ITE District Six Annual Meeting: Red Light Running Panel July 15, 2002

Camera Enforcement v.
Sound Engineering Practices
A clash of diametrically opposed forces!

By Chad Dornsife, 6/15/2002

Executive Summary:

This analysis examines the Myth that there are legions of aggressive drivers responsible for a national crisis of red light running and speeding. Evidence suggests that something else altogether is closer to the truth, a complete breakdown in safety standards oversight. Safeguards that were enacted by Congress to ensure that only verified safety-engineering practices are applied.

Yes it's true too many are dying unnecessarily at intersections, but these tragic deaths are only the tip of the iceberg, many thousands more needlessly die each year for the same exact cause, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulatory oversight failure.

Rather than championing best practices and staying true to their charter that only vetted best practice be applied, the FHWA HOTO office routinely allows and or adopts unsafe engineering practices to placate political agendas. In regards to signalized intersections, the situation is further exacerbated by the Institute of Transportation Engineers' (ITE) adoption of deviant "guidance" for signal timings. Red light cameras are a manifestation of this failure, both the FHWA and the ITE have abandoned best practice to facilitate special interest, those whom profit or derive power and or jobs from these related enterprises, to the clear detriment of safety.

Camera Enforcement: A camera system’s vetting process by definition requires that a quantified engineering defect be identified and then, by design, remain uncorrected. The larger the identified engineering defect, the more the system operators are financially rewarded for unsafe practices and negligence. Cameras do not reduce accidents caused by engineering defects and, at most locations, their presence has actually caused accident rates to increase.

Sound Engineering Practices: For a fraction of a camera’s cost, engineering studies and the implementation of prescribed sound practices dramatically reduce both entries on red and other contributing accident causes. Thereby achieving the desired compliance and safety goals, and the enforcement cameras become a liability.

This analysis will shed light on the governing traffic control law, the underlying cause, the myths and the solution - that only verified sound engineering practices need be applied.

Power Point Presentation   RLR Timeline   1  2  3  4  5 

Chad Dornsife, Founder
The Highway Safety Group
858.673.1926 San Diego Office
775.851.7950 Reno Office
775.721.2423 Cell
800.708.5723 fax

Nevada Chapter Spokesperson
National Motorists Association