A spokesman for the Montreal police department has at last admitted what we have all known for years, that the city’s police officers are required to fill a quota of traffic tickets each week.
Seems to me a court case is required to challenge a government gone rogue.
That has been going on since the automobile was invented. Probably existed during the horse and carriage days.
After I got my license in 1952 I can remember folks talking about the police having to fill quotas for traffic violations. Just to keep everyone aware that you shouldn't do dumb things behind the wheel !
Ahhhh, seems like only yesterday ! (yeh-right)
A lot of water over the damn dam since then !
I can't imagine that any PD would be dumb enough these days to put such a policy in writing, though. I realize that there is no allegation here that the Montreal PD had a documented policy of a ticket quota in writing. Just saying: that would be beyond stupid.
Indeed, the Montreal police administration came out and publicly admitted that this group of supposedly law abiding enforcement and prevention angels are baldfaced liars, having categorically denied that quotas exist until now.
So. If they lied about that, what else have they been lying about?
I always get a kick out of the spin-doctoring that takes place . . . .
"It's isn't about the money - it is all about safety".
Well if it was about safety, then they'd simply ticket anyone who was being unsafe and the ticket revenue would be whatever it happens to be.
Establishing a quota (applicable to red light and speed cams as well) clearly spells out that the motivation is ONLY financial.
So to all of those who harp on the concept of 'good drivers have nothing to fear' and 'only the drivers who break the law get ticketed', be aware that if a cop is below quota, there is lots of incentive to issue a couple of spurious tickets to stay in the good graces of his commander.
And who gets the financial benefits? Our blood suckin politicians. Hell, it's easier for them to require more traffic citations to fill their pockets than to raise taxes. Though they do that now in the form of fees.
Gotta love it.
Gotta love it.
I will make a long story short. I was driving. My wife was next to me. We both had our seat belts on. Cop pulls us over and gives us a BS story why he did. He wrote a a citation for my wife not wearing belt when she clearly was and showed him. Cop appeared highly disturbed and embarrassed. I expressed my displeasure vigorously. Cop kept saying just go to court, just go to court. We go to court in Whitestone Queens and there are about 30-40 people fighting citations. It was obvious from the look of SOME of the people they are very disturbed by just seeing the cop. Now when these very pissed off people (including my wife) get up in front of the hearing officer, the cop is sworn in before testifying in every instance, after the swearing in, in every case of the very pissed off people, but not the rest of the defendants, the cop says "I have no recollection of this event". The hearing officer then dismisses the citation. In all of the other case the cop read a statement describing the incident.
It is rather obvious that the cop had a quota to write tickets, and some innocent people were going to get them. At least he had the good graces to not inconvenience the innocent even more than he had by lying and costing me $130 for a phony citation. Obviously he could have written the ticket for me, the driver, and if I felt it was to much trouble going to court it would have been points on the license and loss of the good driver discount for three years plus the fine.
THERE ARE QUOTAS and GOOD DRIVERS ARE VICTIMS
I got a ticket for going through a stop sign 25 years ago.
The stop sign was on a curve coming off a parkway. The car in front of me stoped and then went. I stopped and then went. As I got around the bend I saw three police cars and the car in front of me. We both got tickets for going through the sign.
When I told the poilce officer that we both stopprd, he told me to plead not guilty and go to court. He said that when he was called up to testify he would have to say that from where he was standing he could not see the sign and who stopped. Needless to say I just paid the fine. It was a trap to give out tickets.
So quotas are not new!
I wonder just how many cars got tickets for doing nothing?
It would our word against theirs.
I thought I would provide a link to the articles
What is interesting is that the police are claiming that the city's special traffic squad has been able to reduce the deaths by over 20 people per year.
I do not read anything in the articles that indicates that the persons being ticketed have claimed that they were not breaking the law (and so were unfairly singled out for a ticket)
For those objecting to this practice, would you please give your reasons why 20 less deaths per year is not meaningful?
Banning private ownership of cars will eliminate about 25,000 deaths a year in the USA
I thought someone would object to my question about the 20 deaths, but I did not expect it to be you.
I have a hard time seeing how you question is pertinent to the discussion but I will agree that that banning vehicles would result in over 33,000 deaths per year offset by the deaths that would be caused by the replacement modes of transportation.
It would be proper to have a discussion as to whether the reduction in deaths are directly attributable to the traffic squad, but lets assume they have the facts. Is not the reduction of deaths in Montreal by over 20 per year an increase in the safety of its citizens?
I recently saw a tv news segment about a judge ordering longer yellow lights. The camera operators were threating to pull all the cameras down if they didn't get a guarantee for x# violations a day. They were claiming the judgment broke their contract and a minimum us justified. Not only are there quotas but there are private companies looking to protect their profits.
Yep...you have to remember; most red light camera companies get a cut of all fines generated by their hardware.
I'm really tired of these clowns - especially when they have the gall to tell us it's "for your own safety".
As soon as any funds come into a government's coffers, the money is spent and the government soon expects the money to be there. When the money doesn't show up as expected, the government takes all necessary steps to ensure that it keeps rolling in.
