By on July 30, 2016

red light traffic signal (Matthias Ripp/Flickr]

There’s few feelings more stomach-churning than looking up from your mirror (or radio) and seeing an amber light looming ahead. Do you go for it, or hit the brakes? If the intersection boats red light cameras, the potential fines make a good argument for mashing the pedal on the left.

That’s how the cameras are supposed to work, and a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds they do just that. The paper, funded by auto insurers, says removing red light cameras at intersections leads to more collisions.

So, why are some cities scrapping their red light camera programs?

The paper compared annual crash rates in 14 U.S. cities that removed their red light cameras versus 33 similar cities that didn’t. Fatal crashes linked to red-light-running were 30 percent higher after removing the cameras, the study found. Crashes of all types went up 16 percent in those cities.

The IIHS claims red light running caused 709 deaths in 2014, a number most people would like to see lowered. Red light cameras seem like an obvious tool to boost safety, but they remain controversial.

According to Wen Hu, the study’s co-author, “the number of U.S. municipalities using red light camera enforcement increased rapidly before peaking in 2012 at 533 communities, by 2015 this number declined to 467 communities. Although new camera programs continued to be added, 158 communities ended their red light camera programs between 2010 and 2015.”

Why the distrust of potentially life-saving cameras? Blame local politicians, and their tendency to expand red light cameras to relatively safe intersections. When the ticket revenue goes to the city’s “general revenue” pile instead of safety programs, residents see red, as their elected officials see green.

In those cases, American Automobile Association research director Jake Nelson told the Associated Press, “you have to question what are we really doing here? Are we saving lives or are we raising money?”

No city hungers for red light cameras more than Chicago, which reaped hundreds of millions of dollars through its program. It was a windfall of new revenue — and controversy. That city’s red light camera roll-out proved a massive debacle.

Executives at the company supplying the initial crop of cameras were charged with bribing state officials and fraud. Irregularities in the amount of tickets issued on certain dates earned citizens’ distrust.

Last year, Chicago alderman Anthony Beale told the Chicago Sun-Times that public safety counts for only one-quarter of the program.

“It’s 75 percent revenue-driven,” said Beale. “But with the budget crunch we’re in now, it would be almost impossible to do away with any of them. We can’t afford to get rid of them.”

If communities want to grow public support to bring in (or keep) red light cameras, the onus is on politicians to prove it isn’t just a money grab.

[Image: Matthias Ripp/Flickr]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

129 Comments on “Study Shows Red Light Cameras Reduce Accidents, so Why the Hate?...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Rejecting impulsive stupidity as a lifestyle, one need fear neither red light cameras nor paternity tests.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      My instinct is to agree with Kenmore, except that a little voice is telling me that a whole lot of municipalities are using a variety of police stops to generate money. I’m certainly aware of speed traps in my own area, but I never imagined what a place like Ferguson, MO was actually up to. And they can’t be alone. So maybe the temptation is too great for governments to make red light cameras a cash cow.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        When municipalities leave monitoring and maintenance to private companies is where the trouble starts.

        The way to make an intersection safer is to lengthen the yellow light and add a 3-5 second delay to the cross street green after the red. Private companies who get a percentage of the “take” do just the opposite to maximize revenue, and if those intersections are monitored by IIHS, they’ll prove to be more dangerous.

        Because of how the red light cameras are installed, monitored, and maintained under private contracts, they’re strictly revenue producers, often at the expense of safety when the yellow interval is shortened.

        Cities and towns are now wising up to the problem and listening to irate motorists who want the cameras removed. Timing of the yellow and red intervals gets the job done more cheaply with less feedback from angry voters.

        • 0 avatar
          Steve Biro

          Exactly, Lorenzo. Lengthening the yellow-light time would solve almost all cases of red-light running. But when these red-light cameras are installed, usually the opposite happens. The yellow-light time is shortened so as to encourage violations – and collect more money. If a given municipality refuses to do that, usually the camera company will then require a larger share of the financial take. And most government officials are loathe to leave any money in the table. Why are these cameras so hated? Because most people understand what they really are.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Exactly. Near my house the usual green left arrow, yellow left arrow, then immediate forward green has been changed to green left arrow, yellow left arrow, solid red for 1 second, then forward green. Obviously this is to grab any car committed to that left turn as the yellow arrow extinguishes. So as long as the public sees the changes like this made expressly to increase ticket revenue and not safety, the anger will remain even if there are potential safety improvements afforded by cameras.

            Want to improve the system? Set the cameras to nail egregious red light runners, not those who misjudge the yellow time (which now vary all over the place). And eliminate the tickets for those who almost come to a full stop but might still be moving 3 MPH when turning right on red. That’s just a cash grab. Then separate red light camera revenue from the general fund and use it for safety programs only. Lastly, remove the obvious conflict of interest by making it illegal for the equipment providers to profit from the ticket count.

            Unless these fixes are made, expect the voter rage to continue. And then I’ll stop jamming on the brakes (traffic behind me be damned) at every $camera stop light.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        yep. traffic “enforcement” has been used as a source of revenue for a long time now. If it was truly about safety, they’d target the inattentive, texting, careless and reckless. But city/county governments don’t give one wet s**t about road safety, so they order their police officers to sit there and pick off speeders for $150-200 a pop.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      Chicago reduced the yellow light duration at intersections with red light cameras. It is perfectly rational to fear a tool of greed that incentivizes malfeasance that may actually make intersections less safe.

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        I just got popped by the red light camera at Pulaski and 55th last month. I swear the yellow time could have been measured on time scales usually reserved for energetic chemical reactions.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m getting older and slower so red light cameras are not really a problem for me. On the other hand, the growing police state does, especially when it’s done for profit.

    • 0 avatar

      Spot on.

      Most of these red light cameras are programmed with a shorter yellow light duration so as to produce more revenue. I’ve personally witnessed a chain reaction accident due to a motorist panic stopping at one of these lights.

      I’m not convinced that the statistics put forth by the IIHS are accurate. By and large, the feds just spin numbers to suit ’em. Any lie is a good lie as long as it furthers their cause(s).

      And who gets the lion’s share of the revenue? Often it’s not the municipality. It’s the red light camera company. It’s another way for local politicians to divert the public’s money into the pockets of friends, family and donors who own the red light companies.

