Colorado authorities have continued diligent efforts to improve roadway safety throughout the state. Unfortunately, 2016 was a difficult year statistically for CO, as an estimated 605 fatalities occurred during the year. This death toll included 125 motorcyclists, 84 pedestrians, and 16 that were riding a bicycle. This is an overall 11% increase over the 2015 statistics. Colorado is among the many states that uses cameras for enforcement of speeding and red-light type violations. As ticketing associated with automatic photographs becomes more common, we expect to see more usage of the images as evidence in more significant civil matters such as personal injury or wrongful death accident cases.
Retention Capability of Photographic Evidence
In Colorado Springs, the police have adopted body cameras which record traffic stops and all encounters with the public. The data is transmitted through a router on the patrol car to a storage cloud, which allows for retention. Under California statute, these records may be retained for six months, or until completion of any citations and such. Pennsylvania retains recorded images from automatic traffic systems for a period of one year. Colorado has yet to implement a formal standard or course of action relating to the topic.
Use of Camera Photos as Evidence
There is little doubt that automatic photo and video evidence would be useful evidence in cases. In Pennsylvania and Washington, the images are admissible in judicial and administrative proceedings. We know that the photos are used in minor speeding and red-light violations. Colorado law clearly allows still photographs, X-ray, video tapes, and motion pictures to be admitted as evidence; however, it is undetermined how widely they are used is more complex litigation.
Denver Usage Data
- Between 2000 and 2015 the city collected roughly $43.5 million to add to the general fund; this was executed profitably, as costs were under $3 million.
- Ticket costs were: $40 for the majority of violations in residential or commercial areas, $70 for red-light running, and $80 for speeding in construction or school zones.
- Most recently, a $6 million investment in further implementation of these cameras was proposed
The Future of Camera Usage & Enforcement
Research indicates that photo enforcement programs have a benefit aside from generating revenue. In equipped cities, there was a 21% drop in fatal red light related crashes. As long as photo authenticity is able to be confirmed, usage should continue to escalate. Many states and localities continue to challenge the related legal privacy concerns associated with camera usage.
Tragedies such as severe injury and death stemming from auto accidents are devastating. Colorado law allows for victims to recover for financial losses, hardship and property damages through civil litigation. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has been committed to protecting the rights of those impacted for many years. If you have been injured due to the negligent actions of another driver, contact the office today at (303) 825-2223.