This is why red light cameras are doomed

Red light trafficJohn Moore/Getty ImagesA downed traffic light in New Orleans, LA, August 29, 2012

Authorities across the country are increasingly putting the brakes on red light cameras.

Opposition to the hated devices may finally have reached a tipping point as lawmakers in Illinois, Texas and California move toward legislation to ban them on both civil rights grounds and monetary reasons.

Red light cameras “have failed miserably,” state Senator Bob Hall (R-Texas) told the Associated Press as the Texas bill cleared the Senate and was sent to the state House.

Similar legislation was introduced last month in the California House of Representatives, according to LA Weekly, and approved Wednesday in the Illinois House, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The California and Texas bans are statewide but the Illinois measure would apply mainly to communities outside of Chicago and to a few other suburbs granted local authority in the matter.

Red light cameras have long drawn criticism for snapping pictures of drivers who then receive traffic tickets in the mail and have to pay fines without giving people the opportunity to defend themselves.

This streamlined process has also denied countless drivers a basic civil right — due process.

Everyone is entitled to a fair trial where they are able to confront their accusers. How does one confront a machine?

The usage of red light cameras has significantly dropped in California from a high of 110 municipalities to only 39, according to LA Weekly. One local legislator griped to the paper that they do not even generate enough revenue to pay for themselves.

“People hate them, they hate them for a reason,” Rep. Ron Sandack, (R-Downers Grove), told the Tribune. “They are right.”

Two dozen states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands use red light cameras. Another 10 states have banned the devices and 19 have no laws regarding their use.

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