Saturday, January 29, 2005

Someone's Not Getting the Picture

There's been a lot of discussion this week on the use of red-light cameras, which have been in existence where I live for a couple of years now. InstaPundit mentions it here and here, the latter of which quotes a study done in Virginia and reported on here which came up with some interesting, if predictable, results:
A brand new, exhaustive study of all seven Virginia red light camera programs shows an overall increase in injury accidents has occurred where the devices are installed...Despite a distinct sympathy in favor of camera enforcement, the researchers found a "definite" increase in rear-end accidents and only a "possible" decrease in angle accidents. Most importantly, the net effect was that more injuries happened after cameras are installed.
I tend to strongly agree with these results, since they're totally consistent with what happened in my wreck last March. The existence of the cameras in the area (though, unbeknownst to me at the time, not at that particular intersection) was a factor in my stopping for the yellow light instead of racing through it, and it occurred to me soon afterwards that something allegedly designed for safety had in fact made it more dangerous for me that morning. The Virginia study (which is consistent with others done elsewhere) shows that I'm not the only one who's been affected by this. I guess the real question is, does anyone really think that the presence of the cameras is all about safety, or is it, like I've mentioned before in my traffic ticket quota rant, really about making money for the city/county/state? I'm sure there'll be more discussion on this subject as time goes on.

Now I've heard everything: Last night's Clark Howard Show reported on the newest electronic gadget for overindulgent animal lovers: Cell phones for pets. While I'll admit that the GPS function could come in handy if the pet runs away, I think I'd draw the line at shelling out money so that Tasha could "hear my reassuring voice" while I'm on vacation.

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