Red light cameras use radar technology to detect drivers who run red lights at intersections. A camera then snaps a photo of the car and license plate, which is used to identify the driver and send them a ticket in the mail. Drivers usually have no idea that they have a ticket until it arrives in the mail. They can contest the ticket, but it is usually fruitless since the court believes they have photo evidence of the violation. Sometimes the fine might be lowered if it is a first offense.
Many people believe these cameras promote safe driving and that the revenue generated is critical to the community and cities with budget deficits. Proponents cite the fact that drivers who run red lights can cause accidents and that there is not enough manpower in law enforcement to catch and ticket all of them.
Opponents of the cameras believe they violate privacy rights by using license plates to “track” drivers. However, it is impossible for a driver to prove their innocence if the camera did indeed take a false reading. Those who are against the lights believe that drivers who run red lights are distracted or impaired and that the lights have no influence over them. They also state that there are no scientific studies which prove that the lights reduce accidents. Critics believe that red light cameras are simply a way for the government to take more money from taxpayers without actually raising taxes.