lot of controversy surrounding the use of red light cameras. Many drivers
believe the system is used just to generate revenue, and has the potential to
be abused. On the other hand, there are also red light camera advocates. But
even advocacy can be abused, as American Traffic Solutions business executive
Bill Kroske learned after being suspended for trolling internet
sites to promote his company's red light camera products.
All abuse aside, a new study from the University of Missouri has found that
red light cameras do prevent injuries and accidents, making them a valuable
tool for road safety.
Carlos Sun, study leader and an associate professor of civil engineering in the
University of Missouri College of Engineering, has researched a collection of
studies that provide red light camera statistics and information, and found
that red light cameras can do more good than
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, running red
lights accounts for 883 fatalities and 165,000 injuries annually, and that
one-third of all traffic fatalities involves speeding.
But Sun has found that red light cameras are cutting these numbers down, and
that the devices are creating a "spillover effect," meaning that
drivers are not only abiding by traffic laws at lights with cameras, but are
also beginning to do the same with lights that do not have cameras.
"A red light camera is not a panacea for traffic problems; it is a very
effective tool for safe and efficient transportation," said Sun.
"Just like any other tool, it should be used responsibly in the proper
situation. The decision to use automated traffic enforcement tools requires a
balancing act, but we shouldn't take away an effective tool just because of the
potential for abuse."
While Sun believes red light cameras are a useful solution for traffic accidents, he
also believes that the potential for abuse is still there, but can be resolved
through the legal system. The fact that third party vendors install and operate
the cameras in some cases could cause concern amongst drivers, such as when
Kroske posed as a normal citizen promoting his company's products to benefit
himself rather than the public.
Sun suggests that state legislators develop laws that regulate privacy,
jurisdiction and operation of the red light cameras. Sun also notes that schemes
to generate revenue are very unlikely.
"There are many parties from separate branches of the government involved
in the operation of an intersection," said Sun. "If people wanted to
create a scheme to make money, it would have to involve many people who all
have a charge to do their duty well. The irony of red light camera enforcement is that if people obeyed
the law, the revenue wouldn't be generated."
quote: If you drive as outlined by the law red light cameras will never catch you because you have to actually enter the intersection on a red, which won't happen if you stop on yellow.
quote: Solid Yellow– A yellow signal light means "CAUTION." The red signal is about to appear. When you see the yellow light, stop if you can do so safely. If you cannot stop safely, cross the intersection cautiously.
quote: Stop safely if you can, proceed cautiously if you can't.
quote: There is NO CHANCE of a angle or head on collision in this case because the other lane has a three second delay before their light turns green, you are well clear by then.
quote: or not paying attention...
quote: But Sun has found that red light cameras are cutting these numbers down, and that the devices are creating a "spillover effect," meaning that drivers are not only abiding by traffic laws at lights with cameras, but are also beginning to do the same with lights that do not have cameras.
quote: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, running red lights accounts for 883 fatalities and 165,000 injuries annually, and that one-third of all traffic fatalities involves speeding.
quote: All abuse aside, a new study from the University of Missouri has found that red light cameras do prevent injuries and accidents, making them a valuable tool for road safety.
quote: Also these red light cameras do not offer any SAFETY benefits,
quote: they offer financial and implication benefits.
quote: Nobody knowingly drives at full speed into traffic or thinks they should avoid that due to a camera.
quote: Yeah, they do actually, that is why it works. I've seen a road with two speed cameras (one each side of the road) and everyone drove along it at a perfect 50 km/h (I'm not American).
quote: How many people do you know or have you seen that just plow through red lights knowing they are red? no one that's right! People run them because they aren't paying attention weather it be a cell phone or whatever.
quote: The idiots here run red lights and stop signs all the time on purpose because there is little fear of getting punished.
quote: Don't you guys have patrolmen?
quote: Tickets wouldn't work either. Because in this case your "accuser" is a piece of machinery that can't offer testimony or represent itself.
quote: If you turned right on red without stopping and there was a stop bar you broke the law.
quote: Facing the accuser (officer) gives you a measurable sense of accuracy. The red light camera does not.
quote: Are you sure that camera took a photo at precisely the moment the light turned red? how about a slight delay after to account for individuals who already began traveling during the yellow?
quote: Towns have been known to tweak the yellow to red light timing, are you sure the camera timing was not tweaked to raise revenue by a crooked town?
quote: Are there specific reasons as to why one might have been considered "running" a red light but they were unavoidable? What if you are taking a right and creep further than the line because you can not safely see around the big suv next to you? What if an ambulance was coming and you traveled further in to move out of the way? Were you going 2 mph? 120mph? Can you tell from a still photo?
quote: They take a picture of a specific unverifiable moment in time
quote: they do not survey the circumstances of which something is happening
quote: They also do not always verify the driver of the vehicle and have been known to mail tickets to innocent owners.
quote: You have no expectations to privacy on a public road owned/maintained by the government. If you want privacy, stay home and close all your blinds.
quote: How does this violate your rights?
quote: Then change the law to only issue tickets (like a cop would) and allow people to dispute the ticket in court.
quote: Because they rob us of due process and the right to face our accusers
quote: Here in Cedar Rapids Iowa every photo/video clip taken from the Red Light Camera and Speeding Cameras is reviewed by a police officer before a citation is issued and mailed. And if you wish to contest it you can contact the police department and they will schedule you in for a hearing and will have the photo/video evidence at your hearing so that you may dispute what is seen in it. But go ahead and continue your anti-redlight fear mongering by spreading false or misleading information.
quote: It's up to the registered owner of the vehicle to recoup the amount of the fine from the person they allowed to drive their vehicle.
quote: Banning Mr Sun from being in public because he fell off the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down...
quote: In 2005, The Washington Post found: “The analysis shows that the number of crashes at locations with cameras more than doubled, from 365 collisions in 1998 to 755 last year. Injury and fatal crashes climbed 81 percent, from 144 such wrecks to 262. Broadside crashes, also known as right-angle or T-bone collisions, rose 30 percent, from 81 to 106 during that time frame.”