Monday, March 05, 2007

I Still Want the Red-Light (Camera) District Out of My Neighborhood

It's been three years to the day since I was rear-ended at an intersection by an uninsured soccer mom (out of whom I never did get a single penny, by the way). I said at the time that the only reason I stopped at that intersection--where the light was just starting to turn yellow--was that I knew that they were in the process of installing red-light cameras at various places around town. I had no idea that they would be as well-marked as they ended up being, so I went ahead and stopped just to be on the safe side...which ended up putting me in more danger.

In the meantime, the cameras have come to this area, and I've posted about them several different prior occasions; my big objection to them stems from the fact that they seem to be more about revenue than about safety. They also, at some locations across the country, have actually increased the rear-end collisions that are similar to the one I had.

So you can put me solidly in the anti-camera camp, since nothing I've seen since that time has managed to convince me otherwise. And as I "celebrate" that infamous anniversary, I take note of this story: The city of Lubbock has voted to delay installation of the cameras in that city after a study showed that eight of the twelve intersections where the cameras were to be installed had short-cycling yellow lights; one of those intersections had a yellow so short that it was illegal under federal standards. As the article noted,
Short yellows assure a steady flow of red light camera ticket revenue. A Texas Transportation Institute study found that an extra second of yellow time added to the current ITE formula yields a a 53 percent reduction in the number of tickets issued along with a 40 percent reduction in accidents.
Yeah, right, it's all about the safety...

But this is good police work: Various law-enforcement agencies around the country have been using YouTube to help them catch the bad guys. In some cases, they've been quite successful.


Gary P. said...

Update from Lubbock

[City Councilman John] Leonard says, "It is all about money. From the first week in office between the new mayor and myself discussions were initiated on how much revenue would red light cams bring. It wasn't until we tried to sell the idea to the public that we started talking about public safety."

And I'm sure Lubbock isn't alone in that regard. Still the True Believers on frisco-online dismiss that as even a possibility from our city council. There are even types there who assert accidents like you had are the lead driver's fault for going "too fast" for the driver behind them to stop in time. Unbelievable...

Kev said...

Gary--LOL; I was going "so fast" before my accident that I was stopped for a full fifteen seconds before the soccer mom, who said she "didn't see me stop" (and was so far behind me that she wasn't even in my rear-view mirror when I did) actually hit me.