Whether you live here in Los Angeles or another California city, chances are there are people in your area who choose to break the law while driving. Whether it’s speeding down a roadway or running a red light, we’ve all seen a traffic violation and likely thought, “Where’s a cop when you need one?” It’s a question just like this that has prompted some cities in the state to implement traffic cameras that catch reckless drivers in the act.

In theory, traffic cameras serve a two-fold purpose. While they help law enforcement agencies hold people accountable for breaking the law, they also serve as a deterrent for future negligent behavior. For pedestrians and bicyclists in California, this is very good news indeed as it reduces their chances of getting struck by one of these negligent drivers.

Unfortunately, back in 2011, Los Angeles decided to shut down its traffic camera program because it was costing the city $1.5 million a year. Some officials weren’t even sure if the program was really making roadways safer, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists. But a move by San Francisco’s mayor Ed Lee and transportation officials could spark new discussions about the effect traffic cameras have on safety.

For those who haven’t heard, San Francisco is considering the installation of cameras and radar beams that would catch speeders. The idea is that the threat of getting a ticket will be enough to discourage rule breakers, thereby increasing safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. If the measure proves effective and reduces the likelihood of accidents, traffic cameras might be worth reconsideration here in Los Angeles where foot traffic is also put in harm’s way when reckless drivers go unchecked. Only time will tell if officials in Los Angeles will have a change of heart though.

Sources: The SF Gate, “S.F. vision: Catch speeders on camera, but there’s a catch,” Michael Cabanatuan and Steve Rubenstein, June 1, 2015

The Huffington Post, “Los Angeles Red Light Cameras To Shut Off,” The Associated Press, Sept. 26, 2011