Traffic cameras at red lights make sense

Governor Baker has put in place comprehensive road safety improvement legislation that includes a proposal that we think makes sense: cameras set to catch scoffers at red lights.

Most drivers have a red light in their automotive careers, and most experience a twinge of guilt and relief upon realizing that they have avoided an accident and avoided being pulled over by the police.

According to a State House News Service report, the decline in car travel in 2020 triggered by the pandemic has not translated into a drop in road deaths. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said more than 300 communities in the United States are already using red light cameras; In addition, studies indicate that they have “helped reduce dangerous crashes and fatalities on the roads”.

Acting Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler added: “Studies have consistently shown that drivers are less likely to run in red in locations without cameras when other locations have cameras.”

Baker’s red camera proposal is a local option, which means cities and towns would decide if they want the cameras and the revenue generated by violators at the ticket booth. The cameras would be limited to taking pictures of vehicle license plates turning on lights or making illegal turns.

Registered owners of the offending vehicle would be fined up to $ 25 – an amount large enough to grab someone’s attention while, in most cases, making a small dent in the driver’s wallet. .

But at $ 25 a pop, the fines add up quickly for income-starved communities, which could reduce pressure on taxpayers.

Critics have called the red light cameras an invasion of privacy and a drain on government money. But cameras do make sense in heavily populated areas like Greater Boston. The local option provision includes a limitation on cameras, with no more than one installed per 2,500 residents. That means Lynn would have around 40 cameras if city officials adopted the local option. Lynnfield, on the other hand, may or may not have a camera.

As any new driver can tell you, good driving skills are learned and practiced until they become habits. Most drivers obey the law, but chronic violators who deal with the traffic laws with impunity should be fined.

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of safety on our roads.


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