Cities have been hitting the brakes on red light cameras, and no wonder. Outrage over the devices is no longer limited to angry motorists facing hefty fines. Judges have now tossed tens of thousands of tickets. Newspapers and government inspectors have exposed deep flaws in many cities’ equipment and enforcement methods. And the former CEO of one of the two major camera manufacturers was indicted on bribery and other charges related to Chicago’s red light cameras.
The backlash began in 2013. After peaking at an all-time high in 2012, when 540 U.S. jurisdictions used red light cameras, the number dropped to 503, according to the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Last year the numbers dropped even further. In December, New Jersey ended a five-year pilot program that had allowed 25 municipalities to use red light cameras. The same month, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a law that essentially blocks the use of traffic cameras in the state.