Debate continues over the effectiveness of red-light cameras at intersections from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale

The Sun Sentinel is reporting the Fort Lauderdale Police Department is reviewing data to see how effective red light cameras are at improving traffic safety.

Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers know that stopping red-light runners reduces the risk of car accidents in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere.

The crash data for intersections where the cameras are installed indicates that the number of accidents increased at two intersections, remained the same at one, and decreased at three locations.

Hollywood, Sunrise and Boynton Beach are the latest communities to add cameras at their most dangerous intersections.

Though some Fort Lauderdale commissioners want to keep the cameras, Fort Lauderdale’s Police Chief has indicated concerns about expense and the massive accumulation of possible violations that haven’t been reviewed. Two public safety aides review about 1,000 violations a week. Citations are dismissed if they aren’t mailed out within 60 days. The current backlog of cases is 2,150.

The state Legislature is considering getting rid of the cameras. Tens of thousands of dollars are being spent on court costs for red-light violators, but very little revenue is coming in for fines.

Installation of the cameras in Fort Lauderdale was completed in September, and accident info was reviewed for October through January.

The intersection with the most number of crashes, West Commercial Boulevard and Powerline Road, saw a drop from 17 accidents to 11 when comparing data from last year. Both the intersections of West Commercial Boulevard at Northwest 21st Avenue and State Road 84’s junction with Southwest Ninth Avenue saw increased accidents from last year.

The increase in accidents did not sit well with one commissioner, who felt if the cameras were making the intersections less safe what was the point of having them. Studies have shown that red light cameras do decrease the fatal t-bone type crash at intersections but are known to increase the less severe rear end type collisions.

Hollywood’s 6 red-light cameras have been working since December and fines started to be issued in January. The intersections were chosen based on the number of red-light violations issued in the past. City officials think it is too soon to judge the effectiveness of the cameras.

Currently four intersections in Boynton Beach are having cameras installed, with warnings to be issued starting by the end of May.