      It’s a scam and I wouldn’t put it past any or all the politicians involved to skew the numbers to suit ’em.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        This may well be a case of “spinning the numbers,” but not by “the Feds.” The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is not a government body. It is an arm of the auto insurance industry.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Yeah, I’m pretty sure the NHTSA is the actual government body concerned with car accidents and the like.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          I’m sure that insurance premiums increased because of a ticket for ‘running’ a nano-second-long yellow light cycle hooked to an Australian revenue camera are at least as beneficial for insurers as insurance premiums increased because someone actually ran a red light in front of a police officer. Besides, police officers have to prioritize their enforcement efforts, while shortened-yellow ticket cameras can just tax and tax and shake down commuters. The IIHS can’t even see the shark tank in its rear view mirror at this point.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaMaximaCulpa

        I just came back to Europe after driving around in the US for a couple of weeks and the veeeeery different durations of yellow lights was truly puzzling. Some places it seemed like an eternity and other places like a couple of seconds. It was not as puzzling as the average drivers inability too 1) parallel park, 2) use turn signals, and 3) use the right lane. Those minor criticisms aside it was a god time all around with some fine driving and the people in Alabama, Florida, Texas and Louisiana was -with the possible exception of the asses working at brooks brothers (purveyors of The finest mid level Chinese tailoring) and Allen Edmonds (a second rate manufacturer of good year welted shoes) in Austin – the nicest people imaginable.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        This is exactly the kind of issue where any input from the iihs should be met with extreme skepticism. The insurance companies only fund the crash tests because it aids their bottom line. In the case of ticketing offenses their only upside business-wise is an increase in the number of pointed licenses. They have long advocated on the state level for points to be levied on automated enforcement, or, barring that, to have open access to the data gathered on issued citations and travel patterns.

        Besides, there are other studies out there showing an increase in accident rates at intersections with cameras. Those numbers are harder to massage than city wide data and are more credible, having come from a non insurance related source. That information should absolutely have been included in the original post btw.

      • 0 avatar
        stevelovescars

        And it’s profit for the insurance companies who promptly raise insurance premiums when that moving violation shows up on your record. The IIHS isn’t exactly objective.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Particularly foreign corporate profits, see Redflex.

      Automated justice is a sketchy concept to my mind as well.

  • avatar
    siuol11.2

    This study is a bit misleading though – the problem with red light cameras always has been and always will be that cities use them for revenue generation, and (as per the contracts with the companies that provide them) shorten the timing of the yellow lights in order to increase infractions. That’s why there has been massive pushback against them at the local level.
    If you’re curious as to if what I’m saying is the truth, you can go back in your own archives and find many articles railing against them for good reason. Frankly, I’m surprised that you didn’t do that before publishing this article.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Because…

    1) Other studies haven’t corroborated this study.

    2) The funder of this study has a vested financial interest in supporting red light cameras, as more traffic tickets equal more excuses to raise insurance rates.

    3) Most tickets issued at camera intersections are not for outright running of a red light. They’re for not meeting the legal definition of a four-second full stop before making a right turn on red.

    4) The behavior of red light camera corporations, and the government bodies who consort with them, has made clear that safety not only is not the goal, but they will in fact consciously choose to reduce safety and knowingly cause additional accidents in order to make more money. I refer specifically to the known research finding that the quickest way to effecively reduce the danger of red light accidents is to lengthen the yellow light to at least 3.5 seconds. Instead, in multiple instances including Chicago (re-read the above quote from a Chicago official), here’s what happens:

    A) Camera is installed and gives tickets.

    B) Eventually, drivers adjust to the presence of a camera and reduce their rate of violations.

    C) The camera company and local government respond by shortening the yellow in order to bring revenue back up. This results in drivers caught in the dilemma of risking an accident or risking a ticket. Predictably, some chose the former. In these cases, the camera is deployed in a way that CAUSES accidents. Yet again and again, it continues to be done.

    • 0 avatar
      quiksilver180

      Exactly. Great points.

    • 0 avatar

      Anecdote time: Following the installation of a red-light camera at the intersection of S. Lamar Blvd. and Ben White Blvd. and the introduction of a three-second yellow at this 500-yard, two-light exchange, traffic flow through the residential neighborhood and shopping centers adjacent escalated dramatically. (on the map, turn on Ben White from Lamar to Victory Drive, then follow Victory to Panther Lane returning you to Lamar Blvd. or vice versa.)

      I am unaware of any newsworthy incidents from this phenomenon, but it is doing nothing to ease the faithlessness residents feel for the “City of”.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      Excellent points.

  • avatar
    Mc40

    Agree with the above. There should be a study done to see whether making yellow lights a few seconds longer helps with safety. Longer yellows should help at accident-prone intersections but no-one (other than the public) would benefit from that.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Every state DOT has done such a study, along with multiple large city traffic departments. There’s no need for more studies, every veteran traffic engineer knows a longer yellow and a delay interval for cross traffic green lights enhances intersection safety. The issue, and requests for more studies, come from politicians and citizens who don’t know it’s already been done.

      That’s something long-time engineers and other professionals have noted: in the past, people would take the word of professionals working in the field; today, the public doesn’t trust anybody, and demands proof, when the proof already exists.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I used to commute from PA into Jersey. There was a red light camera just before at the intersection of Rt. 22 and I-78. While I could say that I noticed far fewer cars running the light after the camera was installed, most of the revenue came from tickets issued for failing to stop for right turns on red These tickets were mostly revenue raising as there were few if any accidents caused by not completely stopping for right turns on red.
    A collation of politicos and a large radio station started a campaign to either stop ticketing for right turns on red or get rid of the cameras. The towns with the cameras were already addicted to the money from them so they balked at popular opposition and kept them. But, the revenue streams started to dry up after local drivers started stopping and counting to three before making a right turn on red. This radically reduced revenue at these intersections. Once the cameras became revenue negative since the company contracted to operate the camera was guaranteed a certain income, the local politicians were only too happy to appease their constituents and get rid of the cameras.
    I personally thought that the cameras did reduce running straight through the red at that particular intersection, but greed got the better of the local authorities so now that intersection is back to the way it was with respect to running the “yellow” light.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Red light cameras are put down by cities in locations that are as confusing and dangerous as possible, in order to maximize profit. Instead of changing confusing intersections, they become profit centers. Cities attempt to create as bad and confusing as possible a traffic flow in order to effectively levy toll, with no genuine connection between driving error and having to pay, and negative benefits for traffic safety.

    In short, it’s not a great idea.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’m another who’s never gotten a camera ticket so no hate but it’s clear that they’re mostly set up for revenue generation and this is wrong and un American at it’s core .
    .
    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      cornellier

      As a Canadian, I’d like to understand how it “is wrong and un American at it’s [sic] core” Would you please elaborate?

