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Posted at 10:11 AM ET, 01/31/2011

Red-light camera ban proposed in Va.

By Washington Post editors

A Prince William County legislator has introduced a bill that would halt the installation of red-light cameras in Virginia, the Washington Examiner reports.

Under the legislation Introduced by Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge) the bill would prevent any locality from installing new red-light cameras, which photograph and ticket drivers who run red traffic lights starting this July. Red-light cameras installed before the cutoff date would be allowed to remain, but cities and counties that now have the cameras would be barred from installing additional ones. However, supporters of the cameras say they help promote safety and prevent accidents.

Read more about a bill in the Washington Examiner:

Update: Are the cameras effective?

The first definitive study of red-light cameras indicates that the devices are saving lives even as they make millions in revenue.

  • View the graphic of the report that says deaths in the Washington region at intersections with red-light cameras are down 26 percent.
  • View comments on the story.

Should red-light cameras be banned?

Share your thoughts with us below or on Twitter by using #redcams.

By Washington Post editors  | January 31, 2011; 10:11 AM ET
Categories:  Traffic and Transportation, Virginia  
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Comments

So, Lingamfelter supports lawlessness and traffic accidents. Hmmm......

Posted by: jckdoors | January 31, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

There was a time when Republicans/conservatives were advocates for law and order. Now some seem on the side of those who endanger others via irresponsible driving.

Posted by: RichardCollins | January 31, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Red light cameras aren't the problem. It's the predatory speed cameras that are the problem since they're installed simply to generate revenue.

Leave the red light cameras alone.

Posted by: ceefer66 | January 31, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

If people don't speed or run the red light, you all have no problems.

So....what is the reason for removing them? So....the lazy idiots can speed and run red lights?

Posted by: Bious | January 31, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Since when did Republicans become proponents for civil rights? I suppose when you perceive an intrusion into your own life then you are all for it. I don't like the cameras and feel that good old fashioned police work on the street is more effective and fair. A speed/red light camera can't arrest a drunk driver, a car thief, or people with outstanding warrants or suspended licenses.

Posted by: proof | January 31, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Claiming these cameras are an invasion of privacy is lame. What about the invasion of privacy for those who have been injured - or killed - because someone ran that red light? I see it every day. I'm a left leaning independent who thinks we should have more of these cameras installed.

Posted by: cajohnsonalex | January 31, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

This legislation doesn't go far enough; They should be banned and existing ones taken down and destroyed.

If the jurisdictions really want to issue tickets, put a cop out on the street.

And if the issue really is about safety, then makes the fines payable to a 501-3(c) of the victim's choice and make the jurisdiction swallow all court costs.

Posted by: kjclark1963 | January 31, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"This legislation doesn't go far enough; They should be banned and existing ones taken down and destroyed.

If the jurisdictions really want to issue tickets, put a cop out on the street.

And if the issue really is about safety, then makes the fines payable to a 501-3(c) of the victim's choice and make the jurisdiction swallow all court costs."

You have got to be kidding me... I'd be thrilled about having more cops on the street, but who is going to pay for them? Make the jurisdiction eat the court costs? I can see you have really thought hard about this one. None of you conservative types want to pay any taxes, so what kind of services do you expect to get???

It's an efficient way of collecting ticket fees, minimizing expenses associated with collection of those fees and improving the safety of intersections.

Posted by: love2bmom | January 31, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

lol Since when are you entitled to privacy while you're driving down a public street? So you have a "right to privacy" while in an open and public place, but on that same note you argue that there is "nothing in the Constitution about a right to privacy" when it comes to abortion?

Posted by: nsu1203 | January 31, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Red light cameras aren't the problem. It's the predatory speed cameras that are the problem since they're installed simply to generate revenue.

Leave the red light cameras alone.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

my sentiments exactly....

someone running through a red light is a lot more dangerous, than, say someone going 33mph in a 25mph zone on a four lane street with no houses on the street, and few, if any, pedestrians at the bottom of a 45 degree hill at night where you basically have to ride the brakes in order to avoid going over the speed limit!

Posted by: cornbread_jones | January 31, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

If red light cameras are an invasion of privacy, then so is police use of radar.

Posted by: builder701 | January 31, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I've been hit with a ticket twice by those things, and I was mad when I got it. But I can only be mad at myself, because it's pretty clear what you did when you look at the photos and I know that I was pushing the yellow light. And frankly, I'm a more cautious and safer driver now cause I don't push it anymore.

