The War on Red Light Cameras
Since red light cameras were introduced at intersections across the country, thousands of drivers have received unflattering photos of themselves in the mail, accompanied by tickets and fines for running red lights.
While legislators and safety administrations have touted the red light camera program for imposing additional security at intersections and reducing car crash statistics, many drivers hate the all-seeing cameras and would like to see their use discontinued.
In Denver, one man has launched his own campaign to have his city’s red light camera and photo radar programs eliminated. Paul Houston, 63, wants Sheridan City Council to cancel the existing programs, which brought in more than $770,000 in revenue from the fines assessed by the cameras last year.
Houston has been out on the streets for the better part of this year with signs to bring his message to the rest of the city’s residents, encouraging them to get involved. He believes the cameras are a violation of citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights.
Houston’s campaign is not limited to signs, however. Earlier this summer, he introduced a camera ban ordinance for the Sheridan City Council to consider. If he doesn’t receive a favorable response from the county, he plans to begin a petition for residents to sign so that the ban can be placed on the ballot for November.
Although Houston lives in Denver, he is starting his campaign in Sheridan County because its smaller size makes it ideal for a trial run. Once he has success there, Houston plans to take his campaign even further until Colorado’s intersections have been emptied of red light cameras. 10 municipalities across the state utilize red light camera systems and Denver brought in $6.5 million last year from the ones in their area.
Are Red Light Cameras Making Our Roads Safer?
Several studies have been conducted to demonstrate whether placing cameras at intersections to monitor when drivers run red lights is effective. Drivers who notice the cameras are dissuaded from running a red light, and even if they don’t immediately see the cameras, they may be more inclined to wait until the light turns green rather than risk a camera snapping a ticket-worthy offense.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 443 communities are using red light cameras as of July 2015, and 139 are using cameras that detect speeding drivers as well.
The IIHS website says that red light cameras are a way to “fill the void” in intersections where police can’t constantly monitor drivers’ actions, and in cities that use the camera systems, fatal red light running crash rates have been reduced by up to 24 percent, and the rate of all fatal crashes at traffic intersections was reduced by 17 percent.
If Houston’s campaign is successful, red light cameras may be steadily eliminated in cities across Colorado and the impact their removal will have on traffic statistics in the future remains to be seen. For more information about car accident, traffic safety measures and Colorado’s laws, contact one of the Denver auto accident attorneys at Levine Law today.