Beyond the fact that these 'we prevented 20 deaths' is a made up number picked from the air because they have no idea whatsoever how many, if any deaths were prevented, consider that operating police traps (because that's what they are) at a cost of something over 100 million dollars a year and speed cams CAUSE accidents and because based on what I've been reading the world has 4 billion too many people walking on it at this point in time.
So if they're right, there were 20 opportunities lost with 4,000,000,020 or so that need to take place to make the world safe for humanity to exist.
I'm starting a company called The Soylent Corporation to capitalise on all that potential protein.
I live in Chico, CA. The traffic unit has their own travel mugs for coffee, etc. The mugs have the Chico PD logo and the written phrase:
It's not a quota, it's more like a contest!
An incoming police chief announced the new quota.
My goal is to have less than one injury accident for every twenty citations issued.
He went on to say that during the previous year there was only 12 citations per injury accident.
That made a lot of sense to me. I told my teenage daughter that there would be no more talking her way out of a ticket. (She was good at it)
Beyond the fact that these 'we prevented 20 deaths' is a made up number picked from the air because they have no idea whatsoever how many, if any deaths were prevented.
You give the quote "we prevented 20 deaths". I was not able to find that quote in the links to the three articles I included in a previous post.
Speaking of the Chief Inspector, the reporter said "He said since the force brought in the special traffic squad in 2005, there have been 30 to 35 deaths on the roads each year, down from about 55 a year.
The reporter gave the fact that "it's also a source of funds, with ticket revenue increasing from $40 million in 2004 to more than $100 million in recent years, according to the police officers' union."
Another article said "Since the start of 2006 -when the force's specialized traffic squad was relaunched after having been disbanded in the late 1990s -traffic deaths on Montreal Island have fallen to about 30 to 35 a year, an overall average annual drop Lemieux pegged at "close to 20."
Now aside from the fact that one would assume that traffic deaths (all other things being equal) would track with the number of people in a city (and Montreal's population has grown since 2005), a reduction from 55 deaths a year to 30 to 35 deaths a year seems statistically significant on its face.
I have never disputed that Automated Traffic Enforcement is a way for municipalities to make money. Why do you dispute that safety has improved?
Because the major reason why deaths are down is that MANY people are driving a heck of a lot less than they were when gas was $1.50 a gallon and they had jobs to pay for that gas (which now sells for about $4.70 a gallon up here).
It is simply not provable in any way, shape or form that the traffic flying squad has prevented any deaths at all - not provable and not realistic; To grab the glory is no different than the Winnipeg Police department's claim that accidents were down in their jurisdiction because of RLCs when the truth (interesting enough provided by the insurance bureau) proved that in fact they had increased . . . significantly.
What makes the Winnipeg situation all the more laughable is that they got caught lying about it . . . TWICE.
Now Montreal has been outright lying about quotas - we don't need quotas because if the police were doing their jobs (which seems to entail refusing to actually do their jobs) then those people who deserve tickets would get tickets and spurious tickets for either made-up infractions or for minor infractions for which no tickets were really warranted would not be issued.
And once they hit their quotas, they simply stop ticketing . . . unless they happened to roll out of bed on the wrong side on any particular day.
The motivations are wrong. They've been caught in baldfaced lies (yet if an officer stands up in court and you say you weren't speeding and the officer says you were, then clearly your version must be a lie).
The whole thing is as rotten as the public works tendering process in the largest city in the most corrupt province in Canada.
It is simply not provable in any way, shape or form that the traffic flying squad has prevented any deaths at all - not provable and not realistic;
Although I do not agree with your invoking the recession for recent years (unless you can quote some miles driven per capita or something similar), please explain the drop in deaths in the years 2006, 2007 and 2008?
Cars have more air bags and are constructed in a way that protects occupants better.
While perhaps not germane to the specific question that was asked, I came across this very interesting list of statistics regarding the causes for car crashes in Indiana in 2008. It was interesting to me to see where speeding and illegal turning (what the cops target most) place:
Causal Factors in Auto Accidents
Driver negligence is a causal factor in many auto accidents. The following are the top ten driver errors that played a role in Indiana auto accidents in 2008, according to ICJI:
Failure to yield right of way: 30,309
Following too closely: 25,725
Unsafe backing: 16,354
Speed too fast for weather conditions: 12,355
Ran off road right: 11,586
Driver distracted: 7,139
Disregard signal/sign: 7,009
Improper lane usage: 6,917
Improper turning: 5,652
Unsafe speed: 4,752
Now, according to the experts out there, the main reason for the reduction in fatalities is the increasing use of seat belts - but then again the per capita numbers of miles being driven is way down, and the public's use of municipal and regional public transit has increased and continues to rise.
I find it interesting that California states that DUI is a problem of increasing severity; When I was riding through the Southeast US in 2009 I was surprised to see signs warning drivers to be on the lookout for drunk drivers . . . .
Surprisingly, last month Quebec rejected a proposed amendment to the highway code that would have reduced the Blood Alcohol limits from .08% to .05% . . . and if anything would have had a positive impact on driver safety, that would have.
It is always about the money.
Had a friend who was a cop in the 90's.
