Lawmakers Want to Ban Red Light Cameras - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/01/07

Lawmakers Want to Ban Red Light Cameras

Red light cameras--are they here to stay or will some lawmakers get their wish and kick them to the curb?

Savannah has red light cameras in three major intersections and has plans to install more this year.

Two Georgia lawmakers, Representatives Bobby Franklin and Barry Loudermilk have introduced a bill that will ban the cameras. The lawmakers say they cameras cause more rear-ender accidents.

City of Savannah officials says that's ridiculous and that the cameras make the intersections much safer. They say fewer people are running red lights in Savannah because many folks know if they do, there could be a $70 ticket waiting for them in the mail.

Jera Lipman travels through the intersection of Abercorn and White Bluff, the sight of two red light cameras, everyday. "I think they make them safer," Lipman said. "I'm very cautious of that red light and I've seen other people. except when they slam on the breaks to try to keep from getting a ticket."

That's the point the lawmakers are trying to make. They say when the light turns yellow or red the cameras cause many people to slam on the breaks and that leads to fender benders.

Assistant city manager Sean Brandon says that's a price he's willing to pay. "It comes down to whether you want to be rear ended at less than 10 miles per hour or T-boned at an intersection at 30."

Brandon oversees the city's red light camera project. "We can proudly say at our intersections that since we've had our cameras up there hasn't been a single fatality," he said.

The other problem the lawmakers have with the cameras is that if they catch you, you can't fight the cameras in court.

Driver Jordan Savas said, "How does the camera know who was right and who was wrong?"

The city says it doesn't matter, they work just like a parking ticket and they don't go against your driving record. The city is so confident that the cameras are a good thing, they have plans to install them at four or five more intersections this year.

Brandon said he has already contacted local lawmakers to make sure they know the city's stance on the cameras. Georgia legalized the cameras in 2001.

Reported by Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com 

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