12 INVESTIGATES: Red light camera in Richmond

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - 12 Investigates has discovered that the city of Richmond is adding photo enforcement to an intersection. It's the first time cameras will be used to catch people running red lights in the River City.

The camera will be in South Richmond at the intersection of Hull Street and Elkhardt Road, right in front of Elkhardt Middle School. The cameras have already been installed. They are just not operational.

Crews were even at the intersection this morning installing the technology to catch red light runners. The city won't announce the cameras until next month, so it took some digging to confirm the information. We got a hold of the contract between Richmond and Redflex Traffic Systems. It was signed last February and is a $4.5 million deal. Red Flex even showcases the new contract with Richmond online in a financial report from the company's president.

The company calls itself a world leader in traffic enforcement products and just two months ago- installed red light cameras at two intersections in Petersburg.

The cameras are supposed to catch people breaking the law, and some studies suggest they stop dangerous - and often deadly - T-bone crashes.

Though other researchers say the cameras cause more rear-end collisions. We captured such an accident in Petersburg on the first day the red light cameras were up and running.

Elkhardt and Hull Streets is a problem intersection for the city, constantly among the top ten for crashes each year.

In 2009 there were 13 crashes here. In 2010 that number dipped to 8, but by 2011, it rose once again to 13 crashes.

That's a high number for a city intersection. The number intersection for accidents in the city averages around 18 crashes a year.

Again, you will see the cameras on your drive, but they are not working yet. According to the contract, once the city turns them on, it can give drivers a 30 day grace period. That allows people to get used to the cameras before tickets are issued in the mail. The cameras will go live by mid-January.

By law, city and counties with red light cameras are only allowed to fine you up to $50. So infractions don't go on your driving record and won't drive up your insurance rate.

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