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San Diego Drops Red-Light Cameras 330

gannebraemorr writes "U-T San Diego reports that the city has become 'the latest in a cadre of California cities turning their backs on red-light cameras — aloof intersection sentries that have prompted $490 tickets to be mailed to 20,000 motorists per year' there. 'Mayor Bob Filner announced his decision to take down the city's 21 cameras at a news conference set at the most prolific intersection for the tickets, North Harbor Drive and West Grape Street, near San Diego International Airport. A crew went to work immediately taking down "photo enforced" signs throughout the city. "Seems to me that such a program can only be justified if there are demonstrable facts that prove that they raise the safety awareness and decrease accidents in our city," Filner said of the cameras. "The data, in fact, does not really prove it."' I have to say I'm a bit surprised that my city is voluntarily shedding potentially $9.8M in revenue after objectively evaluating a program. I wonder how much a system would cost that could switch my light from green to red if it detected a vehicle approaching from a red-lit direction at dangerous speeds. Can you think of an other alternative uses for these cameras?"
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San Diego Drops Red-Light Cameras

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  • Re:Or... (Score:5, Informative)

    by masternerdguy ( 2468142 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @05:04PM (#42773229)
    That would mess a lot of things up. Contrary to popular belief most civil engineers aren't dumb, they've done fluid modeling and simulations (you know, science) to determine how long each light needs to be red and at what intervals. If you accelerate one part of the system you might disrupt the flow of traffic miles down the road. In my area some traffic lights are disabled past 7pm to improve traffic flow at non peak hours because the lighter traffic past 7 allows some optimizations.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2013 @05:39PM (#42773501)

    It is a violation of my civil rights to obey red lights.

    You have no right to drive a car on public roads. That's why you need to be licensed to do it. When you don't obey the laws your license should be revoked.

    And it is a violation of my civil rights to be filmed in public.

    There is no right to privacy when you are in public.

    And it is a violation of my civil rights for the government to spy on my private affairs (I'm just driving my car, which I -own!).

    Driving on a public road isn't a private affair.

    See a problem?

    The problem is you.

  • Re:Hmmmmm..... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @05:56PM (#42773611) Homepage

    Red light cameras discourage running *yellows*, out of the fear of running reds and getting a ticket. They dramatically increase accident rates: []

    The other side effect is that they never bring in the money that's expected, and so yellows get shortened to catch more people running reds. They're a good deal for the companies selling them, but don't do anything for safety.

  • Re:Hmmmmm..... (Score:4, Informative)

    by dkf ( 304284 ) <> on Saturday February 02, 2013 @06:35PM (#42773821) Homepage

    Red light cameras don't decrease crashes. What happens when the guy 4 feet in front speeds up at the yellow, and you follow, then he slams the brakes because he changes his mind because of the camera? Oh yeah, more crashes.

    Then you were driving incompetently. You shouldn't tail-gate. You should always leave enough room for you to stop if the guy in front does something strange like stamp on the brakes or swerve or something. Yes, they might be a lot to blame but you're still supposed to take care of yourself by anticipating the (immediate) future road conditions and driving so that you remain safe. Didn't you ever get taught that as part of showing you're fit to drive on the public highway?

    And the worst crashes are when someone is more than a second after the red. The tickets go out to people like you describe at 0.5s after the red. But it's those seconds late (drunk, asleep, reading the morning paper) that kill, and they don't see the red light, they won't see the camera.

    So, you're insisting that because cameras don't prevent all idiotic driving at an intersection, they're useless? I really don't agree, not at all. If you're behind the wheel, you should be fit to be driving safely, if not for yourself then for all your other fellow road users. That means being sober, alert and attentive. If you're not all three when driving, you're just a fucking jerkwad whose travel should be restricted to walking around the prison exercise yard.

    Before you ask, I'm just as strict with myself about driving safely. Safely or not at all. No excuses. No third option. (Being a passenger when someone else is driving safely instead — bus, taxi, whatever — is a variant on "not at all".)

  • Re:So Floor It ! (Score:5, Informative)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @07:31PM (#42774173) Journal
    In the UK the stone walls on either side of the road leave no room for caravan mirrors, let alone merging lanes.
  • Re:Or... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @07:39PM (#42774243)
    The problem is not the civil engineers (at least probably not). It is probably the fact that the political appointees over ruled the traffic experts for some political reason. What makes this especially difficult is that you can't just fix it by making it so the political appointees can't over rule the subject matter "experts" because than you have no way to hold those subject matter "experts" accountable. Either the political appointees (the people who answer to the people who answer to the voters) can fire the subject matter experts (and if they can do that, they make it be known that if the subject matter experts don't do it their way they will be fired) or the subject matter experts are not accountable to anybody.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian