Do red light cameras make intersections safer?

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission has adopted a policy for using cameras to enforce traffic signals and speed limits on state highways.

The new policy approved Wednesday requires an analysis showing safety concerns and standardizes the signs warning motorists of the cameras. It also requires that any tickets for violations be issued by certified police officers.

There currently are 88 red-light cameras on state highways. A MoDOT study found that accidents at those intersections have gone up, because of more rear-end crashes as drivers brake. But the number of right-angle crashes involving fatalities or serious injuries is down 45 percent.

MoDOT system management director Don Hillis says that shows the cameras are working.Just last week, city leaders in Washington, Missouri voted to get rid of red light cameras in their city because the devices did not significantly reduce the number of wrecks.The Council Members in the eastern Missouri town voted to stop using the cameras at 2 major intersections.In Columbia, City Manager Tony St. Romaine told KRCG that accidents have decreased by about 10% at the five intersections where the city has the cameras installed.

Romaine said Columbia has no plans to get rid of the cameras and that the cameras were installed not to make money, but to improve safety.In December 2010, Columbia released financial data related to red light cameras. The Columbia Missourian reports the city collected $158,515 from red-light camera tickets in the latest fiscal year. But after paying associated expenses, the city recorded only about $18,000 in net revenue.

City Manager Bill Watkins said in a memo that the city paid nearly $59,000 paid to the company that installed and maintains the city's five cameras. Police and the municipal court both had large expenditures for reviewing and processing citations and tickets.Tell us what you think. Do you think red light cameras make intersections safer? (The Associated Press contributed to this story)