As Connecticut considers approving legislation that would implement red light safety cameras at dangerous intersections, there is growing concern throughout the country as to whether or not the cameras violate the Constitution.
State Sen. Michael McLaughlin, R-Danbury, said that he has always opposed the red light cameras. "I think if someone is issued a moving violation, it should be handed to the person. The driver may not be the owner of the car."
McLaughlin did note that Danbury, a city he represents along with Bethel, New Fairfield and Sherman, has cameras on many street corners that collect information, but none are used for moving violations.
In states that have implemented the cameras, there has been an increase in state revenues. According to a Sachem Patch article, in
"One camera in Houston issues 975 citations a day, at $75 a pop," according to a Fox News video.
Fines range from $50 to as much as $300, raising questions about whether these cameras are being used as a form of taxation. Other debates range for the need to reduce accidents at red lights to whether or not it is morally right for an impartial camera to issue fines.
Debates aside, red-light running is said to be the leading cause of urban crashes, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, which also states that more people are injured in crashes involving red-light running than in any other crash type.
According to National Highway Traffic Association, there were 319 traffic fatalities on Connecticut’s roadways in 2010, a 43% increase from 2009 when there were 223 traffic fatalities. Triple A reports that these 319 deaths cost the state $1.9 billion.
To see a video that shows how the cameras work, click here.
To see a short video from the PBS show, "The McLaughlin Group", (no relation to the senator) watch as they discuss the constitutionality of the camers, click here. Then, take our poll.
What do you think? Should you be ticketed by a camera, with no chance to defend yourself? Or is worth having the cameras to keep the streets safer and raise money for the state??
Take the poll and add your thoughts in the comments below.