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State Panel Endorses Red Light Cameras

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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Maybe we won’t admit it, but some run red lights, hoping a cop is not nearby, but new technology involving a camera with warning signs too could change all that.

“A national study has shown that fatalities have been reduced by 24 percent in areas where they use red light cameras, so that is my ultimate goal — to save people’s lives,” State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Wilkins Township, said.

Costa has long championed a bill to allow red light cameras in major cities, including Pittsburgh. Now a committee appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett has endorsed the concept.

“The panel was put together by the governor to try and come up with some solutions for transportation funding and this was one of the solutions that they suggested was red light cameras,” Costa said.

Catching those running lights can be lucrative as a pilot program in Philadelphia has shown.

“I believe Philadelphia has generated about $5 million for Philadelphia,” Costa said.

The red light cameras work with two special road sensors at the stop and in the middle of the intersection.

“Once that light turns red, there’s like a second or two delay and then it activates,” Costa explained.

“If you cross the first sensor and then the second sensor, what the camera will do, it will take a picture of your vehicle. In addition to your vehicle, it will show the traffic signal and how long that traffic signal has been red and then it will also zoom in on your license plate.”

And a traffic ticket will be issued to the vehicle owner. Unlike some cities that have dropped the program like Los Angeles and Houston, Costa says the focus is on the vehicle – not the people in the car.

Don’t look for these red light cameras to be constructed any time soon. The legislation hasn’t passed the House or Senate yet, and even if it does, and signed by Governor Corbett, it will take PennDOT a little while to get this program up and running.

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