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1-2-3 red light

Today’s news item about Westminster shutting down two of three red-light cameras obviously holds greater interest for those of us who frequent those highways. But one aspect of the report really jumps out.

Westminster Police Chief Jeffrey Spaulding recommended turning off the devices at the heavily trafficked intersection of routes 140 and 97 on the eastern end of town because it was more dangerous that people weren’t running red lights.

It certainly sounds counterintuitive, but Spaulding said there were more accidents at the intersection because of the cameras. Rear-end crashes apparently were occurring as drivers stopped short to avoid red-light tickets while trailing vehicles were ready to take a shot at getting through the intersection.

OK, the chief certainly wasn’t endorsing red-light running, but he was pointing out that his department was seeing more accidents from people suddenly stopping than rolling through. Maybe motorists are more conditioned not to trust that other drivers will stop.