There’s been a lot of chatter in the news recently about the merits and legality of red light cameras. Installed on traffic lights, red light cameras are a form of automated law enforcement. When a driver runs a red light, a camera snaps a picture of the motorist and his or her license plate. The information is then sent to the local police department.
Days after the incident, the at-fault motorist receives a ticket in the mail, usually along with a hefty fine. In some states, points are issued to the driver as well. While the ticket can be disputed in court, it’s hard to disprove breaking the law when there’s clear photo evidence working against you.
As of March 2014, 24 states (+D.C.) utilize some type of red light camera program. Meanwhile, 9 states have banned their use altogether. Michigan is one of 17 states that haven’t rendered an official decision on their use. And while cameras are currently not used in Michigan intersections, that could be changing soon.
So, where do people stand on this combative issue?
Critics of red light cameras argue they’re nothing more than a government cash grab. Others claim they are unconstitutional and actually make the roads more dangerous by forcing drivers to choose between stopping short and risking a rear end accident, or running a changing yellow light. Some local politicians, like the Mayor of Brick Township, NJ, say red light cameras have actually caused intersection accidents to increase.
Supporters contend that red light cameras make the roads safer by deterring reckless driving near intersections. In St. Louis, MO, the police chief said during a recent report on NBC Nightly News that without red light cameras, his force would be “stretched too thin” and not be able to enforce the nearly 500 violations per day.
The report also cited research that more than 90 percent of people who receive a citation for running a red light don’t do it again.
The purpose of this blog is not to take an official stance, but to inform drivers about a controversial issue that’s picking up steam. Below is a breakdown of the states that have taken an official stance on red light cameras.
If you’ve been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, call the experienced attorneys at Lee Free. We’ll work hard to help you recover the money you deserve. If you have any questions, give us a call at 1-800-LEE-FREE or 1-800-533-3733.