The Red Light Related Accident Scam

Redflex Doesn't Care How it Gets Your Cash

Redflex Doesn't Care How it Gets Your Cash

Virginia Beach has the only red light camera program currently active in Virginia, but more cities are desperate to get on the gravy train — and they’re willing to do whatever it takes. Even if that means lying.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to install traffic cameras, citing bogus statistics to an unquestioning media. Even VDOT’s regional engineer joined with misleading statements about his department’s own findings. From NBC29:

According to VDOT, the cameras have been proven to reduce crashes by 42 percent, but they’re only successful if intersections are a good match.

Well, no. That’s actually the exact opposite of what the VDOT report found. We think it’s important to explain the statistical scam used to generate the “42%” figure which NBC29 obediently misreported.

The VDOT engineer selectively cited a made-up category called “red light running related accidents” out of the agency’s comprehensive 2007 study of every red light camera program in the Commonwealth (see for yourself). Why is it made-up?  Because the only types of accidents you’re going to find based on the accident forms used in the field are Angle, Rear End and Sideswipe with severities like Property Damage Only, Injury and Fatal. These accident types are recorded by showing where the vehicle is hit on a diagram. (View the official Virginia Accident Form in PDF). These categories are based in fact and are not subjective.

The “red light running” category is fake because it has a singular purpose: to exclude by definition rear end collisions. Take them out of the way and suddenly cameras look much better.

But you would never do that if you were honest in your concern about safety. There is only one question worth answering in evaluating a red light camera program: What was the overall effect? In other words, were there fewer injuries and fewer accidents, or more accidents and more injuries? When you use questions that cut to the bottom line, you find the VDOT report is very clear:

Based only on the study results presented herein and without referencing other studies, the study did not show a definitive safety benefit associated with camera installation with regard to all crash types, all crash severities, and all crash jurisdictions (page xv)

The cameras were associated with an increase in rear-end crashes. The EB method showed a significant increase in four of the five jurisdictions and a nonsignificant increase in one jurisdiction (Fairfax City)… the EB results suggest that the point estimate of this increase is 42%. A simple before-after comparison after normalizing by time and ADT suggested an average increase of 27% by intersection…. (page 48)

The cameras were associated with an increase in total crashes. Arlington and Fairfax County saw significant increases, Falls Church and Vienna saw nonsignificant increases, and Fairfax City saw a nonsignificant decrease. The aggregate EB results suggested that this increase was 29%, whereas a simple before/after comparison that controlled for time and ADT suggested an increase of 12% per intersection… (page 48)

The association of the cameras with angle crashes differed among jurisdictions, although a preponderance of test results suggested an increase… (page 48)

The cameras were associated with an increase in the frequency of injury crashes. Significant increases were noted in Arlington and Vienna, nonsignificant increases were noted in Falls Church and Fairfax County, and a nonsignificant decrease was noted in Fairfax City. The aggregate EB results suggested an 18% increase, although the point estimates for individual jurisdictions were substantially higher (59%, 79%, or 89% increases) or lower (6% increase or a 5% decrease). (page 49)

The Empirical Bayes (EB) method produces the most sophisticated results, which are summarized as follows:

  • Rear end accidents increased 42%
  • Angle accidents increased 20%
  • Injury accidents increased 18%
  • The total number of accidents increased 29%

More accidents. More injuries. Period.

Albemarle doesn’t care. Neither do Newport News and Fairfax City which joined Virginia Beach in thumbing their noses at state law by inking illegal per-ticket contracts with an Australian company, Redflex Traffic Systems, to outsource ticketing.

They don’t care about the law, they don’t care about the truth and they don’t care about your safety —  for one simple reason: It’s all about the money.

42 Responses to The Red Light Related Accident Scam

  1. Put Tempe in the same boat. Fatalities increased 43%, so let’s pay Redflex more!

    Perhaps Virginia the lawmakers in VA are like the state lawmakers here! Exempt from photo enforcement!

  2. RPr says:


    when did that happen?

