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Red-Light Cameras Could Be Coming To Colorado Springs, Might Help in Accident Cases

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It looks like it’s about to get harder to get away with running red lights, at least in Colorado Springs. Fox 21’s Colorado Connection reports that the Colorado Springs City Council has approved, in a 5-4 vote, the much discussed installation of traffic cameras at four key intersections within their community.

Rick Montanez and Mindy Sone of KKTV tell us a bit more about the capabilities of these devices:

‘The system is set up so that if you run a red light it takes a photograph and also a 12 second video,’ [John] Leavitt [a spokesperson for the city] said.

A commander with the Colorado Springs Police Department told City Council on Tuesday that traditional traffic enforcement is labor intensive. Also, officer issued traffic tickets have decreased significantly because police have fewer resources and they have shifted their priorities to investigating violent crimes in the community.

Two things make this particularly interesting. The first is the 12 second video. In the event of a car accident, this sort of evidence could be invaluable. The second is the method of implementation. Montanez and Sone make an interesting observation on this later in the same article:

A company from Arizona will be contracted out to install the cameras and the money brought in from the tickets is expected to pay for the program.

Some city council members expressed concerns about that company because it was brought to their attention that there are 32 active lawsuits across the country involving this particular company. The company says these will not impact their ability to serve Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs would pay a monthly service fee to the company. Any extra money will be revenue for the city.

The debate over photo enforcement is huge, reignited as each new community adopts it. The one thing I’d like to point out is that adding cameras could provide much more evidence to work with in lawsuits or trials involving car accidents, since many car accidents take place at intersections. Provided red-light cameras are implemented correctly, they could help deter drivers from running red lights and causing accidents at intersections.

Colorado Springs will be having it’s second and final vote on the cameras on Jun 22, 2010.

Image by SecretLondon123 on Flickr, used under its Creative Commons license

 

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