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Certainly :
        .
        America is supposed to be free of tyranny and the general crookedness so many other countries have as part and parcel of their culture.
        .
        Were I Canadian , I’da have likely said the same thing based on my travels there .
        .
        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          swester

          Something set up for “revenue generation” is somehow at odds with the most capitalist (and more recently, corporatist) nation to ever grace the Earth?

          Oh, come on. Let’s not kid ourselves. This is absolutely as American as it gets.

          Crooked is how they do it in the developing world: pay a bribe to your local cops without any recourse in a court of law. At least here you have the option to fight a ticket. Bottom line: if you’re not breaking the law, you aren’t going to be fined.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Actual police enforcement is not typically profitable, at least to the agency dispensing it (although it may vary from state to state).

            “Bottom line: if you’re not breaking the law, you aren’t going to be fined.”

            Papers, please.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The IIHS is fond of anything that allows the police to cite drivers, as tickets provide a justification for increasing insurance premiums even if there is no legitimate increase in the driver’s risk profile.

    Cameras are often used as an excuse to shorten yellow light intervals, which increases the violation rate. If you look at the research, you’ll see that the best way to maximize compliance is to maintain the yellow light intervals that are recommended by traffic engineers; you get more violators with intervals that are too short, and those who are issuing citations for profit do not want those intervals to be set appropriately.

    The government should never have a profit motive to get citizens to break laws. Of course, that’s exactly what you get when a for-profit company is brought in as a law enforcement partner. Getting people to obey the law generates losses, so what incentive do they have to encourage safe driving when that literally costs them money?

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Thank you for stating the conflict so clearly. I would add that the iihs and not just the camera companies counts as a third party vendor partnering with law enforcement.

      Overall there is an almost astonishing lack of skepticism evidenced in the post. It reads like the author briefly perused an iihs press release, carwfully added no critical thought, and then pressed submit. This is not the first time Steph Williams has gone this route on a complicated and controversial target. We may be getting masterclass trolled.

    • 0 avatar

      Do most red light/speed camera tickets give tickets/points that increase rates? I’ve read California does, but in Maryland, the ticket follows the car and not the driver. They basically are treated like a parking ticket – the registered owner has to pay (and can get registration suspended if they don’t), but doesn’t get any points or have insurance rates go up – since they can prove it was your car, but not that you were driving.

      I’m not saying I put much faith in the cameras or the IIHS – I don’t – but I’m curious if a lot of places actually do increase rates based on red light camera tickets.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    As much as I despise them, they do work, got caught once, at 4am going to a job site, no traffic at all and so I got pissed off cause I did not realize the damn thing was there, but as they say: guilty as charged.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      That’s better than the small town hillbilly cop that ticketed me for running a red at 4 AM when I did no such thing. The bottom line is municipalities will do anything in their power to raise revenue, including contracting with for-profit corporations that require yellow light times to be lowered to dangerous levels…and flat-out lying, as happened to me.

      I would also like to thank the Kentucky State Police for the hidden machine that flashed bright strobes at me as I passed it at extra-legal speed back in 2000 . I damn near ran off the road because I was alarmed to think a goddamn UFO was about to rear-end me. Guilty as charged, or scared, but give me an open highway with zero traffic at 2 AM and I probably will be doing more than 70 MPH.

  • avatar

    The Insurance Institute for Higher Surcharges supports ALL programs that give tickets, including the scams of red light and speed cameras that ticket mostly safe drivers using deliberately improper traffic safety engineering parameters. The IIHS has SEVERE financial conflicts of interest with traffic enforcement, and their press releases are in no way comparable to legitimate traffic safety research.

    People who want to understand these issues need to read peer-reviewed legitimate research from groups that are not in the revenue stream from ticket cameras. That excludes all of the IIHS papers.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      Their studies are about as legit as oil and coal industry studies that climate change is bunk.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        A fair and accurate analogy. No matter what the issue might be, if you don’t separate those who profit from the process, you will never have a true picture of what is real and what is profit generated propaganda.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I doubt making yellow longer will help. I have countdown lights in my area. Pedestrians will start to cross on 1 second left.

    By and large I think it comes down to some people will obey and others won’t. It catches up to them eventually.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Countdown displays are the real answer. If a driver approaching an intersection can clearly see how many seconds he’s got before the light switches from green to yellow, it would stop the vast majority of violations. Of course, it would also stop the revenue flow, too, not to mention the rolling right turn violations where most of the money comes (see Lakeland, Florida).

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Not really…..people can clearly see the countdown on the crosswalk signs here in Chicago and drivers still gun it into intersections. I’ve seen plenty of careless drivers (including school buses) run the lights long after they’ve been red.

        If the light is programmed to snap a photo on a yellow and the yellow has been shortened then shame on the city. But if some schmuck is running a RED light then collect all you want from them including from speed cameras. The speed cameras are also labeled VERY clearly, yet even being able to see the pole from a mile away people still blow through them as if they don’t even care of see it—most likely the latter.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        ^ This!

        Depending on the intersection and other factors like traffic (especially if there isn’t a vehicle glued to my backside), if I can see five or less, my foot reluctantly comes off the gas.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    “… the potential fines make a good argument for mashing the pedal on the left.”

    The clutch?

    The only red light camera I know of in the SF Bay Area–in San Mateo–is used primarily to snag drivers rolling through a right turn on red (a version of the infamous ‘California stop’).

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Red light cameras are perfect, so a trial for this crime is hot needed. YOU are ALWAYS convicted. So, why not raise the fine to $1000 US per offence? Anything for the sake of improved traffic safety.

  • avatar
    Pig Hater

    What a bullshit study! What about all the other studies that found red light cameras actually increase accidents at intersections? http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/study-red-light-cameras-ineffective-cause-more-accidents Is somebody ignoring those studies such as the red light camera companies who are more than happy to bribe alderman, mayors, etc. to install their cameras? And you fucking idiots really have to pose the question “why the hate” after all of that.

  • avatar
    bertvl

    If the minimum standards for the duration of the yellow are respected, I don’t have much problem with the cameras. Trouble is, very often you get a “short yellow” to generate more revenue.

    It’s quite simple: if the duration of the yellow is less than four seconds in a 50km/h (30mph) zone, then it’s a money grab.

    (Disclosure: I work in the “traffic ticket” business.)

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      So I guess (assuming you’re in the U.S.) that you have no problem with throwing out the constitutional requirement (6th Amendment) that those accused of a crime have the right to confront the witnesses against them.

      • 0 avatar
        SirRaoulDuke

        Hey, it’s not a crime. Just a civil infraction. That can cost you tons of money in fines and increased insurance premiums. The Sixth does not apply. No biggie.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “Just a civil infraction.”

