While statistics have shown red-light cameras to be effective in reducing red-light running violations, the programs have been criticized as cash machines that made money for the cameras' operators and the municipalities where they are operated.
Guy Young, fleet manager for Western Exterminator Co. based in Anaheim, CA, said several company drivers have received red-light camera citations and are required to pay for all moving violations personally. Young did point out that several municipalities in Southern California have been accused of allowing their yellow light intervals to be adjusted with the intent of increasing revenue. He feels the cameras should only be used to improve traffic safety and only in conjunction with police efforts. California Senate Bill 667, which became law in California on Jan. 1, 2002, establishes minimum yellow light interval requirements to assure that yellow light timing will be set for safety rather than revenue generating purposes. "Ideally, all revenue generated from red-light cameras would be directed toward improving road safety or safe driving programs," Young said in an interview with Automotive Fleet.
Young's sentiments were echoed in the results of a survey question asked on Automotive Fleet's Web site at www.fleet-central.com which asked the question, "Are Red-Light Cameras Safety Devices or Cash Machines?" Sixty-five percent answered "cash machines."
Jack Evans, who is manager of fleet and risk services for Raycom Media Inc. and Community Newspaper
Safety Devices - 35%
Cash Machines - 65%
Sixty-five percent of those who answered the survey expressed concern about the revenue-generating capability of red-light cameras.
Holdings Inc, in Montgomery, AL, told Automotive Fleet he was not in favor of the camera operations being subcontracted to outside non-police agencies for profit. But if the cameras are used as a tool by police departments, he is in favor of them.
"I think drivers should respect the law, and if a camera catches them not doing so, so be it," Evans said.