Saturday, September 24, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Green light cameras

Red-light scofflaws have had their way long enough in Seattle. The city is preparing to join other communities using state-of-the-art technology to reduce dangerous driving.

Councilman Tom Rasmussen and Mayor Greg Nickels will join the police department and put cameras at four high-risk intersections if the City Council gives the program the green light. It is expected to do so Monday. Motorists who run red lights cause deadly side-impact collisions. There is not enough money to assign police officers to intersections at all hours, so the city ought to use technology to stop irresponsible driving.

Beginning next spring, the city will install digital cameras that snap a picture of car license plates. The police would review violations and send a $101 citation to the car's registered owner.

The city will select four intersections for a pilot program, which should be expanded if the program is successful.

More than 100 communities around the country, including at least one in Washington state, already use red-light cameras.

Seattle should embrace the idea, because it will make reckless drivers think twice before barreling through a red light. That's smart use of technology — for safety's sake.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company


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