Red light cameras

A Web site — — has developed software for smart phones that will warn you when you’re approaching an intersection where cameras record people who run red lights. The “photocop” in Minneapolis documented an apparent connection between people who run red lights, and the likelihood they borrowed the car from mom or dad. The camera was eventually turned off.

Reports WFAA in Dallas:

There is also a high-tech response to the ticket-generating robots. Several Web sites list locations of red light cameras. even has a new software program that puts the locations on a smartphone.

As the driver approaches an intersection with the cameras, the phone uses GPS location technology to make the connection and sound out a warning: “Red light camera.”

If you can’t afford the “high-tech response,” you can try the low-tech version for free: Stop for the light.

Meanwhile, a suburban Chicago newspaper has run a series on the red light cameras and found that they work as advertised — they make intersections safer — but their benefit is obscured by another apparent fact: They’re being used as income generators by cash-strapped cities.

  • It’s not just that the cities use red light cameras as a way to create revenue. These systems are installed and operated by third-party companies, in contract with a municipality, who are compensated by a portion of each fine; the more ‘crimes’ the system racks up, the more money that company makes.

    A few clicks on Google will lead anyone to cases of cities that have shortened the length of the yellow lights and cases of the companies that operate the cameras leaving the contracts with cities because, turns out, they were not making enough money to make the endeavor worth their while.

    Red light cameras are never about safety, they are about dollars.

  • Tyler

    How about pop-up concrete barriers instead? That will probably make people stop pretty fast for red lights.

  • Heather

    Never about safety? Please. If you don’t run the light, you don’t get a fine. That’s not to say that dollars aren’t involved at all, but a device that deters people from running a red light — even if it’s their GPS devices telling them that there’s a camera ahead — is fine by me.

  • c

    //How about pop-up concrete barriers instead?


    thanks Ty-

    that one made my day ; )

  • MR

    I used to live in Flagstaff, AZ. In Flagstaff, speed bumps aren’t that common on residential streets, speed dips are. If you go over a speed bump too quickly, you might scrape your car on the road, and your shocks will be unhappy.

    If you go over a speed dip much too fast, it’s likely that you’ll take the oil pan off the bottom of your car. Lessons get taught remarkably quickly.

  • kennedy

    How about automated radar checks to nail speeders? Has it been tried? Probably a lot more income at stake.

  • bsimon

    “How about automated radar checks to nail speeders? Has it been tried? Probably a lot more income at stake.”

    It is done in some places, New Zealand, California. In MN it would run into the same problem as the red light cameras.

  • I’ve never been able to find out about how these cameras work for drivers trying to turn left. The law lets you pull into the intersection but the red light runners keep you from completing your turn until WELL AFTER the light has changed.

    Did you just break the law?

    As for yellow lights, the time recommended by safety experts is considerably longer than what is allowed in practice. I’ve hit crosswalks just as the light was changing and found myself unable to get through the intersection before the light changes. How does that make sense?

  • Bob Collins

    I thought exactly the same thing this morning, Mark, when I was sitting at Highway 52 and West Seventh, waiting to turn left. I couldn’t because traffic was coming in the opposite direction (legally). Then the light turned yellow, and then red, and I made the turn…legally.

  • tiredboomer

    Mark, Bob. I could be wrong, but as I recall it’s the color of the signal when you enter the intersection that matters. So you’re left turns are legal.

    Unfortunately that also makes speeding up to get into the intersection on yellow legal (but not smart).

  • Good to know. Now I need to get that left turn signal fixed….

  • Kim Harris

    go to and get the facts, then get back to me and tell me you still support them. I doubt you will. DONT MESS WITH TEXAS!