City of Bradenton Using Bad Data to Report on Red Light Camera Crashes

12:57 PM, Nov 18, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA BAY, Florida - New questions are arising as the 10 News Investigators collect additional information regarding how local cities and counties are reporting crash stats at red light camera intersections.

In an investigation reported earlier this month, 10 News identified fewer than half of the cities and counties around Greater Tampa Bay were following the law when it came to reporting red light camera (RLC) data. 

Now, 10 News has learned the City of Bradenton's statistics - and claim that crashes have decreased at RLC intersections - were calculated incorrectly.

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The 2010 Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, named after a Bradenton man who lost his life in a red-light running accident, regulates RLC in Florida and mandates crash reporting from every municipality that issues RLC tickets.

The Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) asks three questions about crash stats:

  • Have the number of overall crashes gone up or down since RLC installation?
  • Have the number of side-impact crashes gone up or down since RLC installation?
  • Have the number of rear-impact crashes gone up or down since RLC installation?

The Bradenton Police Department reported to the state that crashes at RLC intersections had decreased since the technology was installed, but couldn't tell by how much.

But a public records request revealed the police department did not track traffic stats at the specific intersections, as required, only city-wide. 

And the department's claim that crashes decreased after RLC installation was based on 4,175 city-wide crashes from Aug. 1, 2009 to July 31, 2012, compared to 4,343 city-wide crashes from Aug. 1, 2006 to July 31, 2009.

In general, the number of crashes across the U.S. has decreased in recent years.

Of those cities that appear to have reported RLC stats in-line with the requirements of the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, 32 reported fewer crashes at RLC intersections, compared to just 16 that reported increased crashes.

However, several experts tell 10 News that the lack of more data has made the issue of tracking RLC's effects very difficult.

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.

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