Red-Light Cameras: Profit Or Safety?


By Catalina Trivino

Cameras hover over 23 intersections in Montgomery catching drivers running red lights -- but one state lawmaker says the cameras are unconstitutional and he's prepared to fight them.

$775,000 -- that's about how much the city of Montgomery has made this year in tickets from red light cameras.

But state representative, Paul Beckman, says he questions if the cameras are being used for the right reasons.

You've seen the cameras, scattered across some of Montgomery's intersections. They snap a photo of your car if you've run a red light. Then later, you get a ticket in the mail.

But State Representative, Paul Beckman of Prattville, questions if the cameras are there to make Montgomery roads safer... or are they just a way for the city to make an extra profit.

"What happens in this particular case is the cities get it and it goes into the city coffers and so the city is getting the money on these civil matters and it's not helping out the state as far as the functioning and basically controlling the road," Said Beckman.

And that's why he's considering sponsoring a bill to outlaw the cameras. He says he hasn't seen the statistics on whether they make the roadways safer. But Montgomery traffic engineer, Bubba Bowdon, says he watches the roads every day. He says he's seen a difference in the number of crashes in the areas.

"[There] used to be about 30 fatalities a year occuring at intersections due to red light running or right angle accidents is what would occur. And that's down in the teens and single digits now," Said Bowdon.

But Camisha Scott believes the way the system works isn't fair.

"It kind of put me back in a bind and I wasn't even the one that ran the red light and they're both on Ann St. And now, I have to pay $85 for two tickets that I didn't even do," Said Scott.

And they're tickets the city says have fallen to 1,200 a month -- that's 400 fewer tickets from when the cameras were first put up.

As Beckman considers sponsoring the bill, he's also waiting to see whether the Alabama Supreme Court will step in and ban the cameras.

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James C. Walker said on Monday, Nov 4 at 8:59 PM

Red light cameras are used ONLY where the yellow intervals are set too short for the ACTUAL approach speeds and/or where cities deliberately ticket safe slow rolling right on red turns that virtually never cause crashes. If red light cameras ticketed ONLY unsafe drivers, they would not exist at all. Red light cameras require ticketing mostly safe drivers or they lose far too much money for cities to use them or camera companies to suggest using them. See our website for how red light cameras ticket mostly safe drivers with deliberately improper traffic light engineering - for profit. Contact Rep. Beckman to ask him to please introduce a bill to ban the cameras. Then contact your state legislators to ask them to support such a law. The scam of red light cameras CAN be ended if enough people speak up. James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

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spaul said on Saturday, Oct 26 at 3:34 PM

You can take this to the bank! One reason the number of citations are down is because I and many others no longer shop in Montgomery. My son got a ticket near East Chase when these cameras were first installed. He told me the light was not amber for a full second. I drove to that intersection and pulled over to observed the light. The yellow was so short, if your eyes blinked you could miss the yellow light completely. This proved the true intent and purpose of these cameras. Have you noticed the drivers who slow down well before the intersection in anticipation of the yellow light? These are the ones ticketed in the past. They impede the flow of traffic and make a rear end accident more likely... especially if the driver of the second car is focused on the traffic light.

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Will said on Friday, Oct 25 at 8:51 AM

Is Beckman that stupid? The cameras have proven to reduce the number of accidents at the intersections in which they are installed. As a result, the associated costs to the motorists is also reduced because they are not having to incur the assocated costs.

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