During the last few months, red light cameras have been installed all around my home turf.
I see technicians out there regularly, adjusting the complicated equipment and wonder if anyone other than me is getting into the habit of looking up to see if there are cameras before deciding to slide through a yellow light?
I must mention, I have never gotten a ticket for running a red light, but I have lots of questions about the new camera system.
Who pays if someone borrows a car and runs a red light? What if the cameras and red lights get out of sync?
A simple fraction of a second could cost plenty.
I’m in my car a lot. I sometimes sit at red lights frustrated because there is not a soul in sight and I could get on down the road if I could just bring myself to run that red light.
I’m generally a rule follower, but I can tell you right now, I have been tempted to run lights.
Until the installation of all these red light cameras.
One might question whether it is the income from issuing tickets that motivates cities to install these pesky cameras at key intersections.
But everything I’ve read has led me to understand that a hefty percentage of traffic accidents – more than 20 percent – are caused by people running red lights, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
So, red light cameras are all about safety, safety, safety.
Hundreds of people across the country die in collisions that result from this violation. The Federal Highway Administration says 178,000 people were injured and 920 people died in 2002. As we run around getting busier all the time, red light running is on the rise, up 10 percent nationwide over the last 20 years.
I did discover that it varies state by state as to whether the owner of a car or the driver is issued the ticket. There are 20 states operating red light cameras. In Texas, the owner of the car gets the ticket, but it doesn’t go on his or her record.
The City of Fort Worth started handing out tickets Jan. 1. According to Darla Miles, Channel 8 news reporter, 2,042 tickets were issued in the first 15 days of the year.
Don’t worry, the $155,000 raised from these tickets will go right back into the red light enforcement program. In fact, most cities fund the entire program with funds from red light runners.
I saw some crafty nerds on the Discovery Channel‘s “MythBusters” trying to beat radar guns and red light cameras by applying different products to shield their license plates, and none of the methods worked. Personally, I have decided to simply work on my patience during the red light process, or I’ll just diligently stop at the lights and put on polish or mascara.
I never get through that process without the light turning green.