Red light cameras in Birmingham?

By Ashley Nix

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - An extra eye in the sky could be watching you in Birmingham.  

The city's Public Safety Committee is considering a proposal to install cameras at intersections across the city. The committee took up the issue this week. If approved, several cameras would be installed at intersections across the city, aiming to catch people who run red lights by sending a ticket in the mail.

"I witnessed an accident where a mother and infant child were hit," said Councilor Johnathan Austin. "The child and mother weren't hurt but it was because of someone running a red light."  

Austin, head of the public safety committee, said there are many problem spots throughout Birmingham.  

"The system does work and we know that it works," Austin said of the red light cameras. "It's used to change driver behavior...basically were just asking people to obey the law."
 
AAA of Alabama says although not against red light cameras, they do want to city leaders to make an informed decision.

"These cameras can be beneficial and a good thing," Clay Ingram said.  "In certain situations they are good, but they are very prone to abuse and misuse."

Ingram says police departments, not the camera company need to be in charge of monitoring.  Ingram also said while t-bone type collisions will decrease, other types of accidents could go up.

"People are sometimes so afraid of running a red light they slam on their brakes as the light changes to yellow and get rear ended," Ingram says.

Austin says he realizes there are two sides of the issue, but says he's only worried about the safety of drivers, pedestrians and business owners.  

"For those who are saying don't take a picture if I run a red light," Austin said. "Don't run the light and you wont be caught."

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