Federal bill proposes banning use of red-light and radar cameras

Bill follows controversies surrounding safety of red-light cameras

A federal lawmaker has introduced a bill in the House of Representative to ban cities and states from using red-light and radar speeding cameras, according to Land Line Magazine. The bill would ban the cameras from all roads and highways with the exception of school and construction zones. While the bill may have a difficult time passing into law, it is the latest sign of growing criticism of red-light cameras. Critics of the cameras claim the technology's safety benefits are often overstated and that the devices are little more than a way for municipalities to generate extra revenue.

Ban red-light cameras

The bill, HR950, was introduced on February 12 and has been referred to committee. If passed, the bill would ban the use of automated traffic enforcement cameras throughout the U.S., except in construction zones and school zones. Given the political makeup of the current Congress, however, the bill will likely have a difficult time becoming law.

Nonetheless, states and municipalities have increasingly taken on the issue in recent years. Nine states have already banned red-light cameras, while 12 have banned radar speeding cameras. Additionally, this year 20 more states are expected to consider measures that would either restrict or prohibit automated traffic measures. New York, however, is unlikely to be one of them. In fact, New York City recently expanded its red-light camera program.

Safety benefits questioned

Proponents of red-light cameras often say the cameras are needed as a way of increasing public safety. However, studies into the cameras haven't always backed up those claims. While the cameras have been shown to reduce T-bone collisions, they have also led to more rear-end collisions, which critics say is because drivers are being overly cautious and braking hard at yellow lights. Those concerns have been exacerbated by the fact that some municipalities have been accused of reducing yellow-light times after installing the cameras, thus giving drivers less time to react.

According to the Staten Island Advance, the traffic camera program on Long Island has proven particularly controversial. In that program, technical problems led to numerous refunds. Drivers also complained of speed cameras being installed in areas that had no history of speed-related problems. Furthermore, a study into New Jersey's recently abandoned red-light cameras found that there was no evidence that the cameras helped reduce crashes. In fact, in one town, red-light cameras were actually removed because accidents increased at some intersections where they were installed.

Traffic violations

Being cited for running a red light or stop sign can be expensive, especially for drivers who get more than one citation in a short period of time. For people who have been hit with a traffic violation, they should contact a qualified defense attorney today. An experienced attorney may be able to help clients fight against a costly and damaging citation.