Saturday, February 19, 2005

Red light cameras go down in Virginia House

Virginia presently uses red light cameras in seven cities, but the Virginia House of Representatives this week declined to allow their use to continue beyond July 1, reported the Washington Post on its front page this morning:
Republican delegates who control the [House Militia, Police and Public Safety] committee, many of whom come from rural parts of Virginia that have not used the cameras, said they had a duty to uphold basic rights for all Virginians.

"We have a responsibility to balance public safety against liberty," said Del. William R. Janis (R-Goochland). "Our job is to figure out where the lines cross for reasonableness between the compelling need and the absolute requirement to defend individual liberty." ...

"My concern with photo red has always been that we're starting to get into the area with our technology when we start to abridge fundamental rights . . . the right to be left alone," said Del. C. L. "Clay" Athey Jr. (R-Warren).

A recent study of all cities using red light cameras in Virginia found that injury accidents increased overall at intersections with cameras.

Others pointed to studies that show that rear-end crashes increase at monitored intersections. They also said there were better ways of cutting down on red-light runners, such as extending the time of yellow lights.

"These cameras cause more accidents than they prevent . . . their own reports show that," said Jim Kadison, a member of the National Motorist Association, which has long fought the use of the technology.

The vote echoes similar sentiments expressed last week in Texas. The Texas House Urban Affairs Committee passed HB 259 (Elkins) out of committee on Tuesday, which would ban giving tickets based on red light cameras statewide.

Thanks to Nick for the tip.

1 comment:

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