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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:03 AM
Original message
Red light cameras: Is goal safety or money
Red light cameras: Is goal safety or money

MELISSA SANTOS; Staff writer
Published: 01/24/10


Two South Sound legislators say Washington cities are misusing automated traffic cameras to boost revenue and that they should lower the cost of their tickets.

Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, and Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, say state lawmakers never intended automated red light cameras to slap drivers with fines of $100 or more, which is what they cost in most South Sound cities. Local cities that have red light cameras include Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup, Federal Way, Auburn, Fife and Lacey.

Hurst believes cities are installing more and more traffic cameras not to increase public safety but to make money. Hes concerned they may even try to shorten the length of yellow lights to catch more red light runners and increase profits.

Its like crack cocaine for cities, Hurst said. They get this revenue, and all of a sudden its How can we get more?

more...

http://www.thenewstribune.com/topstories/story/1041790....
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm hesitant to jump on this bandwagon
because our area teabaggers are all over it and I don't trust them or their judgment. :)
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WA98296 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
63. For safety: lengthen yellows and overlap reds ....
If safety is the real concern than lengthening yellow lights with an overlap of all reds would provide more safety than any amount of cameras. Posting traffic control officers at intersections during high volume periods would also create a safer environment and avoid gridlock. Although not common in our district, gridlock does become an issue in such areas as downtown Seattle, Bellevue and Lynnwood; in particular during the holiday season.

I am one who believes that "anyone willing to give up liberty to obtain security will obtain neither." Traffic cameras and GPS tracking for toll collection to me are forms of government interfering with my movements. I am a law-abiding citizen but I do believe that I should have freedom of movement without being tracked by my government.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #63
115. the city of San Francisco has the shortest yellows and a very high
Rate of pedestrian deaths due to the people who are trying to get through the intersection without having to stop.

The yellow lights need to be set at the old standards of where they were in the late seventies, before cities started maximizing their income via pedestrian death.
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DrCory Donating Member (862 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 05:09 AM
Response to Reply #115
117. Income via pedestrian death?
How does that work? Not being critical, just curious.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-27-10 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #117
120. With the yellow lights being deliberately shorter than they were
Edited on Wed Jan-27-10 01:37 PM by truedelphi
Back in the day, the red light comes into effect prematurely. So more tickets for going through a "red" can be issued. (Especially now that this is all done with cameras and computers.)

But the old settings for each phase of the lights was done according to what was needed for safety. If the yellow is shortened to the point of being non-existent, not only is the driver driving through on the "red" but the pedestrian is being giving the "green" go ahead. Thus, fatal and near fatal pedestrian vs. car accidents result. But hey - the city is making out like a bandit by all the tickets!

I have read this in articles in the S.F. Chronicle - but it has been at least eight to ten years ago since reading about the problem.

When I lived in the Bay area, I deliberately tried to walk across the busy boulevard near my home to see if I could make it while having the green. I tried my experiment at several different intersections. Often, the light had turned against me before I was one third of the way across. (And at that point in time, I was pretty quick on my feet.)
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 03:27 AM
Response to Reply #63
116. I dunno. Here in North Carolina we seem to have an informal understanding that
"If the guy in front of me ran the red light, then hey! so can I!" This leads to chains of six or eight cars going through a red light, one after another; note that I'm not talking about behgavior when a light gets stuck -- I'm talking about ordinary everyday driving behavior. Longer yellows and overlapped reds are a really safety good idea, but they won't keep people from running lights: in fact, if reds overlap too much, it may increase running reds
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:05 AM
Response to Original message
2. Speaking as a traffic attorney, it's money.
I got a ticket myself. The light was decidedly yellow. But I was driving without a passenger. The ticket said going through a red light and I had no corroboration.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #2
28. Would that have helped?
I mean, having a passenger to corroborate.

I'm starting to think that maybe we'll have to start running around with video cams attached to our dashboards like they have in some police cruisers, if we really want proof they'll believe...


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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
65. I got a ticket once and they had a video
You could look online at a video of your car going through the red light.

They didn't expect us to pay up without that, I suppose.

