Your ticket, that is, for running that red light and getting caught by a red light camera!
Another controversial subject, there are pros and cons of having this type of camera situated on poles at busy intersections. According to the US Department of Transportation, running red lights is a major cause of crashes, deaths, and injuries at traffic crossroads. These cameras take a picture of the perpetrator running through the red light, and then record the time, speed, and license number. Soon, the driver receives his/her citation in the mail.
Positive features of red light cameras are:
- Improving overall safety of busy intersections
- Furnishing an economic impact through reducing cost of crashes
- Financial gain for municipality, if they are found to be accurate, reliable, and applied fairly
- Cost effective tool to reduce violations
Causes of red light crashes may be:
- Driver behavior: talking to passengers, using cell phone, other distractions
- Poor intersection design and operation
- Vehicles with heavy loads failure to slow down and stop in time
- Poor visibility due to weather, or surroundings that impair vision
- Misjudging signal change by driver
Negative features of red light cameras are:
- Studies done by University of Southern Florida College of Public Health determined that cameras actually increase the severity and number of crashes, as drivers slam on their brakes to avoid going through the yellow light.
- Increase in rear-end collisions
- Design flaws in camera systems furnish incomplete data
Six cities in the U.S. that have been guilty of adjusting the traffic lights with shorter yellow settings, in findings by Motorists.org are: Universal City, California, Dallas and Lubbock, Texas, Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Springfield, Missouri. These citations bring in revenue to cities, but they need to play fair when it comes to controlling traffic.
If the yellow light is set for a shorter time, drivers from different areas, as well as locals, are caught unaware, therefore misjudging the timing of the light.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that 22% of all traffic accidents in the U.S. occur because someone ran a red light. Statistics from these wrecks indicate that more than 800 people have been killed, costing an estimated $7 billion in property damage, medical bills, lost production, and insurance hikes.
Whether or not there is a camera looking down on us, we must focus on our safe driving habits and obey the law. It is up to each driver to handle this responsibility with all seriousness, and not become a statistic.