LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - How many times have you been sitting at an intersection and one, two, even three cars run a red light right in front of you? Lafayette police said it's a big problem, and they've started to take notice.
"Just about every single light cycle, there's between one and five violators that go through after the red light," said Lafayette Police Officer Mike Brown. "It's just about people choosing not to stop."
"Red light running is one of the more common complaints we get from the public," said Lafayette Police Traffic Investigator Matt Devine.
Just in Lafayette, 591 people were ticketed or warned for that infraction last year, and 512 people to date in 2012. It's an infraction Brown said could be deadly.
"If you do the math, if every single light cycle, between one and five cars violate the red light, in a matter of two hours, you're looking at potentially hundreds of crashes that could have been caused by that red light violation," said Brown.
In fact, police records show that as of October 2012, 55 of the 512 violations resulted in crashes. That's just in Lafayette.
"We need to try to put a damper on that," said Brown.
Brown said officers have begun cracking down on these violations throughout the city. Devine said it's often hard to catch these red light runners without officers putting themselves in danger. That's why he said group enforcement gives them an edge.
"We have details where officers, groups of officers, go out and specifically enforce red light running at various intersections, high crash intersections, like State Road 26 and Creasy," said Devine.
News 18 tagged along with a group of officers on red light patrol and saw just how hard it can be. In about an hour, only five people were ticketed, but many more were violators.
One of those drivers was Lafayette resident Jeff Wooldridge.
Wooldridge received a $150 ticket for running a light at Creasy Lane and State Road 26. That's an intersection Brown said you don't want to mess with.
"This intersection is one of the most dangerous in Tippecanoe County," said Brown.
"I could have sworn it was yellow, but I went through it," said Wooldridge.
"He said the light was yellow when he got in," said Brown. "That's something you dispute in court, not with me."
While many do get busted, officers admit they could use some help. Many say they're not against that help coming in the form of a red light camera.
"Me personally, I would at least like to see that avenue explored a little bit more," said Devine. "I think there are some things at the state level that need to happen before we can pursue the red light running from a technology stand point."
It looks like Devine's not wrong.
Democratic State Representative Sheila Klinker said other states with red light cameras have run into reliability issues. That's one major reason why cameras have been a "no go" in the Hoosier state.
"I know in Illinois, two or three people who received tickets that weren't even close to the intersection at the time," said Klinker. "They had the wrong car, and the wrong people, and that's just a hassle more than a safe guard."
Klinker said many people also felt that red light cameras would be too much of an invasion of privacy. She said the cameras you see at the intersection of Northwestern and Stadium avenues on Purdue's campus are not red light cameras. Instead, they are used to monitor traffic flow.
The question remains, will Hoosiers see cameras on stoplights anytime soon?
"Red light cameras will be discussed, but it will not go through the General Assembly yet," said Klinker.
Until then, our local police forces are on their own, patrolling the streets looking for anyone who dares to be a red light runner.
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