It was true inattention on my part (before I get flamed for running the red light).
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #65
79. We all make mistakes
The question is: What went wrong? What could be improved at that intersection to draw your attention to it before you ran the red light?

the law & order authoritarians here would have you believe there are great hordes of unwashed masses out there who live for the sole purpose of ignoring traffic signals.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #79
82. Be careful of yellows
And stale greens.

I always watch out when behind a truck, too. You can follow one through an intersection at the beginning of the red because you couldn't see it.

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ManiacJoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #79
93. Maybe not great hordes, but definitely noticeable numbers of them.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #79
99. Every intersection should have a warning box painted ahead of it indicating the "decision point".
> What could be improved at that intersection to draw your attention to it before
> you ran the red light?

Every intersection should have a warning box or bold warning line painted ahead
of it indicating the "decision point". If you're past the line (or into the warning box)
when the light turns yellow, you proceed on through. If you're before the line or
box when the light turns yellow, you stop. And if you're in moving traffic, your
being beyond the line or box when the light turned amber should be construed
as being a valid legal defense against any "ran the red" bull.

And the distance between the intersection and the warning line or box is set
based on the duration of the yellow and the posted speed at the intersection.
And a minimum yellow time must be mandated and enforced nationwide.

If these steps were taken, people wold have the data they need to know (not
guess!) whether or not to go onwards with a yellow light. We'd all be far safer,
but towns would lose a source of revenue.

My town plays the "short yellow" game. If you ask the officers, they will tell
you that all yellow lights in the city are at least six seconds long. They're
wrong, often by a factor of nearly two. If I had more time on my hands, I'd
video the lights and routinely pester the traffic department until they fixed
them all.

Tesha
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:09 AM
Response to Original message
3. why either or
perhaps it is to promote safety - and the method is to fine those that are unsafe - and why not allow those that are guilty pay for the "service" vs taxpayers in general?
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:47 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. You probably like marijuana laws for the same reason
It's just a money grab, pure and simple.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:50 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. I have no idea how you make that leap . .
oh well . . . pseudo-progressive thought can be pretty strange at times. . . .
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #6
88. It's easy to make the leap
when you recognize the same, "It's for your own good, you know," logic...
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #88
91. well . . . this is probably a waste of time since you have it all figured out
but I will try anyway.

You see . . . traffic laws are for the safety of others. So I think they are a good thing regardless of how or why they are enforced - I am kept a bit safer from the recklessness of others.

Not true with marijuana laws. If you elect to partake - I am no worse off. So I really don't care what you do in the privacy of your home.

See - I don't really feel the same way about the two different types of laws. But . . . you have probably not read this far down anyway so I could have posted anything.
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #91
108. I have read that far down
And a quick yellow light designed to do zip-a-dee-doo dah for safety, but plenty for the cops who can spend their time at the donut shops instead of looking for truly dangerous drivers (like drunks or texters).

Red-light cameras are just Big Brother come to visit us today. Glad you are OK with someone smoking a harmless bit of weed in their own home, by the way. My mistake, I guess you just looked like a total nanny-stater to me.
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zipplewrath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. No correlation
If it was about safety, they'd be putting them in the most "dangerous" locations. They'd also be able to demonstrate which intersections they are the most effective. They can't, and they don't. Around here they are at the most "profitable". The cities have been after the state to allow them to make them moving violations. The state is resisting. At one point the state offered to make them non-moving violations, but that would limit the fine to about $80. The cities response was telling. "At that level, the system would cost more than it would collect". It isn't about safety, it's about revenue.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. how about a link justifying the claim of incorrect placement
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
49. Please see post 48
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montanto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #5
27. Hear, hear.
In LA most of these cameras are in Beverly Hills, in relatively safe intersections. The fine was $270 last time I inadvertantly checked. And the city brooks NO argument. Here's the picture, pay the fine. All about the money.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #27
64. so?
Why not place more of a burden of the funding for police on those that are breaking the traffic laws? I have no problem with that.

