“Essentially, the project has been tabled pending further studies of crash data at intersections. We’re just doing a little bit more analysis to see if there’s a need,” said Capt. Dwayne Jones.
The city currently utilizes one red-light camera at the intersection of North Expressway and Georgia Highway 92. According to Jones, that camera has resulted in a significant reduction in wrecks at that location.
“That’s our busiest intersection in the city and we monitor northbound and eastbound traffic,” he said. “We have not had a fatality at that intersection since it (the camera) went live in October 2006.”
He said when these types of traffic-control monitoring systems are installed, the greatest decrease in wrecks occurs within the first two to three years. That decrease then levels off as motorists become accustomed to the camera’s presence.
Initially, the city of Griffin experienced a decrease in wrecks at that intersection of approximately 24 percent, Jones said. That figure coincides with recently released statistical data Jones cited, which he said showed over a four-year period, cities utilizing red-light cameras did see a noteworthy reduction of wrecks.
Jones explained that because the intersection of Highway 92 and North Expressway is a state route, with two state roads converging, the city cannot do anything without state approval.
He also said red-light cameras are only one tool used to increase safety at dangerous intersections. Other measures which may be put in place include a speed-limit reduction, warning signs identifying the potential danger, rumble strips — raised areas in the roadway prior to an intersection — and an increased police presence.
However, GPD officials still cite red-light cameras as being a helpful tool in reducing fatalities.
“That camera is static — it doesn’t have to leave if a call comes up. It’s there rain or shine, hot or cold,” Jones said.
For those who view red-light cameras as merely a means of collecting revenue, it is interesting to note that the fines associated with a red-light ticket are not commensurate with a citation issued by an officer for the same infraction.
Strickland explained that for the citations issued via the red-light camera, the fine is $70, and it is a civil citation and not a criminal citation.
If a motorist receives an identical citation for failure to obey a traffic-control device from an officer, the fine jumps to $117, due to the addition of state-mandated fees. Also, the motorist faces three points added to his or her license by the state, as well as possible increases in auto-insurance premiums.
Further studies are needed, officials say, to determine if and when it would be feasible to install additional red-light cameras in Griffin, with intersections such as Hammond Drive and Georgia Highway 16 and Hill and Taylor streets being considered.
“If we put one up, we want it to be for the greatest good in reducing accidents. We’re not saying that at some point in the future we may not explore the possibility of installing cameras at needed intersections, but for right now, it’s been tabled,” Jones said.