          Agreed. The onus is upon the one receiving a violation ticket to prove there was no violation.

          A crime is a violation of the criminal code. In that case the onus is upon law enforcement to provide evidence of a violation.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          It varies by state. In some states, moving violations are a criminal matter; in others they are a civil matter. Some states specifically make camera tickets a civil matter, other don’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Pch101 – thanks for clarifying. I occasionally forget that US law is not homogenous across the country.
            In Canada most driving infractions are ticketed and thus aren’t “crimes” as in Criminal Code violations. DUI, reckless driving causing injury and/or death would be criminal. One is still breaking a law but due process is different.

        • 0 avatar
          2manycars

          No, it’s a crime. You’ve been accused of breaking a criminal law and will be hit with penalties if found guilty. Some traffic cases can be very serious, such as DUI, involving jail time. In the case of red light cameras the witness against you is a machine which cannot be confronted or cross-examined. That makes the “evidence” against you hearsay at best.

          Of course some states have used quasi-legal chicanery to put traffic crimes into a different class to make it more convenient to prosecute them en masse (denying the right to trial by jury, etc.), but this is a scam. Running a red light is a much of a crime as say, trespassing is. By definition, civil actions are started by private entities when they seek redress for being victimized. This is clearly not the case when you are being accused of a traffic crime.

          In fact the Supreme Court ruled in the 2009 case of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, a DUI case in which the “accuser” was a lab worker, that the 6th Amendment does apply in traffic cases and the accused in such a case does have the right to confront his or her accuser:

          http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/28/2854.asp

          From the article:

          “Under the ruling, it becomes the burden of the state or local authority to ensure photo enforcement company employees show up to testify in court. Failure to testify would result in the evidence being excluded and a likely acquittal.”

          There’s actually quite a bit that a photo camera company would have to prove in terms of the chain of custody of the evidence and how they have insured that the evidence itself is accurate. If you really got into it, this could involve having to subpoena programmers and technicians at the company, as well as those at any companies who provided software libraries and toolkits being used, in order to establish how the data is handled, stored, and protected.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Traffic laws are a state matter. It depends upon the state.

          • 0 avatar
            2manycars

            “Traffic laws are a state matter. It depends upon the state.”

            Supreme Court decisions and the federal Constitution are binding on the states (particularly since the Civil War). Note that the states have no problem complying with Supreme Court decisions that uphold their practices, such as DUI checkpoints.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You didn’t actually read Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, did you?

            The case has absolutely nothing to do with whether traffic tickets can be a civil matter or whether cameras can be used for enforcement. The only possible issue that is raised by the case is whether the camera companies could be forced to testify in criminal traffic ticket cases.

          • 0 avatar
            2manycars

            The full text of the decision can be found here:

            https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-591.ZS.html

            The case addresses whether an accused can be denied his or her 6th Amendment right to confront their accuser(s). The Court decided for the accused. This creates an obvious problem for automated law enforcement where the witness is a machine.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            OK, you really aren’t getting it.

            The issue is whether one can be compelled to testify in a criminal case.

            That doesn’t mean camera tickets can’t be issued. It means that the camera operator might be required to appear as a witness for the prosecution. The camera companies don’t want to do that because they want their employees to be staring at video monitors while they issue tickets, not spending their time in courtrooms.

            And if you know anything about constitutional law (which I suspect that you do not), then you know that the Seventh Amendment has never been incorporated — in other words, the Constitutional protections that you have in civil cases apply only in federal court.

            If the state decides that camera tickets are a civil matter, then the state has the authority to create the rules. And some states have done just that. Any protections that you may have in those states would come from that state’s constitution, not the US constitution.

            Don’t be one of those “sovereign citizen” types who thinks that he knows the law but doesn’t, otherwise you’re going to set yourself up for a nasty ticket when you find yourself in a bind because the state knows more about the law and legal procedure than you do.

          • 0 avatar
            2manycars

            Yes, I am getting it. In a criminal matter you cannot be denied your 6th Amendment right to confront your accuser. That is the gist of Melendez-Diaz.

            What category that traffic violations fall into is a separate issue that is of course not addressed in that case. Some states have categorized such violations as civil, or simply made up a new category of offense entirely, so they can streamline the process of squeezing out as much revenue from motorists as possible with as little due process as possible.

            Some states are so bad in this regard that you cannot even obtain a jury trial for traffic violations that may entail significant jail time. This is clearly a scam to enrich the state and strip citizens of their due process rights. (I know several defense attorneys who would agree with this assessment, and in fact they are the ones who pointed it out to me in the first place years ago. It has nothing to do with “Sovereign Citizen types.”)

            In states that have placed traffic offenses into a non-criminal category, that scam would need to be successfully challenged before Melendez-Diaz would apply.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “In states that have placed traffic offenses into a non-criminal category, that scam would need to be successfully challenged before Melendez-Diaz would apply.”

            It’s not going to apply because the Seventh Amendment has not been incorporated.

            You don’t seem to understand the implications of what that means. Essentially, the issue of civil court traffic violations that you would like to have addressed will ***never*** be addressed by the federal courts because it isn’t the federal judiciary’s business.

            Accordingly, this comment that you made:

            “Of course some states have used quasi-legal chicanery to put traffic crimes into a different class to make it more convenient to prosecute them en masse…”

            is nonsense. The states are free to do that if they wish unless there is something in their own state laws or constitution that prohibits it.

            Vehicle code matters are largely a state matter. If there are issues with traffic violations being classified as civil cases, then those will have to be determined on a state-by-state basis. The feds will have no jurisdiction over that at all.

          • 0 avatar
            2manycars

            I do understand the 7th Amendment issue. What I mean by challenging the categorization issue in the affected states is to have citizens apply pressure to their state governments to have traffic offenses put back into the category of criminal offenses such that the accused has full protection and will receive full due process.

            I stand by my statement that the primary reason that states have used legal chicanery to take traffic offenses out of the criminal category is to extract maximum revenue with minimum effort from the driving public – it is all about the money; a scam to overcome the protections an individual would normally receive for being accused of breaking the law. Traffic courts are profit centers and having to give full protection and due process to the accused would reduce the cash flow.

            Even in the absence of 6th Amendment protection in some states there are other avenues available in civil procedure, such as the discovery process, to obtain information regarding the evidence being used against you.

            Obviously calibration and maintenance data could be demanded, one could even push to obtain information on design elements of the system, security information, source code; anything that conceivably could be needed to confirm the accuracy of the evidence being used against you. (Heck, I’ve gone into court for parking tickets and received discovery on the timing devices used which caused the cases to be thrown out.)