Or are you claiming something more sinister?
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itsrobert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #5
36. Looks like they put them in the middle class areas of San Diego
and some downtown where people can afford it. I guess they know the poor can't pay and the well off probably told them to stick it.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #36
46. Thank you yes!
Actually I think you are right. They are installed not at the most dangerous intersections, but at the most complex and congested. I think they actually make an intersection more dangerous because it shits a drivers' focus from getting through the intersection without swapping paint to not getting flashed.

You can't really appeal a RLC ticket so they do the manned enforcement mostly in the poor neighborhoods because people their will not have the resources to fight the ticket. so in both cases the city has set itself up to GTFM. (get the fucking money)
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:53 AM
Response to Original message
8. Both. Cameras were installed one on particularly deadly accident prone
section of a state highway a few years ago and accident rates have been slashed. It was a blind curve combined with massive congestion and folks would round it at very high rates of speed. In one month, there were eight fatal accidents.

To my knowledge there have been no more accidents since the cameras were installed 3 years ago. They were recently removed but people still go slower than they used to.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. when it is safety- city should post signs telling motorists "speed cameras ahead".
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. why
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. why should signs be posted warning motorists of red light or speed cameras?
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 08:19 AM by KittyWampus
Because if the issue is safety, posting that warning tells the motorists to obey the law or each and every car disobeying the law WILL get a ticket without exception.

Combined with the actual ticketing cameras, the signs make them even more effective.

No sign means the city's main concern is revenue.

And this is what was done in Europe. They post signs.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #12
19. I have paid a ticket in Europe based on a camera . . . and guess what - there were no warning signs
Do we also need signs in Walmart telling folks not to steal?

I suggest the cameras are more effective if people do not know where they are.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. if the concern is safety, you are wrong. Signs make the camera more effective w/higher compliance
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. I am sure you can support that with a link
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #23
60. Link....
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #60
61. I did check out the link. It is quite biased and just seems to make
unsupported claims.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #61
70. Somehow I guessed that would be your response.
Of course it's fucking biased! Accurate information has a way of being...biased.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #22
31. Absolutely. I think the signs are more effective than the cameras, really. nt
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #22
62. do you mean signs that indicate which specific intersections
are under traffic monitoring via cameras?

Why is that more effective than just letting everyone know intersections are under surveillance - but not indicating which ones specifically? I really disagree with your claim. It certainly is not the approach taken by major stores that use surveillance cameras.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #62
76. How would everyone know that intersections, in general, are under surveillance?
If they don't watch the news or read a newspaper they might not know that the city has decided to put up cameras at random intersections.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #76
78. and why would that make a difference? If they have a DL, they supposedly
know the laws. And they know there are consequences to breaking the law.

If an intersection is dangerous - then signs indicating its danger are appropriate. Any further signs indicating camera monitoring are just not necessary imo.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #78
81. But if the idea is to increase safety, then "should know" doesn't help
If the idea is to increase safety then the cameras are acting as a deterrent. In order for a deterrent to be effective, the motorist needs to know that there is at least a possibility that a camera will be at the intersection.

Now, a good reason not to post a sign at the intersection itself would be that you don't want to buy a camera for every intersection but you want the motorist to stop at every intersection. In that case you would randomly disperse the cameras and not tell the motorists where they are dispersed, so that they are always faced with the possibility of a camera being there at every intersection.


But if the objective is to get the motorists to stop then they need to know IN GENERAL that there are cameras. If they don't know, then it isn't an effective deterrent. Even if they should know, it's still not an effective deterrent.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #81
83. I have been posting the same argument -
I don't see any need to post signs at SPECIFIC intersections notifying drivers that they are under surveillance at THAT SPECIFIC intersaction.

Sure let them know there are cameras out and about - but not SPECIFICALLY WHERE.

But . . . that said. If someone is caught without knowing cameras are being used, it is THEIR problem. They still BROKE THE LAW and the consequences need to be dealt with.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #83
86. I'm not arguing about the morality of said laws
I'm far more interested in the academic question of whether they ARE about money or safety than the ethical question about whether they SHOULD be about money or safety. My argument is that if there are not adequate means to inform motorists about the existence of the cameras in general, then it is difficult to conclude that they are about safety and easier to conclude that they are about money.