From what he told me the quotas were in place back then. Would not surprise me if that's the case now.
I agree that, over time, cars have made standard more safety equipment. However, not everyone bought a new car after 2008. The argument that people drove less because of the recession is also an argument that less new cars were sold (as is factually the case)
BUT, it certainly seems to me that responders to my question are trying desperately to think of reasons why an increase in safety can not be a legitimate conclusion to what we know about the Montreal situation.
Deaths were reduced to 65% or so of their previous level. That is a significant drop.
Just what is so wrong with both increasing safety and generating revenue at the same time?
My original question is still seeking responses.
I would implore people to set aside for a minute their prejudices against "traffic enforcement" and consider the apparent fact that safety has improved.
He was quoting you, not the article.
The real issue of this topic is not safety vs. revenue, it's safety vs. quota.
A traffic stop does not prevent an accident, as they are two separate incidences. How exactly is a prevented accident tabulated anyway? Just because someone gets pulled over for speeding, does not mean an accident was imminent. Just because someone does not come to a complete stop does not mean an accident was going to occur. If someone gets pulled over, it's for any number of reasons, none of which are "accident prevention."
How many times have accidents occurred because a car has been pulled over?
The real issue of this topic is not safety vs. revenue, it's safety vs. quota.
In my opinion, the real issue is denial on the part of many that traffic deaths have been reduced.
It is true that a traffic stop has not prevented an immediate accident. However, if the person stopped - whether ticketed or not - thereafter drives more carefully, then a future accident "might" be prevented. Note that I do not claim that future accidents "will" be prevented because I have no way of knowing that.
What we do know is that traffic deaths are down in Montreal and that the decrease in deaths coincides with the Traffic Squad just as the increase in revenue correlates with the traffic squad.
By the way, I did not make or quote any statement that included "we prevented".
No one is denying that the number of deaths - and injuries - have been significantly reduced in the past few years. The reasons for the decline are actually many and interrelated. No one can point to any one facet of the entire picture and claim the reductions are due to this being in place.
Perhaps the largest factor in the reduction of deaths and injuries is due to the construction of vehicles and their required safety features. It is estimated by industry insiders that the entire vehicle fleet is replaced every 15 years. (Think about it - how many 1996 or older model vehicles do you see on the road?) At some point during that 15 years we reach a tipping point where the percentage of older vehicles is lower than the number of vehicles having certain features. That's a given any statistician can agree with.
Another factor that affects the number of accidents, deaths, and injuries is the total amount of vehicle miles driven. The number of miles driven has decreased over the past couple of years and is partially attributed to the cost of fuel and the recession in general.
Another contributing factor is the manner in which our roads and highways are constructed. In the past few years many safety related changes have been incorporated which are largely invisible to the motoring public.
Increased traffic enforcement is only one part of the entire picture and no single segment of increased enforcement can be taken as the root cause for a reduction of incidents. Whatever the driving cause is for increased enforcement, be it safety or revenue, it is only one segment of the overall reductions.
I have never believed it.
No one is denying the reduction of deaths, only denying giving credit where credit is not due.
I should have said paraphrasing instead of quote. And I hope you got my overall point, that they got that information from you, not the article.
My original question is still seeking responses.
That's a Non Sequitur. The link between reduced accident rates (i.e - increased safety) and violations issued (i.e. generating revenue) has never been show or proven.
The variables associated with number of violations issued - such as number of police on the beat, hours/days the camera operated, agency agendas, quoats, etc. have always been too great (and arbitrary) to show a link between "safety" and "number of violations issued".
If you need an explination of why this is, then please refer to both the Virginia (VDOT) and University of Florida red-light camera studies that are often kicked around on this and other websites. (Find your own link.) I believe both offer a good explanation of why, over the years, traffic safety studies have had to reject a correlation between violations issued and safety.
So, while we often believe (and are often told by politicians) a municipality that increases its violations issued increases its own safety - that assertion has never been correlated.
I usually listen to the radio scanner while playing with my computers and I usually use the freeway to traverse the city and am amazed at how many fools pass me like I am standing still. Just the other day I heard the police stop a person doing 96 mph in a 55 mph zone downtown. The police are now planning to implement speed cameras on the freeway instead of adding policemen to patrol the roads. This means that the road will be monitored 24 hours a day without the addition of 3 policemen. It is economics 101.
For those of you who think the police are after you just to make money and fill quotas I suggest you buy a GPS that maps your route. I have a Garmin 1450 and I can set it to new route whenever I leave the house. I set the Garmin to a destination and then "New Route" and then I mute the sound. This will record my speed, position as I travel without hearing "recalculating". If by chance I was stopped by the police I could look at my Garmin record and see if GPS could back me up. It records about every 13 seconds. I learned this while crossing Kansas when I was stopped and the patrolman asked me if I knew how fast I was going. I answered yes for my Garmin showed me about 2 miles above the limit. I told him that I would be happy to hook it up to my laptop and show him but he just wrote me a warning and I proceeded on. This can also work against you if it shows you were speeding.
I'm pleased to hear that you managed to squeak out of that ticket.
But good luck with that in the future . . . if the officer has a quota to fill and you show him you were 2 over you WILL get that ticket. Period.
