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A Year of Automotive Mayhem for St. Louis's Red-Light Runners

The city's inability to stop on red is shown in this wince-worthy highlight reel of 2013 crashes.

Hey, St. Louis – it's stop on red and go on green, not the other way around.

OK, so red-light runners are a problem in any major urban area. But because American Traffic Systems decided to focus on St. Louis in this highlight reel of the "worst red-light accidents of 2013," I guess we just have to pick on that city's piss-poor drivers. And some of them are indeed quite lousy, blowing through a row of four glowing-red lights as if was the starting line on a racetrack. (Note to traffic planners: The metal-crushing confusion seems particularly bad at the intersection of Goodfellow Boulevard and Natural Bridge Avenue.)

ATS is a provider of municipal red-light cameras and obviously has a vested interest in portraying the negative effects of traffic-signal scofflaws. The company put out a similar video last year for nationwide crashes, to show in its estimation how "dangerous red-light runners are putting innocent drivers and pedestrians in harm's way." But hey, it's easy to ignore the corporate bias when watching the sheer, eyeball-magnetizing carnage of these collisions. Let's hope none were fatal or particularly injurious. 

If ATS was hoping this kind of footage will flame a grassroots movement for traffic cameras, it doesn't seem to be working. A yet-to-be-released report from the libertarian Reason Foundation claims the cameras are falling out of favor in America, writes the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The number of communities using them has dropped from 700 in 2011 to 500 at the end of 2013, the newspaper says: "Declining revenues, a nonsupportive court system and increases in the number of accidents instead of decreases, are the major reasons why cities have pulled the plug on red-light cameras in the past two years." 

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.