The Los Angeles Police Commission unanimously voted to stop issuing red light camera tickets, according to the Los Angeles Times. The California city joins a number of other municipalities around the country that are mulling getting rid of the cameras. Although the L.A. Police Department maintains that the cameras have helped reduce accidents, many people have questioned the validity of this data, according to the newspaper. Commissioner Debra Wong Yang told the media outlet that she was unconvinced that the cameras were effective. Red-light cameras have been controversial since their initial use in the 1980s. Many states, such as Florida, have considered repealing existing red-light camera laws due to violation of privacy claims and lack of popular support. Florida legalized the cameras in July 2010. Only a year later, the state House and Senate have begun discussing whether to repeal the law, according to Central Florida 13 News. Houston officials also discussed banning the cameras and subsequently repealed their red-light camera laws in November 2011. Critics of traffic cameras believe the laws are not only ineffective, but can also increase certain types of accidents. The National Motorist Association (NMA) claims the laws lead to more rear-end accidents because drivers brake suddenly at yellow lights, rather than risk running a red light. There are also concerns about the possible violations of individual rights. The cameras do not allow drivers to face their accuser, which Christina Heller, resident of Hollywood, California, told the Los Angeles Times was "a fundamental right." The Los Angeles Police Commission found issue with the financial aspect of the law as well, according to the L.A. newspaper. The law would cost up to $1.5 million more than it would generate in revenue from tickets issued. This may be partially due to the city's inability to effectively enforce the laws. Commissioner Alan Skobin referred to the law as "a voluntary citation program," according to the news source. The city does not criminally pursue ticket recipients who refuse to pay. This means most offenders who fail to pay receive an additional $300 fine and then are reported to a collection agency, but are not subjected to any criminal consequences. Red-light cameras generally lack popular support. Bloomberg reports that 53 percent of Houston residents voted to repeal the law, which led to the cameras being discontinued in the city. The NMA also states there has been a continuing trend of public votes repealing the disputed traffic laws in various cities across the country, such as Chillicothe, Ohio, and College Station, Texas.
Posted in Red Light
Jul 06th, 2011