A system that maximizes safety would have a camera at every single intersection and a sign at every single intersection informing the motorist that there is a camera. Obviously the city has finite resources and this will never happen. If the goal is safety then you have two options. One is to have cameras at the most dangerous intersections and signs indicating they are there. Another is the system I described above but with some means to inform motorists that cameras are randomly dispersed. Perhaps a good way to do this would be to post a sign informing motorists about cameras being randomly placed on the same sign poll as every third or fourth speed limit sign.

If the goal is revenue, however, then the object is to get the motorists to run the red lights and catch them in the process. This would mean that the city will not try to make motorists aware of the cameras. This is, IMO, what a lot of cities seem to be doing meaning that the objective is revenue. I'm not making an ethical judgment about whether or not they should do that. I'm just saying, that's what they do.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #19
50. More or less they do.
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 12:31 PM by MindPilot
Not actually saying "don't steal" but they do let you know you are under video surveillance.

They would rather you not steal in the first place than have to deal with catching you.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #50
53. sure - I understand that - but they don't post a sign under each camera
You know in general that you are under surveillance.

Same with the traffic cameras. You know they are out and about - but not necessarily at which intersections. This was my point.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #53
57. So do you want a driver to slow down
and pay particular attention to the signals at what is probably a problem intersection in the first place, or play gotcha?
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #57
59. we are getting sidetracked
of course I want the drivers to slow down.

I support signs that warn drives of unsafe intersections. who wouldn't.

I see no need to post a sign that warns motorists that they are being monitored by traffic cameras.

I do not have a problem with traffic cameras - even if it is about hte money.

Police Depts need $$$$$ to operate. Most of the $$$$$$$ come from taxpayers. I have no problem if those that break traffic laws pay a bit more via tickets. Cameras make the use of actual police staff more effective and efficient and places more of the funding burden with those that are responsible for staff levels. And yes - I have paid a number of tickets - I am not immune to these costs myself.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #59
68. Can I infer from your comment then that you think it is a good idea to
1) support an extra-judicial for-profit arm of law enforcement free of due process

2) place cameras at the most congested and complex intersections where the likelihood of non-compliance is highest

3) shorten yellow light timing to maximize non-compliance

4) further entrap drivers by hiding the cameras

Those are the things that go hand-in-hand with the--dubious claims of--safety delivered by RLCs.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #68
69. oh good Lord - I am not even going to respond to that ridiculous post
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #69
72. Ok then explain
You support RLCs, right?
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #68
71. and btw - there is no entrapment if traffic laws being broken are just being caught by cameras
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 01:08 PM by DrDan
lets get real here
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #71
74. it's entrapment when the yellows are shortened
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 01:23 PM by MindPilot
and the trigger point is set before the limit line.

Both things the RLC company was caught doing here in San Diego.

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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #74
77. I have no idea as to what you are talking about - the San Diego incident
of course I would not support that. Why in the world would you jump to that silly conclusion.

This is a waste of time. I am done. You obviously have an agenda.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #77
80. Yeah my agenda is freedom and due process
Yours is highly suspect.
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iris27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #19
52. um, there ARE signs in Walmart telling folks not to steal.
Are you telling me you've really never seen a "shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law" sign? They're in nearly every retail establishment, including Wal-Mart.

If you want people to slow down in a particularly dangerous area, tracking speed and notifying people that you're doing so is going to slow more people than the tracking alone.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #52
56. of course I have seen those signs
and further that you are under surveillance.

But they would be less effective if posted near a camera - pointing out its location.

That was my point.

Sure - let people know they are being monitored. However, don't be so specific as to let them know the specific intersections. That was my point.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #19
67. Isn't avoiding a potentially fatal accident more important than making
sure people are punished for not thinking about the law hard enough? If they are motivated for not violating the law by not getting a ticket, so what? It could save a life.

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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #67
73. fully agree - lets motivate them to stay within the law at ALL intersections
not just those where there are signs warning them of traffic cameras
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #19
95. They have signs in Walmart telling people not to steal
Or at least telling them shoplifting is prosecuted.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #95
104. no - that was not the point - of course they do
but they are not located such that everyone is aware of the exact location of the surveillance cameras.

