ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A University of Missouri professor says the bottom line on red light cameras is: they save lives.
In an article entitled “Is Robocop a Cash Cow?” MU civil engineering associate professor Carlos Sun argues that the controversial use of pole-mounted cameras isn’t simply a revenue generator, as many detractors have argued.
He says they address a very real problem.
“Red light running is a significant problem,” Sun tells KMOX News. “In fact approximately a third of crashes at intersections are caused by red light running. Also, speeding is a significant contributing factor.”
Sun says his research shows that having cameras at intersections can help reduce both red light running and speeding.
He points to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that 883 fatalities and 165,000 injuries on U.S. roadways each year can be tied directly to drivers running red lights.
However, Sun also finds room for improvement.
Due to a lack of coordination regarding automated traffic enforcement laws throughout the legal system, he recommends that state legislators create laws regarding operation, privacy and jurisdiction.
“A red light camera is not a panacea for traffic problems, but it is a very effective tool for safe and efficient transportation,” Sun says. “Just like any other tool, it should be used responsbily in the proper situation. The decision to use automated traffic enforcement tools requires a balancing act, but we shouldn’t take away an effective tool just because of the potential for abuse.”
As a final point, Prof. Sun says the irony of the argument that red light cameras are simply a money-grab is that if the cameras work and people obey the law, less revenue is generated.
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