ATS’ Newsletter, Vol. 7, Issue 4
Traffic Deaths Claimed 110 Lives a Day in 2016; Set New High
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania), Feb. 15, 2017
A jump in traffic fatalities last year pushed deaths on U.S. roads to their highest level in nearly a decade, erasing improvements made during the Great Recession and economic recovery, a leading safety organization said today. Fatalities rose 6 percent in 2016, reaching an estimated 40,200 deaths compared to 37,757 deaths the previous year, according to the National Safety Council. … The last time there were more than 40,000 fatalities in a single year was in 2007, just before the economy tanked. There were 41,000 deaths that year. View National Safety Council report here. See related article by the Chicago Tribune. (National Safety Council graphic)
Police: Collision at 65 mph Kills Grandmom, Grandchild
WFMZ-TV Channel 69 (Pennsylvania), Feb. 15, 2017
An investigator testified Wednesday that the Bucks County woman accused of killing an Allentown woman and her grandchild last month was driving about 65 mph when she slammed into their car at an intersection. … Allentown police Sgt. David McDonald testified that a city traffic camera captured the speeding vehicle pass through a red light and T-boning the passing car. See related coverage at LehighValleyLive.com. (Image by Kurt Bresswein for lehighvalleylive.com)
Police Work with Schools to Crack Down on Drivers Passing Buses
WHEC-TV NBC 10 (New York), Feb. 15, 2017
Parents in Irondequoit say they’re fed up watching drivers illegally pass their kids’ school buses every morning and afternoon. Carol Garofolo is one of them. She says, “If you have a driver’s license and you’re going to work, you’re a grown up, act like it.” It’s an issue that police have recently given more attention to. … As it stands now, police officers can only issue a ticket if they see a driver illegally pass a school bus. Because of limited staffing, that’s not always possible. (WHEC-TV NBC 10 image)
Red-Light Cameras Capture Terrifying Crashes
USAToday, Feb. 13, 2017
The worst red-light running crashes in the U.S. can be seen on this video compiled by American Traffic Solutions for 2016. (USA Today/ATS image)
Seeing Red-Light Runners in Jonesboro
KAIT-TV ABC 8 (Arkansas), Feb. 9, 2017
There are 85 stoplights in the city of Jonesboro. Each one of them designed to make you slow down and eventually stop. Some drivers only consider those stoplights a suggestion. … In 2016, officers with the Jonesboro Police Department ticketed 255 drivers for running a red light. It could have been much more. Police Sgt. George Martin says it’s not always easy to pull over a driver who has run a red light, even if it happens right in front of an officer. “Sometimes you can’t get to that person,” Martin said. “I could put a citizen in danger trying to get to them.” (KAIT-TV ABC 8 image)
Young Millennials Top List of Worst Drivers
Miami Herald (Florida), Feb. 15, 2017
According to a new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the youngest millennials, those 19 to 24 years old, topped the list of the worst-behaved U.S. drivers, with 88 percent of them having engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days. The dangerous behaviors included texting while driving, red-light running and speeding. See the AAA 2016 Traffic Safety Culture Index report here. (AAA image)
San Francisco Legislator Wants Cameras to Slow Speeders
KPIX-TV CBS 5 (California), Feb. 12, 2017
California assemblyman David Chiu has introduced a bill that would make automatic speed-enforcement cameras and ticketing legal in the state. If passed, Assembly Bill 342 would let San Francisco and San Jose install traffic cameras to capture images of any vehicle traveling 10 mph over the posted speed limit. (KNTV-TV NBC 11 image)
Grace Period Ends for New Orleans’ Mobile Safety Cameras
The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com (Louisiana), Feb. 11, 2017
The grace period for New Orleans’ new battalion of mobile speed safety cameras ended Feb. 9. Drivers caught speeding by one of the 10 new mobile cameras around town are now on the hook for the $105 fine. The city will continue to install 45 new cameras at 32 sites to complement the 66 already in use at 42 locations. After focusing first on school zones, the full roll out will conclude in April. (WWL-TV CBS 4 image)
Tie Vote Gives Green Light to Red-Light Cameras
WJXT-TV Channel 4 (Florida), Feb. 7, 2017
The annual effort to ban red-light cameras in Florida crashed Tuesday when the Senate Transportation Committee rejected the idea in a tie vote. … The key vote came from committee Chairman George Gainer, who said he opposed the bill because he believed it should be left up to the local governments to decide whether to install the devices. (TBO.com image)
Fifth-Grader Dies in Collision after Exiting His School Bus
GoErie.com (Pennsylvania), Feb. 11, 2017
A fifth-grade boy at Wattsburg Area Middle School has died of injuries he suffered when he was struck by a vehicle after exiting his school bus in Greenfield Township on Thursday afternoon. … The collision happened on Feb. 9.
