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Driving Change: Analyzing the impact of red light cameras

Posted at 3:00 AM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 09:43:43-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Red light cameras started popping up in cities throughout Colorado in the 1990s and early 2000s. While they're controversial, law enforcement locally say they're hoping the cameras installed in Colorado Springs will change some needed habits.

Colorado Springs Police Department announced the return of red light cameras to the city in 2018. It wasn't until April 2019 any of the cameras were up and running. In that time, police have sent nearly 12,000 citations to drivers. Compared to the possible violations the cameras capture, it's about 60% of them.

The three intersections currently operating with red light cameras include: North Academy and North Carefree, Lexington Drive and Briargate Boulevard, and East Platte and Chelton. A fourth intersection, Dublin and Academy has been halted because of construction in the area.

Still, CSPD says plans are in the works for more cameras. Police say drivers could see another installed in the next couple of months at Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard and Lake Avenue.

"There's a lot of research that goes into this and a lot of analysis of the data to figure out how to do it right," said Lieutenant Steve Noblitt, who recently began overseeing the red light camera program. "ultimately our goal is to change driving behaviors in a way that cause people to recognize that intersections are extremely dangerous locations."

Lt. Noblitt says over the months and years they'll be examining the data closely to figure out where the technology is most effective. With the current cameras installed about 10 months ago- there's not enough data to demonstrate driver behavior or effectiveness just yet.

With the data currently available, the majority of citations come from the red light camera at E. Platte Avenue and Chelton. 4,838 citations have been sent from the cameras.

There are people out there that argue the cameras aren't effective, or that they just serve as a way to make money. Lt. Noblitt says he understands where people might think that, but the end goal is changing drivers habits to be more cautious.

Although business owners such as Robert Jones at Platte and Chelton are skeptical. Jones owns "R Lamar Cars"- situated on the southeast corner of Platte and Chelton.

"People are still driving crazy," said Jones, "people are still running lights and getting into accidents."

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