The LA Times finds that in Los Angeles most red-light camera tickets are for rolling right turns, which carry minimal safety risk:
In Los Angeles, officials estimate that 80% of red light camera tickets go not to those running through intersections but to drivers making rolling right turns, a Times review has found. . . One of the most powerful selling points for photo enforcement systems . . . has been the promise of reducing collisions caused by drivers barreling through red lights.
But it is the right-turn infraction — a frequently misunderstood and less pressing safety concern — that drives tickets and revenue in the nation’s second-biggest city and at least half a dozen others across the county.
Some researchers and traffic engineers question the enforcement strategy.
“I’ve never . . . seen any studies that suggest red light cameras would be a good safety intervention to reduce right-turning accidents,” said Mark Burkey, a researcher at North Carolina A&T State University who has studied photo enforcement collision patterns. . .
“We’re kind of very leery about right turns. . . . They’re not really unsafe per se,” said Pasadena’s senior traffic engineer, Norman Baculinao. Only one of that city’s seven camera-equipped intersection approaches is set up to monitor right-turn violations, he said.
“This is intended to be a traffic safety program. People who make right turns generally are going at a low speed,” and resulting accidents tend to be a “sideswipe at most,” he said.
Emphasizing those violations, Baculinao said, would be “more for revenue generation” than safety.