July 14 2011 by Chris McGinnis
The problem for business travelers comes when their infraction happens in a faraway place. By the time they get home and get the camera-generated ticket in the mail, they are long gone and unlikely or willing to return to contest it. So they typically just pay up.
Fines can run as high as $500 in some jurisdictions, with additional costs for mandatory attendance at safety classes, according to a recent article in the New York Times about traffic cameras.
Despite the frustrations, two-thirds of drivers in 14 big cities with longstanding red light camera programs support their use according to a new survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The findings follow an Institute study demonstrating that cameras have reduced the rate of fatal red light running crashes by 24 percent in these same cities.
The IIHS says that strong public support confirms that red light camera opponents, while vocal and often influential, are a minority. Even in Houston, a city that voted in a November 2010 referendum to shut off its cameras, a majority of drivers say they favor red light camera enforcement.
In a recent survey of Best Western Diamond 100 members (who typically spend a lot of time behind the wheel), a third said that they'd received a traffic ticket in the last five years, although it was not clear if those tickets came from police officers or from cameras.
How do you feel about traffic ticketing cameras? Are they a legitimate tool that improves traffic safety, or an unfair invasion of privacy?