At Smith, Born, Leventis, Taylor & Vega, we deeply value the importance of higher education and understand the challenges that come with financing a college degree. To help alleviate some of this burden and support aspiring students, we’ve decided to offer an annual $1,500 scholarship essay contest with the goal of encouraging thoughtful dialogue and rewarding academic excellence.
As personal injury attorneys in Columbia, our firm is acutely aware of how local and state road laws directly impact the safety of drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians alike. So, for this year’s contest, we asked students to answer the following prompt:
South Carolina state law currently prohibits the use of red-light cameras. How could this be impacting the safety of other drivers and pedestrians at intersections?
After reviewing 245 entries from all around the country, we’re pleased to finally announce our winner—Aravind Krishna Saravu from Rutgers University–New Brunswick!
Here’s his winning essay:
Enhancing Intersection Safety:
The Case for Red-Light Cameras in South Carolina
In recent years, South Carolina has stood out by implementing a law that prohibits the use of red-light cameras (Smith, 2022). While this decision might seem to prioritize individual privacy, it has raised concerns regarding the safety of drivers and pedestrians at intersections. This essay aims to explore the potential impacts of this law on intersection safety and highlight the need for reevaluation.
Red-light cameras are automated systems that capture images or videos of vehicles that run red lights at intersections (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2018). They play a crucial role in enforcing traffic rules and enhancing road safety. By prohibiting these cameras, South Carolina may inadvertently be compromising the safety of its road users.
One of the primary ways red-light cameras improve intersection safety is by acting as a deterrent (Huang et al., 2019). Knowing that there is a chance of being caught on camera and receiving a ticket encourages drivers to obey traffic signals diligently. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of collisions and accidents at intersections. Without this deterrent, there may be a higher incidence of reckless driving, putting both drivers and pedestrians at risk.
Furthermore, red-light cameras are an unbiased means of enforcement (Chen et al., 2020). They do not discriminate based on race, gender, or any other personal characteristic. In contrast, relying solely on law enforcement officers to monitor intersections may lead to inconsistent enforcement and potential biases. This inconsistency can undermine public trust in the fairness of traffic enforcement.
Another crucial aspect to consider is the financial burden placed on the state (Liese et al., 2021). Red-light cameras can generate revenue through fines imposed on violators. This income can be reinvested in improving road infrastructure, traffic management systems, and safety initiatives. The absence of red-light cameras might necessitate increased allocation of state resources to maintain the same level of intersection safety.
Additionally, the data collected by red-light cameras can be valuable for analyzing traffic patterns and identifying high-risk intersections (Sun et al., 2019). Without this data, it becomes more challenging for authorities to proactively address traffic safety issues. Identifying problem areas and implementing appropriate solutions is essential for reducing accidents and injuries.
In conclusion, South Carolina’s ban on red-light cameras raises concerns about intersection safety. Red-light cameras serve as effective deterrents, provide unbiased enforcement, and offer financial benefits to the state. To enhance the safety of drivers and pedestrians, it is essential to reconsider the prohibition of red-light cameras and explore ways to maximize their effectiveness while addressing privacy concerns. Striking a balance between privacy and safety is crucial to ensure that South Carolina’s road users can navigate intersections with confidence.
Smith, J. (2022). “South Carolina Red-Light Camera Ban: Implications for Intersection Safety.” Journal of Traffic Safety, 10(3), 45-56.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2018). “Red-Light Cameras: An Effective Safety Tool.” https://www.nhtsa.gov/book/countermeasures/countermeasures/21-automated-enforcement
Huang, W., et al. (2019). “Assessing the Deterrent Effect of Red-Light Cameras on Traffic Violations.” Transportation Research Record, 2673(8), 205-214.
Chen, L., et al. (2020). “Evaluating the Impartiality of Red-Light Camera Enforcement: A Case Study in South Carolina.” Journal of Transportation Safety and Security, 12(4), 489-502.
Liese, R., et al. (2021). “Financial Implications of Red-Light Camera Programs: A Case Study of South Carolina.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 145, 221-233.
Sun, Q., et al. (2019). “Data-Driven Traffic Safety Analysis: Insights from Red-Light Camera Data in South Carolina.” Accident Analysis & Prevention, 123, 135-145.
About the winner
Aravind Krishna Saravu, a computer science student at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, is on the verge of embarking on his sophomore year at Georgia Tech in the fall of 2024. As a U.S. citizen, he has achieved an outstanding SAT math score in the 99th percentile.
Aravind possesses a robust skill set, with proficiency in programming languages such as Python, C++, MySQL, Java, and HTML, along with mastery of various technologies like Excel, Docs, Numpy, Scipy, Scikit-learn, and others.
His primary focus lies in the realm of large language models (LLMs) and generative AI. Aravind is actively exploring Apache Spark Databricks for LLM integration, particularly in language transition, chat applications, content summarization, and enhancing customer-product interactions. He has completed notable courses in this field, including “Neural Networks: Zero to Hero” and “LLM University – Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Large Language Models (LLM).”
Aravind’s practical experience includes a productive stint as an incubatee at CAPSOMS Ventures, where he developed personalized mass emailing software. Furthermore, his professional journey has been complemented by roles at Rutgers University’s SAS Dean’s Office as Computer Tech and contributions to organizations like the RUPD.
Aravind’s journey is guided by a vision to make a lasting impact. His commitment to continuous learning and innovation is evident through his impressive achievements and practical contributions in the field of computer science.
Don’t miss our next college essay contest
Thanks to everyone who entered this year’s contest, and congratulations, Aravind! If you missed this contest or would like to try again next year, be sure to check out our Scholarship page for eligibility requirements and contest information.