Roswell may ditch red light cameras
by Joan Durbin
jdurbin@mdjonline.com
November 05, 2012 12:50 AM | 3377 views | 3 3 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Roswell Transportation Director Steve Acenbrak had some eye-opening news for city council members last week. The cameras at two Roswell intersections that record license plate numbers of drivers running red lights have made no appreciable difference in the accident rates there.

In the 25 months prior to installing the red light cameras on Ga. Hwy 9 at Holcomb Bridge and Mansell roads, there were three crashes caused by red light running, Acenbrak said.

In the 22 months following the installation, there were also three crashes related to running the light..

“So there really is no change,” said Councilman Jerry Orlans.

“That’s what the data is going to tell you,” Acenbrak agreed.

The cameras were installed in 2006. “I thought we’d been told a number of times since then that this operation had led to a decrease in accidents,” said Councilman Kent Igleheart.

“I think what we were told was that the number of people running red lights had gone down significantly,” Mayor Jere Wood said.

The data was revealed when council members met with the transportation committee last week to discuss whether more cameras should be added at other intersections across the city.

But establishing the need for more cameras could be just as dicey as proving they have much effect on reducing accidents.

Even at six city intersections that have recorded the most crashes, “the subset of red light running crashes to the number of other accident reasons is very small,” Acenbrak said.

Wood recommended that no more cameras be installed and got a general consensus.

Told that the Georgia Department of Transportation had changed the standards required to approve cameras and that the city might not be able to prove a need for the existing cameras, council members also expressed a desire to terminate their use.

Should this happen, revenue from light-running citations will disappear from city coffers. It reached an all time high in 2008, when Roswell netted $835,253 for the year. That figure dropped to $630,795 the following year and fell to $100,463 in 2010.

In the past two years the city actually finished in the hole after paying the vendor who handles the collections. The cameras weren’t in use for much of that time due to construction at the Holcomb Bridge Road/Ga. Hwy 9 intersection, according to Roswell Communications Manager Julie Brechbill.

Council members have always maintained that the cameras were there solely to improve safety at the two intersections. That’s why some say the data presented last week may signal the cameras’ doom.

“I’m stunned, but if the numbers don’t work, it’s never been about the revenue side,” Igleheart said.
Comments
(3)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Atlanta driver
|
November 05, 2012
Anyone who believes that these red light cameras are for anything else other than revenue is crazy. These cities, Like Marietta and several others use the light for exactly that revenue. This is why they pressure their officers to write tickets all the time. It is the revenue folks! They do not cut down on accidents, they do not make the road safer they are there to bring in the bucks. Get rid of them all
guywithanantfarm
|
November 05, 2012
I have lived in Roswell since 1989 and I have to say that I have noticed that the camera installations at these intersections actually are more dangerous than without. People make better decisions when they are not worried that they might get a ticket from an computer that records based on the light change. Sometimes it becomes more dangerous to stop short to avoid a ticket rather than keep going with the flow of traffic. I would be willing to bet that some of the accidents mentioned were actually caused by the cameras.
rctman
|
November 05, 2012
Hey Guywitanantfarm

I agree with you 100%. Adding to that note, i believe there is a law that states jurisdictions cannot use traffic infractions, such as speeding or red light running as for the purpose of revenue generation. It sole purpose must be to prevent accidents and thats it. so if it cant be proven that these cameras reduce accidents, they must come down...
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides