Cameras for Speeding and Red Lights
Driver & Traffic Safety Education Colleagues,
South Carolina law currently prohibits the use of cameras for red light running and speeding. It is Section 56-7-35 that disallows traffic control devices citations being used based in whole upon photographic evidence. There is controversy that traffic cameras are being used as a revenue source and not as a safety measure. However, things that society can do to reduce traffic losses, both human and economic, should not be controversial.
Red light camera tickets were declared unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court (People vs Goldsmith, 2014). However, the ruling stated that images taken by red light cameras are proof of traffic violations and can be used as court evidence (governing.com). The Alabama Supreme court upheld the dismissal of lawsuits challenging the use of traffic cameras to ticket motorists (Associated Press Wire Service, May 2, 2020).
Consider that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that when properly implemented the use of red light cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate in large cities by 21 percent and the rate of all types of crashes at traffic lights by 14 percent.
Statistics justify traffic light cameras. For example, Cross and Schuster claim that 56 percent of drivers admitted to running red lights! AAA claims that 28 percent of crash deaths occur as a result of running a red light. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, speeding remains the number one factor in more than 25 percent of fatal collisions each year. Twenty-four states already have traffic cameras and seventeen states have speeding cameras (findlaw.com).
William E. Gladstone said “good laws make it easier to do right and harder to do wrong.” I believe laws allowing cameras for speeding and red-light violations are good laws. May South Carolina seriously consider such.