            As far as I am concerned any time government makes an accusation against a citizen, even for a parking ticket, all criminal protections including the right to a full jury trial should apply.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “As far as I am concerned any time government makes an accusation against a citizen, even for a parking ticket, all criminal protections including the right to a full jury trial should apply.”

            You are entitled to your wishful thinking. But that doesn’t come close to resembling the legal reality, and I can only hope that anyone who reads your comments understands that those arguments have no merit in a courtroom. Anyone who tries to argue your points in a ticket trial is going to lose.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Typically the people who demand a full jury trial over a parking ticket are the same ones who complain that government is inefficient and wasteful.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “I stand by my statement that the primary reason that states have used legal chicanery to take traffic offenses out of the criminal category is to extract maximum revenue with minimum effort from the driving public”

            In some cases maybe but the real reason “states” have taken traffic offences out of the “criminal category” is because it is a complete waste of time for the judiciary. It also allows police to direct their attention on more serious activity.
            Yes, you can argue that it makes it easier for them to generate revenue. It all depends upon how cynical you want to be about the whole process.
            I’d rather deal with a traffic violation ticket than with a criminal charge and the risk of a criminal record.
            Have you ever been in court due to a criminal offence? or violation ticket?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Well, I’m also not particularly pleased about this endless effort to make it impossible to fight traffic tickets.

            There has indeed been a long slippery slope, which is worth understanding.

            In the old days, there were two kinds of offenses: felonies and misdemeanors. Both classes of offense provided jury trials, presumptions of innocence, and free legal counsel for those who could not afford to pay an attorney.

            First, the “infraction” class was created for parking tickets. The infraction was based upon the premise that the defendant would give up his right to a jury trial and free legal counsel since one could not be jailed for the violation. (Obviously, this was a pretty one-sided trade-off, since virtually no one was going to jail because of parking tickets.)

            Then the infraction class was expanded to include many moving violations. The funny thing is that it was still possible to go to jail in some instances, yet they were still classed as infractions, with the loss of rights to match.

            Then they figured out that they classify these things as civil cases. This was even better because they could dispense with due process entirely, since there are no federal constitutional protections provided to defendants in state civil courts.

            All of this stuff has been engineered to make it easier to take our money and deny us justice. I don’t like it.

            But it’s perfectly legal (or most of it is, anyway.) Ironically, the small government right-wingers should love this sort of thing, as they are always the ones who are complaining about federal interference. Well, this is what you get when the feds aren’t protecting you from your state and local governments — kinda sucks now, doesn’t it?

    • 0 avatar
      LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

      The national standard for yellow lights is one second for each ten miles per hour of the speed limit.
      Reducing the yellow to below the national standard is just plain dangerous, and criminally fraudulent if it creates more red light tickets.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I am not a fan of red light cameras, because I am sure I’d get caught skating under a yellow no and then. But lately I have seen SO many drivers blow through solid red lights like they were green, it’s crazy.

    I’d rather see the police enforce the red light running through coordinated events like the do with cellphone usage.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Here in Eugene, Oregon there are no red light cameras and EVERYONE runs red lights. As a consequence, when the light turns green, you wait, count to three, and then proceed.

  • avatar
    kmgreen23

    The statistics wherein rear end accidents are conveniently not mentioned in the article. The negative areas are largely glossed over if mentioned at all.One example being a normal yellow is 4.5 seconds which some municipalities intentionally shorten to help create revenue.

  • avatar
    stuki

    “Study Shows Red Light Cameras Reduce Accidents, so Why the Hate?”

    Because “Studies Show” neither more nor less than that which their sponsors and publishers wants them to show. They’re a propaganda tool for saps who fell for the lie that “God is Dead” is somehow something more than a ploy to absolve the ruling class of all restrictions on their arbitrariness. A bit heady for a car blog, I presume; but right still trumps wrong, so….. At least for some of us.

    And, spying on people is wrong. No amount of “Studies Show” drivel aimed at the indoctrinati will ever change that.

    • 0 avatar
      cornellier

      So your “right” not to be”spied on” trumps communally-agreed safety laws?

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        Erm, no. But your right (an actual right, constitutionally enshrined, if we’re talking about the USA) to confront your accuser and to due process cannot and should not be circumvented simply by deciding that those rights don’t apply to revenue-generating civil infractions. I’ll assume by your use of quotation marks that you’re a legal expert, so if you’d be so kind, please explain why it is that a red-light ticket issued by a policeman results in a court date, but one issued by a camera results in a bill in the mail, even though violation is identical.

        • 0 avatar
          cornellier

          My use of quotation marks is only testimony to my love of punctuation, not my legal expertise, as you assume.

          Guys, I get it obviously it’s morally wrong to lie about your intentions (revenue vs. road safety).

          On the other hand, when you sign up for a driving licence you agree to stop for red lights.

          If you don’t like the rule of law (which we have, for better or for worse) I suggest try living in Iraq or Sudan and get back to us.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Depends on the law, doesn’t it? Kind of what the, now quaint obviously, once-were ideal of a constitutionally limited government was intended to help facilitating. Rather than exposing each and everyman to whatever thinly rationalized whim a “communally-agreed” lynchmob, happens to feel maximizes their personal goal of revenue maximization.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          So much for “law and order”

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          This is a state matter.

          This is what “states rights” look like. States can decide to classify traffic violations as civil matters, and the feds can’t do anything about it. Individual states can set their own penalties and make their own rules (although they are now subject to the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments, which was not the case when the country was founded.)

          This should be a right-wing fantasy come true, with individual states doing their own thing when it comes to restricting the liberty of their citizens while the feds keep their distance.

          I thought that you guys liked states rights. When did you change your mind?

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            What should be a right-, or more precisely anything not specifically wrong-, wing fantasy, is States having maximum independence from nations. Counties from states. Cities from counties, and households from cities. Reasonable people may disagree over whether to keep the consistency going all the way to teenagers and households…..

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            You know, given your dependence on this community for dumping all your hate, I urge you to consider maximizing your independence from us.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Well, the states are free to classify traffic offenses as civil cases, which will prevent the pesky evil federal government from smothering you with annoyances such as civil liberties and due process.

            Gee, that worked out well.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I suspect if the Feds gave a frack about traffic violations, it magically would stop being something the states were regulating.

  • avatar
    srd275

    Wen Hu was ON A 2011 “report” that was exposed AS CHERRY PICKING!

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/36/3699.asp “The critique noted the most troubling issue was the dissimilarity between the cities chosen to represent camera enforcement and the camera-free cities. Almost a quarter of the camera-free cities had between zero and two red light running fatalities in the “before” period. It is impossible for a city with zero fatalities “before” to improve in the “after” period. By contrast, nearly all the camera cities had 7 or more fatalities, leaving far more room for improvement.”