But I agree with some of the other comments: the placements and speed settings of many of those speed cameras are questionable at best. I understand their overall usefulness, but some the details of their use should be revisited.

Posted by: jyhume | February 1, 2011 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Happy for the ban. Beyond the dangers they cause I am bothered with constitutional issue--getting a ticket in the mail weeks later does not allow one to challenge the charge, face accuser, mount a defense. Do you recall what you were doing two weeks ago at 3 p.m. while driving on Rte. 50? Do you even recall that much?

Posted by: MatthewWeaver | February 1, 2011 2:08 AM | Report abuse

If these cameras could photograph the driver as well as the car I'd have no problem with them. The problem arises when a car is stolen, borrowed or shared among family members. While I don't dispute the safety value, there is the broader constitutional issue that the cameras force the driver to prove his or her innocence, rather than the state having to prove guilt. This is because to avoid paying a fine, a car owner has to prove they weren't driving the car, rather than the state having to prove the owner was in fact the driver. This clearly turns presumption of innocence on its head.

Perhaps ground level cameras that could photograph the driver's face, synced to the overheads, might be an answer.

Posted by: treetopflyer | February 1, 2011 2:54 AM | Report abuse

What's so wrong about these cameras generating revenue? We want lower taxes and we want governments to get deficit spending down. These cameras collect revenue and encourage drivers to respect traffic signals and speed limits. Everybody wins, except lawbreakers.

Posted by: Berliner | February 1, 2011 4:57 AM | Report abuse

Interesting. Republicans think it to be an invasion of privacy to have red light cameras that catch you ACTUALLY BREAKING THE LAW and endangering public safety, but find it perfectly OK to have the police stop you and ask for "your papers" if you just happen to look Hispanic, even if all you are doing is walking down the street.

The more these folks open their mouths the more they expose themselves for what they are: hypocrites.

I live along Seminary Road at Southern Towers in Alexandria. There is a red light at the entrance to the complex. During morning and evening rush hours, two, three, sometimes four cars run each and every red light cycle because they just don't want to wait the thirty seconds the light allows people to exit safely from Southern Towers. They don't seem to care about our public safety, as long as they don't have to wait 30 seconds more.

Of course, these are the same people from neighborhoods just up the street which are loaded with speed bumps on almost every block to keep people from driving fast through THEIR neighborhoods and endangering the lives of THEIR children, but they find it offensive that the municipality wants to protect OUR children. Our kids, in their eyes, are just not worth waiting 30 seconds more to get to work. In their eyes, it's unfair to have to pay a fine for running a red light in OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

Posted by: dlpetersdc | February 1, 2011 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Where are the data on increased numbers of rear-end crashes at monitored intersections? That information was either conveniently left out of the study or deleted from the study's results in order to show a "positive" result for the study. This so-called study is just one more example of the old adage: "Figures never lie...but liars figure."

Posted by: texascorvette | February 1, 2011 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Why not put out the cameras to make money? We have bills to pay to keep the services on line and the crooks ought to pay. The law abiding citizens who do not run lights will never pay.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | February 1, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Rear end crashes? Then stop texting, eating, cell phone talking, while speeding up to beat the yellow light or ride a red one with the person in front of you.
Red light cameras are an unfortunate necessity for the "entitled", self-centered,in-your-face, selfish, etc folks out there driving 1-2000 lb machines that kill.

Posted by: elwoll | February 1, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

My own experience with red light cameras was unfavorable -- the device, or whoever is responsible for reading license plates, seems to have confused a blurry picture of an H with an N and sent me a letter demanding a large sum. I was able to take pictures showing that the car involved was a different make and model from mine, but at this point I'm not convinced of the accuracy of these devices.

Posted by: su10 | February 1, 2011 7:46 AM | Report abuse

"If red light cameras are an invasion of privacy, then so is police use of radar."

Hmmmm. You might be on to something here.

Posted by: ceefer66 | February 1, 2011 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

There is a certain amount of evidence that while they reduce cross-intersection collisions that they increase rearend collisions when the lead driver makes the sudden decision to stop and the tailing driver is simply watching the light.

Posted by: wildfyre99 | February 1, 2011 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Just like "conservatives" to protect the rights of speeders who cause accidents and kill people...instead of protecting the rights of law-abiding majority. No one young people are so confused...and why so many will die as a result of their confusion.

