The Arizona company that operated traffic cameras in Oak Ridge for five years said reckless driving has increased significantly, average speeds have risen, and there has been an increase in red-light running and speeding violations since the systems were disabled April 21.
The two biggest increases in speeding violations were in school zones on eastbound and westbound Robertsville Road near Willow Brook Elementary School, camera vendor Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. said in a report that could be discussed during a Traffic Safety Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday. The average number of school zone violations jumped from a little more than two per day in the 14 days before the cameras were disabled to 10 or 11 per day afterward.
A school zone violation occurs when a driver is detected traveling at 21 mph or more in a 15 mph school zone.
Meanwhile, detections of red-light violations, which can lead to the most serious accidents, increased from an average of 20 per day at four locations in the three weeks before the cameras were disabled to up to 28 per day in the fourth week afterward, Redflex said.
The cameras had included a mix of red-light and speed enforcement cameras at four locations on busy roadways and near schools: Oak Ridge Turnpike and New York Avenue/Lafayette Drive, Oak Ridge Turnpike between the High School and Civic Center, North Illinois Avenue at Robertsville Road, and Robertsville Road near Willow Brook Elementary School.
Redflex said the cameras had contributed to a 34 percent reduction in collisions and reduced vehicle speeds. The cameras had issued $50 citations to violators but are no longer giving tickets.
But the Oak Ridge City Council did not renew the controversial five-year contract in a 3-4 vote in March, and it expired April 21.
At the request of the city, Redflex disabled the cameras and flashes but allowed the computers and sensors to continue operating, allowing the systems to continue collecting traffic counts and speed data.
Redflex said speeding began to increase immediately after the cameras were deactivated and jumped dramatically—by up to 231 percent—after black bags were placed over the camera housings, alerting drivers that they were no longer operating.
The TSAB is expected to discuss the Redflex statistical analysis during a meeting that starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Building Training Room.
See the TSAB agenda, which includes the Redflex report, here: TSAB June 2014 Agenda.
More information will be added as it becomes available.