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Entries in Red Light Cameras (5)

Monday
Aug062012

Coalition Calls on Drivers to Stop Before Running Red Light

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Although running a red light is commonplace on America's roads, it's extremely dangerous.

There are estimates by the National Coalition for Safer Roads that this practice is responsible for over 9,000 deaths during the past three years.  In fact, it's believed to be the leading cause of city traffic accidents.

Red light cameras have been effective in cutting down motorists zooming through intersections, but as a reminder about the consequences, the NCSR has designated this week as National Stop on Red Week.

Its outreach director, Melissa Wandall, tragically knows first-hand what can happen when people don't obey the law.  Her husband was killed by a driver who ran a red light.

According to Wandall, "Red light-running, when you kill somebody, it's negligent, it's tragic, it's innocent lives being lost and it is preventable."

Her coalition has also set up a website, StopOnRedWeek.com, to give motorists information about the promotion and what they can do to reduce accidents, injuries and deaths.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul132012

WATCH: Horrific Crash Caught on Camera Stirs Controversy

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A controversy over red light cameras installed at intersections in towns across New Jersey has been further inflamed after the borough of Roselle Park released a video showing a horrific crash.

The video, released by traffic safety firm American Traffic Solutions and posted on its website, shows a driver running a red light at an intersection, hitting an oncoming car, careening into a divider and being thrown airborne, turning 360 degrees before eventually coming to rest.

“There are a lot a people who don’t think that running a red light is a problem,” spokesman Charles Territo of American Traffic Solutions told ABC News. “Rarely do people see the actual crash occurring, and the violence and the drama that accompanies it is something that everyone should see.”

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Installed in 2009, the cameras are supposed to be a safety measure designed to deter drivers from speeding through yellow and red lights. Instead they have been a source of controversy, yielding millions of dollars in fines for municipalities and saddling drivers with tickets that many view as difficult to challenge and even unconstitutional.

Motorists complain they are not being given enough time to get through intersections, and many believe the program is essentially a money grab. One New Jersey woman was given a $140 ticket for making it through an intersection 1/5 of a second too late.

But Roselle Park Police Chief Paul Morrison defends the program.  “It’s unfortunate that the public views it as nothing more than an revenue instrument. The reason I had it put in place is because of serious crashes at the intersection,” he told ABC News.

Statistics from American Traffic Solutions show that since the town implemented its red light camera program in 2011,   red-light running violations have decreased 47 percent. Additionally, an analysis of the Roselle Park program found that 94 percent of vehicles issued a violation have not received a second, according to the ATS website.

“It’s an absolute success,” said Morrison.  “Motorists who actually receive a summons are made aware and very conscious of the fact that that intersection is monitored 24/7,  and if you go through the red light you will receive a summons. Motorists are much more cautious.”

The state of New Jersey recently suspended the use of red light cameras at 63 of 85 state-wide locations out of concern the cameras had not been properly tested.

Police Chief Morrison ultimately stressed the potentially life-saving nature of the technology, and the benefit of the cameras to public safety.  “It’s no different than if a police officer was sitting at the intersection.”

“If it saves just one life, it’s served its purpose,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul282011

Are Red Light Camera Fines Voluntary?

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Tickets from red-light cameras are not as enforceable as most motorists think, and now their high cost and the widespread public backlash against them may be leading to their removal in America's car capital.

As the bright light flashes when a car zips through a red light, most motorists are not really sure if they have been caught, until a ticket shows up in the mail, along with a fine of up to $500.  The "gotcha!" cameras have even led some drivers to put a box over their head or even wear a mask to avoid the ticket.

In the city of Los Angeles -- considered to be the driving capital of America -- the fines for these tickets are, unbeknownst to many, voluntary.

City officials in L.A. said they were shocked to learn that there's no real enforcement of the tickets due to the fact that courts find the cases difficult to prove, as the person receiving the ticket is often not the person driving the car at the time the photo was snapped.  The courts have now ruled that violations caught on a photo are unenforceable, since there is no live witness to testify against an alleged offender.

Discovering this has angered those who've shelled out hundreds in fines, leading many to ask if they can have their money back.

"If you paid the fine, you paid the fine.  If you didn't pay the fine, you were pretty much able to get away with it," Paul Koretz of the Los Angeles City Council told ABC News.

Approximately 40 percent of ticketed drivers got away with not paying those hefty fines that come with a red light camera ticket -- which is why Los Angeles is dumping the cameras altogether.

And the trend to rid cities of the unpopular cameras may go nationwide.

The city of Houston has already banished the cameras, and according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a total of nine states have banned the red-light cameras.  Several others have passed laws limiting the use of camera enforcement.

Getting rid of the cameras will ultimately save the city of Los Angeles around $1million per year.  But some are still concerned that without them, there may be more collisions.

A study this year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that in 14 of America's largest cities the cameras have saved 159 lives during a four-year period.  The study also said that if all 99 of the country's largest cities had them installed, 815 lives could have been saved.

Still, some believe they may cause more harm than good when motorists stop short because they are thinking about the camera, causing a rear-end collision.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun292011

Are Red-Light Cameras Causing Accidents?

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- It's the "Gotcha!" flash that no driver wants to see after running a red light.  And it's quickly becoming the target of critics who say the cameras may cause drivers to take desperate measures to avoid being caught on film.

Red-light cameras, designed to catch drivers who run lights and endanger others, are now the subject of significant debate because some believe they may cause more harm than good.

It is a controversy that is leading to a red-light camera backlash.  Houston has already voted them out, and now the driving capital of the world, Los Angeles, is on the verge of doing the same.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have banned red-light cameras.  Several others have passed laws limiting the use of camera enforcement.

There is evidence to support both sides of the debate.  A study this year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that in 14 of America's largest cities the cameras have saved 159 lives during a four-year period.

The study also said that if all 99 of the country's largest cities had them installed, 815 lives could have been saved.

On the other side of the debate are statistics that show the cameras also cause accidents.  A 2005 federal study demonstrated that while injuries from right angle or T-bone crashes decreased by 16 percent at red-light camera intersections, injuries from rear-end collisions increased by 24 percent.

The final argument in the debate in Los Angeles may have already been decided by the courts.  The courts have ruled that violations caught on a photo are unenforceable since there is no live witness to testify against an alleged offender.

Nearly half the tickets issued in Los Angeles go unpaid without consequence, leaving the city paying $1.5 million a year for unpopular, if lifesaving cameras.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb012011

Study: Red Light Cameras Cut Fatal Crashes

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- U.S. cities with red light cameras have fewer fatal crashes than those that don't, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The study found that the cameras lowered fatal, red light-running crashes by 24 percent and saved 159 lives in 14 of the country's largest cities between 2004 and 2008.

Moreover, the study also found that all fatal crashes at intersections with signals -- not just red light-running crashes -- dropped by 14 percent in cities that had cameras and went up by 2 percent in cities that didn't.

The institute estimates 815 lives could have been saved between the five years studied if red light cameras were operating in all 99 U.S. cities with populations over 200,000.  Today, about 500 cities have the cameras in place.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio