Cameras may catch traffic violators

Cameras may soon be doing the job of cops where Indiana traffic enforcement is concerned.

A bill that would allow the use of electronic traffic enforcement is being pushed in the Indiana General Assembly.

It’s something several states already allow, including Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri.

There, cameras routinely catch and fine drivers who run red lights. The camera captures the offense, and the license plate of the offender. A ticket is sent by mail.

“We think about it, you know Grape Road, you know we have nine of the ten top most dangerous intersections because of the number of crashes in these locations,” said Lt. Tim Williams with the Mishawaka Police Department.

Williams believes the installation of cameras at those intersections would decrease accidents. “We’re not able to have an officer at every corner just watching for that violation,” said Williams.

While cameras have already been installed at some local intersections, they’re not the type of cameras that can be used to issue tickets.

On the other hand, it is common for private companies to install enforcement cameras at busy intersections free of charge in exchange for a percentage of the fines collected.

Mike Reum Sr. sees benefits beyond law enforcement.

Reum runs Michiana Insurance in Mishawaka. “We tend to obey the law if we know we get caught,” Reum said. “We get, I suppose, one out of four (accidents) you’re running a red light, or both of them claim they have the green light and are coming at right angles, there’s no way they can do this.”

Reum says that cameras could take some of the guesswork out of assigning blame for an accident.
“I’ve had cases in the past where I know people, maybe they have six people in the car, and they argue that they didn’t run it (the traffic light) we find out later on that they did.”

When asked about the last time he witnessed someone run a red light, Jack Skevington replied, “I’m sure within the last week, it happens all the time.” Skevington said he thinks everyone would be more cautious if cameras were installed at intersections. “I rode a motorcycle for a good number of years and I think I’d feel safer out there if I was sure people weren’t running red lights,” Skevington said.

Senate Bill 389 would establish a maximum fine for an on camera infraction of 100-dollars. The bill specifies that the violations can not be used to assess points against a driver’s license. The bill also specifies that violations can’t be used to increase someone’s insurance rates.

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