Posted by: jjedif | February 1, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Houston had internet cameras... and then the voters spoke,the contract was broken and they came down. Things to think about: (1) The government is 'on the hook' to the firm for the money spent installing them. (2) While in place, the problem of folks refusing to pay the fine (since it couldn't be proved they -- and not a spouse or teenager -- were driving the vehicle when it ran the light). Interestingly, both here and on this poll, the consensus was that the cameras were NOT placed to prevent deaths from morons running lights BUT as revenue raisers. It shows the vast gulf between the governed and 'their' government. (Shades of Egypt?)

Posted by: tbrucia | February 1, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Giant revenue manchines that invade privacy. Comprehensive VDOT study showed rear end collisions increase with them. Virginia got rid of them once, should not have allowed them back, and needs to ban them again as well as most other revenue rasising, privacy invading electronic surveilance gimmicks.

Posted by: JuicyJuice | February 1, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

If the same sensors and software that enable catching red light runners were also used to make the lights "smarter" so that drivers did not have to wait at lights for nothing, I think objections would diminish - as would the incentive to run lights. FWIW, studies have shown that rotaries and 4-way stops are much more efficient than lights.

Posted by: seraphina | February 1, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Since when did Republicans become proponents for civil rights? I suppose when you perceive an intrusion into your own life then you are all for it. I don't like the cameras and feel that good old fashioned police work on the street is more effective and fair. A speed/red light camera can't arrest a drunk driver, a car thief, or people with outstanding warrants or suspended licenses.

Posted by: proof | January 31, 2011 11:41 AM
**************************************************
It is the speed and red light cameras that free up police to do other things. Like arrest drunk drivers, car thieves and people with suspended licenses. These cameras have the same effect as putting more police on the streets.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I doubt there is enough statistical evidence here to even consider moving from correlation to a causation. What I do know is that not long ago studies were released that showed crashes from rear-end collisions at places with red-light cameras had skyrocketed and overall accidents in the jurisdictions had increased. Maybe I'm wrong, but you have to go through a red light REAL late for it to be a problem other than "hey, that's not fair!" And many times, you camera click happens just after the light turns red, and if you are in the intersection, that's legal. And it's too easy to get out of it. It's really a tax on the folks too busy or timid to mess with it. Just like lotteries and gambling tend to be taxes on the poor and bad at math.

Posted by: NovaMike | February 1, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Since when did Republicans become proponents for civil rights? I suppose when you perceive an intrusion into your own life then you are all for it. I don't like the cameras and feel that good old fashioned police work on the street is more effective and fair. A speed/red light camera can't arrest a drunk driver, a car thief, or people with outstanding warrants or suspended licenses.

Posted by: proof | January 31, 2011 11:41 AM
**************************************************
It is the speed and red light cameras that free up police to do other things. Like arrest drunk drivers, car thieves and people with suspended licenses. These cameras have the same effect as putting more police on the streets.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

The companies that operate red light cameras for jurisdictions usually operate under a contract that gives them a financial incentive to generate as many tickets as possible, with predictable results reported time after time. Anyone smugly spouting "Just don't break the law" hasn't gotten a ticket for making a legal right turn on red, or paid a fine based on a picture of their car with no proof of a violation ("You ran the light, trust us. It wouldn't have taken your picture if you didn't run the light"), gotten a ticket in the mail because the person driving your car ran a red light, or even gotten a ticket because their blurry tag was similar to yours. Cough up $100 or take a day off from work to be told by a judge that the cop who signed off on the ticket, even though he never looked at the pictures, is telling the truth and you're a liar, and oh, BTW, add on some more court costs for daring to claim innocence.

Jurisdictions that install red light cameras are aware that simply increasing yellow light duration will reduce red-light running and broadside collisions more than the cameras, without increasing rear-end collisions, but there's no money in that. Frequently green and yellow light durations are REDUCED to increase revenue, increasing accidents, decreasing safety.

Anything that decreases safety while raking in money is corrupt by it's very nature.

Posted by: stillcynical | February 1, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

"If red light cameras are an invasion of privacy, then so is police use of radar."

Hmmmm. You might be on to something here."

What's next, preventing police from using their eyes to look at people? What invasion of privacy is there when you run a red light or speed? If you are robbing a bank, are the security cameras in a bank an invasion of your privacy.

Claiming that red light cameras or radar violates your privacy is hogwash.