And FYI, even if you hadn't been speeding the courts do not recognise GPS evidence except in individual (personal) situations decided by the judge.
If the cop says you were speeding and the GPS says you weren't then good luck - that's an often-losing crap shoot, because the prosecution will try to discredit your speed measuring device (GPS) as being uncertified, uncalibrated and inaccurate - and 9.9 out of 10 times it is evidence denied.
How do I know? Because I got a ticket from a multi-officer, multi-car speed trap (located in Montreal's West Island on the westbound T-Can service road between Sources & St Johns, for those who live in my corner of the world) 3 summers ago and my GPS evidence clearly showed I was not exceeding the limit.
Not only that, I was literally invisible to the operators of the trap because I was riding my motorcycle behind a car - and if I was speeding, then so was the car (and the fact is that neither of us was), but he pulled me over and let the car go (that is his right, of course).
The judge had ruled that the GPS evidence was inadmissible and was ready to toss me (and my lawyer) out of the courtroom when we discovered that the discovery (evidence request) produced a different report for us than for the prosecution; Their copy mentioned calibrating the laser gun with a tuning fork (I caught that when the prosecutor read out her 'proof of validity' of the equipment for the judge). Ours had no such reference.
FYI you don't calibrate laser guns with a tuning fork.
So the case was dismissed because of the defective discovery - the judge COULD have ordered release of the proper information and scheduled a retrial. I guess that HE doesn't have a quota to fill, even if he IS biased in favour of the system.
They only ran that speed trap once. I guess it didn't generate enough revenue.
Another time I was victim to another large operation where I was ticketed in 2006 on the eastbound T-Can service road approaching the Decarie Circle during the morning rush hour. I was driving in the right lane. The center and left lanes were clogged with traffic and I was simply moving along in my lane;
I was hauled over and ticketed for passing on the right.
I fought that one myself; Beside the fact that there was a serious technical flaw on the ticket (which I did not exploit because we never got into the court room) I pointed out to everyone else there (we were about 8 people at that point in time) that ticketing someone driving in their lane because the traffic in the lanes to one's left is backed up is simply ridiculous, tantamount to ticketing someone for driving through an intersection because traffic traveling in the same direction is waiting to turn left.
I had the names and numbers of the other 7 people and it turned out that between us we knew about 40 others who had been ticketed. Most of us pleaded not guilty and wrote explanatory letters with our pleas.
We were still told to report to traffic court (in St. Laurent) and when we arrived, everyone waiting for their trials on that cause were issued discharges;
I did some after the fact checking and it seems that some 250 other people who got tickets (1 or 2 of my friends among them) had paid without comment, gotten their points (and presumably paid more money for their insurance as a result in addition to the $300 fine), so the city took in some $75,000 in unjustified fines in spite of knowing that charges were bogus (they should have refunded the payers).
The good news is that to date they've never gone back to that spot (I drive that road each and every weekday morning).
However while using traffic cams may 'enforce the rules' 24/7, the reality is that there is little, if any danger from going a few mph over the limit at 2 AM (which a camera will catch and ticket), but it won't find or ticket a drunk driver.
Then there is the fact that automated systems are myopic and catch only offenses in their field of view; If people make illegal left turns in places NEAR where police USED to watch during rush hour as a side benefit to enforcing free flowing traffic at an intersection they could (and did) ticket the offenders.
Now the traffic backs up with these illegal turners while they ticket people who cross the stop line on the direct line of sight for the cameras.
I'm sensitive to this one (at Decarie & Pare) because 8 years ago my car was T-Boned by someone who made an illegal right turn from the expressway exit and demolished my car - and she was yelling about me going through a red light (this on the opposite side of the expressway from that where the cops were) - and the officer ticketed her for making that illegal turn. Get a red light camera to do THAT.
So, there's enforcement; And there's ripping off the public; Speed traps enforcing unrealistically low speed limits (30 mph on the limited access service road of a super highway where there is nothing but industrial property) as compared with safety enforcing the free flow of traffic with observance of the rules so pedestrians can cross safely (Decarie at Pare).
In the one case there is no safety-based raison-d'etre for setting up the traveling witch hunt. In the latter it is unfortunate that the RLC will not protect against people getting injured because the camera only covers one approach, the one where they can make the most money - and there are no factors at work outside of commuter hours to justify the cameras for safety, and as a consequence the rest of this intersection sees no collateral enforcement.
In the USA police do not set speed limits or traffic laws, politicians through law do so if one thinks the limit is wrong then talk to the politicians. Policemen swear to uphold the law so if you get caught breaking it then accept the consequences. One day while listening to the scanner, the police were stopping only the people going over 70 in a 60mph zone and they caught 178 people from 9am to 3pm at shifts end. Not one of them were drunk. They had one radar car and 6 chase cars so think of the money saved if they had 1 speed camera.
When they put up speed cameras on I380 by Ceder Rapids one woman got caught 3 times by the same camera. In the states the police as a general rule do not ticket you unless you are 5-6 mph over the limit. In a 55mph zone downtown, radar will not stop you unless you are doing 61mph.
