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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crashes drop 31 percent at Tampa's red-light camera intersections



Tampa's controversial decision to install red-light cameras at some of the city's busiest intersections appears to be paying off. In April 2011, the City Council voted 4-3 to approve a Tampa police plan to install the cameras. (Harry Cohen, Mary Mulhern, Lisa Montelione and Mike Suarez voted yes, while Yvonne Yolie Capin, Frank Reddick, and council Chairman Charlie Miranda voted no.)

Now come police statistics showing that crashes at intersections with red-light cameras fell by nearly a third the year after Tampa officials installed the technology.

Overall, the number of accidents at the 17 monitored intersections dropped from 167 during the year before the red-light cameras were installed to 115 the year after — a decrease of more than 31 percent.

"These cameras save lives," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who described the results as what officials had hoped for and expected.

"When we set out a year ago to do this our goal was to change behavior and to minimize the risk to our citizens and neighbors and friends and family members that they would get killed by someone busting a red light at these intersections," he said Friday. "I think we have changed behaviors, and I think it was the right decision, and I think the data proves it."

Tampa's experience is the opposite of what happened in St. Petersburg, where the total number of crashes jumped 10 percent at the 10 intersections with cameras during the program's first year.

But Tampa's results are consistent with what happened after Hillsborough County officials installed red-light cameras at six intersections in unincorporated Hillsborough in 2009. At those intersections, accidents with injuries declined from 62 in 2008 to 31 in 2010.

Full report here.

[Last modified: Friday, January 4, 2013 11:57am]


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