Lawmakers in Albemarle County Virginia have authorized the installation of cameras at major area intersections to catch drivers running red lights.

The Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance earlier this month.

Albemarle County Police Chief John F. Miller commented that he anticipates the cameras will significantly decrease accidents. “We hope
we save people from being involved in crashes and being hurt and turning their lives upside down.”

The dangerous intersection of Rio Road and U.S. 29 would likely be the first Albemarle County location to get a camera if the county’s plan is approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

In 2008, the Albemarle County Police Department issued 94 traffic tickets for red light violations at that intersection. Over the past three years, some 385 crashes with 37 injuries have occurred at that intersection, according to Chief Miller.

In the alternative, the Charlottesville-based Virginia Transportation Council claims in a June 2007 report based on Northern Virginia crash data from January 1, 1998, through December 31, 2004. that cameras are associated with a net increase in rear-end crashes.

Virginia Beach is the only jurisdiction in Virginia that currently has red light cameras in place as authorized by state law, although several other localities in the Commonwealth are in the process of installing them.

In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation that allows counties, cities and towns to use red light camera enforcement–commonly called “photo red enforcement.” Localities now have the option of installing and operating red light running camera systems subject to compliance with state requirements.

According to the City of Virginia Beach, red light photo enforcement reduces crashes at monitored intersections approximately 40%. The technology tends to produce generalized changes in driver behavior, so violations and crashes decline throughout the area where cameras are used, not just at the specific intersections equipped with cameras.

City statistics indicate red light violations account for 12% of the total traffic summonses issued by the Virginia Beach PD, and that the photo enforcement camera systems are an important public safety “force multiplier.”

Under Virginia Beach Municipal Code section 21.222, motorists caught on camera running a red light are subject to a $50 fine (the maximum allowable under state law). Cameras are now located at nine intersections in the city, with several more awaiting approval from the state. Virginia Beach has state authorization to monitor a total of 43 intersections under Virginia State Code guidelines.

Unfortunately, car accidents from reckless or inattentive drivers cause serious injuries and death every day across the state of Virginia. If you–or someone you love–have been injured in an automobile accident, do not hesitate to get in touch with the Personal Injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard J Serpe, PC., Toll Free 877-544-5323.


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