I’m all for it. I live in a city where light-running is epidemic. Here is an accoung of a blatent violator who tried to take me out back in March.
I don’t really see a problem charging the owner a fine, unless the vehicle was stolen, the owner is a party to the act, and it is useful to know that the seemingly responsible friend/employee/teenaged child you provided your car to is routinely running lights, speeding etc. Hell, I’d support notification of the vehicle’s owner whenever a non-owner driver was cited or even warned by a two-legged, uniform wearing, traffic enforcement device.
There is wide precident, as owners are similarly responsible for parking fines, and running toll booths. If you can charge the owner for allowing thier vehicle to illeagly stand in a no-parking zone, or to illeaglly travel over a bridge, why not charge them with allowing the vehicle to illeaglly traverse an intersection.
I would have “big brother” issues if they were logging the plate numbers of every car that passed through the intersection leagally. The triggered camera amounts to having a cop on duty 24 hrs a day. Snapping a picture of a vehicle on a public roadway which is violating the law IS NOT an envasion of privacy.
Some issues I DO have with this:
-A fine is one thing. Assigning points to the owners license, when the identity of the driver isn’t established, is another. IMO, driving is considered a privlege, rather than a right, only because the automobile hadn’t been invented when the founding documents were written. Outside of a few large cities, living in the US without access to personal transportation is a significant handicap. Considering the ramifications to insurance rates, it’s clearly wrong to consider this a moving violation without due process. It needs to be treated as parking tickets are, even though it represents public endagerment.
-The lights MUST conform to established traffic engineering practice. One of the local TV stations did a piece where they found several intersections (used as “honey patches” by the local police) had yellow lights much shorter than published standards. If the traffic cameras are targeted at improving safety, I’m for them. If they are targeted at revinue generation, that is a problem.
-I would favor provisions that would support the owner in collecting compensation from the offender. In some cases, such as rental cars, this would be trivial to establish, as the renter typically signs a contract that will not allow other parties to drive the car. Just because the owner is responsible for seeing the fine is paid, doesn’t mean the offending party should get off. In the case of rental agencys, the courts wouldn’t need to get involved: if you stuck the rental agency with the fine you’d just be black listed and never be able to rent a car anywhere, from any agency, again…and they could even use it as a positive: If you rent 5 times with no tickets, you get a free upgrade on your next car for example.
I think this question is close enough to the OP not to be a hijack:
Do the red light cameras show enough of the scene to show if a vehicle behind the offender is also running the light, and/or tailgating? On a couple of occasions, I have knowingly run lights on a motorcycle because it was clear that the cage behind me was not going to stop, and presented a greater danger than the stationary cross traffic. It would be nice if the evidence used to charge you showed enough to be useful as a defense.