Teen Leads City's Fight on Red-Light Cameras

17-year-old Josh Sutinen running initiative to ban them in Longview, Washington
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2011 12:07 PM CDT

(Newser) – Josh Sutinen isn't old enough to vote and only got his driver's license last month, but he's already among the leaders in a national backlash against cameras that issue traffic tickets. The 17-year-old has worked for most of this year pushing an initiative to ban red-light and speed cameras in his hometown of Longview, Washington, and he's in the final stages of a signature-collection effort that has him fighting the city council. "These cameras are really just another big government attack on our rights," he says. "It's just taxation through citation."

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Sutinen's plan is one of four similar ballot proposals around Washington this year. Voters in more than a dozen cities nationwide have passed referendums banning the cameras while nine states now prohibit them. Officials in Los Angeles, where a single ticket can cost hundreds of dollars, moved this week to end a camera program there. Opponents question whether the cameras actually improve safety, noting that many citations are issued to drivers who simply don't fully stop as they take right turns at red lights. They also believe governments are largely using the cameras as a revenue source. At least one study, however, suggests the cameras save lives. (Read more Washington stories.)

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