Are Traffic Cameras Dying a Slow Death?
The District of Columbia is adding more cameras to catch traffic offenders, but some states and cities are banning them.
The District of Columbia is doubling down on camera enforcement of its traffic laws: It already uses the devices to catch speeders and red-light runners, and this fall it plans to add them at stop signs, according to reporting by The Washington Post. But high-tech policing is a surprisingly divisive issue; cities such as New York are contemplating it, but others are banning the use of cameras.
Twelve states have prohibited the cameras while 13 others and the District of Columbia use them, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Last year, Houston and Los Angeles turned their backs on the technology due to difficulties with enforcement.
The cameras' Achilles heel is that the person driving the car (and breaking the law) may not be the car's owner, who is the one who receives the ticket in the mail. "Los Angeles County Superior Court officials ... said that for the last decade they have chosen a less forceful approach partly because the person receiving the ticket may not be the person who was driving the car," the Los Angeles Times reported. Last year it was revealed that payment for camera-enforced tickets in LA is voluntary. Only one-third of offenders reportedly pay up.
Critics of the technology say many of the cameras are installed at intersections considered likely to generate revenue rather than those in need of a boost in safety. Certainly, they do make money. The District of Columbia's existing cameras helped bring in $55.1 million in fines in 2011.
Camera use is up across the country. Speed cameras have been installed in 93 communities since 2005. But will it stay that way? New Jersey is conflicted on the topic; some municipalities continue to add cameras, but the state considered a law earlier this year to pull all of them down.
It may be a matter of time before more legislators and drivers adopt the mentality of New Jersey state Sen. Mike Doherty, a Republican, who sponsored that state's anti-camera bill. “The cameras are not about safety; they’re about generating revenue for municipalities,” Doherty said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “The towns are using their citizens as cash cows.”
Radar is not perfect. Unlike other normal tickets, citations resulting from cameras do not have a tracking history or a visual estimation by a
qualified officer to back them up. Thousands of tickets can be generated between routine maintenance and calibration inspections, potentially
resulting in just as many faulty readings.
in another section of town, as a result the store owners as well as the local government lost so much revenue that many of the business shut their doors in turn cut out the business tax revenue and almost cause the city to go into bankruptcy because of a total loss of revenue. The greedy idiots in power finally realized " hey we've bit the hands of those that have paid our salaries" and voted to take all the cameras down, but the damage is already done and many of the customers will never shop in that part of town again . Many of them say they will avoid that part of town altogether. Good enough for the greedy politicians that only know one phrase "Raise taxes and government revenue at all cost". Do politicians think??
WHEN A VIOLATION IS COMMITTED, IT'S NOT THE DRIVER WHO SHOULD BE PUNISHED WITH A TICKET. IT SHOULD BE THE "VEHICLE'S OWNER", AS IN FACT THE VEHICLE MADE THE INFRACTION. LET THE VEHICLE'S OWNER PAY THE FINE AND THE VEHICLE'S OWNER CAN DETERMINE WHO HAS TO REPAY THE OWNER.
SINCE VIOLATIONS HAVE TO BE REPORTED TO THE OWNERS OF VEHICLES IT WOULD ALSO SOLVE A PROBLEM OF UNAUTHORIZED ABUSE BY AUTHORITIES (POLICE CARS, ETC) WHO WERE NOT ON A EMERGENCY CALL AT THE TIME OF INFRACTION. THIS WOULD HELP KEEP OUR ROADS SAFER.
PLEASE DON'T MESS WITH A SYSTEM THAT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE EVEN THOUGH THE OPERATORS OF THE SYSTEM MAKES A PROFIT. THIS PROFIT MAY REDUCE YOUR TAXES VIA LESS POLICE NEEDED TO RESPOND TO ACCIDENTS AND LESS TIME SPENT IN YOUR VECHICLE WHEN THERE IS AN ACCIDENT AHEAD WITH BLOCKED LANES.
LET'S ALL LOOK TO THE LONG RUN AND HAVE SAFER DRIVING.
Surely for pure cash reasons. I have heard of a story when someone was late on his last installment payment of $30 for his ticket and got slapped for additional $300 for being late. Just paid a total of $562 for a red light camera ticket and traffic school for doing a sort of rolling stop on a perfectly clear intersection resulting in no personal injury nor property damage. This is PURE RIP OFFS!
The only effective answer is a total ban on ticket cameras. People who don't wish to be revenue victims of predatory red light and speed cameras need to contact their state legislators to ask them to ban the cameras entirely, and contact their local officials to demand they not be used.
James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI
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