PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In Philadelphia or Washington, D.C., if you run a red light and nobody sees it, you might think you got away with it. But you didn’t.
Red light cameras are installed there and you could face a $100 ticket sent in the mail with a picture of your car in the intersection, having gone through the light.
Pittsburgh City Council is considering it here.
At a post agenda session, Pittsburgh Police Commander Scott Schubert told Council members: “If it greatly reduces the chances of fatality or severe injuries, it would be something worth looking at. And unlike us not being able to be there, if the camera’s able to capture this, then that may be able to put our resources in other areas that don’t have cameras.”
The car owner would get the ticket regardless of who drives, with options to appeal just like a parking ticket.
Pa. Rep. Paul Costa (D-Allegheny Co.) explained how the program works in Philadelphia.
“They have a police officer that reviews every single picture, and even though there are some people that run a red light and a picture is taken, not everybody receives a ticket,” said Costa. “Sometimes there might be an issue where an emergency vehicle forced the person to go through or they couldn’t get a clear shot of the license plate; there are instances where they disregard the ticket.”
But former Fraternal Order of Police president Dan O’Hara says Council should take its time before implementing such a program. And should remember that officers have discretion that automation does not.
“We, as officers, have that discretion ability to analyze the case at hand and make a judgment call,” said O’Hara. “A red light camera system cannot make such a judgment call.”
The state legislature opened the door for local communities to decide whether they want it. Pittsburgh’s decision could be weeks away.