Big brother: Traffic Cameras

Traffic camerasI’ve read several articles and witnessed the installation of traffic cameras in surrounding areas and have to wonder if traffic surveillance cameras are not inevitable in our future.

Last week, red light cameras were activated at six heavily trafficked Palm Coast intersections.

In December, the City Council voted on a plan to put cameras and monitoring systems at Jacksonville’s most-dangerous intersections in an effort to cut down on red-light running. Feliscia Robbins died of injuries in a crash caused by a driver running a westside red light. Robbins’ father joined Councilman Stephen Joost, Mayor Payton and Sheriff John Rutherford in promoting the legislation.

In Palm Coast, when a driver is recorded as driving through a red light, the City’s traffic control infraction review officer will verify the accuracy of the recorded images. A $125 violation may then be issued. In Jacksonville, motorists photographed violating traffic laws would receive a ticket in the mail with a fine of between $125 and $300.

As traffic in St. Johns county increases, particularly in the St. Augustine and Julington Creek areas, tempers are rising with the temperatures. Added congestion fueled by record growth and tourist drivers unfamiliar with our roads aggravate the problem. We can’t afford a traffic cop on every street corner and this appears to be an economical alternative.

But do cameras provide a deterrent to running lights and other bad driving habits? Will the cases made by the surveillance cameras stand up when challenged in court? It’s too soon to tell, however, I suspect that we are next on the list to find out…. or at least very near the top.