  3. When did what happen? The Tempe stats are 2008. DPS said that the exemption for non-criminal acts “is nothing new.” To be fair, it applies to all non-crminal acts, not just PE.

    • Law A.Biding Troll says:

      all non criminal? i highly doubt it… so if an act is not criminal it is a misdemeanor… so in theory what you are saying is that they can shoplift, as long as they keep it under $200 (which i believe anything over that is criminal)and get away with it? didnt you do the same scam? you took one intersection in tempe that had few fatalities in 2007… it increased by just a few in 2008 and since the number from 2007 was very low… even a small increase in numbers makes the percentage look like it went up a lot…. maybe scam can be a spokesman for redflex and any state pushing to get the cameras… he can distort and leave out numbers that do not strengthen his position with the best of them!!!

      • You just don’t want to believe anything? I could tell you that the sun is on fire and you wouldn’t believe me. See David’s response below, although you will probably doubt the AZ Constitution also.

        And as for the Tempe business, you can’t keep your facts straight (big surprise). The numbers were for Tempe city-wide for a whole year, not just one intersection.

      • And feel free to call DPS and ask youself. They’ll tell you the same thing they told me.

    • Mark S says:

      Don’t forget that traffic in 2008 was also far less then 2007. Traffic for 2009 is projected to be less that 2008.

      If you have a small increase in accidents with a lot less volume of total traffic, the PERCENTAGE of accidents to traffic is aLOT higher.

      • Law A.Biding Troll says:

        really mark? where is that study that projects 2009 traffic to be much lighter? just a guess on your part? i would have said educated guess.. but….

        • David says:

          The following information may assist everyone in this string, including myself, in better understanding what the h*ll we are talking about:

          The Arizona Constitution, Article 4, Part 2, section 6 states:

          Section 6. Members of the legislature shall be privileged from arrest in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, and they shall not be subject to any civil process during the session of the legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement of each session.

          Felonies and misdemeanors are crimes. Most traffic violations (including PE violations) are civil violations, similar to a personal injury law suit, except the plaintiff is the State, which, is “suing” the defendant for “harming the public” by driving unsafe.

          Shoplifting is a CRIME.

      • geez says:

        Yes mark,
        but you forgot to also explain that with a population increase, traffic can increase but still be a lower volume percentage! AH HA! Ha ha!

        Population 100, drivers 90..
        Population 200, drivers 180.. See! That’s a lower volume of traffic huh! But still more cars on the road 🙂
        Oh, by the way, that’s the math Bubu avoiding admitting when he said photo enforcement made things worse in Pinal!

  4. Evapilot says:

    Jesus fucking christ! If you get a stupid fucking ticket from this goddamn corrupt fucking state…just do NOT PAY THE GODDDAMN THING!!! Why is everybody bitching about photo radar!??!?! I have my plate “photo proofed” meaning…I’ve been flashed 4 times..with no ticket sent. My friends have gotten a handful, and they simply throw them away. I work late, so even if a process server tries to come over; I’ll never be home. End of problem!

  5. Law A.Biding Troll says:

    david..that reads that the civil process can not move forward while they are in session… or fulfilling their duties.

    the link you left…the very bottom in subsection H. it reads that a theft of
    $1000.00 or less is a class 1 misdemeanor…. i think it was class 1 maybe not… the key was misdemeanor…. so if they shoplift… they are immune from prosecution until after the session …then they can be brought to justice?

    you realize that if you post early in the morning like this you will be accused of being an addict!!!

    thanks for the info….

    • Watching says:

      Not an addict, I am an entertainer and keep wierd hours. Yes, in addition to other endeavors refered to in other posts. Life is short.

      Shoplifting in your example is a misdemeanor and is therefore not a civil violation – (although the statute provides for civil remedies pursued by the VICTEMS, not the State). A strict interpretation of the Constitutional provision would conclude legislators are immune from misdemeanor ARRESTS, but not from process (prosecution). I don’t know if this is how case law has defined that section. May be an interesting research project.

