More Legislators Move To Ban Red Light Cameras
The bane of many a motorist and freedom advocate alike, the red light camera’s days may be drawing to a close as more governments move to ban them.
Over the past two months alone, legislators in California, Illinois and Texas have moved to do away with the devices based on both civil rights and financial concerns, Business Insider reports. The bans in California and Texas would be statewide if made into law, while Illinois’ ban would only apply to suburbs outside of Chicago and other communities with local authority.
The three states join 10 others that have imposed bans on red light cameras and another 19 that never bothered with the issue in the first place. The devices have garnered criticism from those who were caught by them, then received tickets in the mail, all without a chance to defend themselves under due process.
Meanwhile, the cities that once had them in place – such as the majority of the 110 municipalities in California that used red light cameras; only 39 of the 110 remain currently – took them down when they found that revenue from tickets issued didn’t do much to fill the coffers in the first place.
[Photo credit: Chris Phan/ Flickr]
If government wants revenue from drivers then why not install speed cameras instead? From what I understand, at least for Chicago, a big chunk of red light tickets are dismissed in court. It's all about a corrupt government in bed with the manufacturers that install these cameras.
The city government of the town in which I reside vigorously opposed the prohibition of red light cameras while the bill was being debated in the Texas Senate. Initially, the police argued that red light cameras increase safety and that the streets would run red with the blood of toddlers (it's all for the kids) if they were removed. Finally, city officials admitted the true cause for opposition: Eliminating the red light cameras will reduce revenues by $1.3 mil annually. Of course, the increased vigilance of mobile tax collectors will compensate for the loss of red light camera revenue.
This is the most common red light violation: You are approaching an intersection in a right turn lane, the light is red. The cars on the cross street to your right are making a left turn on a green arrow, which does not allow any pedestrians in the crosswalk. You approach slowly and safely but do not come to a complete stop ("California" stop) and complete your right turn endangering no one. However, since the camera did not detect a complete stop, one week later you receive a citation in the mail for a $400 contribution to the coffers of your fair city. Only the most jaded and sadistic cop would issue a citation under the same circumstances. These units were sold to cash strapped cities as sure fire way to increase revenues and enhance public safety at no cost to the city in a revenue sharing agreement. To add insult to injury, I believe the largest operator in this field was an Australian company. Good riddance to bad rubbish, and good lesson in the law of unintended consequences.
I concur...generally. The typical "California Stop" is seen at 4 way flashing lights or 4 way stop sign intersections, or the example I gave above; NOT at an intersection with clearly marked green/red or no red on right lights and signage. It is common enough that it acquired the nickname and would rarely be cited by most police officers unless the "stop" was unusually fast and showed no yield intention; think of it as a 4 way yield, where common sense and courtesy dictates who has the right of way. If every cop in CA gave tickets to people making right turns at stop lights or signs they wouldn't have time to do anything else. This tends to be one of those idiosyncratic CA things like lane-splitting for motorcycles (totally legal if done correctly) that is widely accepted...except by red light cameras.