Automated Traffic Enforcement and Safe Driving
Most people understand that speeding and aggressive driving are dangerous behaviors. What to do about it is a harder question. One of the most controversial tools in combating dangerous driving is the use of cameras.
Automated traffic enforcement has very few fans. Despite that, recent changes in the law have made it more likely that automated traffic cameras could be coming to a road near you.
The infrastructure bill recently passed creates an opportunity for states. Federal highway funding includes billions of dollars states can access to pay for safety initiatives. Among those initiatives is the use of automated traffic enforcement.
The funding reflects the opinion that cameras used to catch speeders are a useful tool for reducing car and truck accident deaths. The Federal Highway Administration regards speed safety cameras as a proven safety countermeasure. It describes three types of speed safety camera setups:
- Stationary cameras aimed at a specific spot
- Mobile cameras used in vehicles or trailers
- Point-to-point cameras, meaning two or more cameras that can determine if a driver exceeded the speed limit, on average, between them
The traffic enforcement camera battle could be considered settled in Texas. In 2019, the Texas Transportation Code was changed to ban local authorities from giving tickets or criminal charges using red-light cameras. Texas has not used speed cameras in the past.
Access to highway funding, however, has long been used to pressure states into changing the law. It remains to be seen whether the promise of free money for highway safety programs is enough to bring about the use of speed cameras on Texas roads.
For now, the funding allows states and municipalities relative freedom in deciding how to use the money to improve traffic safety.
Surveillance is certainly one way of encouraging good behavior. Few drivers would knowingly drive past a speed trap going 20 mph over the limit.
The use of visible and hidden cameras is recommended by the FHWA. That way, drivers must always assume that they are being recorded to avoid getting a speeding ticket.
The FHWA reports that speed cameras can shrink the number of car crashes that cause injuries by half. Government statistics show that more than 25% of deadly crashes involve one or more speeding vehicles. There’s a lot at stake in encouraging drivers to slow down.
At Ted B. Lyon & Associates in Dallas, we protect the victims of car and truck accidents. If a driver injures you while speeding or driving recklessly, we can help. Call our attorneys at 800-TedLyon or send us a message.