    Also see: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/33/3393.asp

    “IIHS did not bother gathering data regarding any of the factors FHWA considered essential, aside from looking up 1990 and 2000 population figures. In fact, the insurance industry relied upon the eight-year gap between the “before” and “after” periods to obtain the desired result. In locations like Chandler, Arizona the community went through significant changes — including the building of the Loop 101 and Loop 202 freeways — during this time. These new routes drew traffic away from intersections during the “after” period despite the increase in population. Without accounting for the change in traffic volumes, the figures would be misleading. Chandler accounted for the greatest decrease in citywide accidents in the IIHS report. IIHS not knowing which locations in the city had cameras could not check whether there was a difference between camera and non-camera locations.

    A professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago did check and determined last year that there was no statistical difference before and after the cameras were installed in the Windy City. The data refuted the IIHS assumption that there is a so-called “spillover” or “halo” effect that spreads good driving habits throughout the photo-enforced jurisdiction. Between 2001 and 2008, use of cameras had no effect on the percentage of accidents that took place at intersections — the figure remained steady at about 25 percent (view report). IIHS claimed big accident reductions in Chicago and in Washington, DC. A 2005 investigation by The Washington Post found accidents doubled in the nation’s capital (view report). Likewise, despite IIHS claims, Baltimore, Maryland last month reported inconclusive results from its photo ticketing program.”

    http://www.motorists.org
    Ban the Cams on Facebook
    Camerafraud on Facebook

  • avatar
    srd275

    Also note that there are already CRACKS in the claim of IIHS!

    Below the city of St. Pete DUMPED RLC and HAD NO INCREASE IN CRASHES! (Tampa which has RLC had a INCREASE!)

    http://www.wtsp.com/mb/news/investigations/study-suggests-red-light-camers-save-livesbut/283440987 “Last year, 10Investigates found there was no increase in crashes in St. Petersburg a year after it removed its red light cameras.” (There is another link

    Yet Tampa had an increase! http://www.wtsp.com/news/investigations/red-light-camera-crashes-still-not-dropping/60508826 “The city’s report showed crash reports at 23 RLC intersections – the most in all of West Florida – climbed by 40% since 2010, which was less than the city’s 47% overall increase in reported crashes during that time. Tampa did not include “fender bender” types of crashes, as the state did, only “crash reports where there were reported injuries or a vehicle was damaged to the extent that it had to be towed from the scene.”
    Those findings seem to conflict with the state’s findings, which indicated crashes jumped by 50% at eight intersections in Tampa after cameras were installed. Tampa’s report also didn’t indicate what radius was used for defining an “intersection,” a controversial variable that, in 2014, 10Investigates WTSP exposed as a way to eliminate certain crashes from a statistical analysis”

  • avatar
    SirRaoulDuke

    IIHS?

    Next up: fossil fuel industry study says climate change is BS.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    Red light cameras were useful up until some criminals in office and employees of the companies producing and/or supporting this equipment came together and intentionally narrowed the amount of time between yellow and red to raise revenue.

    It’s racketeering, plain and simple. Those involved should be charged as such. Most importantly, get them on manslaughter charges due to the deaths that have occured because of the quick switch from yellow to red. Negligence.

    Might as well get ’em for civil damages too. Their actions resulted in personal and property damages. Insurance companies should sue as well.

    For the record, I don’t blow red lights and I never received so much as a parking ticket in my 12+ years of driving. I just want these people behind bars. This is illegal.

  • avatar

    Baltimore’s red light cameras were also speed cameras. They had to shut them down after people were able to prove that they were giving falsely high speed readings – the cameras take 2 pictures a certain number of seconds apart, and people calculated that changes between the cars and fixed lines in the road in the time between the pictures, and they didn’t match.

    Baltimore also had issues with placement – state law said they had to be a certain distance from a “school”. Baltimore City defined a “school” as anything from a Pre-K to a hospital that had student nurses, and also had some next to schools that had closed.

    FWIW, during the 10 years or so they were operational, I only got one ticket, for speeding. It was an area I rarely drove through – and of course, the camera was at the bottom of a giant hill.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I place just as much blame for intersection collisions upon the zombies sitting at the traffic light waiting for it to change green. Many people don’t look at their surroundings to see if it is safe in the first place to proceed into the intersection.

    I’ve seen it time and time again personally and professionally.

    I’ve been honked at for refusing to go on a green while I watched a commercial vehicle slide through an intersection in icy conditions or watched some idiot run red.

    I’ve approached intersections on “lights and sirens” and the light turns green and an idiot squirts out infront of my EMS unit. I’ve also seen vehicles get rear ended because the lead car at an intersection seens the EMT unit “lights and sirens” and stays put but the moron behind sees green and mashes the go pedal.

    I’m against gaming the lights to make money but I’m all for anything that makes intersections safer.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree if more people would just look and make sure it is safe to proceed instead of just going because the light turned green there would be far fewer accidents. Sometimes I’ll hear that “the light is green” from my wife but reason I hadn’t moved yet was because I wasn’t certain that “the other guy” was actually going to stop at his red light.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    When I took driver’s ed back in 1977 or so, one lesson was to observe traffic lights ahead and be aware of “old” or “aging” green lights. The idea was to anticipate them turning amber. Back then, going through an amber light was very much frowned upon. So you tried not to.

    Nowadays, people think everything’s ok if they enter the intersection as long as the light has not turned red. As though the amber light is some sort of grace interval or an extension of the green light.

    Exacerbating the problem is that most drivers are speeding most of the time, and so are less able to stop in time for light changes. So, for those getting tickets at intersections, my sentiment is “too bad”.

  • avatar
    MWolf

    I’m not a fan of it. Not because I have a tendency to run red lights (I don’t), but because it’s an anxiety inducing money grab,much like the mobile speed traps they park along the roads here on the side of the road that goes downhill.

    We had one intersection here that had the accodents increase when cameras were present.

  • avatar
    Tandoor

    We had these things around Missouri until the state basically outlawed them. You could only get a ticket if you entered the intersection after the light was red. Keep in mind that if you haven’t left the intersection by the time the light is red you’ve committed an infraction. So, in principle, I’m fine with it. Considering that, especially in Missouri, traffic law enforcement is 99% revenue generation, the camera company gets a cut of every ticket, and bribes and kickbacks abound, screw the IIHS and their study.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil200

    I was not in favor of red light cameras until I moved into Center City Philadelphia. It’s a tight packed area with small streets and lots of pedestrains and vehicle traffic. I witnss daily lots of cars running red lights. LOTS. This is no fun when you are a pedestrain trying to cross a street.

