EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The city of East Providence, Rhode Island, has announced plans to install 10 new red light cameras and one additional school zone camera in the coming year, following the collection of nearly $3 million in fines in 2022.
The city's original camera program, implemented in nine school zones in early January, has issued $50 fines to violators and has taken in $2,839,893 through December 11. The program will add one additional school zone camera in early 2023.
Beginning on January 2, the new red light cameras will photograph drivers who run red lights at 10 different intersections in the city and issue warnings in the mail. The city will switch to issuing $85 tickets starting on February 1.
City officials claim that the camera programs are effective in "deterring speeding, reducing crashes, and ultimately saving lives." However, some critics argue that the technology infringes on civil liberties and have voiced opposition to red light and school zone cameras.
For example, Hannah Stern, policy associate at the ACLU of Rhode Island, stated that
you don't get public safety by putting up cameras that are tracking the movements of people, you don't get public safety by tracking the whereabouts of drivers."
Stern added that cameras create a database of drivers' movements and whereabouts.
Despite the concerns raised by critics, city officials in East Providence have emphasized the safety benefits of the camera programs. Patricia Resende, a spokesperson for the city, explained that the cameras effectively reduce crashes and save lives.
Mayor Bob DaSilva and police chief Christopher Francesconi have declined interview requests. Still, they have referred interested parties to a page on the city website that outlines the reasons for implementing the camera programs.
It remains to be seen how residents of East Providence will receive the new camera programs. Some may welcome the increased safety measures, while others may object to what they see as an infringement on their civil liberties.
Therefore, it will be necessary for the city to carefully balance the need for public safety with the concerns of its citizens.
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