Wherever they have been installed in Maryland, red light cameras and speed cameras have been controversial, and even greeted with hostility in some instances. That is unfortunate, because there is enough evidence to indicate that red light cameras and speed cameras can, if implemented properly, be very effective in reducing the kind of accidents that result from these violations. The kind of accidents that result from a person running a red light or driving at excessive speeds are high-impact, devastating accidents that result in instantaneous fatalities and serious injuries.
A group of researchers in Australia recently reviewed the camera programs in that country, and have come up with a series of recommendations for the right and effective implementation of camera programs.
They recommend that these cameras be established in areas where there is a need for them. There have been complaints about some red light camera systems in Maryland that have been installed near school zones. Unless these areas specifically have a huge number of red light violations, it may not really make any sense to invest in a camera in these areas.
Transportation safety agencies must invest in a public education and awareness campaign that educates motorists about the upcoming camera systems, and makes it clear that the program is all about motorist safety, and not about making government agencies richer. That should help clear much of the misconception that camera systems are mainly installed to boost coffers.
Towards that same end, it is also important to make sure that these camera systems are funded from citation revenues, and also that vendors are paid for these systems not based on citations, but on services rendered. That should help make these camera systems more acceptable to the public.