    As a driver, they can be no fun either. But realistically all you have to do is slow down and pay attention. Which we all should be doing anyway. As much as I drive, I have never gotten one.

    I’ve heard of yellow lights being shortened! Thats crazy. If anything, yellow lights shoulf be lenghtened. That would have the combined effect of reducing red light violations, and making the streets safer.

    Having lived here for two years now, i want red light cameras on every corner. Yes, the city will benefit! God forbid. If you dont want to pay a traffic ticket, slow the hell down and pay attention and you wont get one.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    I thought the reason these were going away was insurance fraud gangs using the cameras to back up their “accident” claims.

  • avatar

    Follow the money. The iihs has always manipulated the red light camera statistics to show a reduction in crashes by convienetly discarding data that dosent show their effectiveness,.

    The iihs is for more tickets as it allows the insurance industry to raise rates.

    This is a plain and simple case of policing for revenue. There has never been a study outside of the iihs that ha show a consistent reduction in accidents. But plenty of evidence on how cities and the insurance industry have cashed in.

  • avatar
    Von

    Because when they install the cameras, they also shorten the time when the yellow light is active. I got rear ended exactly because of that.

    Around 2008/9, I lived near an intersection with a red light camera, and of course, a short yellow. I’ve always been extra cautious around it, and one day, the light turned yellow as I was approaching it in my newish car, and it turned yellow when I had just enough distance to stop. Not panic stop, just a normal or slightly above average stop, it wouldn’t jolt the average rider nor spill the proverbial cup of coffee.

    Well, the guy behind me apparently believed I was going through, and reacted too late, there was a screetch and he gave me a good bump at probably about 10mph. It wasn’t enough to have real damage, but the paint was pretty well scratched up well past the primer. It was probably lower than my deductible, so I had to deal with it and the Asian grandpa skipped out on me. I should’ve called the cops right then, but I was in a hurry and it was no big deal, but it did peeve me to no end.

    So yeah, that’s why I hate them.

    • 0 avatar
      jerseydevil200

      So you hate traffic signals because of the guy that was tailgating you hit you when you stopped for one? YOu dont blame the guy who was too close to you? i would.

      • 0 avatar
        Von

        It’s because they shorten the time on the yellow light, increasing revenue, and the likelyhood of fender benders. I’ve only been rear ended twice in 20+ years of driving, the other time was in a rainstorm and low visibility.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    The solution seems pretty simple. Write into state law that yellows shall be no less than 3.5 seconds, followed by a delay of no less than 2.5 seconds before the red light in one direction triggers the green light in the other, and that cameras shall not be used to measure stop time for right-on-red. Then let cities put up cameras to their heart’s desire. They’ll only go up on intersections where they legitimately can reduce accidents.

    BTW, other red-light camera studies I’ve seen say that they do reduce T-bone accidents but increase rear-end accidents. Apparently the latter have lower fatalities, so it’s fair to consider it an improvement.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Simple but not easy. When this amount of money is up for grabs, watch the money flow into politician’s coffers for supporting such a measure or for propositions that do the same.

      According to the fine alderman from Chicago, the city now can’t do without the revenue generating cameras lest another hole get blow through the city’s budget.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Yellow light intervals should be set based upon the size of the intersection and the prevailing speeds of the traffic. So they shouldn’t be the same for every intersection.

      There are already traffic engineering standards for this. No need to reinvent the wheel.

      As is the case with setting speed limits, we have professionals who learn how to do this for a living and who have done the research, yet who are ignored by politicians who don’t know anything about traffic engineering. Not sure why anyone bothers to learn about this stuff when nobody listens to them.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Is it not true that some of the $camera manufacturers have petitioned organizations like the Institute for Traffic Engineers to publish papers in favor of shorter yellows? Makes ticket cases easier for the scammers.

      • 0 avatar
        jerseydevil200

        So you hate traffic signals because of the guy that was tailgating you hit you when you stopped for one? YOu dont blame the guy who was too close to you? i would.

  • avatar

    On Long Island, NY the red light scameras are really Right Turn on Red cams. If you don’t fully stop, snap.

    NY cams are under a “Temporary Demonstration Project”. There was supposed to be a full breakdown of camera locations, accident rates before and after, and cost of project and revenue gained.

    This TDP has been re authorized four times, each time just changing the dates of the report on the “temporary” project.

    No report has been released. My guess is, same as the other systems, the cams have a mostly neutral impact on safety…less t bones but more hit in the rear…but are making big money. You can tell because in NYC they need State permission for more cams. There are forces in NYC that would cam every signal if they could, but occasionally Albany will toss NYC a few more cams in trade for something else.

    Sadly, it is a law in the State and NY doesn’t have referendum, so you can’t easily vote them out. Suffolk County, NY did vote them out, but there you have people close enough to the politicians that popular force can make a difference.

    Oh, and the school zone scam is alive and well in NYC. If they got the unlimited school zone cams they wanted last cycle, that is 80% of NYC. The circles overlapped enough that any restriction would be meaningless.

    The IIHS has forever taken cherry picked stats and written “reports” based upon them. I’ll never forget the 55 arguements, where they said after raising limits, 70 % were over 70. Yah, sorta,…they were doing 68 before, and 71 after. Hardly into warp drive.

    Do you know why IIHS Status report is printed on Glossy paper ? They like to gloss over the facts….

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      It really does you no favors to act as if running a red light while turning right is no big deal.

      Red means stop. Is there some reason that you’ve decided that it shouldn’t?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Since we need to stop behind the limit line, then can’t just turn right without stopping again where there’s a clear line of sight, to the left and right, we just creep past the limit line, stopping at the clear line of sight.

        It’s just a bad habit, we all do it, and cops don’t mind it. I’ve never been stopped for it. Now the cameras do mind. They just see a driver rolling through the limit line.

  • avatar

    No, personally I wait for the car to sit down on the rear suspension before proceeding..as I’ve taught the kids….but most RTOR arent’ dangerous, even if you treat it as a yield. Certainly not worth a big bill in the mail months later.

    One thing missed is that if you are stopped by a cop, you are stopped. You are aware of your behavior, it is reviewed by that cop, and you are cited or cut loose based on the circumstances. Cams send a bill…they don’t do any social work.

    We are reaching a world where the installation of a cam to review literally anything is possible. Do you want to live there ??

  • avatar
    baconpope

    Why would a red light make you mash the clutch pedal?

