Traffic Camera Monitoring Systems: Safety vs Privicy

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In the past decade, American citizens have seen an increasingly common sight: the onslaught of electronic monitoring devices being placed at traffic lights and intersections with the sole purpose of recording driver behavior to issue citations; all in the name of safety. The proliferation of these traffic safety cameras, which has spread in unprecedented numbers to ever-smaller towns, is undoubtedly controversial, and has sparked much debate between citizens, police departments, federal agencies, and civil rights groups. Besides the debate of whether or not the cameras, and the citations that are issued to the registered vehicle owner based upon the recorded information, are constitutional, (or whether they simply constitute an Orwellian invasion of privacy), the basic premise that the cameras decrease the severity of or prevent automobile accidents is also fiercely contested. Advocates for the implementation of red light and speed cameras are adamant that the use of such devices deters traffic violations and decreases accidents. Research supports these claims in many cases, indicating that red-light runners and speeders are dangerous to themselves and others. While there is little room to doubt that many drivers who fail to follow traffic laws cause deaths and injuries, the argument that cameras prevent drivers from acting irresponsibly is refutable. Opponents of the use of traffic safety cameras counter the safety enhancement claims with contradicting data. Several statistical studies that shows the types of accidents differ, but the numbers are not significantly lower. One study indicates that driver behavior in response to traffic monitoring devices correlates positively to distraction, and therefore danger, to both t... ... middle of paper ... ...fax County, Virginia. Transportation Quarterly, 57(3), 33-48. Shifflett, G., & Owen, J. (2008, September 22). Red light cameras in the Volunteer State: Unsafe, unconstitutional, and unnecessary (Policy Brief Tennessee Center for Policy Research Policy Brief 04-08). Retrieved from The Newspaper: Smile, you’re on camera. (2009, November). State Legislatures, 35(2), 11. Retrieved from The red-light camera never lies. (2009, November 13). The Hotline. Retrieved from

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