Cameras to ticket traffic violators

By Eric Hudson

Motorists beware, Clayton County will begin monitoring two intersections with traffic cameras.

“We’re hooking up camera systems at Upper Riverdale Road and Tara Boulevard and at Mt. Zion Boulevard and Mt. Zion Road,” said Clayton County Police Capt. Tom Israel from the .

The new cameras will cost $1 per vehicle photographed, which Israel said would cost approximately $4,000 a month. Israel said a maximum fee of $70 can be applied to traffic violators.

The system is designed to discourage motorists from running red lights. If a motorist runs a light, the camera instantly takes a photo. The photo tracks the car’s owner by the licensee plate and a traffic citation is mailed.

“The system is very impressive,” said Israel. “Not only does it show the vehicle running the red light, but the time that the light was run and the speed of the vehicle. It is extremely detailed.”

Israel said these two intersections have heavy traffic and the cameras could help reduce the number of accidents. He said that signs are already up at both intersections to let people know it is being monitored.

Late last year, the Washington Post studied the effectiveness of traffic cameras. According to their research, the cameras do not make any difference in preventing injuries or collisions.

“The data is very clear,” Dick Raub, a traffic consultant and a former senior researcher at Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety, told the Post. “They are not performing any better than intersections without cameras.”

Washington, D.C., Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey told the Post he disagreed with the report saying the devices are worthwhile. He said even if the number of crashes is not going down, citations for red-light running have dropped.

“I’d rather have them than not have them,” Ramsey said. “They make people slow down. They reduce the number of traffic violations, and that’s a good thing.”