Red light cameras

Bob Barr doesn’t like them:

“It turns the legal system on its head,” said Barr, a former Republican U.S. Representative from Marietta. “There is a presumption of innocence in our law, but with the red-light cameras, the burden shifts to the individual, who has to prove, for example, he was not in the car.”

I like them. People running red lights is a big problem here in Gwinnett so why not use technology to put a damper on red light runners and keep the police free to pursue other things.


  1. Tommy_a2b says:

    Okay let me clarify. I believe Bob Barr has “left the reservation” on a lot of things but he is right on this one. I believe we should be inosent until proven guilty. I also believe that random home inspections without cause would probably catch a few criminals. BUT it would not make it right. Big brother needs to know his role. That would be to peep on woman sunbathing nude with spy satalites. I got to laugh now and then.

  2. GAWire says:

    I normally wouldn’t care about this one, but I agree with Barr about the burden of proof here.

    Also, this won’t allow cops to persue other criminals – it is just a way to increase revenue for munincipalities. When cops start making major busts as a result of moving cops on “real” cases, then I might change my mind.

  3. Chris says:

    Those who would sacrifice liberty for safety will get neither. Red light cameras are an abuse waiting to happen. Beyond Barr’s accurate statements about burden of proof, many jurisdictions have turned them into money generating machines. DC shortened the length of yellow lights to catch more people. In one location in California a judge ordered the city to refund millions of dollars in fines because the systems were being used improperly.

    There are better ways to combat driver misbehavior than turning Georgia into a survellance state.

  4. Dignan says:

    Buzz: I thought you were conservative. Not only are red-light cameras not compatible with the conservative urge towards freedom, but they don’t work. I lived in San Diego where red-light cameras were first used in the US. They have already removed most of them because of the problems they cause. There is no evidence that they create safer roads. In fact, just the contrary. When red-light cameras are in place, car tend to either drive too fast to get through the lights or slam on their brakes too quickly, thus causing people to get rear-ended. When you get past the charade that red-light cameras increase safety, you realize what the really are. Tools to increase revenues.

  5. Pappy says:

    There are at least a few red light cameras in the Atlanta area already -anyone notice a difference in those areas? It would be nice to see some hard evidence (i.e. accidents before/after cameras were installed) before using them en masse. I know there’s one at the corner of Scott Blvd and Clairmont and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people barrelling through them. I think most people, when they run a light do so because they wrongly thought they could make it through or they just weren’t paying attention, the majority of which probably fall into the latter category. So I wonder whether people who aren’t paying attention to the light itself would notice the sign announcing that the intersection has cameras.
    Principled opposition to the cameras (privacy concerns, etc) is a moot point if they don’t work – and by “work” i mean make the intersection safer, not generate revenue.

  6. Melb says:

    Do you have to fully run a red light to get a ticket? What if it is yellow and then turns red while you are driving through?

  7. Actually the burden of proof is on the state. If you say you weren’t driving the car that got the ticket they usually just drop it because it isn’t worth it to prove this. I was rear ended at an intersection by a drunk driver who wasn’t paying attention. If he hadn’t hit my car he might have t-boned a car driving on the cross street. Ever since I’ve been very aware of the possibilities of what could happen when someone runs a red light. So I generally support these cameras, even though I know I push the limit at a lot of intersections that don’t have them.

    It seems to me that the most dangerous situation is either someone who runs a red light that has been red for some time (regardless of what kind of traffic the cross street has) OR someone who runs a light that has just turned red when there is approaching traffic on the cross street that wasn’t stopped at the other red light.

    What I basically mean by that is if I am driving down Buford Highway and I’m approaching a red light at 50 mph but see that the other light is turning red and my light will soon be green, I’m not going to stop. I’ll be entering the intersection almost as soon as my light turns green so any car that runs the other red light has a good chance of hitting me. Perhaps red light cameras could be used to delay the cross street’s light from turning green if a car has entered the intersection. Another thing we could do is just mandate that busy intersections wait 3 or 4 seconds between one light turning red and the next turning green (both lights would be red during this duration). That would allow the intersection to be definitely cleared for oncoming traffic.

  8. While we are on the topic of technology – how about some technology that turns the light red when the intersection has filled up during heavy traffic. Nothing is worse than waiting at a red light and watching the drivers on the cross street clog up the intersection so that when your light turns green you have nowhere to go. Something like this could potentially prevent bottlenecks all through the city.

  9. buzzbrockway says:

    Buzz: I thought you were conservative.

    A new litmus test? šŸ˜‰

    I’m open minded about this, but people running red lights is a real safety concern. Try crossing 316 in Lawrenceville some time and you’ll see what I mean. I don’t cross until literally 10 seconds after the light is green to let the speeding semis pass.

    I just don’t see how taking a picture of my license plate, as I speed through a red light, is an invasion of my privacy. Sure, if they use these things to leer into my vehicle to see what I’m doing then I’ve got a problem, but as I understand it, current law doesn’t allow that. Cities who manipulate the timing should be dealt with, but should we abolish them all simply because a few are playing games?

  10. Chris says:

    Its not the taking of the plate that is the problem. We’re recorded all the time while in public.

    The problem is twofold. 1) The assumption of guilt as Barr pointed out and 2) the motivation of those who install the cameras is more related to generating revenue than generating safety.

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