Colorado Editorials

The Colorado Springs Gazette: Red-light cameras a good tool for Springs

Author: The Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board - August 18, 2018 - Updated: August 18, 2018

The local news is full of devastating losses on our streets. Four people have been killed in separate, unrelated traffic accidents in Colorado Springs in the last week. Two of the accidents involved motorcycles, and two were single-vehicle crashes.

These are the 29th, 30th, 31st, and 32nd traffic fatalities in Colorado Springs this year. We are on a pace to surpass last year, a record year for traffic fatalities in the city, with a total of 39.

This doesn’t surprise anyone who drives in our city. The statistics speak volumes. Colorado Springs drivers are speeding, running red lights and driving while distracted.

This is nothing new, but the volume of traffic has increased with an increase in population. There are simply more cars on the road. Combine that with limited traffic patrols because of a shortage of police officers and you have a prescription for mayhem.

We all share the responsibility to pay attention and focus on the task at hand — getting from point A to point B safely. But some intervention might be needed to accomplish that.

After a seven-year hiatus, the city just announced four new red-light cameras that will be installed at intersections that have high volume and high accident rates. Four cameras aren’t nearly enough, but it is a start. Those who oppose red-light cameras claim that they are simply revenue generators and smack of Big Brother watching us. We should monitor and analyze this new program after a year to ensure that its core purpose, improving safety, is being adhered to. As for Big Brother, well, most lawbreakers don’t like police stopping their illegal behaviors.

Most major cities in the nation have the cameras. Aurora, Boulder, Commerce City, Denver, Fort Collins and Pueblo in the state use red-light cameras.

A study of New York’s red-light camera program, one of the oldest in the nation, shows:

• The program has been effective at deterring drivers from running red lights, the average daily number of red light running violations has declined by 75 percent.

• The program has helped prevent crashes, which are associated with red light running. Reported right angle crashes at signalized intersections declined by 62 percent.

• The program has not led to an increase in rear end crashes. Reportable rear endcrashes at signalized intersections have declined by 39 percent.

A study, “Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras” by the Federal Highway Administration, shows a similar reduction in right angle crashes and rear-end collisions when the cameras are present.

It is time for Colorado Springs to use the technology that is available to try to mitigate the obvious dangers of driving around our city.

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The Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board