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Red Light Camera Use Declined In 2013 For the First Time 348

Posted by timothy
from the drones-are-the-replacement dept.
SonicSpike writes "2013 may be a turning point for red-light cameras across the United States. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a non-profit largely funded by auto insurance companies, this year is the first time in nearly two decades that the number of American cities with red-light cameras has fallen — the systems were installed in 509 communities as of November 2013. While a single-year drop may not ultimately mean much, legislators across the country are increasingly agitated about the cameras. Bills are also pending in Florida and Ohio that would ban the devices entirely. A state representative in Iowa has also twice introduced legislation to ban RLCs (he was not successful). Part of this backlash has to do with the (sometimes accurate) perception that RLCs are a moneymaking scheme, pure and simple."
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Red Light Camera Use Declined In 2013 For the First Time

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  • by PhxBlue (562201) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @12:08PM (#45714833) Homepage Journal

    We either want laws or we don't. If you think less government is best, move to Somalia.

    I'm pretty sure we can establish a middle ground somewhere between Somalia and North Korea.

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @12:19PM (#45714985)

    You're saying you have a right to run red lights? And law enforcement should not be able to identify you in your vehicle? Really?

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @12:29PM (#45715119)

    You're saying you have a right to run red lights?

    Interpreting what I said in that way is like saying that people who oppose DUI checkpoints are asserting the right to drink and drive. Absurd. I simply oppose having government cameras everywhere.

  • by Galaga88 (148206) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @12:57PM (#45715527)

    If you look at the report Ars Technica discusses, they found that red light cameras at intersections were configured to cover those lanes that would would generate the most revenue but were not necessarily the most dangerous. Furthermore, only 10% of the revenue goes to the city, which means it's definitely a profit center for the company.

    People are already rightfully suspicious of government's authority to levy fines and taxes, but we allow it because we know that in principle (if not always or even usually in practice) it's to further the public good. Private companies have no such social responsibility and no reason to not abuse their position to maximize how much money they can extract from the public.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @12:58PM (#45715533)

    But you wouldn't have an issue with a cop on every using a camera to film everyone who at the intersection, right?

    That takes manpower. Disallowing government cameras in public places except those that are on a cop's person or on a cop's car seems like a more sensible policy to me. Mass, automatic surveillance is far different than a guy carrying a camera.

    After all, you are in a public space.

    Public space or no, it's our money, and they're supposed to be working for us. Hopefully they'll do what we say.

  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:16PM (#45715809)
    I disagree. Now I used to hate red light cameras.

    In the evenings, especially Friday and Saturday nights there are sloppy drivers that have many times nearly hit me because they ran red lights.

    I'd like for those sloppy drivers to get tickets in the mail --- there aren't enough police.

    I don't think automated speeding ticket cameras are a good idea, but I don't see the harm in red light cameras --- just stop and they aren't a problem. Now the yellow times in my city are very reasonable and I understand if some cities are cheating on yellow light times to induce *FALSE* and/or *DANGEROUS* situations to generate revenue. I'm just stating that I think red light cameras, if used correctly, can be helpful --- *IF* the local government isn't abusing them.
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:32PM (#45716041)

    Drivers will adapt.

    No they don't. One or two seconds of "all red" causes a permanent reduction in accidents. This is not a hypothetical new proposal, where we have to guess how drivers will react. It has been done for decades in many cities.

    Another way to reduce accidents is to have a count-down timer next to the light. I have never seen these in America, but they are common in some other countries. The countdown commonly starts 30 seconds prior, while the light is still green, giving drivers plenty of time to either slow down or speed up enough to make the light with time to spare.

  • by Ravaldy (2621787) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:34PM (#45716067)

    I like what you wrote. This reminds me of a guy who rear ended my car and blamed me for it. He was 4 - 5 feet behind me going 70km/h before I started braking. Yes I did break suddenly and it was due to a minor lack of attention (I was looking in my rear view mirror trying to understand why he was tailing me).

    The other driver argued with the cop about how it was my fault and the cop told him the following: "No matter how hard or what reason the person in front of you stops, it is your responsibility to keep a safe braking distance between you and the car in front". Case closed!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:47PM (#45716225)

    Problem is people get paranoid around them (don't want to get fined!) and slam on their breaks the instant the light turns yellow - even if it's safer to pass through the intersection. People sloppy enough to run red lights are probably inebriated and will do so regardless of the fine, so while having the camera will punish them, it won't protect you from getting rammed in an intersection. Additionally though the cameras will increase the number of people who slam on the breaks in front of you, causing lots of rear end collisions.

  • by null etc. (524767) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:07PM (#45716485)

    A RLC near me gives tickets to drivers who make a right turn on red, if the cars fail to COMPLETELY stop COMPLETELY prior to the intersection painted lines. On a daily occurrence, I see several drivers get tickets because they came to a complete stop INCHES past the intersection painted lines. In no rational universe would a police officer ever give a ticket to any of these drivers; yet, the municipality is collecting several thousands of dollars each day due to such minor infractions.

Their idea of an offer you can't refuse is an offer... and you'd better not refuse.