Same with stoplights. To position a sign indicating the SPECIFIC intersection being monitored by cameras is not the best approach.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #12
112. they post signs in the chicago area as well.
paris of the midwest.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #9
30. They do here. I thought that was standard. If not, that could be
entrapment, I would think.
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #9
38. They used to do that in one NC city--Raleigh, I think
I thought the signs were great: they said "the next intersection has a traffic light camera on it, which earns the City of Raleigh x dollars per month in fines."

In Fayettenam we had three red light cameras--one at the intersection of Skibo, McPherson Church, Pamalee and Yadkin Roads (Skibo turns into Pamalee and McPherson Church turns into Yadkin at that intersection); one at the intersection of Bragg Blvd and Sycamore Dairy Road; and one where the Martin Luther King Freeway teed into Ramsey St. All three cameras were signed--and people STILL ran the damn stoplights. If the shit was about safety instead of money, they would have put one at the point Skibo teed into Raeford Road, one at the intersection of Owen and Village Drives, and one at the intersection of Skibo and Morganton--the three most dangerous intersections in Fayetteville. But instead they picked the three where they thought they could make the most money (read: the three intersections with the shortest traffic lights).
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Coventina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:18 AM
Response to Original message
11. It's money. n/t
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live love laugh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
110. Bingo. I saw a car turn when the arrow went green yesterday--picture taken
when the FIRST car turned. And he won't be able to contest it.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
13. It is a revenue generator, and also a step towards privatization of our police forces
When you get tagged by a camera, part of the money goes to the local jurisdiction, the city, county, whatever. However a larger part goes to a private company, the ones who put up the cameras.

Meanwhile it has been found that cities will shorten their yellow light cycle to help catch people. But worst of all is the increase in rear end collisions as people now tend to slam on their brakes, even when the light is turning yellow. Fewer light runners, more accidents, and more money going to private companies. What a concept :puke:
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #13
54. Extra-judicial for-profit law enforcment.
And in many cases the private companies do the adjudication. It becomes "administrative" so due process is gone. The system so prone to mistakes and abuse, I think it should be outlawed on a Federal level.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
14. I've always wondered what happens when congested interesections
in highly urban areas, cause multiple drivers to be stuck in the intersection after the light turns red. I think most people have observed situations where that occurred and was unavoidable. Do all these poor suckers get ticketed?
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. No, they get the bonus ticket, at least in my nearby city
They passed a law against blocking the intersection, thus even if you pull into the intersection at the start of the light cycle, expecting the line ahead to move, and it doesn't, you're still breaking the law. The camera goes off, and you're sent a nice little ticket.

The first place that these cameras were placed in this city was at the intersection that is notorious for backing up. I also think that they've played with the light sequencing to catch more people doing this.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. in Manhattan, those intersections are manned with traffic officers.
just sayin'

But when you think about it, if the traffic jams up like that, they do need someone directing traffic.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. That's Manhattan,
I live in Missouri and the only time there are traffic officers out is when there is a big wreck or a big event. Otherwise it's all up to the lights.

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Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #14
39. No not if they were already in the intersection when the light changed.
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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
15. Money, just like a lot of other things
Why is a ticket for not wearing your seat belt more than a speeding ticket?
Which is more dangerous to others in terms of safety?
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Democrat_in_Houston Donating Member (94 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
17. In my community - safety.
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 08:29 AM by Democrat_in_Houston
We have very clear postsings at all intersections where the cameras are set up. If you run a red light, you're a fool. And the cameras were installed at those intersections that were most dangerous. (I'm in a burb of Houston.)
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
21. Most local court action is revenue
Certainly in smaller towns where there is little crime to speak of. I have sat through court sessions here in northern MI and it is ridiculous. Some of the stupidest shit goes in front of the judge and along with fines and the mandatory programs people have to go through that they learn nothing from. It's a horrible system that can leave many who were barely hanging on financially in complete ruin with little chance of ever getting out of the hole.

