Monday, June 08, 2015

OHIO - Traffic Cameras, Safeguard or Scam?

"Safeguard or scam?  Automated traffic cameras in legal limbo in Ohio" PBS NewsHour 6/5/2015


SUMMARY:  Automated traffic cameras are used by hundreds of towns across the country to detect and ticket motor violations, but not without controversy.  Advocates say they make communities safer, but foes argue they raise revenues.  Ohio officials passed a law banning the cameras from ticketing without a police officer present, but the issue now hangs in the balance as the state debates its constitutionality.  NewsHour's Rick Karr reports.

RICK KARR (NewsHour):  Drivers who run red lights … kill nearly seven hundred people every year nationwide.  Sue and Paul Oberhauser refuse to call those crashes “accidents”.

PAUL OBERHAUSER:  Most of those are intentionally people think they gonna get away with it and they run the red light.  They never think they’re gonna kill a person.

RICK KARR:  Their daughter Sarah was killed by a driver who ran a red light in 2002.  She was thirty-one years old and a mother of two, a high-school chemistry teacher and basketball coach in Oxford, Ohio.  She was on her way to a teacher-training workshop on a Saturday morning when her light turned green.

SUE OBERHAUSER:  There was a young man who was 21 years old.  And he ran the red light going 55 miles an hour.  And he T-boned her car and Sarah was killed instantly.

RICK KARR:  The Oberhausers believe there’s a way to prevent crashes like the one that killed their daughter, automated cameras that keep an eye on intersections twenty-four-seven.  So even when police aren’t there, drivers think twice before running a light.  And the proof that they work, according to the Oberhausers, is a forty-minute drive from their farmhouse … in Ohio’s state capital.

RICK KARR:  The City of Columbus installed its first red-light camera at this intersection in 2006.  Since then, it’s put cameras at more than three dozen other intersections.  And at locations with cameras, right-angle crashes fell 74% between 2005 and 2008.

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