Red light cameras too effective?

Discussion in 'The Study' started by Ceicei, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. Ceicei

    Ceicei Grandmaster

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    Apparently those cameras that are supposed to catch the red light runners are working too well; more drivers are obeying the law (not to run red lights) that some cities are actually thinking of taking the cameras down.

    It almost appears that the city/town governments view lives being saved by less accidents as a result of red light runners are not quite as important as the lost revenue from "catching" the law-breakers. On the other hand, different types of accidents do happen as a result of these cameras.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23710970/

    Do you have them in your city/town? What are your thoughts regarding the efficiency and purpose of these cameras?

    - Ceicei
     
  2. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    Speeding cameras I can see making a case about safety. But people slamming on the breaks at intersections when they really should have gone through is going to cause collissions. Safety would be increasing the time of the Amber, or adding a couple seconds between one going red and the other going green.
     
  3. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    This was a real problem in Albuquerque when we were there--the new red light cameras were causing an inordinate amount of rear-end collisions (less deadly than the side-impact collisions when a red light runner is hit by cross traffic, but happening much more commonly). But, the city was wedded to the revenue.

    My guess is that drivers will adjust to them, and in the long run they're probably a good thing. But there's also the fairness issue--sometimes going through is the safer thing, as if there's a huge truck behind you that seems to be having trouble slowing down. How can you argue your case in court if an officer didn't see the whole thing? If you weren't pulled over then and asked about it, as opposed to getting a ticket a week or more later and trying to remember that one driving decision? It does raise concerns.
     
  4. 5-0 Kenpo

    5-0 Kenpo Master of Arts

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    You can still contest a red light camera ticket. The way it works it that an actual police officer has to review the video to determine if a ticket should be given (based on several factors, including speed, how long the ligh was missed by, etc.). If a citizen wants to review the tape, they can come down and speak to the officer who issued the citation and even review the video with them. The officer can then get the ticket thrown out. And even then, the person can still take the case to court.

    One thing to remember about those cameras is that they record several seconds before and after the actual volation so, for instance, the officer will see that larrge truck looming up behind the violator.
     
  5. grydth

    grydth Senior Master

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    How depressing to see modern government in such an (a)moral dilemma. Whether tis better to send robots out to watch us wherever we go.... or cease doing so only because it impedes them in soaking us for still more money. Decisions, decisions.....

    I would think the Founding Fathers, given an opportunity to see this laughable social trainwreck that we have become, might well have decided," Why bother?"
     
  6. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes this is a moral dillema, the money or safety. Hmmmm, I imagine they will err on the money. (which is infinitely sad [​IMG] )
     
  7. FearlessFreep

    FearlessFreep Senior Master

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    One thing running through my mind a *lot* lately when issues like this come up...speeding and traffic laws, drug laws, police misconduct, etc... is that we really are, or have become a culture of legal convenience. We don't obey laws because they are the law, we obey those laws which are deemed convenient for our needs at the time. And then argue the particulars.

    And I contrast this sorta attitude, which is fairly widespread and I see much of it even on this board (and in my own life), which the reaction that occurs when a public figure, especially a politician, is caught in some point of ethical or legal trouble. I'm not sure I can understand the outrage of a politician going around the law for some personal gain when we are so quick and willing to do it ourselves
     
  8. grydth

    grydth Senior Master

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    Actually, my position is somewhat the opposite: Given the abyssmally low moral character of our current grifters, um, leaders, I am uncomfortable with this mob turning this from a free society to a chained and monitored one based on our supposed flaws.

    It was noted over 200 years ago, as a basis for independence, that the English King had sent "swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance"......... now look at us. Land of the Free?
     
  9. 5-0 Kenpo

    5-0 Kenpo Master of Arts

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    What's even worse is that the sheeple are doing two things:

    1) Not doing anything to stop it,

    2) Not doing anything to prepare for society's inevitable collapse.

    The only difference between the parti is not in their attempt to control society, but the laws and ways they use to do so.
     
  10. jetboatdeath

    jetboatdeath Blue Belt

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    Kinda proves the point that officers are being mis-used to generate large sums of cash.....
     
  11. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    I saw them in Chicago.

    Some frineds and I were elaving a bar and there was a problem, We got out but the bad guys (* drunk locals *) were looking to follow. I searched for the nearest intersection that had the cameras and guided those with me towards them. When the bad guys saw me looking at the cameras to see if they were on they stopped and went back the other way.

    So as fars as I was concerned in that case they were very effective. ;)
     
  12. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Are red light cameras effective?

    Well, I work in a jurisdiction that had them, and live in one that doesn't. At home, I'm reluctant to start across an intersection until I've made sure that no one is running the red in front of me. I've counted as many as 5 cars entering the intersection AFTER I've had the green. At work -- I've only written a handful of red light tickets. Our red light cameras got more than any cop, but I'm not afraid to cross the intersection.

    Do rear end collisions at stop lights in general increase when you put red light cameras in? Yep. I've seen several studies that support that. But... lengthen the yellow by something like 5 seconds, and the rear end collisions drop. And rear end collisions are almost always less serious than broadside collisions. I'll take the rear end bumps over someone getting nailed in the intersection.
     
  13. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    I've spent a little bit of time doing Traffic Engineering (basically an internship, so I'm no expert) but trying to get a city to add a couple of seconds for a longer yellow, or an "all red" to clear the intersection, is almost impossible. Each of those "clearing" seconds are entered into a formula used to determine the efficiency of the intersection. When too many intersections reach "failure" then the city can't approve more building projects (housing, schools, stores) unless those intersections are "fixed." You can imagine that costs a load of money.

    Those couple of extra seconds are weighted heavily in these calculations, and can drop a rating from a Level-of-Service "C" to an "D" or even an "F." Meaning that adding 2 seconds of "All Red" to every intersection in town could conceivably end up costing millions of dollars when the calculations show hundreds of marginal intersections as "failures."

    (I understand that they use "all-red" in CA, so they must have some way of taking that extra time into their calculations, or something, but I'm not sure.)

    So, from that perspective, cities aren't going to "just add" a longer yellow, or an "all-clear" red, since they figure people are just going to abuse that extra time anyway, and they will be held responsible for causing the "failure" of a lot of intersections on paper.

    We have the red-light cameras and a mobile speed photo van here. A couple of years ago the company who ran it went bankrupt. Apparently they were supposed to get a percentage of the fines, but didn't get enough. Later the city went back and budgeted a flat rate for the "photo-cops" so they could keep the cameras, even though in the long run they are losing money on the operation.
     
  14. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Yup. Law-enforcement-for-profit.123
     

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