Thursday, March 27, 2008

Colorado: City Adds More Cameras Despite Accident Increase

Red light cameras in Aurora, Colorado have failed to yield any reduction in the overall number of accidents since the devices were installed in May 2005. Nonetheless, city officials have approved a measure that will allow the expansion of the existing four-intersection setup to one covering up to twenty-five city locations. The devices were successful between 2006 and 2007 in issuing 19,087 tickets worth $1,431,525. "We think there's a value to taking the program to the next step," Police Chief Daniel Oates told the Rocky Mountain News newspaper. At three of the four ticketing locations, rear end collisions increased dramatically from 2005 to 2006. At Mississippi Avenue and Potomac, rear end collisions jumped 175 percent. At Alameda Avenue and Abilene Street, the increase was 100 percent. Only one intersection saw a 60 percent drop in one specific type of accident, likely as a result of the statistical phenomenon known as regression to the mean. This happens when a camera is installed at a location with an unusually high number of accidents in one year. As the number of accidents returns to the "normal" level, city officials credit the change to their camera program.


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