Will Virginia Put the Brakes on Red-Light Cameras?

Bill Would Ban New Cameras After July 1

By John Wist
|  Sunday, Jan 30, 2011  |  Updated 10:30 AM EDT
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Will Virginia Put the Brakes on Red-Light Cameras?

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Some Virginia lawmakers want to turn off the red light. A bill in the Virginia House of Delegates could prevent cities from installing new red-light cameras across the commonwealth, reports the Washington Examiner.

Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge) introduced the bill, which would ban any new cameras from being installed after July 1.

Lingamfelter has been an opponent of red-light cameras, saying that while they encourage safety, they also invade drivers’ privacy.

But according to the Examiner, the bill is receiving some strong opposition from a big-name travel organization. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the Virginia red-light system is well-run and doesn’t get many complaints, compared to D.C. and Montgomery County, Md.

“We’ve not had complaints from our members indicating that they think the [Virginia] program is abusive or that they think they got caught or clapped or anything like that unfairly,” AAA’s Lon Anderson told the Examiner. “The fact is that red-light cameras, when properly used, can be a great adjunct to police enforcement.”

At the same time, AAA doesn’t want things to go in the opposite direction, where municipalities put up unlimited amounts of red-light cameras. The Examiner reports that Virginia’s Senate has already approved a bill that would allow localities to install red-light cameras more quickly and without the approval of the Department of Transportation.

AAA says that will encourage municipalities to put up the cameras for the wrong reasons. “Every level of review that you can build into this is another level of protection [and] that local jurisdictions aren’t going to be abusing this privilege of supplementing their policing with automated enforcement,” Anderson told the Examiner. “I think VDOT’s review is important.”
 


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