Maryland Could Up Penalties for Ignoring Stopped School Buses
WTOP-Radio 1500 AM (Washington, D.C.), Feb. 10, 2017
It’s already Maryland law: drivers must stop when a school bus comes to a halt, extends a stop arm, and turns on red flashing lights to let students on or off the bus. But Maryland lawmakers and police, frustrated with the number of drivers who continue to violate that law, are calling for an increase in civil penalties. (WMDT-TV ABC 47 image)
Cashless Tolls On Their Way to Bayonne Bridge
The Jersey Journal (New Jersey), Feb. 13, 2017
Motorists can say goodbye to the Bayonne Bridge toll plaza. The Port Authority announced Monday morning that Bayonne Bridge would be the bi-state agency’s first crossing to use cashless tolling. … One of the biggest benefits for drivers will be that they won’t need to slow down to pass through a plaza, said Allison C. de Cerreno, assistant director of tunnels, bridges and terminals for the Port Authority. … The move to cashless tolls is expected to save the Port Authority money in both the short and long term. (The Jersey Journal image by Reena Rose Sibayan)
Customer Numbers Grow as More Washingtonians Choose Tolls
Covington, Maple Valley, Black Diamond Reporter (Washington), Feb. 12, 2017
During fiscal year 2016, Good To Go!, Washington State’s automatic toll payment system, served more than 673,000 customer accounts and processed approximately 46.6 million toll transactions, a 24 percent increase from the previous year. The I-405 express toll lanes, which were operational for nine months of the fiscal year accounted for much of the growth in transactions.
State Senator Asks for Cashless Tolling
Niagara Frontier Publications (New York), Feb. 10, 2017
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs has called on the New York State Thruway Authority to implement cashless tolling at the Grand Island bridges. “This technology is successfully utilized at more than 35 bridges, tunnels and toll roads across the United States and is used by the Thruway Authority at the Tappan Zee Bridge in downstate New York, Jacobs wrote in a letter to Thruway Authority Executive Director Bill Finch.
Editorial: Red-Light Cameras? Let Cities, Counties Decide
Orlando Sentinel (Florida), Feb. 10, 2017
The 2010 state law that authorizes local governments in Florida to catch red-light runners with cameras narrowly missed getting T-boned in Tallahassee this week. It was a victory for road safety and for home rule. … There’s no compelling reason for state legislators to grab the wheel from local elected officials on local road safety issues.
Editorial: Local Control of Road Safety Cameras Works Best
Sioux City Journal (Iowa), Feb. 10, 2017
If a majority of lawmakers in both chambers of the Iowa Statehouse believe traffic cameras represent pure evil, then they should vote to outlaw them altogether. However, if the Legislature believes these cameras represent an acceptable form of traffic enforcement in Iowa cities and decides to retain them, then we believe decisions about where to place them should be left to local municipalities, even on state roads within city limits. Simply put, local jurisdictions know better than the state Department of Transportation where to put their speed and red-light cameras.
Letter to the Editor: Bus Cameras Improve Safety
The Daily Journal (New Jersey), Feb. 15, 2017
Our Senate recently passed S211, a timely bill allowing school districts to equip buses with cameras to catch drivers who pass a stopped school bus as kids are getting on and off. … Recently, a 14-year-old girl in Upper Township, Cape May County, was hit by a car and suffered serious injuries while walking across the street to catch her bus to school. Preventing horrible injuries like this is why S211 and its companion bill, A3798, were introduced.
Letter: Don’t Bow Before Bullies
Napa Valley Register (California), Feb. 9, 2017
I’ve been thinking about bullying behavior recently … and found bullying at work in the red-light camera issue. People who disobeyed the stop sign law and were fined apparently protested to the city council, which caved in under pressure. Why not say: “It’s too bad that you drove your car unsafely. You can control that behavior. You can control your car. You can make Napa a safer city.” Rather than lower the expectation bar, we can raise it.
“Where is our outrage over losing over 100 people every day on our roadways?”
Deborah Hersman, President and CEO of the National Safety Council
Chicago Tribune (Illinois), Feb. 15, 2017
The city of Orlando has recorded a reduction in right-angle crashes of more than 65 percent since 2008 at intersections with cameras, and an 11 percent decrease in all crashes at those intersections, according to Mayor Buddy Dyer’s office. SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel, (Florida), Feb. 10, 2017.