You have 55mph zones in the downtown core?
Wow!! Here the limits are 30 mph on main arteries and 24 mph everywhere else.
The point of my post was that the the previous poster had shown the officer that he was travelling even 2 mph over the speed limit he'd have been guilty of speeding and would have gotten the ticket, especially if the officer was under quota.
Egypt has the right idea !!
When I worked nights in Manhattan there was a man that worked with me that lived out on Long Island (we all drove to work on that shift)
A few times a week he would come into work and tell us about a certain place on the parkway where a police car would have somebody pulled over for speeding. (always the same place)
He felt it was ok to go fast because the cop was busy.
One day it was his turn to get caught.
We all laughed. Why speed if you know they are there.
Sir... it appears it is you who is desperately trying to justify citations as the main or only reason for a reported drop in vehicle deaths. The reasons stated by others are more than enough reason to question your personnel opinion on the matter. You asked the question and you got your answers. It is now your turn to supply the answers (facts) on why better built cars (every year), weather, recession, higher gas prices, job loss and more use of public transportation are not valid reasons for what may be an erroneous government statistical lie to begin with. In this court of public opinion you come up very short and lacking and I recommend a cut back on the kool-aid.........
Thank you for your time..........
Egypt has the right idea !!
While not on topic . . .
Perhaps. Perhaps not. Only time will tell what comes out of the current political/civil crisis.
Sometimes the 'cure' is a lot worse than the disease. Or perhaps 'better the enemy you know'.
The freeway downtown is 55mph and increases to 60 as you leave downtown and once out of town to 70mph. Downtown speed on regular streets is 25mph and as you leave it some major streets are up to 40, depending what the law states. The state legislature will debate increasing county paved road increase from 55 to 60mph this year. So far I have not read about any complaints about safety.
This is one foolish saying for this government was elected by the majority of the people legally. I realize that we have birdbrain fools (Palin, Bauchman, Paul,etc) who have no idea of what the Constitution means but keep spreading half truths or lies. If one does not vote then one should not criticize the government. Those people elected serve their constituents and the only complaint one has is against the one from your state or district.
What is a non sequitur?. It is a conclusion that does not follow from the premises
I do not understand how my statement that “Just what is so wrong with both increasing safety and generating revenue at the same time?” and/or the question posed “For those objecting to this practice, would you please give your reasons why 20 less deaths per year is not meaningful?” could either be called a non sequitur.
I was using excerpts from articles about the Montreal Traffic Squad that stated that deaths from 2005 to the present had been reduced by 20 a year (it went from about 55 a year to 30 to 35 - a reduction of from 36 to 45%). I will assert that over a 5 year period, starting in 2005, this would be a significant result. I also later related that the articles indicated that revenue was up significantly (and in fact more than doubled)
So, your statement that “The link between reduced accident rates (i.e - increased safety) and violations issued (i.e. generating revenue) has never been show or proven” might be called a non sequitur because I was not making a link between anything. You perhaps made the link in your own mind so that you could bring up the two studies that Automated Traffic Enforcement opponents like to bring up. These two studies are the 2005 Virginia DOT study and a 2008 Study from the University of South Florida.
However, these two studies, if read carefully, are hardly damning. I will quote from them
The 2005 Virginia Department of Transportation study of the long-term effect of camera enforcement in the state found a decrease in the number of right-angle crashes, but an increase in rear-end crashes and an overall increase in the number of accidents causing injuries The report recommended further study of the issue to determine whether the severity of the eliminated red light running crashes was greater than that of the induced rear-end crashes. The department released a more extensive evaluation of the data in 2007 which showed that the overall number of accidents at intersections with red light cameras increased in four of the five cities using the technology. Fairfax City reported a 7% drop in the overall number of accidents and a 5% drop in injury accidents while overall the state's cameras were correlated with a 29% increase in overall accidents and an 18% increase in injury accidents. This study also notably found that red-light violations decreased by 94% at one Fairfax County intersection, after the advent of a 1.5 second longer yellow-light phase.
(for a link to the 2005 study see: http://vtrc.virginiadot.org/PubDetails.aspx?PubNo=05-R21)
However, the follow up study in 2007 concluded:
These results cannot be used to justify the widespread installation of cameras because they are not universally effective. These results also cannot be used to justify the abolition of cameras, as they have had a positive impact at some intersections and in some jurisdictions. The report recommends, therefore, that the decision to install a red light camera be made on an intersection-by intersection basis. In addition, it is recommended that a carefully controlled experiment be conducted to examine further the impact of red light programs on safety and to determine how an increase in rear-end crashes can be avoided at specific intersections.
(for a link to the follow-up 2007 study see
The Florida study is an interesting exercise in selecting the study you like and disregarding contrary statements. this is captures by an article that states:
“An academic spat among University of South Florida researchers is muddying the debate about the growing use of red light cameras at Tampa Bay area intersections.
USF's College of Public Health concluded that instead of improving safety, the cameras actually make intersections more dangerous. Further, its study said, the cameras give insurance companies a reason to jack up rates for those who get tickets.