Julie--awaiting the law'n'order posse to show up
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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #21
26. My favorite is "Anger Management"...
ya... because I need to "manage" my urge to strangle the shit out of stupid politicians who make laws that steal money from honest citizens....
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sandyj999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
24. $$$$$$$$.
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 09:09 AM by sandyj999
It's a known fact that a certain area where I live is a speed trap. It is also a known fact that the city wants a new courthouse. This is located right near an underpass where cars naturally pick up speed, and there "they" are. It's all about the money.
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Hatchling Donating Member (968 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
25. Revenue. nt
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truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
29. Purely for money. We recently had some put in around here, and a study showed..
...that they actually INCREASED accidents, rather than decreasing them. Of course, the town got lots of money from them which was entirely the point..
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Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #29
40. Slight increase in total accidents, huge decrease in serious accidents?
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 12:04 PM by Fire_Medic_Dave
That is not uncommon.
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truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. How would you know that about the study I was referring to?
I didn't even post a link, but somehow you KNOW? :shrug:
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Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. I was only pointing out a common occurence when redlight cameras are installed.
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Gidney N Cloyd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
32. $$$.Given that the cameras will nail you for minor infractions a live cop probably would let pass...
...like a rolling stop before a red-on-right turn at a non-busy intersection, I suspect safety isn't the primary issue.

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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
33. Huge moneymaker here in Kansas City.
Those tickets are about $100 per and I saw that there were over 37,000 tickets issued but I'm not sure what the time frame was. People who disagree with the cameras can see the picture on line and most of them realize they were wrong. But they can contest in court if they want to. Sometimes the cameras are wrong - especially if the lights are malfunctioning for some reason.

I don't care. Everyone knows which intersections have cameras. And everyone knows to be really careful at those places.
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daa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
34. Totally about money
They have shut most of them down here around Atlanta because it cost more to maintain them than they were bringing in because people avoided them and rear end collisions increase.
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
35. In Chicago, they actually increased wrecks.
it's all about the money. Our parking enforcement staff wears orange overcoats with the word "Revenue" on their backs. We don't even hide the fact anymore.

What I think they have hidden is the fact that the yellow lights seem to have gotten shorter. could just be a perception thing, but there are many intersections here with those cameras where you can be in the intersection when it is green and have it turn from yellow to red before you clear it.
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Tim01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
37. Money. The original goal may have been safety. But now it is money. nt
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Alexander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
43. Money. Statistics have shown these cameras cause more rear-end collisions at red lights.
Because people will slam on the brakes at a yellow light if they are worried the camera might snap their photo and produce a ticket.

Janet Napolitano supported these horrible cameras in Arizona, and even she admitted they didn't improve safety. They were there for money only.

These cameras are all over the Phoenix area. Apart from it being very Big Brother-esque, it's very easy to get away without paying the ticket. Just throw away the mailed tickets and don't answer the door when a processor shows up, and after 3 months you won't have to pay the ticket.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #43
85. When I lived in Phoenix, people recommended cross registration.
The ticket gets sent to the registered owner. If he/she wasn't the driver, and the owner "can't" identify the driver, the case is dismissed.

--imm
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Alexander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #85
87. Unfortunately, that loophole also makes it hard to ID hit-and-run drivers.
I've known people whose cars were damaged by hit-and-run drivers.

They correctly identified the car, plate number, etc., but the cops wouldn't pursue it, because they didn't get a physical description of the driver.

If it happens at night, it's nearly impossible to identify a driver, unless he/she drives with the cabin light on.
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arthritisR_US Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
44. money. n/t
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Crabby Appleton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
45. Money
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sonias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
47. Money, money, money
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 12:23 PM by sonias
We have the same problem in Texas. We almost got them banned last legislative session, so before the bill died some of the cities extended the contracts with the red light camera companies.

It is a revenue generator for cities first and foremost.

Let me add a related Texas story

Texas Tribune 12/11/09
More Than One Million Caught

(snip)
While some cities have lost money on the cameras in recent years, they've been lucrative for many others, generating, by a conservative estimate, as much as $60 million in fines. The cities share their profits fines, less expenses with the state, and spend the rest on traffic safety.

