Red Light Cameras Under Consideration Again

Albemarle County is considering installing red light cameras at three intersections around town, Jenn McDaniel reports for NBC-29. Two spots on 29—Rio and Hydraulic—and the intersection of 20N and 250 are where they’ve got in mind. County police have studied the intersections, and had police officers run down the light-runners and ticket them, but say that it’s not safe to have officers chasing them, and would rather just ticket them automatically.

We first discussed this in 2001, but the legislature outlawed red light cameras pending further study, until they legalized them in 2007. Two years ago it came up again in the form of Dave McNair’s Hook article, which explained all of the reasons why red light cameras are not the cure-all as promoted by their manufacturers. (VDOT’s own study found that they increase injury rates.) And, most recently, city and county staff recommended the installation of red light cameras in July of 2007.

11 thoughts on “Red Light Cameras Under Consideration Again”

  1. Yes, VDOT’s own study found that they increase injury rates. So this shows you how much the county police think about “public safety”. To the county, its easy and quick revenue.

  2. I’d rather see someone invent and deploy didn’t-use-their-turn-signal cameras or ran-the-bicycle-off-the-road cameras. I swear Charlottesville (VA? US?) drivers are the worst of any place I’ve ever lived.

  3. This is the conclusion of the VDot study you reference, “Thus, it can be said only that Virginia’s programs potentially improve safety but that additional data are desirable.” Injury crashes did go up, but they surmised that the injuries may have been less severe. Hardly a homerun for red-light cameras, but not exactly a negative finding either.

    Also, what’s wrong with increasing revenue through traffic enforcement? I sometimes hear of this referred to as some nefarious government plot. I personally believe it is a more equitable and fair method of funding traffic police than imposing more taxes on the general public to cover the costs of enforcing automobile use.

  4. I’m not a big fan of “big brother”, but I reluctantly this. Unfortunately, the people running lights are just out of control. There’s several intersections on Main St. where its rare that someone doesn’t run the light. I’m not talkng about someone just speeding up through a yellow either, or just missing the light. The light is clearly red and people just keep going. This creates a pretty unsafe situation for pedestrians.

    Besides, the law is supposed to be equal for all people. This could help eliminate bias. You run the light, you get ticketed. Of course, where the lights are placed could still create bias a sort.

  5. I’d rather be rear-ended than broadsided. Most others would as well. Maybe they DO care about the citizens!

    Red-light cameras don’t cause accidents. Drivers who approach an intersection too fast in the first place and slam on their brakes suddenly cause accidents.

  6. I suspect the rear end effect would also apply if an officer was sitting there watching the light. So cameras wouldn’t necessarily increase accidents, it like Cecil said that it’s just “Drivers who approach an intersection too fast”.

    If you were to really automate this sort of thing, you’d want to leave a little “room for error” so that you aren’t ticketing people who were halfway over the line when the light changed, and focus instead on the worst case offenders.

  7. There is one good thing to be said about red light cameras. At least they won’t stand up in open court and lie under oath to obtain a conviction.

  8. Dirt Worshiper, my understanding of the Virginia Beach red light cameras is that they do just that. The light has to have turned red before the driver enters the intersection for the camera to snap the pic. Of course, how accurate it is in getting the right car is up for debate.

    If this is an effective way to decrease red-light running (and I’d love to see some data on the effectiveness of cameras) then I’m all for it. There does not seem to be a safe way for cops to ticket red-light runners at intersections such as Rio.

  9. There does not seem to be a safe way for cops to ticket red-light runners at intersections such as Rio??? Why do you think they use so many unmarked cars now?

  10. From:

    The 2007 study of accidents at intersections with red-light-cameras shows an increase of ‘ (or 42% depending how you read the data) more accidents. Mostly read-enders by people breaking unexpectedly to prevent running the red light.

    Don’t we have enough accidents at 29 and Rio already!

    Anybody know what the current accident rate per number of vehicles is?

Comments are closed.