As the result of a major push by Providence city officials, the General Assembly approved legislation authorizing the installation of “red light cameras,” but only after accepting a bevy of ACLU amendments designed to mitigate some of the organization’s civil liberties concerns. As their name implies, the cameras take pictures of motor vehicles going through red lights, and vehicle owners are ticketed based on the photos. The ACLU has objected to the cameras on both due process and privacy grounds. In addition, although the cameras are touted as a way to reduce side-angle crashes, recent studies suggest that they actually increase rear-end crashes! Among the amendments accepted were a requirement that warning signs be posted at all intersections where the cameras are in use and elimination of a provision that the driver’s face, as well as the license plate, be photographed. Just as importantly, a three-year sunset clause was approved.
Red Light Cameras