The Alexandria Police Department started using two additional cameras as part of what they call the Red Light Photo Safety Program.
The system will work the same as it has the past three years; photo enforcement cameras will capture still images and video of red-light violators.
For anyone who runs the light from now until June 30, a warning notice will be issued to the vehicle’s registered owner for any violations. There will be no fines during this warning phase. Fines will be issued for all citations starting on July 1.
The new photo-enforcement cameras are located at two intersections:
• South Patrick Street and Gibbon Street (southbound lanes)
• Duke Street and South Walker Street (westbound lanes)
There were already cameras at these spots but those cameras were catching drivers going in the opposite direction. The new cameras are in addition to the old ones.
Cameras will operate 24-hours a day and capture images of every vehicle running the red-lights at those intersections. Warning signs alerting drivers to the red-light cameras have been installed prior to the warning period.
The Alexandria Police Department’s program is administered by Redflex Traffic Systems ( http://www.redflex.com). Each violation will be reviewed and approved by the Alexandria Police Department prior to being issued.
A seven-year study of red-light cameras in six communities in Northern Virginia found that collisions that occurred because drivers ran red lights were down by about 42 percent in all six areas, USA Today reported; but the cameras caused a 27 percent increase in rear-end collisions. The increase in rear-end collisions meant that the actual total number of crashes went up during the seven years.
Instead of cameras, some advocate longer yellow lights, which would give drivers more time to slow down and not have to make a snap decision about whether or not to accelerate through an intersection, USA Today reported.
Increasing the length of a yellow light by even a half-second can dramatically decrease the number of crashes at an intersection, according to researchers at Virginia Tech, the newspaper story said.