Red Light Cameras in Charlottesville and Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA RED LIGHT CAMERAS, A DISCUSSION BY CHARLOTESVILLE INJURY LAWYERS WILSON & HAJEK

The lawyers of Wilson & Hajek, a personal injury law firm, discuss the pluses and minuses of red light cameras in Charlottesville and Virginia Beach.

Statistical studies continue to show that while red light cameras do not dramatically reduce the number of accidents at camera equipped intersections, the more dangerous types of crashes are decreased. The two prevalent types of accidents that occur at camera equipped intersections are rear-end accidents and T-bone crashes. Charlottesville recently located red-light cameras at some intersections. In Virginia Beach at the start-up, the rear-end crashes increased and the T-bone crashes decreased. The rear-end crashes generally cause less serious personal injuries and the T-bone type cause more serious personal injuries.

Virginia Beach restarted its red light program in 2009. Chesapeake and Newport News also use the cameras and Norfolk is considering them. (The Virginian-Pilot, Roger Chesley Article, 04/20/2011). Beach officials reported 300 crashes in 2008 and 226 in 2010, after a year of full operation at the thirteen camera equipped crossings. There was also a reduction in the more serious T-bone crashes. There are no statistics available for Charlottesville and Albemarle county. The first month that the program was in force, there were no tickets issued, just warnings. Now tickets are being issued but only after a review of the video by an officer.

There are 500+ localities around the nation who operate the cameras. The Virginia Pilot reports that federal officials consider the cameras �effective and reliable tools to help reduce the number of violations and associated crashes.� Localities other than Virginia Beach and Charlottesville also endorse the effectiveness of the red light cameras. The D.C. police point out that the system provides enforcement �without pulling officers out of the neighborhoods where they�re doing crime fighting.� Police in the Hampton Roads area basically agree.

The other side of the coin in this argument is that �Big Brother� already has involved the privacy rights with face recognition, airport searches, checking computers, and phone taps, to mention a few areas of controversy. Now, a motorist can be accused and convicted by a remote camera with no opportunity to explain the circumstances. Basically, if you are caught on camera, you are guilty. The invasion of the basic right to privacy is complete.

As long as the more serious personal injuries decline, it seems that the red light intersection cameras are here to stay. Time will tell if the 500+ nationwide localities are joined by other cities and counties in the State of Virginia. There does not seem to be a rush to join the red light camera brigade. Maybe the right to privacy and �Big Brother� argument still carries more weight than proponents care to acknowledge.

Let us hear how you feel at our blog www.injurylawvirginia.blogspot.com. You can call for a free consultation if you are involved in a serious auto, truck or motorcycle accident and the lawyers at Wilson & Hajek will personally discuss your case with you.



Francis P. Hajek Wilson & Hajek, LLC, a personal injury law firm Experienced Injury and Accident Lawyers Serving Virginia, including Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange, Staunton, Waynesboro

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