(snip)
The cameras may be growing in popularity in some cities, but they also still spark controversy. Citizens recently voted to have them removed in College Station, for example, amid a grass-roots campaign claiming that they violate privacy rights and don't make motorists safer. There are plenty of critics elsewhere.

"My problem is down on a root level," said Paul Kubosh, a traffic lawyer in Houston who has fought the cameras in the courts and the Legislature. "They're lying to us. They know they're lying to us when they say the cameras make us safer."


Sonia
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
48. totally about the money
Look, the deterrent to running a red light is not a ticket or a fine; it's getting t-boned by a semi. The vast majority of people drive with their own best interests in mind; they don't _want_ to crash so they drive at speeds and in such a way that is comfortable.

If there is an intersection with a lot of crashes then that intersection has a problem. Visibility, signage, signal timing or configuration. Fix those problems and safety will increase along with compliance, but of course those things don't generate revenue for the city.

Several of you have asked for links. Here at the National Motorist's Association website, you can find it all:
http://www.motorists.org/photoenforce/
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Stevenmarc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
51. I had an office across from one, rear end collisions more than quadrupled after it was put in.
since more people were inclined to slam on their brakes when it turned yellow.
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ManiacJoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #51
98. It's always helpful when folks do not tailgate....
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
55. My husband and another driver got "trapped in the box"
and it cost us $510.00 for the red-light ticket and another $85 for "traffic school" so it will not cost us more for auto insurance
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #55
84. You're not supposed to cross the intersection if traffic will prevent exiting the other side
before the light changes, otherwise you'll block traffic and create either a safety hazard, a further traffic mess, or both. Doing so is both illegal and a just plain bad idea. Instead you're supposed to wait behind the line for traffic to clear, then cross the intersection.

If traffic school explained that it was $85 well spent.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #84
89. Don't we know it.. The driver in front of him and the other guy, stopped
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 04:34 PM by SoCalDem
He decided to turn left into a shopping center just past the intersection...and of course my husband and the car in front of him had nowhere to go.....and then the light changed, trapping the two of them "in the box"..

His 3rd ticket ever cost us a bundle...

ticket #1 was in 1969.... speeding
ticket # 2 was in 1981... another speeding ticket in Arizona at the bottom of a big old canyon.. The Hi-Po pulled over about 8 cars (all out of state cars) and kindly provided us all with a mail-in envelope for the fine :)

of course NOW, apparently our county is "re-thinking" the red-light cams, since a police person could have evaluated the circumstance and perhaps ticketed the car that stopped, for trying to make an illegal left turn across traffic.. had he continued, all would have "made the light".. So Cal traffic is "quite another" thing, especially near freeway on-ramps and short "blocks" with multiple signes, and lights..
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #89
92. I've come to believe the people who make traffic laws don't drive.
Frequently the laws do not allow for the reality of getting from A to B.
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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
58. Uhmmmmm---money!!!!! All the cams I have seen around here are in
middle to upper middle class shopping areas, where people have a lot of money. There are crossing areas with their own pedestrian lights and buttons to control them, and stoplight cams every block for maybe 3 miles in an area that was famous for living off parking fines.

Please forgive me if I am cynical. But I think I'm right.

mark
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proteus_lives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
66. Both.
I don't have a problem with traffic cameras. People shouldn't break traffic laws.
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Tommy_Carcetti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
75. All I know is that any system that gives you traffic infractions...
...without someone pulling you over and telling you what they believed you did, should not be trusted. I have very serious due process concerns with red light cameras.
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slampoet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
90. Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup, Federal Way, Auburn, Fife and Lacey ALL NON-WEALTHY
None of these are the high cost neighborhoods or cities of Washington.

So are they saying that only the lower castes drive badly?
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Edweird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
94. Revenue. It's a scam. It's wrong on many levels.
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
96. As a former home health nurse I can tell you those yellow lights got a lot shorter after the cameras
I have logged countless miles in this area since I lived here. It was hard to miss that those yellow lights started changing a lot faster after the cameras went up at certain intersections. I'm not all that happy with them being used but could live with it except I think the shortening the yellow lights is a real scam.
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taterguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:44 PM
Response to Original message
97. How much does it cost the state to collect these tickets?
I have no idea but I suspect it's a lot more than traditional methods of generating revenue.

