BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Despite conflicting evidence as to their effectiveness, Councilman Rasheed Wyatt of Buffalo's University District is moving forward in his effort to bring red light cameras to the Queen City.
Wyatt hopes the public will attend a public hearing inside the Common Council Chambers on the 13th floor of City Hall this Thursday at 11 a.m.
"People have adopted a culture of driving that is very dangerous to the residents of the City," Wyatt said in an interview Tuesday with 2 On Your Side's Michael Wooten.
Wooten questioned Wyatt about studies that have found no decrease in intersection crashes after red light cameras were installed. In Florida, for instance, the state looked at 148 intersections in 28 localities and found total crashes actually increased by more than 10% after the cameras went in.
Research from Texas A&M Transportation Institute found the cameras often reduce t-bone crashes; however, they often lead to an increase in rear-end collisions.
That report found cameras were effective at reducing crashes in intersections that saw the most red light violations. But at intersections where violations weren't as frequent, the cameras increased rear-end crashes and did not reduce the numbers of other collisions.
The CDC looked at a wide array of scientific studies on this topic and said, "[I]t does seem that it is premature to conclude that red-light cameras have been widely found to be highly effective."
"Does that concern you," Wooten asked Wyatt.
"No," he responded.
"We have to try something," the councilman explained. "My stance is, let us try it."
Wyatt pointed out the vendor with which he's now working -- GATSO-USA -- can install cameras that not only take pictures of license plates of violations; their cameras can also record video that would be accessible by Buffalo Police. That could be helpful in solving crimes, including murders and the rash of hit-and-run crashes in the City lately.
"We have a dangerous situation on our streets," Wyatt said. "The police department can actually access that information, that video, which I think is huge."
At least two previous efforts have failed to bring red light cameras to Buffalo. Should this time be different, state law would allow cameras at up to 50 intersections. The fine for breaking the law would be a fine up to $50. A violation would not show up on someone's driving record.