Legislators attempting to ban red light cameras

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A new study says that red light cameras work, helping prevent accidents at major intersections, but some lawmakers are pushing legislation at the General Assembly are trying to stop any more red light cameras from being placed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Bill HB2327 limits the operation of a traffic signal enforcement program, commonly referred to as a "photo red program," to those localities that have adopted ordinances establishing the program prior to July 1, 2011. In addition, localities that have adopted such ordinances are prohibited from implementing or expanding a photo red program after July 1, 2011.

We talked with both sides of the isle today to see where people stand on this topic.

Martha Meade with AAA Mid Atlantic thinks the cameras are good and help to avoid accidents. "They are not fender benders. People generally are seriously injured or even die."

She points to cameras that popped up in Virginia Beach and their effectiveness. "Virginia Beach implemented a program. They put signs up with the cameras out there and red light running went down dramatically." She says those cameras had to be taken down at one point. "When the cameras went down, red light running went up."

On the other side of the isle is Del. Scott Lingamfelter. He is the one sponsoring the bill going through the GA right now to ban any more red light cameras after July 1 of this year.

He has been quoted in a published report as saying, "My view is they're causing more problems than they're fixing." He was talking about a 2007 VDOT report that shows there was an increase in accidents at red lights that have the cameras.

He adds a suggestion instead of the red lights. "A lot of the trouble goes away if they'll simply extend the yellow light intervals."

Brittany Barnes is a driver in Richmond. She told us she thinks the cameras are unreliable. "What if they are problematic? Machines can mess up sometimes."

She adds they could provide more safety on the road though. "If people know they are up they will drive more carefully, pay more attention."

Right now, Richmond leaders are looking at putting up red light cameras in the city. The bidding process for the cameras has ended, but no official final decision has been made.

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