PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to a pilot project that would install surveillance cameras at certain traffic lights to catch drivers who run red lights.

How many times have you, approaching a light that’s about to turn red, pushed the accelerator down a little harder just to make the light?

Or made that turn regardless of whether the light eventually turned red?

As of today unless a policeman was standing there, or you were involved in an accident, most likely no one would say or do anything.

But Pittsburgh could eventually do what some larger cities have already done and use red light cameras that take a picture of just where you were when the light turned red. You’d get a notice in the mail based on your license plate number with a picture that shows you where you were.

A pilot program is on the table now. It was given preliminary approval today, but it may not begin in Pittsburgh for about a year. Within the first 60 days of the program, those who get a notice would only get a warning. After that, a ticket that would cost $100 will be issued.

Councilman Bruce Kraus sponsored the bill.

“I think council as a whole understands the value in pursuing it to see if its a viable program or not,” he said. “But they do not want to be wed to it for all time so I think this gives us the best of both worlds.”

Council president Darlene Harris leans toward giving a pilot program a chance.

“I’m hearing that that this possibly is something we need because of how many cars now are going through red lights, stop signs,” she said.

But not all council members are convinced.

Council member Theresa Kail-Smith is concerned that the red light systems may actually cause accidents among drivers who know they’re being monitored.

“My concerns are mostly that I think we could time the yellow lights differently. There’s also an increase of rear end collisions with the lights,” she said.

Others like Daniel Lavelle say they want more input from Mayor-elect Bill Peduto before moving forward.

“The incoming mayor has said on numerous occasions that we should not be making huge policy decisions until he is the mayor,” said Lavelle.

Peduto is expected to attend council’s session next week before a final vote is cast.

Pittsburgh City Council Considers Red Light Cameras (7/17/13)
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