Virginia’s 10-year experiment with red-light cameras at traffic intersections expires next year, and it is uncertain whether it will be renewed, reports the Washington Post. A Virginia House committee hearing today should provide a strong indication of whether supporters have any hopes of extending the cameras’ life in the upcoming General Assembly session. The cameras, which automatically snap photos of vehicles when they run red lights, are favored by law- enforcement officials for safety reasons. More than 70 percent of motorists in AAA’s Virginia surveys support use of the cameras.
But privacy advocates said the cameras are overrated, intrusive and unfair. They are preparing to lobby the legislature to ensure that it doesn’t extend a 1995 law expiring July 1 that authorizes the cameras. The cameras are in use in Virginia Beach and six Northern Virginia communities: Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Vienna, and Arlington and Fairfax counties. In Fairfax City, one study showed a 44 percent drop in red-light violations at intersections where cameras had been installed. Police Chief Richard Rappoport said that “people develop an awareness the cameras are there” and are less likely to run a red light.