All over the country, law enforcement has quietly had cameras placed alongside traffic lights which have been set up by private companies who contract with the local jurisdiction to assist law enforcement in catching drivers who are running red lights at an intersection.
Running a red traffic light is against the law and results in Indiana, for example, results in a fine of $100 or more (depending upon the county) as well as 6 points against your license.
Red Light Cameras
These red light cameras are gizmos that automatically take a photograph of a driver who runs a red light without the need for a police officer to be involved. They are overseen and maintained by private companies who not only take the photographs with their cameras but in many locations, also take on the job of sending out the traffic ticket to the driver who has been captured by their red light camera device.
In many parts of the nation, this has not gone without challenge. In Florida, for example, these red light camera tickets issued by a private third-party company have been dismissed in the courts. Judges there have ruled that only government entities can issues traffic tickets: if the private company set a red light ticket, then the Florida courts have ruled them to be void and the drivers don’t have to pay for them.
Maps for Red Light Traffic Cameras in Indiana and Illinois
These Red Light Cameras are all over the State of Illinois, too, by the way. To check out the current location of red light cameras, as well as other traffic cams, there are online maps of their locations:
Red Light Cameras Cause Traffic Accidents
It has been shown that red light cameras, instead of increasing traffic safety, actually cause MORE traffic accidents. The Washington Post, for example, has been following this story for several years, finding that red light cameras can be tied to accidents that involve:
- Total number of accidents at intersections where red light cameras were installed DOUBLED;
- Serious personal injury and fatal traffic accidents jumped up 81%; and
- T-bone (right-angle or broadside) accidents increased 30%.
Pending Traffic Camera Legislation in Indiana: Speed Cameras in Construction Areas and School Zones
Now, the state legislature is considering another installing more traffic cameras for traffic control, where video cameras would be placed in construction areas and school zones to capture drivers who are driving too fast or who are doing other bad things like illegally passing a school bus.
These have already been in place in the State of Illinois since 2006.
Called “speed cameras” because they capture drivers who are driving over the speed limit, they work similarly to those cameras set up at intersections to capture drivers who run red lights. Once again, speed camera proponents argue that these devices work to make everyone safer on the roads.
Speed Cameras in Indiana and Illinois
Speed cameras are already in place in other parts of Indiana and Illinois roadways; these new traffic cameras, if approved by state lawmakers, would target the specific areas of construction and school zones.
House Bill 1404
The proposed legislation is House Bill 1404 and you can follow it online as it proceeds through the Indiana House of Representatives.
Are Speed Cameras Making Roads Safer? Many Say No.
The argument by those concerned about these traffic cameras is that they are NOT a means to increase traffic safety and that safety is not the real reason these cameras are being installed all over the place. Instead, critics argue that the traffic cameras are really just a revenue source for communities and that speed cameras are simply creating more “speed traps.”
Additionally, they point to studies which show that speed cameras did not cause traffic to move at slower speeds and instead not only had drivers moving at the same or higher speeds than before the gadgets were in place, but that accidents increased after the cameras were installed.