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10 Reasons To Oppose Red-Light Cameras

Posted on November 15th, 2007 in | 92 Comments

trafficcamera 1) Ticket cameras do not improve safety.
Despite the claims of companies that sell ticket cameras and provide related services, there is no independent verification that photo enforcement devices improve highway safety, reduce overall accidents, or improve traffic flow. Believing the claims of companies that sell photo enforcement equipment or municipalities that use this equipment is like believing any commercial produced by a company that is trying to sell you something.

2) These devices discourage the synchronization of traffic lights.
Once red-light cameras start making money for local governments, they are unlikely to jeopardize this income source. Engineering improvements that lessen the income brought in by the cameras include traffic-light synchronization, the elimination of unneeded lights and partial deactivation of other traffic lights during periods of low traffic. When properly done, traffic-light synchronization decreases congestion, pollution, and fuel consumption.

3) There are better alternatives to cameras.
If intersection controls are properly engineered, installed, and operated, there will be very few red-light violations. From the motorists’ perspective, government funds should be used on improving intersections, not on ticket cameras. Even in instances where cameras were shown to decrease certain types of accidents, they increased other accidents. Simple intersection and signal improvements can have lasting positive effects, without negative consequences. Cities can choose to make intersections safer with sound traffic engineering or make money with ticket cameras. Unfortunately, many pick money over safety.

4) Ticket recipients are not notified quickly.
People may not receive citations until days or sometimes weeks after the alleged violation. This makes it very difficult to defend oneself because it would be hard to remember the circumstances surrounding the supposed violation. Even if the photo was taken in error, it may be very hard to recall the day in question.

5) Ticket recipients are not adequately notified.
Most governments using ticket cameras send out tickets via first class mail. There is no guarantee that the accused motorists will even receive the ticket, let alone understand it and know how to respond. However, the government makes the assumption that the ticket was received. If motorists fail to pay, it is assumed that they did so on purpose, and a warrant may be issued for their arrest.

6) There is no certifiable witness to the alleged violation.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it may also take a thousand words to explain what the picture really means. Even in those rare instances where a law enforcement officer is overseeing a ticket camera, it is highly unlikely that the officer would recall the supposed violation. For all practical purposes, there is no “accuser” for motorists to confront, which is a constitutional right. There is no one that can personally testify to the circumstances of the alleged violation, and just because a camera unit was operating properly when it was set up does not mean it was operating properly when the picture was taken of any given vehicle.

7) Taking dangerous drivers’ pictures doesn’t stop them.
Photo enforcement devices do not apprehend seriously impaired, reckless or otherwise dangerous drivers. A fugitive could fly through an intersection at 100 mph and not even get his picture taken, as long as the light was green!

8) Cameras do not prevent most intersection accidents.
Intersection accidents are just that, accidents. Motorists do not casually drive through red lights. Even the most flagrant of red-light violators will not drive blithely into a crowded intersection, against the light. More likely, they do not see a given traffic light because they are distracted, impaired, or unfamiliar with their surroundings. Putting cameras on poles and taking pictures will not stop these kinds of accidents.

9) The driver of the vehicle is not positively identified.
Typically, the photos taken by these cameras do not identify the driver of the offending vehicle. The owner of the vehicle is mailed the ticket, even if the owner was not driving the vehicle and may not know who was driving at the time. The owner of the vehicle is then forced to prove his or her innocence, often by identifying the actual driver who may be a family member, friend or employee.

10) Ticket camera systems are designed to inconvenience motorists.
Under the guise of protecting motorist privacy, the court or private contractor that sends out tickets often refuses to send a copy of the photo to the accused vehicle owner. This is really because many of the photos do not clearly depict the driver or the driver is obviously not the vehicle owner. Typically, the vehicle owner is forced to travel to a courthouse or municipal building to even see the photograph, an obvious and deliberate inconvenience meant to discourage ticket challenges.

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92 Responses to “10 Reasons To Oppose Red-Light Cameras”

  1. […] National Motorist’s Association in the USA is a real car owners pressure group. See “10 Reasons To Oppose Red-Light Cameras“ LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  2. […] Ten Reasons to oppose red-light cameras. […]

  3. Hugh Kirkpatrick says:

    p.s. I am amazed at the number of drivers who do not know or understand the law regarding traffic lights and their relation to the intersection boundaries. I am perpetually amazed (and frustrated) at the number of drivers who, after the thru lanes light has gone green and the left turn arrow has estinguished, will sit in the left lane behind the white line and not proceed. Legally, they have the right while the main light is green, to proceed into the intersection, and make their left turn, even after the main light has gone red! The yellow caution light means, “Do Not Enter the intersection”. Once you are IN the intersection, you have the right to proceed (with reasonable caution) even after the light has turned red. If the front bumper of your vehicle has crossed the white intersection boundary line after the light is red, you are still legal. If that light is red any time before that, you are not.