Maybe some of you folks that are so concerned about it could research it.

So many people want NO NEW TAXES that pols resort to this to to balance budgets, even though it's very inefficient.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #97
100. The whole process is usually outsourced to the contractor that provides the cameras.
They provide the whole package (cameras, ticket mailings, dunning, and the
like) as a "turn-key" service, simply paying the municipality $n per infraction
(at some agreed-upon rate).

Tesha
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taterguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #100
101. So what dollar figure are we talking about?
Why is such basic information so difficult to obtain?
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #101
102. I don't know, but I'm fairly certain the vast majority of the funds go to the contractor. (NT)
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taterguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #102
103. So no one really knows that they're talking about in this thread?
Cool.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #103
106. Nice assumption. But you know what they say about people who ASS*U*ME things.
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 07:56 PM by Tesha
http://tnliberty.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/...

Knoxville, TN / Redflex Citations in 2007

Revenue Sharing Formula:
< $4500 per camera per month: 15% to City, 85% to Redflex
> $4500 per camera per month: 50% to City, 50% to Redflex

15 Intersections with cameras

60,299 Red-light violations

$955,014 to City revenue

$1,644,719 to Redflex revenue

Net = $43.11 per initial citation. (Compare to $50 ticket.)


You might also enjoy:

http://www.redflex.com/report/index.html


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taterguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #106
107. How much does the city spend on judges / clerks etc involved in collecting the tickets?
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 12:30 AM
Response to Reply #107
113. Not one thin dime
There are other posts in this thread with links which corroborate that.
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Shell Beau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:47 PM
Response to Original message
105. We had them for about half a second. They were done away with.
It was iffy because other people drive other people's cars, and the car owners were getting tickets.

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blues90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
109. You know what , this does not make things safe.
I got a red light ticket in sourthern Calif , cost me closr to $400.
I never run red light's . I went back and timed the yellow and it was 1.2 seconds . The camera caught me almost through the intersection when it turned red , this was a wife four lane intersection and I was moving at 10 MPH and I was beofre the cross street camera.

Look 12 seconds and no ticket and I see people running that light everyday so how the hell does it make anything safer. Anyone who thinks so is insane. Many of the lights are not marked but that is not the point , it's the timeing of the lights here. I checked others and they were 12 second from green to red not 1.2 . I was told I had no case because my stop watch did not read nano seconds. Really , fuck you .
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rcrush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:27 PM
Response to Original message
111. I don't turn right on red anymore because of those damn things.
I got a red light camera ticket for turning right at an intersection with a red light. The entire area was empty and I waited like 5 seconds before I turned even.


Now I'll just sit there until it turns green pissing off all these people behind me.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 12:44 AM
Response to Original message
114. I slam on the breaks at all yellow lights.
I cannot help myself, but every time a traffic light turns yellow, I lock up the breaks instantly.

Then I shout cuss words at the traffic light and flip-off the camera. :D

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quaker bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 06:41 AM
Response to Original message
118. Money and safety
It is a way to generate revenue from "violators" marketed on safety grounds. Running red lights is clearly dangerous.

The question then becomes how many of the folks who run red lights and get into all these accidents, actually noticed the light and intentionally ran it? My bet would be that this number is actually fairly small and accordingly, the improvements to safety will be modest. However, revenue generated by people who "cut it close" and might still be partially in the intersection when the light changes, will be quite large. Safety is the marketing premise, but revenue will sustain and expand this. It is always easy to "tax" violators, of any sort.
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 06:44 AM
Response to Original message
119. The one area Americans are worse than drivers over here are for jumping the red signal
Edited on Tue Jan-26-10 06:45 AM by JCMach1
I always have to remind myself about that so I don't get creamed when driving back home.

If this helps, bring on the cameras to stop the idiots.

The system here is almost all camera based. I would would support importing some highway patrol equipped with tasers... some people here seriously need some stick time!!!
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