Red Light Cameras Proven Effective in Albemarle - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Red Light Cameras Proven Effective in Albemarle

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Forcing people to cough up cash for running red lights is apparently working in Albemarle County.

A new report shows how the cameras installed at red lights throughout the county have made drivers think twice about booking it at the busy intersection of Route 29 and Rio Road. The report was presented to the Board of Supervisors Wednesday. 

Drivers blowing through a red light at that intersection have had to pay serious cash. The cameras generated $82,000 dollars in 2011.

But two years later it's a different story.

"You can see it, we all see it every day. People are very cautious about when they enter into those intersections there and slow down and stop appropriately,” said Col. Steve Sellers with the Albemarle County Police Department.

The cameras generated $57,000 in 2013, meaning fewer summonses. The report presented Wednesday gives a three-year look at how the cameras are making a difference since being installed in 2010. The total number of crashes at the intersection went down by 16 percent, and crashes related to running a red light were cut in half.

"You see the sign you're coming down 29 or coming across Rio Road which says 'photo enforcement ahead' that should get you to think and that should get you to pay attention," said Sellers. 

Sellers says he is a supporter of the photo enforcement system because it has proved itself, but didn't make any commitments regarding an expansion. Last year, the board asked police to move forward with a second system at Route 250 and Route 20 on Pantops.

"Our traffic engineer within the county has recommended that we hold off on installation of that system to allow some traffic calming, and some congestion and safety improvements to work through the process before we do that."

The overall takeaway from the presentation is that the "photosafe program" is working as intended.

It's projected that, as the system remains in place, driver behavior will continue to improve.

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