Red-light bill stopped in South Carolina

| Wednesday, May 11, 2005

An effort to green light South Carolina’s largest cities to install cameras at traffic lights to catch those running red lights is likely dead.

The bill failed to meet a May 1 deadline to pass the Senate. Now it will take a two-thirds vote in favor to restart the bill. It passed the Senate Transportation Committee in March.

Sponsored by Sen. Scott Richardson, R-Hilton Head Island, S40 would apply to cities with a population of 20,000 or more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration endorses the cameras, which are in communities in 20 states and the District of Columbia with still other states pursuing similar authorization.

Supporters say the equipment acts as a deterrent and helps snare red-light-running drivers who otherwise might not get caught.

But some question the effectiveness of such intersection cameras, arguing they have the potential to distract drivers and cause more fender-bender accidents.

The cameras snap pictures of red-light runners or speeders. A ticket is mailed to the vehicle owner after authorities review photos.

The bill would fine violators up to $100. No points would be added to offenders’ licenses and their insurance companies would not be notified.

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