The decision on whether to install cameras at specified traffic lights hinges on the votes of two Hinesville city councilmen Thursday.
Three out of five council members have taken definitive stances on the matter — Steve Troha, who approves of the ordinance, and Kenneth Shaw and David Anderson who oppose it.
Charles Frasier and Jack Shuman are undecided and are hoping to hear more information on the matter during the meeting before voting.
Pros and Cons
In Savannah where many cameras were installed at busy intersections, the rate of side-impact wrecks decreased, while the number of rear-end collisions increased, and it seems like the cameras will exchange one accident rate for another, Frasier said.
If Frasier is unconvinced after reviewing all the facts, he plans to oppose the cameras.
Anderson said, “I think we don’t need more government control in this town, and I think these cameras would be a form of harassment. In terms of surveillance, I think the cameras would be a good idea, but not as a means to just hand out traffic tickets.”
Troha, who has been pushing for these cameras for nearly two years, believes the opposite.
“I can’t even comprehend why someone would say it’s a form of harassment. If someone runs a red light and receives a ticket, how is that harassment,” he said. “The traffic patterns in this town need to change, and these cameras would free up our police officers so they can have more time to patrol our neighborhoods.”
Hinesville Police Deputy Chief Julien Hodges agrees, saying it would benefit motorists and his officers who could spend more time scouring the streets for criminals.
Shaw said the cameras would be ineffective because drivers could just bypass the lights where the cameras are, which, in turn, would create heavier flows of traffic if people use the auxiliary routes.
Also, he does not think Hinesville should follow suit with Savannah because the traffic logistics of the two cities cannot be precisely compared with each other.
After considering the preliminary information provided so far, Shuman has broken it down to where he needs only two guarantees.
“Before I would approve this ordinance, two things would have to happen,” he said. “I would want a guarantee that there would be absolutely no cost to the city and, secondly, I want to know that this camera system would not increase the number of accidents in town.”
The officials have spoken, and the council welcomes the views of any Hinesville resident.
The meeting is set for 1 p.m. at city hall.
How they'll vote
Three of the five Hinesville city councilmen have stated how they feel about the possibility of installing cameras at traffic lights.
Councilmembers are expected to vote on the matter Thursday.
Anticipated vote breakdown
• Steve Troha............ Approves
• David Anderson......Opposed
• Kenneth Shaw........Opposed
• Charles Frasier....Undecided
• Jack Shuman........Undecided