      Knowlege is power.

  6. David says:

    And yes, David is Watching.

  7. Law A.Biding Troll says:

    so why 2 usernames?

  8. David says:

    I had forgotten I had posted under David in message board some time back, then didnt visit site for awhile and used used new name Watching. Now, depending on how I visit site, either name is auto filled.

  9. Law A.Biding Troll says:

    what kind of entertainer? if you can reveal? band?

    yes i have read some of your posts in the other section of which i am not allowed!!

  10. David says:

    Good call. More specifics may skew any future posts I leave. Don’t want any distraction from the truth. Don’t want to clutter the forum with that stuff anyway. Keep it real. Hope I helped.

  11. Law A.Biding Troll says:

    Phoenix, AZ
    1,121 Volunteers

    Welcome to CameraFRAUD. We are united in our effort to get rid of every speed camera, red light camera, and photo radar van here in Arizona and across the country. We were suc…

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    there is a reason that it is difficult to challenge an existing law and have it brought to a vote… if PR was really as unpopular as the anti crowd claims they would have had those signatures in weeks…. and the 16,000 we have no idea how many would not have been valid….

    • James S says:

      Signature collection for even popular issues are difficult, especially when done on a volunteer-only basis.

      It’s a time-consuming, logistically-backwards process.

      • Law A.Biding Troll says:

        good thing the founding fathers, who many at this site like to heap praise upon, did not use the same excuses when the decided to break from the strangle h9old of england… “revolution, even popular revolutions are difficult, especially when you could lose your life and family”
        are you breaking from the CF company theme that this is not a popular issue…cause it only seems to be for 20 of you…. it certainly is not for the general public… and that will translate into a failure in gathering the needed signatures!!!

        • James S says:

          That’s silly to think it’s only 20 people. With 1500 on meetup plus 1000 on twitter, we easily outnumber redflex and ATS combined many times over.

          And you seem to forget that the founder’s revolution was conducted and promoted by a minority. Never underestimate the relentless efforts of a small few.

  12. David says:

    From personal experience, it seems most people just don’t like being CAUGHT by photo radar. We have spent a lifetime training our brains to look for “cop cars” in those moments we decide, for whatever reason, that we must “get there faster”. We have become proud of our superman-like ability to detect traffic cops from great distances and slow down just in time to avoid being caught.

    Now, suddenly, a secret weapon – photo radar. “Damn. They got me. Oh well, I was speeding. I’ll just pay it”. Damn them tricky cops. Sound familiar to anyone’s brain? It does to mine – until a friend asked me to look into her PE speed ticket. My first reaction was “ok, ok, I’ll look into it, but you were speeding, you should probably just pay it”. I looked into it. I have been anti AZ PE every since and, until something changes, would never suggest anyone “just pay” their ticket.

    For most of the reasons discussed here and on other sites, the system is being run in a manner that tramples on the rights of individuals. However, the PE vendors ( RF,. ATS, etc.) figured out years ago that most tickets would be paid out of guilt; guilt that would not exist but for the public’s popular misconceptions about our traffic laws. Most posters on this site, both pro and anti, understandably, don’t have a solid grasp of AZ reasonable and prudent speed laws. These vendors KNOW this.

    DPS gets behind it because they truly see it as a way to improve traffic safety while freeing up officers for more “serious” work”.

    The state buys it because it requires no out of pocket expenses to start, and the vendors promise to raise revenue.

    The general public is simply not aware their rights are being violated – because all they think about is the fact that they were, after all, traveling faster than the posted limit.

