Fear of fines may fuel more sudden stops and rear-end accidents -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
Criminal Deterrence When There are Offsetting Risks: Traffic Cameras, Vehicular Accidents, and Public Safety
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- criminal deterrence; electronic surveillance; public safety; vehicle accidents
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Governor Greg Abbott, who's running for re-election, recently proposed that the Texas legislature ban red light cameras.
For Abbott, in part, it's a safety issue saying they may lead to more accidents. Is that true? Here's what he told me during a
Numerous cities have enacted electronic monitoring programs at traffic intersections in an effort to reduce the high number of vehicle accidents. The rationale is that the higher expected fines for running a red light will induce drivers to stop and lead to fewer cross-road collisions. However, the cameras also incentivize drivers to accept a greater accident risk from stopping. We evaluate the termination of a monitoring program via a voter referendum using 12 years of geo-coded police accident data. We find that the cameras changed the composition of accidents, but no evidence of a reduction in total accidents or injuries.