Red light cameras installed at busy Petersburg intersections

Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 04, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-04 18:08:44-04

PETERSBURG. Va. (WTVR) – High-tech cameras in Petersburg are cracking down on drivers who run red lights.

Some commuters said they think the cameras will make a difference at the intersections by reducing the number of people who speed through red lights.

One driver told CBS 6 News' Wayne Covil that she believes the cameras are a good idea.

Rick Etterson, another driver, agreed and said he hopes the lights will help prevent accidents.

The cameras, which are located at Washington and Adams Street, as well as Crater and Wagner Road, do more than just snap a shot.

"A photo is taken of the license plate before and after the stop bar, to include video is also captured of the incident as well," Petersburg Police Sgt. Haywood James said.

However, the cameras do not actually show the driver of the vehicle, because James said state law does not require police to show the violator's photo.

That has some drivers worried they might get a ticket if someone else is driving their car.

"The government doesn't have to prove that you're the driver, you have to prove you're in fact, not the driver of the car," CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said.  

Stone said he thinks the $50 fine might mean few people will come to court to dispute the charge if they were not driving.

"I think the way the government is getting away with this, at least so far, is that it only allows for minimum fines," Stone said. "It does not allow the government to come and arrest somebody if they fail to appear in court on a charge like this."

Money for the red light cameras, which are leased to the city, come from fines collected from violators.

Those violators will get a warning until Oct. 30. That's when police will begin issuing tickets.