  13. Law A.Biding Troll says:

    david- i dont believe that people pay the tickets out of guilt… they pay because they do not want more serious action taken against their license.. if they knew for sure that nothing would happen ..they would not pay… or many would not..

    what you claim are “RIGHTS BEING VIOLATED” are really questions on constitutionality and you, me nor the CF administration or any other members has the final say… we all have opinions… and that is all we have..

    i enjoy your posts.. well thought out, to the point and not insulting ( not that it would bother me ) if it was just you and me left in the world i think we could get this worked out…

    • David says:

      Yes it is likely many people simply pay to avoid action against their licenses; but if they didn’t feel they were violating the speed laws why would they anticipate action against their licenses? When they get flashed, I’m sure they are aware of their speed at that moment and know they were traveling above the posted limit. That is what I meant by “guilt”. Also, many people simply don’t have the time or wherewithal to fight a legal battle against the state – and the price of simply paying the fine is far less than hiring an attorney. Combine all these thoughts in the heads of the accused and you get a recipe for “rolling over”.

      I agree that a determination as to the legality/constitutionality of PE is not up to me, CF or any other individuals or organizations. It is up to the courts. But the courts do not make such determinations on their own volition. No court ever does. It requires a challenge, an action filed in court by an aggrieved party or group of people – or an initiative or referendum to call for public vote. These remedies will never move forward unless people are given ACCURATE information regarding the issues. Whether CF ultimately is successful depends ENTIRELY upon presenting the issues to the public. There is nothing irresponsible or radical about such efforts. It is the fundamental process of our system. Without it we as a nation would not have triumphed over many many injustices over the past two hundred years. Not to sound cliché, but of the people, by the people for the people.

      People are more likely to sign the initiative, or not sign, only if they are presented the issues in a reasonable and accurate manner. I am fortunate enough to have extensive knowledge and insight regarding the law – and I feel current AZ PE is a hypocrisy. I have no political career or ambitions to worry about in speaking against the same. In my opinion CF needs to become more information bases and less freeform posting where incincere and dishonest people can post any information or disinformation they want. This is counter productive and less likely inform the public of the issues

  14. Law A.Biding Troll says:

    what a crock… braking is now a manuever? no need to read the rest of the nonsense with that statement!!

    • James S says:

      When I learned how to drive, it was made clear that braking on the interstate (or any freeway) was to be frowned upon. Speeds are supposed to be regulated by drivers so that braking isn’t necessary.

      Going 10MPh under the speed limit due to a fear of photo radar must, logically, be as dangerous as going 10 over.

      • Law A.Biding Troll says:

        they are not talking about freeway braking, they are talking about red light running…. or better yet.. those that try and stop and then get rear ended from the idiot that was not paying attention!!!

        and that is not what is happening on our freeways… seems that many are going 75 plus and hitting the brakes as they approach the cameras.. thats not the cameras fault… the same as when you started driving…only drivers would slam the brakes on when they saw a cop running radar… should we do away with cops running radar also?

    • Malfeasant says:

      Yes, braking is a maneuver. From the American Heritage Dictionary-

      A controlled change in movement or direction of a moving vehicle or vessel

      Try again.

  15. Law A.Biding Troll says:

    Phoenix, AZ
    1,121 Volunteers

    Welcome to CameraFRAUD. We are united in our effort to get rid of every speed camera, red light camera, and photo radar van here in Arizona and across the country. We were suc…

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    65 g’s to the kids sleeping in the same room!!! why?
    where is the father? how did he get cut out of the picture…..

    why would they turn to PE to try and help cover the costs… CF has determined the PE is a failure as nobody pays the tickets and it has never lost at the polls when put before the voters!!

    smart money would be to wager that dodge-chrysler will be the next car company to file bankruptcy as they dont produce any better cars than GM !!! aint that right mike?

  16. This was a really good post. It reports the same facts I found when I went looking into the safety aspect of these cameras: That they increase accidents, and the government doesn’t care because it just wants our money! But what else is new?

    I wish the mainstream media would do more to increase the average citizen’s knowledge of these facts. I’ve seen very few media outlets that actually tell their viewers the truth. Journalism has gone from a truth finding profession to one of being the government’s mouthpiece.

  17. kars says:

    very good thanks

  18. Law A.Biding Troll says:

    this site sucks!!

    • Law A.Biding Troll says:

      oh!! it appears i am back on after a brief absence!!! i take back my last post…. and admin please ignore my last email…. except for the part about football!!

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