Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fewer Crashes in Half of Reviewed Intersections with Cameras; but Rear-End Collisions Went Up; Sheriff Says Numbers 'A Mixed Bag'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fewer Crashes in Half of Reviewed Intersections with Cameras; but Rear-End Collisions Went Up; Sheriff Says Numbers 'A Mixed Bag'

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan

Crashes at half of the 20 highest-frequency crash locations in the city have gone down significantly since red-light camera equipment has been installed, although seven had increases, according to Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford.

But he admits the numbers are "a mixed bag" with rear-end collisions up at 13 of those intersections, with only three showing a handful less.

"People got used to running the red light and now when someone in front of them stops, they are surprised," Rutherford said. "Now they run into the back of them because they weren't expecting them to stop. They were expecting them to run the red light like they were going to do."

The Sheriff's Office began its red-light camera program in 2012 and has 26 cameras in operation. Redflex Traffic Systems of Arizona installed and maintains the cameras as well as sends notice of the $158 violations to motorists.

Rutherford said he's never been worried about how much revenue the camera system would bring in since the contract makes sure the taxpayers "never pay a dime." But he said revenue is about $370,000 from tickets since they began citing drivers.

"This year we put zero revenue in the budget because it is just too volatile to try to figure out," he said. "... We projected like $1.5 million the first year and didn't come anywhere near that because the red-light violations dropped off much more quickly than we anticipated."

The Sheriff's Office review of 20 of the intersections compares a period before the cameras were installed to the same time span after the post-activation grace period was over and tickets were sent to violators. The statistics run up to Sept. 10.

The biggest decrease in accidents occured at Arlington Road and Cesery Boulevard, with a 44.4 percent drop. A 32.6 percent drop occurred at Beach and Hodges boulevards, while the Blanding Boulevard and Collins Road intersection had a 26.2 percent drop, according to Sheriff's Office numbers. …

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