If you’re a red-light running offender, listen up! There’s rumor of a bill being proposed for the upcoming session of the Nevada Legislature. If the bill is passed, it will become a law. The law would give Las Vegas traffic tickets to those who were caught on camera breaking a traffic rule.
What Would the New Law Do?
The bill would allow police in the state of Nevada to use cameras to catch red-light runners and speeders as well. While this particular bill is new, the debate over cameras is not. Since 1999, conversations have been going on regarding the use of cameras to catch traffic offenders in the state of Nevada. What makes this time any different? This time, the Office of Traffic Safety in the State Department of Public Safety has requested the bill.
Red Light Traffic Cameras Are Widely Used & Criticized
As per reports from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 423 communities across the United States use red light camera programs. As well, 144 communities use cameras to catch speeders. However, some states, such as Nevada, are opposed to using these methods.
Other states who have said “no” include Arkansas, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. The states of Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and West Virginia ban red light cameras specifically. Opponents argue that the cameras can cause more accidents as drivers try to avoid photo tickets (imagine someone slamming on the brakes as soon as the light turns yellow.) In some places, private companies manipulate signal light timing to catch more drivers running lights, to generate more revenue.
Proponents Claim Lives Saved
On the other side of the argument, proponents say cameras will cut down on speeding and red light running. Andrew Bennett with the Nevada Office for Traffic Safety says the main reason his office is asking lawmakers to consider the new bill is, “simply to save lives.”
“Someone is choosing to do these unsafe behaviors,” Bennett said. “Be it speed or run a red light. Anyone who has driven in Las Vegas or Nevada has seen multiple times four, five, six, people run through a red light, and it should not be a common practice.”
One woman said, “I like it. I’m an Uber driver, and it’s so dangerous to be outside with all these people running red lights.”
Another man sees the whole issue as more of a game. “No, no, no,” he says. “Fair is fair. They should catch us if they can.”
Another argument (perhaps a much stronger one than “catch us if you can”) that many opponents cite is the invasion of privacy that cameras bring to a community. The cameras would take pictures of people’s faces and/or license plates. Additionally, there’s also the underlying issue of how traffic violations are classified as crimes in the state of Nevada. As such, those accused of traffic violations have the right the face their accuser, except in the case of a red light camera.
“The critics can say what they want,” said Bennett. “At the end of the day, we are trying to save lives.”
The Bill Draft Request (BDR) will go before legislation in February of 2019.