Newport Beach voters will head to the polls this month to decide whether the city should ever utilize automated traffic enforcement systems, including red light cameras. California voters in Murrieta also will contemplate a ban on red light cameras, while 73 percent of Anaheim residents voted to outlaw automated traffic ticketing in 2010.
Currently, Newport Beach does not have any red light cameras. However, the city council voted 4-2 in July to place a measure on November’s ballot that would prevent such an occurrence from taking place in the future. While the two city councilmen who opposed the measure said they do not support red light cameras, they also said they did not want to block future city leaders from the option if the needs of Newport Beach ever changed.
To date, several municipalities across the country have voted to ban red light cameras and other automated ticketing devices. Those who support red light cameras say they reduce the number of serious crashes at intersections. Those who oppose the cameras say studies have not confirmed that red light cameras work and that the devices are unconstitutional. Both sides site the cost of the cameras: the opponents of the devices want the program’s money spent on more officers, while proponents say that the cameras allow more laws to be enforced at a lower overall cost.
Some studies have shown that while the rate of serious traffic accidents and serious injuries go down at intersections with red light cameras, the rate of fender-benders increases.