State study shows red-light cameras don't always mean fewer crashes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — More red-light runners are caught red-handed thanks to cameras that are mounted at intersections throughout the state, including almost 40 in Jacksonville alone.

But drivers such as Karim Choukri don’t think the cameras are necessary.

“It does cost a lot of money and the city itself does not benefit,” said Choukri.

A new report by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for fiscal year 2015-2016 shows the devices don’t always mean fewer crashes.

A total of 59 jurisdictions self-reported information for the report, which includes data from before the cameras were installed and after.

According to the report, total crashes went up by more than 10 percent, rear-end crashes increased by 11.41 percent and “incapacitating injury” crashes went up by nearly 27 percent.

Yet crashes involving non-motorists went down more than 19 percent and those involving running a red light went down just over 3 percent.

Back in May, we showed you how Jacksonville’s red-light cameras cost taxpayers more than $400,000 for the four officers who are assigned to the program.

Choukri doesn’t believe the cameras make our roads safer.

“It's causing a lot of accidents because everyone is scared to get a ticket,” said Choukri.

The city of Jacksonville makes more than $360,000 in red-light camera fines. Statewide, more than 1.2 million red-light camera tickets were issued.

The DHSMV said one of the possible reasons for the increase in crashes is that that more people are driving.  According to the report, the daily vehicle miles traveled in Florida increased 8.32 percent from 2012 to 2015.