  4. Hugh Kirkpatrick says:

    I pretty much agree with all the stated reasons. But I still want to see some justice meted out to those inconsiderate idiots who blatantly run the left turn arrow after it goes red, daring the oncoming traffic – which has the right-of-way to hit them! In South Florida where we have possibly the worst drivers on earth, you will see as many as a half dozen cars tightly bunched, run the left turn light after it has gone red, impeding the oncoming traffic. My solution? A 1968 Lincoln Continental with about 800 lbs of lead in the front bumper…and when that light goes green, I go, and to hell with whoever dares to cut across my lane in front of me!!

  5. ccAudi says:

    More cameras please. You may still run red lights, we simply charge $75 and a point or two for the privilege.

    • Mike says:

      I see, so it really is about the revenue, after all. $75 for the municipality, plus a couple points so the insurance companies can raise their premiums. Thank you for making such a good point.

    • Garth says:

      Pasadena, CA the red light fines are $490. For those who miss a legal entry to the intersection by only a foot or two vs. those who are a full blown red light runner, it seems unfair. If there were traffic cops assessing law enforcement, they would have full view if it was unsafe or a safe position for the violator at the time.

      I recall many times ambulance, fire and police on a code 3, force traffic to obey the “clear the intersection and pull to the right and stop”. The cameras don’t know this is going on and for those who get flashed, will have to research, prepare and appear in court to tell the judge. What a complete waste of time and where is the compensation to the “violator” for such a bogus citation?

      I vote for all the tickets dismissed by court, the city reimburse the “violator” the same amount as the fine or $490 for compensation. The government is out of control, period. They engineered the street, the intersection, the traffic controls etc yet, there’s an unsafe result so they throw red light cameras at the problem and reap the profits. I’ve heard another term for this, mobsters.

  6. Paolo says:

    In Italy some municipalities even did scams to get more tikets… they used semaphores with very short time for yellow light… but that’s the typical Italian crap. Anyway if properly used, and if the cameras are well visible (so to discourage infractions) it can be a good solution in some places.

  7. boofhead says:

    in sydney australia cameras Have reduced stupid collisons , Have been used in courts re accidents stolen cars robberies etc only A–H—- have something to fear . THEY SAVE LIVES use them . Act responsible points 1..8 are false, right type of equipment will nullify point 9 ,on 10 who gives a S…t about fools who put lives at risk YES I DO GIVE A DAMM SO SHOULD YOU BILL

  8. Mike says:

    Red light enforcement cameras in Ottawa, Ont., Canada, are catching unexpected prey: cops, firefighters and paramedics. The resulting C$180 tickets stand since province law requires emergency vehicles to stop at red lights before passing through, and slowing down to a crawl isn’t good enough. The city won’t back down, and has required the agencies involved to pay C$11,000 (US$10,000) so far. (Ottawa Citizen)

    …Well sure: those cameras are all about revenue no matter where they are.

  9. Phil Mckrackin says:

    #6 is grounds for dismissal in my state. An officer can not write a traffic ticket for offensesof the law that he did not witness if that offense is less than a misdemeanor. Which driving through a red light is less than a misdemeanor. similarly when a crash occurs a ticket that is written for a person driving through a red light can easily gain a dismissal with a simple motion by the defendant or his/her attorney. However, in such cases I feel redlight cameras would be helpful in litigations resulting from said crashes.

  10. Phil Mckrackin says:

    I think the resources that are available to be used such as red light cameras should be utilized. Before you all attack me let me clarify by saying that I support the cameras being there and taking pictures of vehicles that go through the red lights. I don’t however, support mailing out tickets to those individuals. The photos I feel should be used for litigations when there is a crash and both drivers claim to have had the green.

  11. Steven McDonough says:

    Boy have you missed two big reasons to oppose them.One the local residents will
    be subjected to flashes at night where the cameras are near dimly lit residential
    areas and two the camera will be aimed into some homes near the intersections.
    By informing your neighbor who may not understand that this is a constitutional
    violation of their private property rights!

    • C says:

      Do you know anyone who has gotten the cameras taken down or removed because of the flashes at night waking them up.

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