Car accidents and red light camera legislation
After years of legislative roadblocks, Pittsburgh finally got cameras on poles near traffic lights at busy intersections over the last year. With the ability to snap photos of license plates of cars speeding through red lights, these cameras are finally attracting positive attention from legislators. There may even be a vote before the legislature adjourns for summer recess. The goal of these cameras is to reduce car accidents; however, some feel that the cameras’ presence can cause some drivers to make sudden moves or abruptly stop while in an intersection.
If you get caught running a yellow-to-red light or make an illegal turn, you face a $100 fine. Proponents of the proposal note that traffic light cameras have succeeded in preventing car accidents and saving lives since they were installed in Philadelphia in 2005.
While Philadelphia and Pittsburgh now remain the only city in Pennsylvania to legalize and use cameras, the House and Senate are considering other cities, including Scranton, Erie, Altoona, and other largely populated areas.
Opponents maintain that photographing license plates is an invasion of drivers’ privacy. They also claim traffic light cameras are simply another way for the government to raise money without raising taxes. The Philadelphia cameras raised around $17 million in 2012-2013. After operating expenses, the state made more than $7 million for other safety improvement projects around the state.
The most recent proposal supports giving one-half the revenue to the host city, with the remainder put into the statewide safety improvement pot. There would be no incident reports submitted to the owners’ insurance companies, avoiding higher auto insurance rates. In addition, there are no points that appear against the vehicle owners’ licenses.
In some cases where accidents occur as a result of drivers suddenly stopping at intersections where cameras are located, lawsuits have arisen against the state. If you have been involved in a car accident as a result of state-mandated error in judgment, please call the Pittsburgh car accidents attorneys at Goodrich and Geist today at 412-766-1455 for a free consultation.