Red Light Cameras for Henrico?

Apparently, it’s under consideration. But this bit is troubling:

Paying for the system could become a Catch-22 situation, Assistant Director of Public Works Tim Foster told the board, because while tickets issued as a result of the cameras might initially pay the monthly fees and produce extra revenue for the county, it’s likely that fewer violations would occur as motorists became familiar with the system.

“We want to see a decrease in violations,” he said, but that would result in a greater cost burden to the county.

So what are the cameras for, revenue or safety? It’s the same sort of argument that, for a time, swirled around the state’s abuser fees.

And let’s not forget another possible consequence of installing such cameras:

…some studies have suggested that use of cameras can cause an increase in accidents, when cars stop suddenly to avoid entering intersections and are rear-ended, Foster said.

But at least they aren’t running red lights. And who knows? Those rear-end collisions could result in a few more reckless driving citations… which could help pay for the cameras… which might cause more rear-end collisions… which could pay for even more cameras, which might cause even more wrecks and more citations.

Maybe it’s about revenue after all.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


13 responses to “Red Light Cameras for Henrico?”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    In the District of Columbia revenue collection has dropped as drivers became aware of the cameras. Presumably this means safer driving, but there was no mention of whether accidents increased or decreased.

    It would be interesting to find out how much reaction time the camera allows for, and whether it tickets on lights that are actually red, or if it tickets on yellow. Officers can ticket for running a yellow light, which is considered the same as red under the law.

    Just like the HOT lanes, adjusting these factors would allow you to set the lights for maximum safe traffic throughput, or maximum revenue generation, and they might not be the same thing.


  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “maximum revenue generation” this is nothing new. Speed “traps”, or ultra-strict law enforcement…

    I’m all in favor of what I call “smart” traffic signals and recognizing/fixing “bottlenecks”, and in general optimization of the existing network – but folks who run lights… no sympathy (and that includes me once in a blue moon)…and perhaps I’m wrong but it appears to be to be a high correlation between red-light runners and cell-phone users.

    I say .. fine their bottoms off and take their cell phones away… and then send them to the “official” chief spanker… and then post their names online..every night.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    I once saw a fellow get rear ended because he stopped at a yellow light – by a police cruiser. I think he assumed th driver would run the light and he was coming on at speed to nab him.

    Needless to say, the officer did not get a ticket.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    The question remains, what is the government there for?

    Is it to help us all get along (safely) as best we can, or is it to unnecessarily bust chops for the sake of getting money?

    Will HOT lanes be set to move the most cars at a reasonable speed, or to make the most money? Probably not the same thing.

    I agree, running red lights is sociopathic and psychotic behavior, but it still isn’t all black and white. I was recently third car in line for a light that was unknown to me. It had a very short cycle, and only two cars got through. It would hae been reasonable to expect I would get through, too, and committed to the turn. It was only luck and caution that kept me out of a situation, not of my own making, that could have gotten my bottom fined off.

    They are not called “traps” for nothing.


  5. Sal Costello Avatar
    Sal Costello

    How does the red light camera scam work?

    1) Slippery politicos say that Red Light Cameras create safer roads while numerous studies across the country prove they cause MORE accidents.

    2) Once the camera’s are installed, and the politicos get campaign contributions from the Red Light Camera company profiteers, they shorten the timing of the yellow light to make more money.

    3) The Contractor and Politicos gets paid first. Taxpayers pay for the machines and maintenance. Taxpayers also pay via tickets and more accidents after the timing of the yellow lights are reduced.

    So, is there a real way to reduce accidents and red light runners?

    YES, It’s simple, but NOT profitable. Lengthening yellow lights to 5-6 second does more to reduce accidents than Red Light Camera’s.

    Learn more about Texas Boondoggles here:

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    The fairer way to make red light cameras actually do something would be to install video rather than stills and then make the penalty say one point on your license without a fine rather than a fine with no points. The video evidence would allow for if the situation warranted running a red such as someone tailgating you or extremely slippery conditions such as snow. Also video would be better for monitoring problem spots of aggressive driving behavior rather than the currently unsafe game of hide and go seek that cops play with the subsequent slamming of brakes by everyone.


  7. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I’d actually be in favor of 3 strikes. 3 warning tickets – then WHAMO!

    folks can claim “circumstances” for one or two but when you get 3 of those suckers.. you’re the man…

    I’d also be in favor of say standardized yellow… in terms of time.

    Like I said… give folks an honest benefit of the doubt and then lower the boom on them…

    oh … and triple fines if you’re on a cell phone when you get caught.

  8. Cargosquid Avatar

    The stories of tickets sent to the wrong person due to incomplete pics of the plate are inumerable. And its a big hassle to clear your name.

    But the most important lesson is this. Do we want to become a society that becomes used to being photographed and surveilled in public. First comes red light cameras, then, Speed cameras. Why not “safety cameras” like they have in England? Its all for your own good. Don’t you want to catch crooks? Are you soft on crime? And depending on the party in power, the definition of crook could change…..Smoking in public? Heavens…..Jaywalking? 1984.

    There IS such a thing as a slippery slope.

  9. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    ehhh…. you’re a tad “late”.

    the “privacy” issue was lost way back when it was decided you’d have plates on your car.

    It took 50 years for computer/optical technology to replace human “eyes” but it’s here and it won’t go away.

    Right now, there are new and planned TOLL roads that allow video plate tolling. Each plate is photographed, and the numbers/letters determined and put on a computer to either bill your account or send you a notice of violation.

    And of course… checking your tag against a list of folks they’re looking for – for other reasons also.

    and guess what? not only do Police cruisers have video in them but several trucking firms AND private autos that have captured auto accidents and then been introduced into court to show who caused the accident.

    and those overhead VDOT traffic cameras? ditto…

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    “The stories of tickets sent to the wrong person due to incomplete pics of the plate are inumerable. And its a big hassle to clear your name.”

    This is because the cameras are privately contracted and the ticket prices are just low enough to keep most people from fighting them. They rarely hold up in court in a lot of states, but the company and governments running them figure the ticketed will pay without much of a fight. It’s also why there are no points attached.

    If we are going to use cameras why not do it right. Actually use the videos to videotape dangerous driving would lead to a far more consistent enforcement of traffic laws than the haphazard randomness of the hidden cop system we have today, plus it takes police away from traffic enforcement into more critical areas. DAs love the video since it makes a far better witness than any police officer or citizen. Simple example, driver is weaving in and out of traffic well above the flow of traffic gets caught on video, receives a citation in the mail with an internet link to the video. Take out fines and just require community service or such.

    “There IS such a thing as a slippery slope.”
    I agree, but that’s true of many things. As long as citizens pay attention and keep control slippery slopes shouldn’t happen. It’s when a blind eye is turned that bad things happen. But like Larry said you are already getting videotaped everywhere, tollways, buildings, stores, gas stations. Unless you are living in the woods somewhere off the land you are being taped.


  11. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Here’s the deal.

    Get yourself a GPS unit that has red-light POIs and stop worrying.

    It’ll be cheap “protection” and has other uses also. 🙂


  12. We have them in some cities in Oregon and I hate them. Not because I run red lights but because it becomes a dangerous game – as you approach I watch like an eagle, but I’m watching the light probably even more than the car in front of me. If I start into the intersection I gun it to make sure I’m ‘far enough into the intersection’ to not get ‘caught’ if the light changes while I’m going through.

    If they were to increase the yellow light times on these intersections it would be one thing but they don’t. I believe these buggers are more for revenue than anything else.

  13. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross


Leave a Reply