Red-Light Cameras: A Menace to Poor, Urban America

While the idea of widespread red-light and speed cameras might seem relatively neutral, the truth is that they disproportionately hurt the most disadvantaged drivers.

Throughout America, cities have been implementing these traffic cameras in an effort to make roads safer overall. Some have argued that, since the traffic tickets are prompted by inanimate objects (cameras), this somehow makes them immune from systemic, social issues.

But the unfortunate reality is that, like many of America’s efforts to enforce the law, they unfairly derail the lives of poor, urban Americans—and especially people of colour. What started as an attempt to improve road safety has transformed into a system which essentially punishes and perpetuates poverty.

Many critics from across the country have voiced their concerns, from anti-poverty activists and researchers to working-class people who have experienced this phenomenon first-hand.