Questioning Red Light Cameras

In this week’s Hook Dave McNair writes about the General Assembly allowing localities to install traffic cameras, presenting convincing evidence that they’re just trouble. VDOT’s own study concluded that red light cameras increase injury rates at intersections, and they found that simply lengthening yellow light times resulted in staggering drops in accident rates. McNair quotes county spokeswoman Lee Catlin supporting red light cameras, meaning that they may be coming to an intersection near you.

Nobody answering The Hook‘s question of the week supports red light cameras. I feel better — I was starting to wonder if I was the only Democrat in the state who thinks red light cameras are a terrible idea.

11 Responses to “Questioning Red Light Cameras”


  • Of course, one also has to wonder about the preceedent it sets. Would all our comings and goings be recorded, red lights or not? This happens in some places like England already. Who would control how the infomation gathered could be used?

    Seems kind of Orwellian to me.

  • A closer look at the study suggests that it is unclear about the safety effects of the red light cameras. Total injuries increase, but the severity of the injuries isn’t known. Trading more rear-end crashes (presumably from people stopping for the red light) for fewer side impact crashes, would likely drop the severity of injuries in the crashes.

    As someone who regularly waits for 3 cars to blow through the red light at High St. and the Bypass, I welcome the cameras.

  • Yeah, that’s what I was wondering–a greater chance of getting rear-ended seems better than a lower chance of getting T-boned by someone traveling at a high rate of speed.

  • I enjoyed one of the ways mentioned that people were trying to defeat the red light cameras. “Global Positioning Systems can alert a driver when intersections with cameras are near.” The only way I can figure out that this will defeat the system is if a driver decides to use that information to STOP WHEN THE LIGHT TURNS RED. Why, they might as well hand out a booklet when you get your driver’s license that says, “If you don’t stop on red, you’ll get a ticket.”

    I have been hit by someone running a red light on Rte 29. I have also nearly been hit by someone behind me who was planning on being the second car to run the red light.

    When a light turns yellow, I check my rearview mirror to see if I’m being tailgated before deciding. We need to change the culture where it is ok to run any red light where the opposing cars haven’t started yet. It can be done. Drunk driving used to be acceptable, and those attitudes have changed.

  • i think side-impact accidents will decrease, but rear-end accidents will increase. traffic in c’ville and albemarle will still be a nightmare. the only benefit will be to the local governments coffers. maybe they’ll spend some of that money to study how traffic actually flows in this area, and time the damn stoplights properly. i just love the lights on 29 that stay green for the north/south lanes for 3 minutes, but only give people making left turns onto 29 three seconds to clear the intersection. real f’n smart. maybe that’s why there are so many red-light runners. by the time you get into the intersection, the light is already red again.

  • I’m not sure if it made it into the Hook article, but the cameras have a delay, I believe it’s 3 seconds. So the light turns red while you’re in the intersection, it won’t catch you. It’s only the folks who blatantly run a light that’s already red – and there seem to be quite a few of those around here, from what I’ve observed – who get their photos taken. Even with that, I still have an uneasy feeling about the cameras, but nobody seems to have any better ideas.

  • JUST DON”T RUN THE RED LIGHT!!!! Seems simple to me. As far as the rear end collisions go, it’s up to the judge to convict for the traffic charges to curb that. Let’s all pettition VDOT about the traffic lights. I agree that the two cars that are allowed onto Seminole Trail at any given light is ridiculous.

  • “I’m not sure if it made it into the Hook article, but the cameras have a delay, I believe it’s 3 seconds. So the light turns red while you’re in the intersection, it won’t catch you.”

    Not true, at least for the ones that used to be in Falls Church before they were forced to take them out. Got caught by one of these nasty buggers going through the red light 0.27 seconds after it turned.

    Of course, Falls Church is notorious for being fanatical to the point of absurdity over this sort of stuff to collect free revenue from the people passing through.

    The basic problem with red light cameras is that there are certain situations and areas where it is difficult to stop in time without causing a road hazard or a serious accident. In those instances, it’s either risk running the light or jamming on your brakes and risking losing control.

    Not to mention the invasion of privacy. I’m not comfortable with the government being able to monitor us, even at intersections, with cameras. The person who commented about it being Orwellian is right. If you want to live in 1984, there are plenty of countries that will oblige you, but the U.S. shouldn’t be one of them.

  • Invasion of Privacy is a Big One!! i defintly agree with that one. Think about how much money is being generated from each camera!! If Governmnet can simply discard my privacy then i am glad i have PhotoBlocker on my plates. No ticket In two Years and i dont have to worry about Big Brother!!! so untill the cameras are down…PhotoBlocker will be on my plates.

  • If Governmnet can simply discard my privacy then i am glad i have PhotoBlocker on my plates. No ticket In two Years and i dont have to worry about Big Brother!!! so untill the cameras are down…PhotoBlocker will be on my plates.

    Ladies and gentlemen, that’s Kevin Walters, sales manager for the very product he’s anonymously pitching. If their product is as good as Kevin’s spelling (to say nothing of his ethics), I suggest you give it a miss.

Comments are currently closed.

Sideblog