I didn’t used to be for red light cameras. I thought they increased rear-end collisions and that it was taking us to a police state where we were being watched by camera to increase revenues for police departments and so forth. Then, one day I was sitting at the corner of Murrieta Hot Springs and I-215 after getting off the freeway. I was waiting to turn right and my light turned green. No fewer than six cars PER LANE kept going through the light, long after their light turned RED and past the buffer period between when their light goes red and mine goes green.
Without the police presence, people think they can just cheat the system and go through as long as no other cars were coming. Unfortunately, we can’t always see everything that is going on. What if there was a car just getting off the freeway that saw the green light and went through at full speed? There is a high chance that one of the other cars thinking they could cheat the system would have t-boned the car with the green light and caused a major accident, possibly even causing death. To me each of these dozen plus people should have been cited to encourage them to follow the rules in the future!
Red light cameras are a cheaper and more efficient way to police critical traffic laws. Our police presence can be better used elsewhere instead of monitoring for a clear violation. There is no disputing when someone runs the red light, they have no need to face their accuser and there is video evidence in the event that there was some kind of equipment failure.
While red light cameras may cause more people to be cautious of running red lights and therefore increase rear end collisions, these are not nearly as bad a broadside collisions that are more likely to cause the loss of life. Regardless, we all should be stopping for red lights and not trying to rush to the next light. There is a reason your light is red and it is commonly because someone else’s is green.
According to an article in today’s UT Californian red light violations have dropped from 3,150 per month to 85 after the installation of the red light camera at MHS and Whitewood.
The article also quoted Diana Serafin:
“It’s not going to stop a drunk driver; it’s not going to stop a texting driver, it’s not going to stop someone reaching over to get something,” she said. “They are going to do it anyway.”
While I agree with her statement, each of these violators clearly needs to be caught as they are breaking the law, in many cases in more than one way. They need to learn the consequence of their actions. Red light cameras do not take away someone’s agency, it just causes them to understand the consequences of their actions. Regardless of an accident occurring, they should still be held liable.