NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 19, 2010

Red light cameras, billed as safety devices since their introduction, are increasingly viewed by many motorists as unreasoning revenue generators for hard-up local governments, says USA Today. 

According to Anne Teigen, a transportation specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, Maine, Mississippi and Montana banned red light cameras last year, joining at least four other states, Nevada, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wisconsin.  State senators in Missouri and Tennessee are sponsoring legislation that would limit cameras, says USA Today. 


  • Voters in three cities -- Chillicothe and Heath, Ohio, and College Station, Texas -- passed referendums in November banning the cameras
  • Nearly 1,000 motorists in south Florida have filed 18 lawsuits against the cameras, saying the devices are unconstitutional because they force drivers to prove their innocence rather than the government to prove their guilt.

Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat, and an Illinois lawmaker who helped bring red-light cameras to the state in 2006, says he'll introduce bills this year to sharply limit their use. 

"They were sold to us in a different manner than what they're being used for," he says.  "The municipalities have put them in areas where they're just to make revenue.  Since 2006, crashes have increased at half the intersections in Illinois that have cameras, stayed the same at 25 percent and decreased at 25 percent." 

Source: Larry Copeland, "Communities put a halt to red-light cameras ," USA Today, January 18, 2010.

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