KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Four months after Kansas City police released a draft report showing increases in traffic accidents at intersections equipped with red light cameras the final report released on Tuesday concludes that cameras are helping make intersections safer.
The study says the number of accidents connected to the red light running dropped by 65 percent in the first year and 54 percent the second year cameras started monitoring the intersections.
The cameras are supposed to change driver behavior by reducing the number of red light violations. That in turn lowers the probability of crashes at the intersections caused by red light runners. Police commissioners say that's exactly what's happening at 17 Kansas City intersections equipped with red light enforcement cameras.
"I don't think there's much to discuss when it comes to safety," said Patrick McInerney. "The numbers indicate that it makes this a safer town, makes those intersections safer, we know that accidents are down. red light violations are down because people are getting the message. But let's step back for a second and remember the people being ticketed are running red lights."
In January, a draft report indicated rear-end collisions increased at 11 of the 17 locations in the second year following the installation of the cameras. At the time, America Traffic Solutions, the city's red light camera vendor claimed the numbers failed to account for other factors that may have caused those crashes. Red light camera opponents say it's clear to them that the data in the final report has been massaged to reach a favorable conclusion for the red light camera vendor.
"The vendor for the red light cameras has a substantial financial interest in propagating this technology across the country and in this community," said Eapen Thampy. "They want to show you stats and data that shows you their products work and is safe and effective. Unfortunately we don't think that's the case, we don't think the data supports that."
McInerney says police should consider putting more cameras at other dangerous intersections across the city. The group, Keep Kansas City Free says a ballot initiative or court action may be necessary to stop the program.
Representatives from American Traffic Solutions, the city's red light camera vendor declined FOX 4's request for an interview on the final report.