Everyone who's ever gone through a yellow light, like a normal person, only for it to turn red just as you exit the intersection and then you see a giant flash pop up so you instinctively slam on the brakes in the desperate hope that you won't get a ticket, knows that this system just doesn't work. And now there's proof.
Chicago's become infamous for being home to the nation's largest network of the cursed cameras, with 350 in total doing the devil's work throughout the city's intersections. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's been a big booster of them as well, with studies posted to the city's website touting the program, according to the Chicago Sun-Times:
Data posted to the city's website indicate that crashes at red-light camera intersections decreased 33 percent between 2005 and 2012, with a 22 percent drop in crashes that resulted in serious injury. The city's data also indicate rear-end crashes decreased 7 percent at those intersections during that period.
But an independent study by the Chicago Tribune (subscription required) found that not only were the city's numbers about red light safety grossly exaggerated, it turns out that in many situations, red light cameras actually increased by 22% the number of serious injuries at intersections.
And what's worse, as Ars Technica notes, there was no proof that the cameras actually increased safety at all.
But there was plenty of proof that they generated money for the city, to the tune of $500,000,000 since 2002.
(Oh, and definitely, definitely, definitely, pay no attention to the fact that another study found that 13,000 drivers were charged with violating a red light at an intersection when they'd done nothing wrong at all.)
To really tie the whole thing together, just to put it all nice and pretty with a bow on it, we should remember that Redflex, the company that installed the cameras, won the bid for the program by ponying up about $600,000 in bribes.
Red light cameras are a dangerous scam, a symbol of everything wrong in the world, and they must be stopped.
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