The West Virginia House has overwhelmingly approved a bill
that would prohibit cities from using automated cameras to ticket drivers.
The cameras snap pictures of red-light runners or speeders.
A ticket is mailed to the vehicles’ owners, regardless who was driving at the
Supporters say the equipment acts as a deterrent and helps
snare red-light-running drivers who otherwise might not get caught. But others
question the effectiveness of such cameras, arguing they have the potential to
distract drivers and cause more fender-bender accidents.
In fact, a study paid for by the U.S. Department of
Transportation showed rear-end crashes actually increased in cities with
red-light cameras, as motorists stopped abruptly at yellow lights.
Delegate Randy Swartzmiller, D-Hancock, said he sponsored
the measure because of a dispute over traffic cameras in neighboring Steubenville , OH.
The city of Steubenville faces a possible class-action
lawsuit after it began using three cameras to snare speeders last fall, The
Associated Press reported.
According to The AP, the city and the cameras’ maker
have so far shared $230,000 collected from 2,700 speeding tickets. Motorists,
which include some West Virginia residents, are mailed $85 tickets weeks after
they passed through the area.
The bill – HB4004 – has been sent to the Senate for further