On the other side of the argument is Ed Mierzejewski, director of USF's Center for Urban Transportation Research. He calls the cameras an effective way to reduce crashes, and has been on a one-man crusade to debunk the public health college's 2008 study.
He's written letters to academic journals and newspapers discrediting the research, and contacted city officials to vouch for the cameras, all but undermining the USF study.
"I have a problem with people thinking it was my organization that was having all these negative things to say about red light cameras," Mierzejewski said. "I didn't want people to confuse this with the collective wisdom of the university."
Mierzejewski instead has set off an internal debate among USF academics that calls into question the objectivity of the university's research while revealing how easy it is to cast doubt on academic analysis”
(for a link to the article see http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/as-red-light-ca... )
The study may be found at www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2008/fl-orban.pdf
There is another study from Florida that I am surprised that you are not citing. It is from Jefferson Parish and the study concluded:
“ Conclusion: A significant and sustained reduction in the number of citations occurred as driving behavior was modified. Despite reducing the number of cars entering this intersection during a red light, RLC do not seem to prevent traffic collisions at this monitored intersection. Alternative means of injury prevention must be investigated.”
The name of the study is Red Light Cameras: Do They Change Driver Behavior and Reduce Accidents?
Wahl, Georgia M. MD; Islam, Tareq MD, MPH; Gardner, Bridget RN; Marr, Alan B. MD; Hunt, John P. MD, MPH; McSwain, Norman E. MD; Baker, Chistopher C. MD; Duchesne, Juan MD, FACS, FCCP
(the link is http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/Abstract/2010/03000/Red_Ligh... )
What is interesting is that a Tulane article on the study noted some interesting additional information.
The doctors noted 122 wrecks at the intersection in the 10 months before October 2007, falling to 97 in the 10 months after the citations started. Although there was a trend in reduction of collisions from 122 to 97 before and after RLC, this did not reach statistical significance; p = 0.18.
The doctors' study might not have shown a significant dip in wrecks, but Wahl said the cameras have had a positive effect: "We can scientifically say that people change their behavior at these red light intersections.”
(the link to the article is http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2010/02/new_study_say... )
On the other side are statements and studies that opponents of Automated Traffic Enforcement do not wish to disclose.
Statement by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Red light running is one of the major causes of crashes, deaths, and injuries at
signalized intersections. Most recent crash statistics show that nearly 1,000
Americans were killed and 176,000 were injured in 2003 due to red light running
related crashes. The monetary impact of crashes to our society is approximately $14 billion annually.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) support a comprehensive approach to intersection safety that incorporates engineering, education, and enforcement countermeasures to prevent red light running and improve intersection safety. Red light cameras can be a very effective countermeasure to prevent red light running. There are a number of studies that indicate reduction in crashes at signalized intersections due to red light cameras. FHWA is promoting red light cameras as one of its identified priority, market-ready safety technologies.
Studies that find that Cameras are effective
STUDIES OF RED-LIGHT CAMERA INTERSECTIONS
2005: A Federal Highway Administration study of seven jurisdictions with red-light cameras found that intersections with cameras saw a 25 percent decrease in T-bone crashes after the cameras were installed but a 15 percent increase in rear-end accidents.
The study concluded “that (red-light camera) systems do indeed provide a modest aggregate crash-cost benefit.”
2007: In an international review of studies for the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, analysts found that red-light cameras consistently reduce T-bone collisions while increasing rear-end accidents. The analysis concludes camera are effective at decreasing “fatal and injury-producing angle and left-turn crashes.”
Statement before the US House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
Cameras reduce intersection crashes: The key question is whether red light camera enforcement
improves safety. Findings from Institute research indicate it does. Significant citywide crash reductions followed the introduction of cameras in Oxnard, California. [Retting, R.A. and Kyrychenko, S.Y. 2002. Reductions in injury crashes associated with red light camera enforcement in Oxnard, California. American Journal of Public Health 92:1822-25.]
Injury crashes at intersections with traffic signals were reduced 29 percent. Front-into-side collisions — the crash type most closely associated with red light running — were reduced 32 percent, and front-into-side crashes involving
injuries were reduced 68 percent. Crashes declined throughout Oxnard, even though cameras were installed at only 11 of the city’s 125 intersections with traffic signals. A subsequent review of the international literature concluded that red light camera enforcement reduces violations an estimated 40-50 percent. It reduces injury crashes 25-30 percent. [Retting, R.A.; Ferguson, S.A.; and Hakkert, A.S. 2003. Effects of red light cameras on violations and crashes: a review of the international literature. Traffic Injury Prevention 4:17-23.]
Some studies have reported that, even as red light cameras reduce front-into-side collisions and overall injury crashes, they can increase rear-end crashes in the initial period following camera installation. A 2005 study sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration evaluated red light camera programs in 7 communities, finding a 25 percent reduction in right-angle crashes while rear-end
collisions increased 15 percent. [Federal Highway Administration. 2005. Safety evaluation of red-light cameras. Report no. FHWA- HRT-05-049. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation.]
