Red Light Cameras: A good source of revenue or safety?
Red Light Cameras: Good or Bad?
No matter what state you are driving in, not stopping at a red light is against the law. In order to write a valid ticket, there must either be evidence from the testimony of a police officer or a snapshot of a vehicle as it enters an intersection during a red light. In effort to make the roads a safer place, cameras were installed in major cities to catch those who ran red lights when police officers were not present.
Most large cities installed them to ensure safety at major intersections. A few cities had the devices installed to create more revenue for their cities. With time, some states discovered they were having more problems with the cameras than success. In New Jersey, they found that about 50% of the pictures taken didn’t actually result in a ticket. On some occasions the flash would go off when testing was being performed triggering the camera when someone drove through. Other snapshots were thrown out because the timing of the yellow light would not allow a reasonable and safe timing for a vehicle to stop.
In cities like Los Angeles, results showed that mailed tickets became optional because courts found them difficult to prove. Sometimes the person driving was not the person the ticket was mailed too. There are also cases where there other specifics not captured by the photo, such as turning right on read or other emergency scenarios that could be major factors in a case.
Although there are several issues with the cameras, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that 159 lives were saved in a four year period in the United States’ 14 largest cities because of the cameras. The study also found that 815 lives could have been saved if the other 99 largest cities had used the devices.
Though there are problems with the devices, they still achieve a goal of keeping the road safer.
Source: The Safety Report, “Do Red Light Cameras Further Public Safety?” July 11, 2013.