Posted by: ahashburn | February 1, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The companies that operate red light cameras for jurisdictions usually operate under a contract that gives them a financial incentive to generate as many tickets as possible, with predictable results reported time after time. Anyone smugly spouting "Just don't break the law" hasn't gotten a ticket for making a legal right turn on red, or paid a fine based on a picture of their car with no proof of a violation ("You ran the light, trust us. It wouldn't have taken your picture if you didn't run the light"), gotten a ticket in the mail because the person driving your car ran a red light, or even gotten a ticket because their blurry tag was similar to yours. Cough up $100 or take a day off from work to be told by a judge that the cop who signed off on the ticket, even though he never looked at the pictures, is telling the truth and you're a liar, and oh, BTW, add on some more court costs for daring to claim innocence.

Jurisdictions that install red light cameras are aware that simply increasing yellow light duration will reduce red-light running and broadside collisions more than the cameras, without increasing rear-end collisions, but there's no money in that. Frequently green and yellow light durations are REDUCED to increase revenue, increasing accidents, decreasing safety.

Anything that decreases safety while raking in money is corrupt by it's very nature.

Posted by: stillcynical | February 1, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Another display of the new brand of " American Exceptionalism " There was a time when this phrase set us apart, as we defied the tyranny and other ills that plagued other countries. The new " American Exceptionalism " still sets us apart, but as a nation of dunces, all from some misguided ideal of freedom or liberty. Sadly, when these words are used now it is by some lobotomized wing nut, stupefied by too much right wing drivel, who defends their freedom and liberty, railing against the " intrusion " of red light cameras that save lives ( FACT ), while blindly accepting our government's wholesale vacuuming of all phone calls and internet communications, ( FACT )

Posted by: waters1 | February 1, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Red light runners regularly maim and kill pedestrians, and too many motorists respond with rage when pedestrians simply try to cross the street without getting killed. I'm sick of it.

Some people think it's more important to keep some money out of a city's coffers than to protect human lives? Do I get this right? Your "right" to run a red light is more important than someone else's life and limb?

That's what it comes down to. Grow up, please. You are in the world with other human beings. And we are tired of the law-flouting minority.

Posted by: Virtualist1 | February 1, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I wish you had an option to say, "No, the red light cameras are only there to make money." I love that they're moneymakers. I think it's great that someone can and does make a buck off lawbreakers. I only wish more of that money went to the state.

If you loan a car to someone and they break the law, tough luck. Don't loan your car to morons who run red lights in the future. If you think you're too good to wait for a red light to change and you break the law, tough luck. Don't think you're above the law just because you have somewhere to go. If you get wrongly accused, take it to court. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and it's not an invasion of privacy when you're driving on a public road. So many whiners in this country think they have some kind of special dispensation to speed, run red lights, or blow through stop signs when they're in a hurry, because the thing they're hurrying for is oh so much more important than the things everyone else on the road is hurrying for. So stupid.

Posted by: dkp01 | February 1, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Anything for more revenue.

No one has yet explained how a fine somehow makes the roads safer. If irresponsible governments need money, why not just raise our taxes instead of making society into kindergarten?

Posted by: thoughts | February 1, 2011 7:51 AM
*************************************************
The person who must pay that fine will be less likely to re-offend. Therefore, there will be fewer people running red lights. Therefore, there will be fewer crashes caused by the red light runner. Therefore, there will be fewer injuries and deaths resulting from crashes. A point which the rescent, and first definitive study has shown. That the use of red light cameras reduces fatalities almost everywhere they are used.

Posted by: lgaide | February 1, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Why should you avoid getting fine for running a red light just because a police officer is not present. Red light camera are not like speed camera. It's rather binary -- either you entered the intersection on a red or you didn't. And now that a study is out showing that red light cameras reduce the number of serious intersection accidents, what is the basis for opposition?

Posted by: ksu499 | February 1, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Why should you avoid getting fine for running a red light just because a police officer is not present? Red light camera are not like speed camera. It's rather binary -- either you entered the intersection on a red or you didn't. And now that a study is out showing that red light cameras reduce the number of serious intersection accidents, it seems rather illogical to oppose them.

Posted by: ksu499 | February 1, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Red light cameras are "revenue enhancement," pure and simple. If you are really interested in cutting down problems and improving traffic safety at an intersection, put a police officer there. Police presence is a much greater deterrent than a camera.

Posted by: kiltedknight | February 1, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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