So reading through the blogosphere yesterday Uncle posted about someone getting 5 red light tickets, but they weren’t his. I had meant at the time to do a blog post on the subject but never got around to it. Uncle’s post gave me renewed vigor.
Red light cameras strike a special nerve with me. The arguments for their use are much like the arguments for gun control, it makes everyone safer. The actual numbers from the field though show the complete opposite however, again, just like gun control.
My mom got a red light ticket back home. It was actually her vehicle in this instance. A couple weeks later some friends of hers who live out of town called and asked about the same intersection. The interesting thing though about these tickets is they were for turning right on red, which is legal at that intersection.
As it is a sequence of still photographs as opposed to video, you can not defend yourself by showing you came to a complete stop. You’re stuck paying the ticket. Ahh, a ticket, maybe it is done for revenue. Camera tickets are not reported to insurance companies or otherwise scored in your driving record. It’s the equivalent of getting a parking ticket(California and Oregon excluded). You are requested to pay this please for doing X, it’s a penance, except they’re charging people now a penance for something that is legal. I voiced my displeasure by preaching to the choir and then it happened. An article was posted in the town paper from where I grew up. I read the article and damn near had an embolism from my blood pressure going through the roof.
Those who question the program’s validity will admit that there does seem to be a relationship between the cameras and the safety of people. Unfortunately, some politicians and pundits are inserting a “but …” and making claims that just are not true.
After my initial rage subsided I decided that I needed to bitch beyond the choir, to the
no talent ass clowns politicians pushing this garbage. After forwarding the article to “The Short Lady with the Grey Hair” she decided to send a letter as well. Here is a copy of my letter for the internet to retain for all eternity.
There are some other issues you do not cover in your statement regarding photo enforcement at intersections.
As the rates of people committing infractions drop, revenue decreases. Revenue is needed to maintain and operate the cameras. As that revenue drops either the cameras are no longer maintained, or things are done which produce false positives to create revenue. In either case people are or can be falsely cited for infractions. Examples of this are ticketing everyone who turns right on red even though it’s legal. As it is only pictures, NOT video it is impossible to prove guilt using them, however in a court room the images are looked at as divine judgment of guilt.
I will not argue that they can help decrease accidents, however accidents are caused by people blowing lights as through traffic. Making a right hand turn on red is perfectly legal unless specific sings are in place to indicate otherwise. However when I hear of different individuals getting a ticket for something perfectly legal at the same intersection is shows corruption and greed within the system. It displays the real need for these cameras is to increase revenue.
Mr. Lewis, the facts of how these cameras are used and operated, coupled with the difficulty in defending yourself from a ticket for a legal procedure indicates a gross abuse by the local government against it’s citizens as well as visitors. I grew up in Auburn and remember it prior to it’s explosion to it’s current state. There is a reason I now live in a town with not a single stop light. However when I talk to friends and relatives who still remain in the area about getting a ticket for turning right on red, where there is no indication it is illegal to do so, it makes me disappointed to say I grew up in Auburn. It makes it obvious that Auburn’s intention with the system is not to increase safety, but rather to increase revenue by false citations to the citizenry. Eventually the locals will know not to turn right on red, but what about people from out of town visiting. Couple that with the distance and you have a guaranteed payout.
This is completely independent of the fact that the idea of red light and speeding cameras are grossly Orwellian in nature and indicate a subservience of the public to the state. In our “free” republic, people are elected to represent the will of the public, not do as they wish. When issues are brought up it is your duty as a public servant to address them. That includes saying you made a mistake instead of continuing to push public policy to preserve your public image. I would suggest finding a local scout organization and sitting through the “citizenship” merit badges. The questions of efficacy in this instance I do not feel center around preventing accidents, but whether those who are ticketed have actually committed a crime.
Eagle Scout, Troop 401 (2001)
Graduate AHS, 2002
I haven’t seen or heard a reply and I’m sure it was probably just tossed the garbage. So instead it will be placed on the internet, for all to see and enjoy. This will also provide another case for others who find themselves in the same predicament to use in support of their case when fighting a
ticket ill gotten penance required by the force of government.