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Rick Shapiro
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Norfolk, VA Moves to Bring in Red Light Cameras

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Red light running is the cause of numerous accidents, often wrecking the lives of victims and those behind the wheel. But cities are fighting back by opting for PhotoSafe enforcement cameras on dangerous intersections that hit drivers who pass through red lights with large fines.

Norfolk, Virginia (VA), is the latest city to consider bringing in cameras, according to WVEC.com. The TV station reported that Norfolk City Council is considering installing 16 cameras at eight key intersections and that te council members are likely to vote for the plan on October 25, 2011.

In all, 26 intersections were identified by transportation officials and police as possible sites for the cameras and then narrowed the list down to the eight. These are the intersections being considered for cameras:

  • Tidewater Drive and Virginia Beach Boulevard
  • Brambleton Avenue and Colley Avenue
  • Brambleton Avenue and St. Paul’s Boulevard
  • Hampton Boulevard and Terminal Boulevard
  • Chesapeake Boulevard and Little Creek Road
  • Virginia Beach Boulevard and Raby Road
  • E. Little Creek Road and Halprin Drive
  • Military Highway and E. Princess Anne Road and Northampton Boulevard

As experienced Virginia accident injury attorneys who see many accidents caused by red light runners, my colleagues and I are pleased to see this project progressing after months of uncertainty. As recently as June 2011, the Norfolk red light camera program appeared to have stalled due to a lack of cash.

Norfolk is just the latest local city to bring in cameras. Newport News already has them, although they are only sited at three locations in that city and Virginia Beach, VA brought back cameras at eight intersections following a trial in 2004 and 2005.

There was some controversy when Virginia Beach brought back its red light cameras in early 2009. However, 6 months into the program it became clear that more drivers were stopping at red lights in Virginia Beach, VA because of the cameras. The success in Virginia Beach wasn’t unique. A nationwide study in 2011 found red light cameras cut injuries and save lives.

Chesapeake is the most recent city in the area to install these PhotoSafe cameras. When they were brought in in 2010 there was a backlash from some members of the community. Yet those cameras appear to have proved their worth by highlighting the large number of drivers who have been running red lights. In the year since cameras were installed in August 2010, 14,000 traffic violations have been highlighted.

There is some debate about whether cameras stop car accidents. While some studies found the cameras increase the number of minor rear-end accidents, they have been found to reduce the number of fatal or serious car accidents. In addition, the cameras have more than once provided evidence of the cause of a serious car accident after it occurred.

However, we only have to consider the serious nature of many accidents caused by red light runners, such as the incident in September 2011, in which a pedestrian suffered serious injuries after being hit by a red light runner in Newport News to realize the worth of this technology.

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About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.