Watch Out for Red Light Runners on Memorial Day Weekend

PHOTO: The city of Los Angeles voted to end their contract with Redflex, who ran their red light camera program. CREDIT: Associated Press

Associated Press

If you are going to get hit by a red light runner, it's more likely to happen on Memorial Day weekend, says a new report released by the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR), a red light camera advocacy group.

The report, which analyzes data collected in 2013, looks at trends for red light running violations during special events and holidays. It tracked a total of 39,021 red-light running incidences during Memorial Day weekend last year. The organization says it has noted an increased number of violations on this holiday weekend over the last few years. Halloween, interestingly, sees the least amount of red light running.

The study also analyzes information about the most dangerous time of day and day of the week for intersection safety. A third of all violations happen from 1 to 5 p.m. and the most violations occur on Fridays. It's easy to conclude from these statistics that people wanting to get home from work and start their weekend are less cautious at red lights. Not totally surprising.

NCSR has found that red light running violations have increased from 2011 to 2013. However, the 2011 report only covers information for 18 states, whereas the 2013 report looks at 20 states, which affects overall totals. Also, more cameras have been implemented in some municipalities, which means more red light camera violations.

It's important to note the report only looks at intersections where American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the biggest red light camera company in the U.S., operates its cameras. NCSR receives funding from ATS.

Red light camera opponents question the validity of the report.

"These stats by themselves are pretty much useless without any detailed context for the conditions under which they were gathered, like traffic volume during those times or monitored approaches," says Matt Florell, an anti-red light camera activist. He has been tracking red light camera statistics for the last four years and is pushing to have red light cameras removed in Florida.

He says the report ignores all non-ATS red light camera installations and is not a scientific study. "This is basically a PR piece put out to sell ATS and red light cameras," says Florell. (Check out what Florell has to say about ATS and red light cameras in this Fusion investigative report.)

Regardless, it's better to be on the safe side. Be careful at red light intersections this Memorial Day weekend.

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