We had red-light cameras in Albuquerque for a few years. We got all unhappy about them so took them out. I proposed that we keep them and post videos of red-light runners on Youtube, have a computer keep track of how often a license plate runs red lights, allow the court to take a history of red-light-running into account when sentencing someone caught for another violation. Maybe it would shame some people.
My home state of NY gives you an 8 year license regardless of age, no road test needed for renewals. They want the 8 years of fees from all the old people who die soon after renewing.
I never understood why people would be unhappy with red-light cameras…
pluses: catch people breaking the law, increase safety for pedestrians and other drivers, and more income to towns/cities. Possibly, long term, better driving habits…
negatives: people have to pay a fine for breaking the law !
(this is a negative ?? I consider it a positive)
In fact, with so many towns and cities short of funds, I would think this is a great source of revenue. i once stood at an intersection in downtown and counted violations per red light, and it averaged 3 per. When you do the math, 3 x # lights per hour x number of intersections x number of hours x fine, you get a large number, tens of millions of $ per month.
Red light cameras are a good idea. About 25 years ago, a neighbor couple were both killed when a driver ran a red light and collided with their car. If red light cameras had been used at the time, the killer might not have ignored red lights.
The problem with red light cameras is that darned “right to confront the accuser” part of criminal jurisprudence. Pesky as it seems it is a fundamental cornerstone of our justice system. When a cop pulls you over for a violation you can, at your discretion, choose to confront him or her in a court of law to make your case. A camera will not come to court to testify to road conditions (slippery from ice), safety conditions (an emergency vehicle coming through with lights and sirens causing traffic to “make way” without regard to traffic signals), or to admit that the driver stopped first, THEN rolled forward to make a right on red. All of these things happen, and more, yet the driver is left without anyone to confront who could admit to any of these circumstances that would cancel the ticket.
The problem with our society is that the pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction that we now believe any video without context, as opposed to not believing anybody without video proof. Simply posting videos of supposedly criminal actions, however small or large, without context or explanation is a gross violation of all of our rights. And in this day and age of viral videos and misunderstandings, who amongst us wants to be victimized by an internet smear campaign without a chance to defend ourselves (or our families) which the internet does NOT provide.
Be careful what you wish for. Most people who support such erosion of legal rights have never been wrongly accused or been victimized by overzealous technologies such as red light cameras. There was a red light camera in Rochester, NY that became famous for ticketing many drivers that stopped and made a right on red (legally) because of where the camera was pointed. It took years of wrangling and many wrongfully ticketed drivers (suffering outrageous insurance premium increases in addition to the ticket cost) before the city recognized the problem.
One more thing to consider. Red light cameras are posted in urban areas, typically disproportionately in areas where minorities live and drive. You don’t find many such cameras in white areas, particularly suburbs and rural areas. Urban minorities find these to be a hidden tax on them because so many more of them are affected than white drivers who live and drive in suburbs and rural areas. I’m not trying to start a fight on this, just pointing out how THEY see it.
I didn’t understand it either, until AAA in NJ presented convincing statistical evidence that cars being rear-ended at intersections with red light cameras had increased drastically, while there was no evidence of a decrease in T-boning accidents at those same intersections.
Obviously, a T-bone collision is almost always more serious than a rear-ender, but AAA’s evidence was so convincing that the NJ legislature “did a 180”, and wound-up outlawing red light cameras in the state.
“I never understood why people would be unhappy with red-light cameras…”
It’s not that hard to understand really, many people including me consider it a violation of our rights, mainly the 6th amendment. As you can’t call the people who install, tested, or review the tape who issued the notice in many cases.
" catch people breaking the law,"
In many cases they don’t know who was driving, you get a Notice of Violation, which isn’t a ticket in the mail. If you contest the ticket in many places you can’t compel the person who is installed the equipment, or who was to test the equipment to testify, you can’t get the record of when the equipment was tested.
" increase safety for pedestrians and other drivers,"
In some places that’s true, but in some place the camera increased accidents.
“more income to towns/cities.”
Only after the towns/cities have met the guarantee income for the company that installed the equipment and issued the notices, and has led towns/cities to shorten yellow lights below safety standards to help meet the guarantees.
So, not a ticket, it’s not issued by the police (who may or may not review the tape), it doesn’t necessarily increase safety and given the pressure to pay the company for the system may cause towns/cities to make yellow light shorter (in order to catch more people and raise revenue for both towns/cities and the company issuing the notices). Add to that if you do decide to fight the notice, it the towns/cities have to issue a ticket, and only then can you fight it, you can’t call the company or the person who monitors the equipment to testify in many cases, you only get to call the police officer who review the tape but who didn’t issue the ticket or the notice.
Now I could go on and on, for the record I have NEVER been issued a Notice of Violation.
While Albuquerque got rid of red-light cameras, principally because red-light-runners didn’t like getting caught (as opposed to 6th-amendment-activism) neighboring Rio Rancho has continued using them, so it’s not universal.
Principles don’t make the difference, sentiment does; in a community more sympathetic to law-breaking drivers than the people they run over (I have a long collection of slaps-on-the-wrist of drivers who run over bicyclists, pedestrians, equestrians, into other vehicles…) I recommend that we broadcast their patriotic, 6th-amendment-celebrating, moral, Christian, red-light-running for everyone to see and celebrate their victory over oppressive government. Maybe we can have a special day annually, invite them to city hall, project highlights onto a screen, give them a big hand.
