Are Red Light Cameras Deterring Car Accidents?

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that car accident statistics are showing an increase in vehicle collisions at intersections that contain red light cameras. 

There were 28 Car accidents and truck accidents at Western Avenue and 63rd Street in 2006, the year before the Daley administration installed red-light cameras there in the name of safety. In 2008, the year after cameras went in, accidents at the Southwest Side intersection soared to 42, according to state data.

Car Crash totals for the year before and the year after the cameras arrived shows 18 intersections recorded a significant drop in accidents with cameras. Twenty intersections had a significant increase in car accidents, while nine had relatively little change.

Based on state statistics, nearly 60 percent of intersection with red light cameras did not decrease the amount of car accidents in that area.

The safety benefits of red-light cameras are indisputable when placed at truly dangerous intersections, said Timothy Neuman, chief highway engineer for CH2M Hill, one of the nation’s largest engineering consulting firms. But Neuman acknowledged that drivers have grown skeptical because cameras in many communities seem to be proliferating at marginal locations.

The trick is where you put them,” Neumann explained. “It frustrates traffic engineers like myself if and when it’s misused.”

Indeed state data shows that car accidents have fallen, sometimes dramatically, at some dangerous city intersections after the installation of cameras. In 2006 there were 141 car accidents at South Chicago Avenue and Stony Island Drive, a very complicated South Side intersection. Cameras were installed in mid-2007 and car accidents that year dropped to 123. By 2008 the total fell again to 101.

More typical, though, is the situation at Western and North avenues, where cameras were installed in late 2007. In 2006 the year before the camera went in, the intersection was the scene of 34 accidents. In 2008, the year after installation, there were 40 accidents, including six broadside collisions – considered the most dangerous type of intersection crash. There were no broadside crashes at that intersection in 2006.

To read the complete article, click here.

I think this article and the supporting statistics raise some interesting questions about the effectiveness of red light cameras. I have received numerous phone calls from clients who have been ticketed with red light violations. Unfortunately, these tickets cannot be amended or dismissed as they are not viewed as moving violations. The jury is still out as to whether the cameras are actually decreasing car accidents.

If you or someone you know has een involved in an Illinois car accident or Illinois truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for free consultation at 312-588-3384.

Eastern Illinois Assistant Football Coach Dies In One-Car Accident

The Chicago Tribune reported over the weekend that Eastern Illinois University offensive line coach, Jeff Hoover, died from injuries suffered from a one-car accident.

The accident occurred when Hoover, along with his family and EIU strength coach Eric Cash and his family, were returning from Carbondale, Ill., where Eastern Illinois had lost to Southern Illinois 48-7 in a first-round playoff game. The vehicle they were driving swerved to miss a deer and rolled over.

Hoover, 41, just finished his third season as the Panthers’ offensive line coach. He had served previously as an assistant coach at Portland State, Utah State, Henderson State and UC-Davis, his alma mater.

Two people were released from the hospital early Sunday morning, while all others involved in the accident were transported to Carle Hospital in Champaign, Ill., for further observation.

Hoover began his coaching career as the offensive line coach at UC-Davis in 1991. He coached the offensive and defensive lines for the Sacramento Attack of the Arena Football League in 1992 before spending two seasons at Claremont McKenna College.

In addition to his wife, Hoover is survived by two children — his daughter, Lauren, and son, Cole.

This is a very sad story as Coach Hoover had two young children. This type of accident is not rare this time of year as this is deer hunting season. It is not unusual to see deer coming and going across public highways and streets, especially at night. It is very important to drive carefully at night as deer can appear out of nowhere.

Should you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident or truck accident, then contact attorney Aaron Bryant to discuss your case and for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.