Monday, June 02, 2008

 

More Red Light Camera Rip-Off

Cincinnati is considering installing red light cameras in which the payments for the cameras would be made from the fines from the persons caught by the cameras. Sounds like a sure fire way further create a police state in the land of the "free."

Fortunately, there is opposition to the cameras. Plus, the cameras may not prove to be profitable.
While the Cincinnati administration continues working on its package to council, a coalition of opposition groups led by the local NAACP and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes continues to push for a November ballot initiative to stop the city. The coalition, at www.wedemandavote.com, hopes to collect the more than 8,000 signatures necessary by July 4. NAACP President Christopher Smitherman announced in early May that the group had already collected 2,000. The initiative would prohibit the city from ever installing cameras.

"The momentum's good and we have a lot of people out there working," said COAST lawyer Chris Finney.

Organizers believe the cameras erode civil liberties, circumvent a defendant's right to face his accuser and are being put forth by the city as a way to make money, not to keep drivers safe.
Agreed.
Redflex included a testimonial from Columbus Director of Public Safety Mitchell Brown, who wrote that the city got $141,505 in 2006 from 6,085 violation notices, for a 64 percent pay rate. Columbus saw a 62 percent reduction in light-running, he wrote, at the seven intersections cameras watched.

In Dayton, according to a testimonial from police Det. Carol Johnson, crashes at camera locations declined 40 percent in the first 18 months that city's 10 cameras were in use.

After drivers became accustomed to the cameras, the number of violations dropped by about half, to about 80 a month per camera in June 2007.
Considering the small "profit margin" and the drop in violations, red light cameras may not be worth it.

There is also ample evidence that, while the cameras may reduce accidents in the intersection, they increase overall accidents, including fatalities. More HERE.

The use of red light cameras reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut's book, Player Piano, in which there were electronic devices everywhere to make sure the humans didn't jaywalk, cross against the light, etc. A mechanized world that kept the humans in line.

Of course, installing red light cameras is just a money grab and nothing more. All the fancy words are just sweet smelling crap to try and convince voters what's "best" for them.

Comments:
Cameras monitoring red lights erode civil liberties, eh? Please describe the origin of this "civil liberty" to run red lights. (Use as many pages as necessary.)

The claim that red light cameras "circumvent a defendant's right to face his accuser" is also phony. Your accuser, Dadvocate, should you be ticketed based on photographic evidence, is the officer whose signature and ID number is on your ticket.

Arguing that red light cameras are deployed by cities in your state "as a way to make money, not to keep drivers safe" is just an argument to eliminate fines for all traffic violations, however they are enforced. I suppose your community could just jail dangerous drivers upon conviction of a traffic offense; that'd make sure that cities and counties don't "make money" off of traffic enforcement. Rather, it would add to their expense of operating the local Gray Bar Motel. (Be careful of what you wish for...)

I followed the link you gave in an attempt to support your claim that the use of cameras "increase overall accidents, including fatalities." I don't buy the one suggesting an increase in fatalities, if it were so then your source would be linking to multiple examples of such studies, not just one. As for the ones claiming an "increase (in) overall accidents", yeah, there is sometimes an increase in the number of rear-end collisions as drivers who aren't paying attention to the road notice the light has turned to yellow and panic-stop 40 feet from the intersection while sailing along at 40 mph. This comes as a big shock to the dope's tailgater who is also daydreaming instead of driving. Still, a bumper-on-bumper rear-end collision is much less dangerous to the drivers and passengers of both involved cars than getting T-boned by a red light runner.

Finally, I noticed that none of the studies that showed any evidence for an increase in collisions at camera-enforced intersections used officer-present enforced intersections as their experimental controls. The same drivers who'd panic at the thought of a camera and do something stupid would also be startled when they suddenly notice a patrol car or motorcycle officer and also do something stupid. So, again I dispute claims that there's "ample evidence" to doubt the value of camera enforcement of required stops at red lights.
 
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