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Red Light Cameras Spark Debate

Most motorists support the use of traffic cameras as a deterrent to drivers who run red lights or speed until they themselves receive a ticket...
July 6, 2011

Most motorists support the use of traffic cameras as a deterrent to drivers who run red lights or speed until they themselves receive a ticket generated by one of the cameras placed by law enforcement agencies along the roadsides of hundreds of communities. Justin McNaull, director of state relations for AAA, the auto travel organization, said that while most drivers generally favor the use of traffic cameras, the AAA receives complaints about the invasion of privacy, the government's misuse of technology and the unfairness of the tickets they received. In some jurisdictions fines for camera generated tickets are as high as $500, with additional costs of mandatory safety classes. Critics contend that communities use the devices - installed and managed by big corporate vendors that get a large chunk of the fine money - as simply another means of obtaining revenue and that some systems are designed to ticket safe drivers whose violations would be excused by police officers.

A growing number of people feel they have been unfairly ticketed and that camera systems at some intersections have been calibrated to shorten the yellow-light interval to ensnare people who think they're crossing prudently when the light suddenly goes red.

Read more about red light cameras: The Collision Over Traffic Cameras (NY Times 7/4/11)