But because the types of crashes that are prevented by red light cameras tend to be more severe and more costly than the additional rear-end crashes that can
occur, the study estimated a positive societal benefit of more than $18.5 million in the 7 communities. Not all studies have reported increases in rear-end crashes. In 2005 the Cochrane Collaboration, an international nonprofit organization that conducts systematic reviews of the scientific literature on public health issues, reviewed 10 controlled before-and-after studies of red light camera effectiveness in Australia, Singapore, and the United States.[ Aeron-Thomas, A.S. and Hess, S. 2005. Red-light cameras for the prevention of road traffic crashes (review). The Cochran Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 2, Art. no. CD003862. pub2. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.]
These studies showed a 16 percent reduction in all types of injury crashes and a 24 percent reduction in right-angle crashes. The review did not find a statistically significant change in rear-end crashes. Some studies have purported to find overall crash increases following camera enforcement, [Garber, N.J.; Miller, J.S.; Abel, R.E.; Eslambolchi, S.; and Korukonda, S.K. 2007. The impact of red light
cameras. (photo-red enforcement) on crashes in Virginia. Report no. VTRC 07-R2. Charlottesville, VA: Virginia Transportation Research Council. Burkey, M. and Obeng, K. 2004. A detailed investigation of crash risk reduction resulting from red light cameras in small urban areas. Greensboro, NC: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University] but careful review indicates the researchers failed to incorporate appropriate comparison sites. The
result is that the expected number of crashes at intersections where cameras were installed could not be properly estimated, [Persaud, B.H.; Retting, R.A.; Lyon, C.; and McCartt, A.T. 2008. Review of “The Impact of Red Light
Cameras (Photo-Red Enforcement) on Crashes in Virginia” by Nicholas J. Garber, John S. Miller, R. Elizabeth Abel, Saeed Eslambolchi, and Santhosh K. Korukonda. Arlington, VA: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Kyrychenko, S.Y. and Retting, R.A. 2004. Review of “A detailed investigation of crash risk reduction resulting from red light cameras in small urban areas” by M. Burkey and K. Obeng. Arlington, VA: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]
so the effects of the enforcement on crashes could not be determined.
Albuquerque Red Light Cam Study 2010
The primary finding of a moderate net cost benefit supports the continued use of RLCs in Albuquerque. The moderate net cost benefit primarily derives from the reduction in the number of injury crashes relative to the increase in Property Damage Only crashes.
The reduction of red light running citations and speeding citations provides evidence and parallels the findings of other studies that RLC programs reduce the number and rate of red light running violations. Our study was not intended to address this issue and so the findings presented in this report are only preliminary.
The evidence of a general deterrent spillover effect that was found in the comparison intersections is important and deserves further study.
HawaiianFlyer, if there are other articles you wish to cite, i will try to find links to them and respond.
I appreciate very much the tone you have used in asking for more imput from me. I hope to be able to provide such information in a response that I am researching to respond to Box Car. He made a number of factual statements. However, I hope I will be able to show that while his statements are true they cannot explain the roughly 40% drop in deaths due to traffic accidents in Montreal.
Just because cars are safer - which they are - and recently there has been a drop in miles driven (which did not occur until 2008) does not mean that the 40% reduction for each of 5 years is explained away.
And, by the way, I have not been trying "to justify citations as the main or only reason for a reported drop in vehicle deaths". That was what other posters were claiming I was trying to assert. I have no idea what the year over year number of citations has been and the articles I cited did not comment on that aspect.
My question was quite simple. Why would anyone not consider a drop in 20 deaths a year (a percentage reduction of some 40%) to be an increase in safety?
I suppose part of the overall problem is that I usually assume that someone who posts in opposition to a statement I have made has actually read the articles cited. That does not seem to be the case. The members of this forum are intelligent people, but if they do not have the facts they sometimes come to poor conclusions.
I hope to be able to provide such information in a response that I am researching to respond to Box Car. He made a number of factual statements. However, I hope I will be able to show that while his statements are true they cannot explain the roughly 40% drop in deaths due to traffic accidents in Montreal.
If you again read my post, it did not say cameras were not effective in changing driver behavior, it stated the use of cameras was only one facet of the overall reduction in deaths. As an example, did the traffic pattern change at the intersections cited? Was there an increase, decrease, or did the number of vehicles remain fairly constant? Those are figures neither you nor I have access to, and probably were not recorded. A trend could be surmised from the number of citations, but that does not necessarily indicate the number of vehicles. It only measures the number receiving citations and tells us nothing about the traffic density before, and during the period being reported.
What percentage of the vehicles involved in fatal crashes had both front and side airbags? We can be fairly confident in assuming over the 5 year period that approximately 1/3 of the total number of vehicles passing the study areas had received significant updates as to equipment and structural refinements.
It remains neither party to this discussion can provide definitive proof the root cause for the reduction is due solely to the one factor over another. I will concede the use of cameras is the greatest instrument to changing driver behavior just as you have to admit there are factors involved in the reductions that are, and probably will always remain unknown. We can't prove a negative.
And for the record, I am NOT anti-camera, I'm just seeking to have everyone understand that cameras are not the only reason.
Thank you for recognizing that “that the number of deaths - and injuries - have been significantly reduced in the past few years.”
