• Crashes up at intersections with red-light cameras

    By: Lorena Inclán


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The report card is in for the red-light cameras recently installed in Duval County, and the results are proving to be very mixed. 

    Action News partner 104.5 WOKV News broke this story Monday and for weeks requested an interview with Sheriff John Rutherford. Instead, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded by opening the interview with the sheriff to all media outlets, giving them access to the exclusive information. 

    Some of the red-lights cameras have been in place for more than a year, while others just started enforcing. Baymeadows Road and Southside Boulevard was the first intersection to get the cameras. In the 559 days before installation, there were 99 crashes; 559 days after installation there were 126 crashes. That’s a 27 percent increase in crashes. 

    Another example is Beach Boulevard and Interstate 295 -- a nearly 30 percent increase at that intersection with 192 crashes in the 537 days since installation. 

    Action News took the numbers Rutherford, who says while the stats are mixed, the overall picture is positive. 

    “The number of people running red lights is down; that’s an achievement and that makes our roads safer,” said Rutherford. 

    There were some positives, like at the intersection of Beach and Hodges boulevards where crashes went down. 

    The types of crashes help paint a better picture. Baymeadows Road and Southside Boulevard saw 84 rear-end crashes; that’s a 105 percent increase. Southside Boulevard and Touchton Road saw 66 rear-end crashes, a 74 percent increase. In at least 10 intersections there were fewer side-impact crashes after the cameras were installed. 

    “The rear-ends are not nearly as dangerous to life and limb as side-impact crashes, obviously, so we are more concerned about the side-impact crashes,” said Rutherford. 

    According to Rutherford, at some point the rear-end crashes will start to go down. 

    Taxpayer money is not used to maintain the cameras, but Rutherford said money from JSO’s general fund is used to pay the officers who sift through the red-light camera videos looking for violators. There are now three officers assigned to that duty. 

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