  • avatar

    Let me tell you about Florida’s red light camera scam. If you just pay the fine, it’s $158 & no points on your license or notation on your driving record. If you go to court and lose, which you have a 99% chance of doing, the fine goes to $262, you don’t get points but a notation of the violation is made on your driving record. I’m sure as far as your insurance company is concerned, that notation is as good as a ticket & your rates will go up.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Shame, but thanks for sharing.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      It gets better. In Florida, the money collected from automated photo enforcement is split three ways: one-third to the private company that supplies the equipment, mails the tickets, and collect the fines, one-third to the state (who just sits back and rakes in the dough), and the remaining third to the local jurisdiction that still has to supply and pay all the of the administrative personnel to enter the data and process anyone who contests a ticket.

      This worked out great, at first. But then an Orlando television station figured out the shortened yellow-light scam, filed a lawsuit, and, now, all the redlights that have cameras were reset to the proper, longer yellow light as required by code.

      Suddenly, redlight violations dropped dramatically, and the cameras became a whole lot less lucrative with the revenue for the locals becoming a fraction of what it was. In fact, they started ‘costing’ jurisdictions money. One of the best examples was Haines City where the city council was going to yank the cameras until the camera company agreed to renegotiate the contract.

      It’s funny how these places all claim the cameras are not about the money, but just about safety, until it starts costing them to keep the cameras sending out fines. Then it’s no longer about the safety, at all, but just about the money.

      OTOH, Lakeland has kept up their revenue stream because, unlike Haines City, their redlight cameras also send out fines for the notorious right turn on red.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I’d argue the same issue applies with speed limits.

    Just replace “shortened yellow light time” with “artificially low speed limits” and “red light camera” with “cop”.

    I think the only reason people generally put up with the speed limit ridiculousness is simply because today we still have a decent chance of actually not getting caught by the police. If we had automated speed cameras I suspect you’d see a similar uproar.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Some jurisdictions ‘do’ have automated speed cameras and, as you might imagine, there’s an uproar wherever they’re installed. Ohio had a huge legal battle that dragged on for years, until the Ohio Supreme Court finally decreed that a cop had to be stationed by a speed camera. That pretty much put an end to most of the cameras, but some places (like Cleveland) simply equipped all their cops with hand-held automated ticket cameras. Now, a Cleveland cop just sits on the side of the road while his little money-maker goes ‘cha-ching’ and he doesn’t even have to pull anyone over.

      The mobile ones are the worst (like the mobile speed camera Ford Escape that Hamilton, Ohio was using). They used to like to put it at the bottom of a hill on a major highway that was technically in a school zone (even though the actual school was a couple hundred yards away on a different street). The speed limit dropped rapidly from 65 to 35 mph (then to 20 mph on school days) as the highway ended and turned into a residential area (but still with the same number of lanes). What’s worse, Hamilton would put it out there on ‘Saturday afternoons’ when there wasn’t even any school (and very little traffic to slow anyone down). Man, did they make some bucks back then.

      Someone mentioned how Baltimore nefariously labeled school zones, too. It’s really a shame because, if used as intended around legitimate school zones, they really serve a useful purpose. In fact, the whole speed camera thing got going in Ohio when, years ago, some kid in Akron got run down while pushing his sister out of the way by a hit-and-run driver who was never caught. You can just imagine how such an event was quickly and sinisterly taken advantage of to have the damn speed cameras installed in every major Ohio city.

      It’s worth noting that whenever automated speed/redlight cameras are put on a ballot for removal (they’re always installed without a vote), they’re overwhelming voted down ‘almost’ everywhere. The only place I’m aware of where the vote was for them to remain was some town in Washington state where they actually had the local police go door-to-door, urging people to vote to keep them.

    • 0 avatar
      kefkafloyd

      There is currently one state-level issue that I have a lot of passion for and it’s raising the speed limit on US route 3 from Burlington, MA to Tyngsborough, MA to 65 MPH. It used to be 60, but when NMSL rolled around, it was reduced to 55 just like other highways in the state.

      This road used to be a kind of narrow two lanes per carriageway freeway with semi-cramped interchanges. Well, it was congested to all hell, so nobody could ever drive up it faster than 55 anyway. When the NMSL was repealed, the road was prepped for widening from four to six lanes. It was going to be completely rebuilt, and the upgraded road had a 70MPH design speed, built for eight lanes with bridges and shoulders wide enough. It’s basically the nicest highway in the state, but the speed limit has not been raised since its completion in 2005. So now you have this big, wide, and straight road signed for 55 MPH.

      Nobody obeys that limit, and those who do create a very dangerous conflict. It’s safer than nearby I-495 in terms of distance and shoulders and lane widths, yet it has been stuck at 55 for a decade because the speeding ticket revenue from that road is so grossly out of proportion with its actual safety. Even a study on the safety of the highway (due to median crossovers) suggested that in addition to a new median barrier (there was only grass) the limit be raised to 65 or even 70 because on average traffic was going 75 MPH.

      The state police is basically using the large amount of NH commuters as a source of revenue at the cost of accidents and a generally unsafe road, but the state legislature has ignored the pleas from Merrimack valley residents to raise the limit.

  • avatar

    Why hate? Because everyone is in “hurry”.

  • avatar

    Why aren’t people making a sport of throwing rocks at these things until they’re smashed?

  • avatar
    wtaf

    The only thing red light cameras accomplish is impeding right turn lanes. Nobody wants to turn on red even after a full stop for fear of getting a ticket. So the line grows and more cars idle wasting time, gas, and the air quality around the intersection.

    Were I live they have come and gone. Good riddance. The IIHS can kick rocks.

  • avatar

    This is the same group that falsely publishes their will be death and mayham every time speed limits are raised to reflect the engineering and safe travel speed of a road.

  • avatar
    spamvw

    Two words…

    WA ZE

  • avatar
    operagost

    Why? Because the figures are misleading.

    Not only do they only count fatal crashes, they don’t count the rear-end accidents (which, coincidentally, are usually not fatal) caused by people slamming on their brakes to avoid the ticket.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ttacgreg: A number of years ago there was some guy I think the name was Big Trucks Review or something like that. He...
  • ttacgreg: If cable got cut off, at least Rupert Murdoch would at long last be out of business here in the USA, and he...
  • Lou_BC: Thanks for pointing out that tRump was too incompetent to appoint the right people for the job. Still, no...
  • ttacgreg: I have read opinions many years ago that much of the problem of the gas shortage in the early 70s was that...
  • Lou_BC: @Old_WRX – agreed. No one system alone is a panacea. One should take some of the benefits of each...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber