was pointed out before, are still being broken anyway) for minimum yellow light times. But roads of different speeds should have yellow light timers of different durations.

            If you think these cameras are put in for any reason but as a revenue booster, you are living in a dream world. They are installed for revenue purposes, plain and simple.

  34. ldillon says:

    Where I live, there are two intersections (that I know of) that are larger than normal, yet the time for the yellow lights seems too short, resulting in many people running the yellow. These are Exposition Drive/4th St West and Division/Broadwater/1st North.

  35. CharlesFarley says:

    The city of Chicago has “dialed down” the length of the yellow lights at intersections with red light cameras to the Federally recommended minimum duration of 3.5 seconds after they had them as short as 3 seconds. Cha-ching.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-03-22/classified/ct-met-yellow-light-20100322_1_red-light-cameras-yellow-lights-three-and-six-seconds

  36. Yacko says:

    All the answers given by drivers in the comment section only reinforce the notion that driving should be taken out of the hands of humans and put in the “hands” of the car. Given the knuckle-dragging responses, the change is inevitable.

  37. dush says:

    Sometimes I think about buying some large old beater vehicle and purposely getting red light runners to hit me.

  38. Jimmy60 says:

    Where I live (a small Canadian city) they have installed countdown displays at most intersections. They are on the walk / don’t walk signal and they show a countdown. When they hit zero the light goes yellow. They mostly start at 15 seconds before yellow. In all my years of driving this has to be the best, most useful thing I have ever seen. It almost completely eliminates red light running and yellow light hard braking. The only thing it doesn’t do is generate revenue because it actually helps everyone obey the law.

    • LadyTL says:

      Ah but that wouldn’t help in the US because so many US drivers feel traffic laws are optional. They feel they should be allowed to drive however they want when they want and if they are breaking the law well the law is bad not their driving.

  39. PBallRaven says:

    Twice (in Compton CA, and just south of Fredrick, MD) I have been first in line at the light, and right after it changed and before I started moving, a SEMI WITH A TRAILER went blazing through in front of me at full highway speed ( > 50 MPH ). If I hadn’t looked and had just took off, i probably would have been killed instantly.

    If I’m in the front of the line, when the light changes I always look both directions before I move out. I’ve witnessed other people get plowed from the side so i don’t take any chances anymore.

    • SilentAgenger says:

      Good thinking. I used to promote traffic safety for an insurance company, and this was one of the things I preached: Green does not mean “go”, green means “proceed only after determining that the intersection is clear”. Too many people have a “race track” mentality towards green lights, and just blindly take off at the first sight of green (yes, you do have the right of way, but that doesn’t mean someone won’t violate it).

      In addition to the T-bone accident, another common accident was the first car getting rear-ended after its driver suddenly braked upon realizing the intersection wasn’t clear.

    • dks64 says:

      I’ve seen this on many occasions. I got marked down on my driving test for not looking both ways before going through an intersection on a green light. I didn’t realize how important it was, not having much driving experience. I think that’s something driving schools should stress, I sure as heck didn’t learn it.

  40. Scuba Steve says:

    Not shown: All the rear end crashes from people slamming on their brakes the moment it turns yellow.

  41. flarn2006 says:

    How would the camera company get the photos? Aren’t the camera’s owned by the city, or maybe the state?

  42. jeb says:

    Here’s another video, for people that are curious:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnAUHZQrrS8

  43. mackjaz says:

    After reading the comments, I cannot believe the whining taking place.

    1. Slow Down
    2. Stop at red lights
    3. Don’t tailgate
    4. Don’t blame the system if you get caught breaking the law

    • SilentAgenger says:

      And that goes for my nephew, too! I’ve got a sneaking suspicion he’s up to no good. He keeps borrowing my Red Barchetta every weekend, then comes back and sits with me by the fireside and starts bragging on and on about “tires spitting gravel…straining the limits” and such. God only knows what he’s up to in that thing.

    • damicatz says:

      The problem is that, around here at least, the cities deliberately set up the stoplights so that you always get a red. They’ve actually planning this at city government meetings.

      The only way out of town Eastwards is through a 4 lane regular highway; the nearest interstate bypasses the town which means if you want to get on it, you have to head east or take a very long detour North (which adds about 30 minutes).

      There are (count them) 11 stoplights within a 3 mile stretch of the road. You will always hit each and every light. Is it any wonder that people start running them when it takes 20 minutes to drive 3 miles?

      Red light cameras are a scam. If you want to improve safety, hire people who actually know how to design a traffic network.

  44. gamabunta says:

    The garden state is littered with car parts!

  45. Forex Software Guy says:

    Wasn’t there a city in Texas that had traffic cams, they ended up taking them down because people wouldn’t pay the tickets. Then they increased the duration of the yellow light by 3 or 4 seconds and they had less accidents than with the cams. It’s a scam, plain and simple.

  46. PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

    This video would be so much better with Yakety Sax in the background.

