MANATEE — Witnesses said a red-light runner caused a traffic crash Monday that killed an Ellenton man, but state officials say such crashes are declining in number due to the use of high-tech cameras designed to catch violators.
“The most common outcome since the installation of red light cameras is a decrease in traffic crashes,” said the report compiled by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
It listed results submitted by 73 agencies statewide, including those of the city of Bradenton.
Bradenton’s results mirrored statewide findings: It reported a decline in the number of crashes occuring at intersections where the cameras are present.
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“Crashes are down at intersections with cameras, they’re considerably down,” said Sgt. William Weldon, who handles the red light camera program for the Bradenton Police Department.
“Since we’ve had the cameras in, every year, we’ve had decreases,” Weldon said in an interview Monday.
Neither was he seeing an increase in rear-end crashes resulting from those trying to stop quickly in order to avoid a citation as a result of the cameras, he said.
The state’s online survey inquired about the number of side-impact crashes, rear-end crashes and total crashes at intersections with cameras, which catch violators by snapping videos in concert with the traffic signal.
But it only asked whether the number increased, decreased, remained the same or there was no data; it did not ask for exact numbers.
The report concluded that 43 percent of the agencies had fewer side-impact crashes; 41 percent reported fewer rear-end crashes, and 56 percent said there had been a total reduction in the number of crashes at intersections where red light cameras are present, according to a summary.
Weldon’s report to the state showed 8,915 notices of violation between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, according to city documents.
The fee for a violation is $158 each.