A bill sponsored by state Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, would give local governments the authority to install cameras at intersections, allowing them to identify drivers running red lights.
In a community such as Grand Haven, where traffic volumes multiply significantly during the busy summer tourism season, we feel this would be a great device to ensure the safety of those traveling through our community.
Communities would be required to put up a sign within 500 feet of the intersection to alert drivers about the camera. Those caught violating the red light wouldn’t be penalized for citations that result from the camera on their driving record, and their insurance would not be affected, but it would result in civil fines not to exceed $130.
More than 20 other states already allow such cameras, but there are mixed results as to the effectiveness of them. They have reduced the number of right-angle crashes, but have also increased the number of rear-end collisions as wary drivers come to sudden stops as the light turns yellow.
Those that oppose the bill feel it’s one more way that government continues to intrude into the lives of its citizens. They also argue that eliminating the interaction between police officers and citizens deters developing personal relationships within the community.
In our opinion, if a law allows residents to more safely navigate their way through an intersection, how can that be considered intrusion?
Safety should be a top priority — and if cameras in intersections provide that, then intrude away. After all, abide by the driving law and you have nothing to worry about.
Obviously, such technology comes with an expense. If Rep. Schmidt’s bill comes to fruition, we would encourage our city leaders to look into this and determine the feasibility before it’s ruled on one way or another.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.