ATLANTA — 11Alive viewer Timothy worries about his safety when he bikes along Memorial Drive. He believes red light cameras would help.
“I’ve experienced many close calls just on a bicycle ride with people running red lights,” he says. It would deter people, make them think twice before running a light.”
But are they still a viable law enforcement tool?
- The Governor’s Highway Safety Administration
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- The Georgia Department of Transportation
- Jeff Cohn of photoenforced.com
Yes, but they’re not as popular as they once were.
What we found
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, Georgia is one of 21 states still permitting red light cameras. To install one, cities in Georgia have to prove there’s a problem at an intersection before GDOT will issue a permit.
Jeff Cohn’s website tracks the location of cameras nationwide. He said they’re not nearly as popular as they once were.
“Red light cameras peaked I want to say close to ten years ago,” Cohn noted. "I would say they’re still used widely across the world and the U.S, but for Georgia specifically I would say 10 years ago.”
However, he estimates that authorities have removed more than 100 red light cameras in Georgia.
The Insurance Institute explained that’s due to community opposition and difficulty paying for them.
“If you’re getting only $4,000 of the tickets but the city’s paying $8,000 worth of maintenance, then it’s just not profitable for them to have that there anymore,” Cohn added.
Still, the Insurance Institute insists that crash rates go up when cameras are removed. The city of Smyrna in particular recently agreed to add red light cameras at two intersections.
We can Verify that red light cameras are still legal in Georgia, but several jurisdictions that once used them have decided that it’s not worth the cost.