Since 2002, some sort of speeding and red light camera program has been going on in parts of Colorado. The cameras are meant to help law enforcement catch people speeding or running red lights and, therefore, improve traffic safety. While Colorado residents and criminal defense attorneys have spoken out against the cameras for a while, a new critic of the programs has come forward.
Denver, Colorado’s city auditor has reportedly conducted a study into the law enforcement cameras. He is less than impressed with what the tools have actually done for the community. His research suggests what many critics already suspect: the cameras aren’t creating safer roads, but they are making money for the city.
According to the auditor’s reports, the cameras brought in an estimated $3.6 million in 2010. That’s a lot of money in traffic tickets. With the expanded use of the cameras, it’s estimated that the city will rake in even more by the end of this year, about $7 million.
With millions of dollars worth of drivers’ traffic tickets going to the city, one might hope that the cameras are at least creating safer roads. But the auditor’s report doesn’t come up with any solid evidence that the speeding or red light cameras do make safer roadways. For example, three out of four intersections where red light cameras are used already were having fewer incidents of accidents before cameras were even placed there.
Denver’s strategy with the cameras has gotten extremely strict, too. Many of the tickets issued are issued to drivers who don’t even run a red light. They might just be a mere few inches in front of a stop line, which is enough for them to get a traffic ticket, and apparently enough to bump the city’s revenues this year.
The use of red light and speeding cameras obviously remains a point of contention for the state. If you get a traffic ticket and have any doubts regarding your responsibility for it, you should contact a criminal defense attorney with experience handling traffic violations.
Thenewspaper.com: “Colorado: Auditor Blasts Denver Photo Ticketing Program,” Dec. 20, 2011