One of my students was really, really late to his lesson here at the house today. It seems that there was a spectacular accident at a nearby incident--one of the ones where a red-light camera was installed. Granted, I wasn't there, and my student and his dad weren't eyewitnesses or anything, but from what they were able to tell just by looking at the scene, it appeared that the light had turned yellow while a car was approaching the intersection, and that driver simply chickened out and slammed on his or her brakes...which made someone rear-end them, and that second someone was subsequently rear-ended by a third person. This is exactly the thing I predicted would happen when those cameras were installed. Couple that with the story this week that the red-light cameras in Denton will now be collecting fines (after a warning period in which they averaged sending out 137 notices a day--at $75 a pop, do the math), and it's pretty obvious that these cameras have very little to do with safety and a whole lot to do with generating a lot of revenue for the cities which use them. I just wish one municipal government would be honest with the public on this subject...
Previous traffic-camera rants:
Someone's Not Getting the Picture (1/29/05)
It's Still About Revenue, Not Safety (10/14/05)
They Still Don't Get the Picture (1/12/06)
And now they have cat cameras too: People in Claremont, Iowa will now be fined for feeding stray cats, and one way they may be caught is by having their picture taken "in the act" by police and subsequently sent a citation.
The cats are out of the bag...and the elephants, too: Three Swedish circus elephants escaped from their van after the truck which was towing it overturned. Rather than stampeding or even dispersing, passersby found them just chillin'--grazing nonchalantly by the side of the highway.