We are all familiar with red light cameras, which are used throughout the state of Georgia as an automated law enforcement tool. While not all stop lights employ the use of enforcement cameras, those that do are programmed to identify vehicles that are speeding excessively or running a red light by taking a photo of the car’s tag. A citation is then mailed to the guilty party requiring a fee of up to $70.
Another automated camera system that is less common in Georgia is speeding cameras. These cameras are programmed similarly to traffic light cameras and recognize vehicles traveling over the designated speed limit. At-fault individuals then receive an image of their tag with a ticket in the mail soon thereafter. Georgia does not have a state law or program in place that addresses speed cameras, so these types of automated law enforcement tools are used sparingly.
Many experts believe that implementing speed-camera programs would make roads safer. The IIHS recently reported on such a program that has been in place near Washington, D.C. since 2007. From 2007 to 2014, the number of vehicles traveling more than 10 MPH over the limit has decreased by 59% when compared with comparable roads nearby that were not employing speed cameras. It is estimated that approximately 21,000 serious injuries and deaths would have been prevented in 2013 alone had all U.S. communities used speed limit cameras. This impressive number is due in part to the test community’s use of cameras within corridors. Simply put, instead of placing speed cameras in precise locations, the devices were regularly moved to various positions along long roadway sectors. This causes drivers to be aware of their speed for longer lengths of time, as opposed to a single area where they know to expect a camera.
While the legality and fairness of automated speed enforcement can be debated, these programs have the potential to make roadways safer throughout the nation. In many communities citizens may favor the use of speed-cameras, especially in residential areas. The safety factor many times outweighs the hassle.