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Red-Light Cameras Question Again for Increasing Car Accidents in Knoxville

American Traffic Solutions (ATS) recently filed a lawsuit saying that they’re not able to do the job they were hired for anymore, according to KnoxNews. The company is upset because it’s no longer allowed to issue citations for improper right turns on red.

We’ve all heard before that safety benefits that these cameras provide are minimal compared to the millions that cities raise by issuing intersection citations, and this is another illustration on how important generating these citation fines are for these companies. Still, car accidents in Knoxville and elsewhere are still an all too often occurrence, with or without red-light cameras.

Typically, receiving a traffic ticket lies in the hands of an American Traffic Solutions employee, whose paycheck directly correlates with the number of traffic stations that are issued. According to Capt. Gordon Catlett of the Knoxville Police Department, the city isn’t the one that’s banking from these tickets. He says that ATS is getting 80 percent of the millions that are being reeled in.

Our Knoxville car accident attorneys understand the concern drivers have with these red-light cameras. While many government officials claim that these red-light cameras save lives and were not installed to raise some fast cash, others think differently.

Some recent traffic studies have indicated that red-light cameras have the ability to reduce the risks of front-into-side accidents, but the number of rear-end accidents increase. A study by the Federal Highway Administration looked into the effects of red-light camera programs in nearly 10 U.S. cities. Researchers concluded that right-angle accidents decreased by about 25 percent, but the number of rear-end accidents increased by nearly 20 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The study also concluded that these cities gained nearly $19 million, despite the increase in accidents. The authors of the study concluded that the economic costs resulting from the increase in accidents were more than the offset by the economic benefits from the decrease in the right-and accidents that the cameras were used to target.

According to the Knoxville City Court, there have been more than 17,000 red-light camera tickets issued since 2006 by the two vendors who have been hired to run the camera program. Drivers can use an interactive red-light camera map to locate these cameras throughout the city.

Revenue for July through September from the city’s red-light cameras has declined from roughly $490,000 during that time in 2010 to under $140,000 for the same time this year.

Red-light running is no new danger. According to a recent study from the IIHS, a driver will run a red light at any given intersection every 20 minutes. During rush hour, these occurrences are much more frequent. The rate of red-light runners at intersections with and without these cameras is about the same.

Many residents in Knoxville are opposed to the dangerous traps. Many compare them to an old Southern speed trap. Mayor-elect Madeline Rogero recently expressed her support for the eye in the sky.

Bill Myers from Knoxville wrote in to KnoxNews and asked Rogero to re-evaluate her position with these cameras. He says that the residents on the city deserve to have better and safer traffic enforcement practices than these money-hungry camera operations contributing to more accidents.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident in Tennessee, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights with our Knoxville injury lawyers and Maryville accident attorneys. Call (877) 472-5657.

Additional Resources:

Letters: Cameras only for raising money, by Bill Myers, KnoxNews

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