Legislation is moving through Harrisburg that would allow Erie to install red light enforcement cameras at intersections.
The bill's sponsor says the measure would save lives. Critics say it's just another way for the government to raise money.
When a traffic signal turns red, a moving car would trigger a sensor. The cameras would take two pictures, one of the vehicle and one of the license plate. A citation would then be mailed to the owner of the vehicle.
The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday. In order for it to become law, it must pass the full Senate, then the House, and be signed by the governor.
Supporters of the bill are pointing to studies that say red light cameras are a deterrent, and they are slowing people down. One study, done at 14 US cities that have the cameras, reveals that fatal crashes were reduced by 24 percent.
The bill would allow larger Pennsylvania cities such as Erie, Pittsburgh, Altoona, and Scranton to install the cameras, if they wish. Philadelphia has had the cameras since 2002.
Violators would pay a $100 fine. The revenue would be shared 50/50 between the cities and the state.
We asked some drivers in Erie today what they think about the red light cameras.
DAVID WATERS, ERIE
"I really don't have a problem with it. I've seen personally, driving around here, a lot of people speeding through red lights or just not sitting there waiting for red lights. So I really don't have a problem with it.'
MARK SANTIA, ERIE
"I think it's ridiculous. If they're going to try and catch people, they should have the police out and stop them. It gives them a bigger scare than sending a ticket to their house. So I think it's ridiculous."
CHRIS SPENCER, GIRARD
"I think it's a good idea. Maybe it will stop the speeders. Less accidents. That's what I think."
AMY HELD, ERIE
"I think it's a good thing because I think a lot of people blow through and not pay attention. And I know they're in other cities. I drive in Maryland a lot so I know it's in Maryland. It's going to benefit, and I think it's going to cut down on a lot of accidents, especially in the winter."