If an Alabama state lawmaker gets his way, it will be easier
for cities and counties in the state to use cameras at traffic lights to catch
those running red lights.
The cameras snap pictures of red-light runners' vehicles and
license plates. Tickets are mailed to the vehicles' owners, regardless who was
driving at the time.
Rep. David Grimes, R-Montgomery, said the intent of the
cameras is to make people slow down as they approach traffic signals and
discourage them from running red lights. His bill would supersede local
ordinances and establish guidelines for such programs, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
Violators would face up to $100 fines. Offenses wouldn't
count against driving records or insurance rates.
Supporters say the equipment encourages compliance with the
law and saves lives by reducing collisions. Opponents question the claim that
cameras are solely intended to keep people safe.
"The motivation of every player in this deal is economics.
Whether it's the local jurisdiction or the manufacturer: That's not reasonable
justification for doing that," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of
the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Others question the effectiveness of such intersection
cameras, arguing they have the potential to distract drivers and cause more
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 to avoid
The bill - HB24 - is in the House Public Safety Committee.