Police: Nearly 90% Of Red Light Runners Don’t Re-Offend

Brett Blume

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –  New figures released by the city of St. Louis suggest that people who get caught running red lights learn their lesson.

Numbers compiled over the five years that the program has been in place locally show that 88.5% of drivers who receive red light tickets in the mail are one-time-only offenders.

Add to that the 9.5% that receive two tickets and that’s a whopping 98% who quit running lights after getting two or fewer tickets.

And that, says St. Louis Director of Operations Captain Sam Dotson, is the main goal of the red light camera program.

“Red light camera systems, photo-enforcement systems, are designed to change behavior,” he tells KMOX News. “And in ninety-eight percent of the time, it looks like we are changing behavior.”

There are currently more than fifty intersections throughout the city that are monitored by red light camera systems, and the city’s looking to expand that number.

“Absolutely,” Dotson says. “I think that if you see these types of results and we continue to change behaviors, ultimately the goal is to make the roads safer and keep accidents from happening.”

He says another positive side-effect is that it makes the city police department more efficient.

“It allows our police officers to focus on other activities and not on writing tickets,” he explains.

Of course, there are those who don’t seem to be getting the message.

Somewhere out there, nine drivers have received 10 or more red light tickets so far.

In all, the system has rung up more than two-hundred-seventeen thousand red light runners.

Whether people who receive those tickets in the mail are actually paying them is a whole different matter — Capt. Dotson says their study didn’t focus on that aspect.

Some have challenged the red light camera system on legal grounds, and refuse to mail in their payments.

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  • P

    You really can’t say that its because of the tickets… the police don’t have data on what the rate would be otherwise (i.e. a control group)

    Maybe 90% of people who run red lights do so accidentally or very rarely, and wouldn’t soon repeat running a red anyways, regardless of whether they got a ticket or not.

  • Ryan

    Yes, it has changed my behavior. Every time I have to slam on my brakes because of a camera, I intentionally run a light without a camera! I am a safe driver otherwise, but these cameras annoy me to no end!

  • Henry

    He didn’t mention the many side effects.

    The cameras (indirectly) block emergency vehicles – because cars stopped at a camera hesitate to get out of the way! Other side effects: Rearenders, $$$ sent to Oz, AZ or Goldman-Sachs, where it won’t come back, and tourists and shoppers driven away.
    Worse, a false expectation of safety, because cameras can’t stop the real late runners, who cause the accidents. (If cameras worked, camera sellers wouldn’t have the crash videos they supply to the media.)
    Want safety, no side effects?
    To cut car/pedestrian accidents, train your kids not to step out just ‘cuz the walk sign came on.
    To cut nuisance running (a fraction of a second late), lengthen the yellows. It’s cheap to do so can be done all over town.
    The dangerous real late (multiple seconds) runs won’t be stopped by the mere presence of a camera, because the runner won’t know (a lost tourist) or won’t remember (a distracted or impaired “local”) that there’s a camera up ahead. They’re not doing it on purpose! To cut the real late runs, improve the visual cues that say, “Intersection ahead.” Florida’s DOT found that better pavement markings (paint!) cut running by up to 74%. Make the signal lights bigger, add backboards, and put the poles on the NEAR side of the corner. Put brighter bulbs in the street lights at intersections. Put up lighted name signs for the cross streets.
    Who needs cameras and their side effects?

  • stlmom4

    I like the cameras. Our high-traffic area had many red lights offenders…before the cameras. We still have the heavy traffic, but not nearly the number of people runner the lights. We used to see the camera lights flash often as cars ran the stoplights; that doesn’t happen often at all anymore. We see what the study does. Most people get a ticket, know they’ll get caught anytime they run the light and stop running the light. I’ll risk a bump from behind any day compared to having a full-speed car flying though and T-boning my car or that of my children.

  • Michael S. Lansgton

    Lastly… who cares if they are changing behaviors at only those lights with cameras. Unless of course the next step is to put cameras on all intersections….

    Just sayin’ – true behavioral change would be at every intersection and their data cannot connect those dots, though maybe that’s not the point.

  • Dan

    Nice advertisement for the unconstitutional red light cameras passing itself off as news. The out-of-state (Arizona) company that runs the cameras takes most of the money, ATS owned by Goldman Sachs. Haven’t these New York banksters stolen enough of our money without entering into racketeering schemes with our elected officials?

    • Dan

      “In all, the system has rung up more than two-hundred-seventeen thousand red light runners.” Rung up is right, at $100 per ticket that is $21,700,000 of money that would otherwise stay with our local working families split between banker$ in New York, crook$ in Phoenix, and our politician$ reelection campaigns.

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