  47. Kyle says:

    I love how so many commenters on here watched the video and saw only what they wanted to see. To quote from Warner Wolf (who nonetheless creeps me out), let’s go to the video tape:

    1 – runs the red while cars in left turn lane are waiting; light may or may not have just turned red, but either way, turner is “in the box” and other driver is not, so driver is clearly in the wrong

    2 – multiple cars stopped when one car blows into intersection, car waiting to turn left is “in the box” when driver runs red; driver clearly in the wrong

    3 – cars in the left turn lanes in both directions had the green arrow, TWO drivers completely ignore the red for traffic going straight; red-light runners clearly in the wrong.

    4, 5, & 6 – traffic moving across intersection, driver oblivious to red light

    7 – signals aren’t clearly visible, but vehicles in both left turn lanes are moving, so most likely a left-turn-arrow situation where driver is oblivious to red for his/her own lane.

    8 – light turned yellow well before Explorer entered intersection, vehicle coming from opposite direction was into intersection and had begun making left turn; we’ll call this either way—argument could be made the driver turning left should have stopped, seeing the Explorer coming

    9 – see 4, 5 & 6, example of another oblivious driver

    10 – traffic is clearly stopped in the two left lanes and the driver elects to run the red light through the right-turn-only lane. As someone else posted, this could most likely be a drunk driver, or someone who has to be at the gym in 26 minutes, or someone who likes to “wwebsite as on the internet”

    So let’s tally: 8 where the driver running the red is CLEARLY at fault, 1 where we aren’t sure what the signal situation was, and one where both drivers could argue the other was in the wrong (even though I’d lean toward the Explorer ultimately being more in the wrong).

    Those who want to argue most of these examples misrepresented the driver running the light: show your work.

    • unpolloloco says:

      I disagree on 7 and 8. Based on the fact that the ambulance hasn’t started moving yet, I’d say it’s a 50:50 shot that the car going straight entered on a yellow or red. The left turner couldn’t see the car because of the ambulance, probably saw the light change, and then turned without due caution. Without either driver’s stupidity, this accident wouldn’t have happened. Fault is up in the air. The explorer is not at fault in video 8. It clearly entered the intersection before the light changed to red (and would have been through if the car hadn’t turned into its path. It’s not illegal to enter an intersection on yellow because it takes time to stop and often it’s impossible to stop in time to avoid entering an intersection on a yellow (as i suspect the case is with the explorer).

  48. Legit Crypt says:

    It’d be nice if there was statistics on how many of these people were talking/typing on their phones at the time…

  49. Nyxalinth says:

    This needs Yakkety Sax….

    Ugh. I’m a terrible person.

  50. Rocket says:

    Holy crap, people are f-ing stupid! Red means STOP, morons.

  51. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Most of the gotchas at the red light camera near me aren’t blatant red-light runners but people who slow down but don’t come to full complete stop before turning right on red.

  52. Syncop8d1 says:

    Of the 2 auto accidents that I was involved in as a passenger, both involved the driver of the car I was riding in traveling through an intersection and colliding with the other car that was making a left turn coming from the opposite direction.

    First accident involved the driver of the car I was in failing to heed my cries of “Louis, red light. Louis, red light! LOUIS, RED LIGHT! ***crash*** into the car making a “protected” left turn.

    Second accident, involved a guy trying to run a red light to make a left turn. We were going slower than the speed limit but were towing so our stopping distance was increased due to extra weight. Our light had just turned green and we already had momentum albeit still traveling slowly (approx. 30 mph) while the guy running the light swerved around a car stopped at his red light, then made a wide left turn causing us to collide into his passenger side front fender and door. The guy tried to pry his fender off of his wheel so he could drive away (uninsured, we found out later).
    This 2nd accident happened in 1992 when airbags were still a new thing. My ex (who was driving) was covered in bruises from the AIRBAG!. I thought the car was on fire from the smoke (just the airbag chemicals, I found out later). Our car sustained more than $5000 worth of damage. Almost the amount still owed on the car note.

    In summary, intersections are DANGEROUS! Not sure how helpful/harmful red light cameras are.

  53. thebt1 says:

    the problem with red light cameras is that the vast majority of tickets issued (96-99% in Illinois where I’m from) are for right turns on red, which are vastly less likely to cause an accident. Sure, you shouldn’t do them, but they pale in comparison to running red lights outright. In the end, these are purely for revenue generation and there has been relatively little effect on actual driver behavior, especially since drivers know where the cameras are in most circumstances.

  54. jedifarfy says:

    Big reason why I slowly enter an intersection and look both ways. Red light runners are asses and no enforcement will ever EVER prevent these jerks from thinking they can just go through and everyone will get out of their way.

  55. Rhinoguy says:

    The important point about the red light cameras is that they aren’t operated by law enforcement. They are privateers! That’s pirates in layman terms. The cameras do not prevent red light running to any statistically significant amount.
    If hey want to claim that they provide video evidence of the offending party, they are right. But you don’t need a red light camera for that, any camera would do. Put a sign on it that says “Evidence Camera” and see if that doesn’t work just as well. As a mater of fact some cities already have traffic cameras at major intersections.