Red this time in the United States the use

Red
Light running is known to be a major cause for right-angle collision at
intersections, and it often results in serious injuries and fatalities.  The enforcement of Red Light running by
actual real-time observation by police officers requires substantial manpower
and is difficult at many locations because of the lack of suitable space for a
police officer to observe.  To cope with
the enforcement problems of red light runnners, one strategy, which has been
tried out in many cities and some states, is the use of cameras installed at
selected locations to record the license plate number of Red Light running and
speeding vehicles so that citations can be sent by mail. At this time in the
United States the use of automated camera-based enforcement is more widely used
for Red Light running than for speed limit violation. With nearly 350
individual communities in USA use “Red Light Cameras” only 40 are being used
for speeding.

The automated approach does not
require a law enforcement officer to be present at the sites, and the
camera-based enforcement can be used during all 24 hours of the day. This
approach is gaining in popularity; however, there are many cities and states
that are concerned about ethical and legal issues related to camera-based
enforcement.

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Some people can ask how has the use
of Red Light Camera technology been received? That depends on whom to ask, it
has been both accepted, and rejected. The experience gained from the RLC
enforcement programs, which were examined, indicates that the public will reject
this type of a program if information and statistics about the expected
benefits is presented. However the law enforcement will accept the adoption of
the red light cameras.  The public might
be accepting of the cameras if appropriate legislation is established at the
state and local levels, to prevent the RLC enforcement programs from violating
an individual’s right to privacy.

Law
Enforcement and cities were hoping for a reduction in the number of crashes.
Although none of the programs did a rigorous statistical analysis of the change
in the number of crashes in the “after” period in comparison to those in the
“before” period covering a sufficient number of years. However, there was a
reduction in the number of crashes in Howard County and Polk County, which was
determined by comparing crash data for one-year period “before” with that for
one-year period “after” the RLC enforcement was implemented. Since the year
2006 crashes of all types have decreased at the intersections that are being
monitored by RLC program. It should be pointed out that unlike the experience
in a few other cities, in the case of Knoxville rear-end collisions too have
decreased at these intersections.

There
were 15 intersections that had RLC enforcement during 2007; however, all
approaches of these intersections were not monitored. Twenty nine (29)
approaches of these intersections had RLC enforcement. The crash statistics for
the year 2007 are given below.

 

The number of crashes at the
intersections with RLC enforcement continued to decline during 2008. There were
32 approaches of 15 intersections that were monitored during 2008. The
statistics for the first six months of 2008 are presented below:

 

There is another reason that law
enforcement and the government like the use of the red light cameras. The
RLC program does not cost the city and its taxpayers any money at all. The
costs of installation of cameras, detectors and other hardware and software are
borne by the vendor selected for the program. The city provides a police
officer to review the violations identified by the camera system for
verification and certification prior to the issuance of notices to be sent to
the registered owners of the vehicles. The manpower required for this purpose
is much less than the alternative of monitoring the intersections visually by
police officers. According to estimates prepared by analysts of Howard County
automated enforcement of red light running at one intersection can result in
2,000 citations in one month. For manual enforcement it would take two police
officers about two years to produce 2,000 citations. It was also estimated that
the personnel cost of manual enforcement is about $25.40 per citation.

The revenue generated by the RLC
program is shared with the vendor as follows:

1.
For the first $4,500 of revenue each month, 85% goes to the vendor and 15% to
the city.

2.
For the revenue after the first $4,500 each month, 50% goes to the vendor and
50% to the city.

In most cities the revenue earned by
this program goes to city’s general fund, and there is no requirement as to the
use of this money for any special purpose.

            As
with all good things there are negative things that need to be addressed such
as political acceptability and legal issues. Several common issues related to
the legality of RLC enforcement programs.


Authentication of photographs;


Compliance with enabling statutes;


Reliability of the device used.

With
regard to the responsibility for a violation it was found that in most
communities the registered owner is held responsible, and in these cases a
photograph of the license plate sufficient since the driver does not have to be
identified. In these cases a red light running violation is not considered a
moving violation and does not generate ‘points’ for insurance purpose. However,
there are a few states where the driver of the vehicle found to run a red light
is held responsible, and in these cases a photograph must be taken from the
front of the vehicle. In these cases where a driver is held responsible, a red
light running violation is considered a moving violation and the penalty is the
same as that for citations issued by an a law enforcement officer present on
site observing the violation.

Cities
have been hitting the brakes on red light cameras, and no wonder. Outrage over
the devices is no longer limited to angry motorists facing hefty fines. Judges
have now tossed tens of thousands of tickets. Newspapers and government
inspectors have exposed deep flaws in many cities’ equipment and enforcement methods.
And the former CEO of one of the two major camera manufacturers was indicted on
bribery and other charges related to Chicago’s red light cameras.

The
backlash began in 2013. After peaking at an all-time high in 2012, when 540
U.S. jurisdictions used red light cameras, the number dropped to 503, according
to the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Last year the numbers
dropped even further. In December, New Jersey ended a five-year pilot program
that had allowed 25 municipalities to use red light cameras. The same month,
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a law that essentially blocks the use of traffic
cameras in the state.

On
the legal front, a California appeals court threw out a $500 ticket in January
because drivers weren’t reliably given a 3.6-second yellow light as required by
law. The decision sets a legal precedent for challenging red light camera
violations, but it came after the city of Riverside­ — which had issued the
ticket in question — scrapped its cameras last summer. Meanwhile, lawyers are
working on a settlement in a class-action lawsuit against 20 Missouri cities
and a camera manufacturer that could lead to refunds across the state.