Many communities are using red-light cameras and other technology to control traffic. For example, if you had sped through the Charlotte, N.C., area the first Monday in August, you might have been caught by the specially equipped Safe Speed van and received a citation in your mailbox for $50. Recently, American City & County asked readers of its weekly e-mail newsletter whether local governments have gone too far to catch speeders and other traffic violators by using technology like red-light cameras. Below are some of the responses.
“In short, I don’t think red-light cameras are legal or necessary. First of all, if you let your kids, brother, sister, mother, father, spouse, etc. use your car, they may be the ones running the light; yet you, being the owner of the car, are stuck with the ticket.”
— Doug Woodbeck, Health Program Manager, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Regulation and Licensure
“Howard County, Md., has been utilizing red-light running detection cameras since February 1998. Those camera sites that reached the five-year service mark have experienced reductions in collisions across the board.”
— George Frangos, Traffic Engineer, Howard County, Md.
“Certainly, government could go too far, but I don’t believe we’re anywhere close to crossing that line. The public wants safe streets and doesn’t want to pay a lot to get them. Photo surveillance technologies are one method to achieve both goals.”
— Scott Batson, Senior Engineering Associate, Portland, Ore., Office of Transportation
“It’s about time red-light runners were held accountable for the lives they take speeding through intersections that have already turned red! Ever been in a close call when your family’s safety is at stake?”
— Mike Osterman, Water Reclamation Division Supervisor, Medford, Ore.
“Catch the people who run red lights, please. I’m tired of watching my rear view mirror when I stop for a red light. A few days ago, the car next to me ran the light, and then the car behind me swerved around me specifically to run the red light.”
— Janet North, Auditor, Sharonville, Ohio