I agree with your statement that the reasons for the decline are actually many and interrelated. Myself, I would have used the words “could be” instead of “are” because, statistically, one must show significant correlation when trying to claim that some result is due to some factor.
Let’s consider the issue of cars becoming safer each year. If this factor were directly correlated in the way you imply then I would have expected the number of traffic deaths to have shown a steady decline. Admittedly, the Montreal numbers are at the lower end of a set from which one can draw statistical conclusions. But, they seem to be fairly steady based on the article I cited. So if safer cars were correlated, we would expect to see traffic deaths declining rather than staying steady.
Confounding your assertions about safer cars is the possibility that older cars are the ones likely to be driven by that portion of the population most likely to be speeding, under the influence, texting, etc. Parents give their older cars to their children to drive.
However, overall one might make an assertion that safer cars are surely a factor in the reduction of total. Looking at this link http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/main/index.aspx we see that the total deaths by year are 33,408 (2009), 37423 (2008), 41,259 (2007), 42,708 (2006), 43,510 (2005), 42,836 (2004), 42,884 (2003), 43,005 (2002), 42,196 (2001), 41,945 (2000)
It seems that there were larger reductions in the deaths in 2009 and 2008 - whether this is due to the recession is not proven because the miles driven during this period did not fall proportionately. One set of Miles driven can be found at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/tvtw/10novtvt/page2.cfm Given in millions of miles, the moving 12 month averages have been 2.998 (2010), 2.980 (2009), 2.972 (2008), 3.038 (2007), 3.012 (2006) and 2.989 (2005). Whether Montreal would follow this trend set is unknown, but it would seem that reduced miles can not be at work in this discussion.
I was unable to find any data that would indicate that improvements in the streets and highways of Montreal would be a factor one way or the other. Further, I have no way of knowing where the Traffic Squad operates.
However, I will grant that this is a factor to be considered in any study of traffic accidents.
You said “Increased traffic enforcement is only one part of the entire picture and no single segment of increased enforcement can be taken as the root cause for a reduction of incidents. Whatever the driving cause is for increased enforcement, be it safety or revenue, it is only one segment of the overall reductions” and I agree.
It still seems to me that the actions of the Montreal Traffic Squad have significantly contributed to reducing traffic deaths. As you suggest, there are other factors that also contributed. However, a 40% reduction in deaths on average over a five year period in Montreal is significant. Hopefully, we can agree on that.
Again...none of those studies make a cause/effect link between number of violations issued (that is volume of violations) and reductions in accidents.
"Generating revenue" requires volume.
Causally linking "generating revenue" with increased traffic safety - as if one would follow the other - is a non sequitur.
I have never linked in a causal way revenue and safety. Just because there are several results from an action or event does not imply that they are linked.
For example, the studies you often quote try to link the revenue generated by Automated Taffic Enforcement with a DECREASE in SAFETY by claiming INCREASED rear end collisions.
Correct. My original negative reaction was based on jgerrman's promoted Montreal Police inference that their traffic enforcement had saved a specific number of lives - and that claim is, of course pure fiction.
Real world observations prove outright that automated enforcement does not statistically improve the accident rate. It just shifts to the other side of the stop line and in many cases actually climbs, as was the case in Winnipeg. Massive speed traps have only a temporary impact on speeds; And the roadside distraction does cause traffic issues and certainly has caused at least some accidents.
So the obvious question to ask is whether the investment of capital into automated enforcement REALLY contributes to anything except a new way of picking divers' pockets given that the accident rates are essentially unaffected and there is no direct correlation between flash-mob traffic enforcement techniques and death rates.
Look back at those IN statistics on accident causes and recognise that the 2 targeted enforcement areas (speeding and illegal turns/red light running) are the SMALLEST contributors to the accident totals. Also note that in Montreal we are not allowed to turn on red lights - and that particular offense is THE most ticketed (though by no means the most dangerous) one for other jusrisdictions' RLCs.
Note too that the police tend to be at home sleeping (at least in Montreal) when most drunk drivers are on the road; Since speed cams and RLCs can't detect this type of offense it is up to humans . . . in my many years of driving I have only been stopped for a DUI roadblock 3 times; once in Vermont and twice in New York.
I would like to also take this opportunity to reiterate my disgust with the fact that the Province has announced it's intent to leave the legal BA limit at .08% when it has been proved that reducing it does save lives - but the fact is that the province controls liquor sales, so once again it is likely a revenue decision - keep up the sales of alcohol in spite of the ancillary cost to society.
BTW - A key question is to ask what the death rates were only for the enforced intersections and roadways before & after (and even then it likely means nothing). There are more than 9000 kilometers of roads in Montreal and 55 deaths is a statistical zero (<.006) deaths per kilometer of road and many orders of magnitude less in terms of driven mileage; So a 20 count reduction is simply noise due to a whole lot of factors, the very least of which is likely the traffic squad.
I doubt that they have SOG/SOP's (Standard Operating Guidelines or Policy's)that have anything to do with Quota's but if they are anything like the city I worked for...they had officer's assigned to traffic detail specifically for the purpose of writing tickets. These officer's work a different shift than the rest of the department more like a 7-5 job than a standard shift rotation.
You linked it casually in the following sentence.
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