Are they being sympathetic to law breaking drivers, or protesting the cameras over the fact that some nameless, uncountable person, who says the owner broke the law, without know if the driver is the owner or not, but will issue the owner a notice of violation (not a ticket), where the owner has to contest the infraction, but can’t in most cases question the person who issued the notice of violation, nor can they question the person who install and maintained the equipment. The other problem is that in order to fight the notice of violation, in some cases you have to pay to upgrade the notice of violation, to a ticket, then contest the ticket, the fee for the “upgrade” is sometime more than the notice of violation will cost you, and in general the notice doesn’t incur points while a ticket will, so you pay the fee, (which you won’t get back) take a day off of work, both of which will generally cost more then the notice will. And if you win, you don’t get you fee back, nor are you paid for the time you missed at work. While those working for the state, will get paid. Not hard to figure out that a $100 0 point violation is cheaper than t
If this was truly about stopping red light violations and saftey, why not station an officer at the worst intersections? After all the cameras generated 3+ million per year, that would pay for at least a few officers, and they could be used for other duties as well.
Oregon has the same scam. When the license lasted 2 then 4 years you could renew one time by mail and be sent a sticker for the license. Last year was the first time I had to automatically pass a vision test. It was with my glasses on. Another new hoop to jump through was proof of citizenship or legal residency.
Yes. In many other cases not involving red-light cameras, Albuquerque’s public has sympathized with the driver. Following the law is unpopular here.
We have other laws to punish owners for violations made by whoever drove the car (with the exception of stolen vehicles). Make the vehicle the perpetrator, condition registration on payment of fines, just like parking tickets.
Connecticut, to collect on tolls evaded, has to identify the driver. A violator wears a gorilla mask when he evades tolls. Thus driver recognition is possible too.
Police cars are more obvious.
So, where’s the down-side here…
I know your frustration all to well. I frequently encounter cyclists and pedestrians either ignorant of traffic laws or choosing to totally disregard them. I would never consider purposefully hitting a cyclist, pedestrian, or other vehicle because I legally had the right of way. Failing to avoid an accident any way possible is morally and legally wrong. I’m confident you actually agree 100%.
I have to admit that I rarely have problems with cyclists on the road, but when I am taking my power-walks in the nearby state park, I have lots of problems with them.
The rules of the trail are that cyclists are supposed to yield to pedestrians, and that everyone is supposed to yield to people riding horses, but ~90% of the cyclists do not yield to pedestrians, and all too many of them insist on riding two abreast, thereby leaving almost no room for those who are on foot. It is particularly bad when they approach from the rear and fail to provide a warning of their approach.
My walking path of choice runs next to the Delaware & Raritan Canal, and one of these days, a startled old man (me) just might happen to stumble and to cause an encroaching cyclist to fall into the canal.
If so, Mr @insightful would be unlike all the motorists who have run into me. As a careful bicyclist who keeps alert for motorists who resent sharing their roads with bicyclists, in order to run me over Mr/Ms motorist has to catch up with me from behind then turn right into me when driving alongside me. Of course they never saw me.
Then there’s the guy who ran the red light, turned (without signaling) left so sharply he was southbound in the northbound lane, headed right towards me, conscientiously rolled down his window to warn me to ‘stay the &^%$# out of the way’ while I backed up as fast as I could. Mr @insightful’s kind of guy.
I pick up my 7 year old Grandson 2 or 3 times per week at his school bus stop. He quickly exited the bus and the driver was making sure as required that we were safely clear which took a few seconds. The driver of the stopped on coming car lowered his window and screamed “Thanks for takin’ so long to drop off one $%#&in’ kid”!!! My Grandson informed me the man was not supposed to say that word. What upset me the most was the woman in the front passenger seat and 2 kids in back indicated the moron had already reproduced.
The main problem I have with red light cameras is that many of those who are in or near the intersection on yellow will get ticketed when stopping was not an option.
Hitting the brakes hard would have meant either coming to a stop in the intersection or being rammed from behind by a trailing vehicle whose intention was to go through the intersection rather than wait.
This almost happened to me not long ago when some Dodge Ram driver who had been behind me for a mile was constantly changing lanes or tailgating.
I approached the light with intentions to turn right and it went yellow on me. This was a heavy traffic area and my first thought was to completely stop. The thought of the Dodge driver hit me so I nailed it and made the right as the light went red.
It’s a good thing I did because the Dodge driver just narrowly missed the back end of my car as he went through the intersection at about 40 MPH. If I had stopped he would have rammed me and shoved me clean through the intersection.
My late dentist had his life ended when he stopped abruptly on a yellow. A trailing vehicle who was tailgating rammed him from behind and shoved him out into the cross-traffic. He was riding a VW powered 3 wheeler and died instantly.
Does everything have to devolve into a political diatribe for you to be happy?
The real question is - can Random Troll actually be happy.
Well because they are a scam. If they worked so well for prevention, there wouldn’t be so many violators and the private vendors would make no money and pull them out. Make people feel good at others getting caught is all.
They tried them in Minneapolis and had to pull them out due to not being able to confront your accuser. In fact they not only pulled the cameras out, they had to pay back violators for the fines they paid for the past year.
They’re still doing the speed cameras in Cedar Rapids, Iowa though so be careful.