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Do You Agree with the Use of Red Light Cameras?

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Stanley Brooks Jr

Professor Jackson

POS 2112-003

September 22, 2015

Do you agree with the use of red light cameras?

Through out the nation, many local governments are looking for ways to improve the lives of their citizens by improving the safety of their society. Recently some of these local governments have started using red light cameras as a way of catching people running red lights and giving them fines. These red lights cameras have been very beneficial to many communities across the nation by reducing the number of crashes at intersections and catching red light runners.

Many people at first thought the cameras wouldn’t make drivers more cautious, but the statistics turned out to prove them wrong. “Browne Street and Sprague Avenue [in Spokane] had an average of 20 crashes a year in the four years previous to 2008. In the four years after, there was an average of 11.” (Brunt) Spokane had a lot of other intersections with red light cameras in their community and overall saw a 25% decrease in one year. Spokane was also one of the first communities to use red light cameras and still use them to this day because of the success it has with making the community safer.

Even though red light cameras do not completely eliminate the chances of a crash, they definitely have had an effect on the mortality and injury rate of crashes across the country. “Between 2009 and 2012, the state averaged 425 crashes that resulted in fatalities and about 2,000 crashes that resulted in serious injuries each year. Those numbers are down 23 percent for fatality crashes and 16 percent for serious injury crashes compared to data from 2004 to 2007.” (Brunt) These red light cameras may not be the perfect solution for every community but they do make them feel a lot safer. They are also can be used to prevent or help solve other crimes within the area.

“Red light cameras can help reduce red light by automatically photographing vehicles whose drivers run red lights.”(Retting) These cameras can also help find the person responsible for a hit-n-run or help save officer’s time and gas instead of chasing after offenders for running a light. The cameras also help the local and state government make money. “A red light camera violation means a $158 fine for the registered owner of the vehicle that ran the signal. Of that, $83 goes to the state, while $75 stays with the city.” (Danielson) This type of law makes people more mindful about how well the cameras work and will make them think about driving safer. Not many people are willing fines over $100 for something as simple as running a red light. A fine as a punishment makes a reasonable punishment for someone driving without having to put them in jail.

In all, the use of red light cameras can really benefit everyone inside the jurisdiction of the local government. Keeping the people safe is one of the most important responsibilities of the local government and with red light cameras the local government can fulfill that responsibility. The statistics show that the cameras help lower the rate of crashes at intersections, catch the people that run red lights and make drives want to drive safer. The cameras work for many local governments and should work for many more. Local governments should invest in these red light cameras to make their community safer and more efficient.

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