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News & Politics News & Politics

Have you ever been caught by a red light camera?

Posted by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 9:25 PM
  • 20 Replies

 

It's the technology that, for years, local officials embraced and drivers loathed.

Red-light cameras have steadily popped up across the country, snagging supposed scofflaws and generating untold numbers of traffic tickets. But despite the revenue boost, some state and local lawmakers are beginning to fall out of love with these electronic tattle-tales.

In Florida, a push to force the state to ditch its red-light cameras is gaining momentum in the legislature. The bill banning the recording devices comes just two years after lawmakers legalized their use on Florida streets. Last week, a House committee advanced the ban in a 10-8 vote, kicking it to the full chamber for a verdict.

Across the country, several states and cities are considering similar moves.

Ticked off by the red-light hall monitor, critics have questioned the motives behind the cameras and claim they were put in place to unjustly milk motorists and help cash-strapped local governments rake in revenue. They also argue the cameras don’t cut down on accidents or illegal behavior and say alternatives – like lengthening the yellow-light duration – should be implemented instead. Major cities like Los Angeles and Houston in late 2011 abandoned their red-light camera programs, and some states are taking up the effort.

“Putting cameras on poles and taking pictures will not stop accidents,” said John Bowman, communications director of the National Motorists Association.

Supporters, though, say the cameras help local law enforcement officials and are a safe and reliable way to monitor speed and other traffic violations.

Once a rarity, red-light cameras have popped up in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

'Putting cameras on poles and taking pictures will not stop accidents'

- John Bowman, communications director of the National Motorists Association

The cameras have brought in millions of dollars in profits which some say is part of the problem. In one New Jersey town, the police department issued 2,500 tickets at a single intersection in the first two months after a camera was put in place, according to Edmunds.com.

The statistics on whether the cameras help or hinder vary.

A 2012 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study in Arlington County, Va., found significant reductions in red light violations at camera intersections one year after ticketing began. Violations occurring at least 0.5 seconds after the light turned red were 39 percent less likely than would have been expected without cameras. Violations occurring at least 1 second after were 48 percent less likely, and the odds of a violation occurring at least 1.5 seconds into the red phase fell 86 percent.

In 2011, the nonprofit group, which is funded by the insurance industry, found red-light cameras decreased fatal accidents by an estimated 24 percent in large cities that use them.

Bowman told FoxNews.com that despite the claims of companies that sell ticket cameras or studies backed by the insurance industry, there is no independent verification that red-light cameras improve highway safety.

Opponents also argue that the red-light cameras, which generate much-needed funds for communities, can open the door to corruption.

City officials in Chicago recently cancelled their contract with Redflex Traffic Systems after an investigation by The Chicago Tribune revealed that the Phoenix-based camera company spent thousands of dollars showering a former city official with gifts to score the lucrative account. The findings led Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ban the company from competing for a new camera program contract.

Redflex is one of the largest red light operators in the country. In 2011, it had 2,000 cameras operating in the U.S. and brought in more than $92 million in revenue, according to its annual report.

On Wednesday, the company announced it had fired its executive vice president and accused him of misconduct involving the Chicago scandal.

"This company has pledged to take corrective action regarding unethical employee conduct in Chicago," Robert DeVincenzi, CEO of parent company Redflex Holdings Ltd., said in a written statement to The Chicago Tribune.

Redflex’s contract with Chicago is set to expire this summer.

New Jersey Assemblyman Declan O’Scanton says the Chicago scandal is just one more reason why the Garden State should ditch its program. Redflex and American Traffic Solutions are the two biggest vendors operating in the state.

New Jersey State Sen. Michael Doherty agrees.

"While it's easy for mayors and council members to be blinded by the flow of easy money into town budgets, red light cameras' money truly is blood money," Doherty said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the New Jersey legislature delayed a vote that would have barred the traffic cameras from issuing tickets for rolling right turns on red.

"The public knows that they’re getting ripped off at these things every day," O’Scanton said

Calls to Reflex for comment were not immediately returned.



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/22/states-local-governments-join-push-to-turn-off-red-light-cameras/#ixzz2LgWPQZ3W

grandma B

by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 9:25 PM
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Replies (1-10):
SandyLaxner
by Bronze Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Yep,got one in '09 in Chicago.

grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:55 PM
1 mom liked this

 I've got this same post going in CEHT.  You can read my tales of woe there if you'd like.  It's all too long to repeat.  But I object strongly to red light cameras.  They are a money making machine for communities.  Studies have been done that show that red light cameras actually increase accidents at the intersections that have them.  Seems that people tend to slam on their brakes at the last minute and get rear ended, in an attempt to avoid getting their pic snapped and a $100 ticket.

grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:59 PM

 Do you live there?  I'm in northeastern IL.  I remember that last fall Emanuel was going to install speed cameras in school zones.  The problem with that though, is they would be on 24/7.  How can they ticket some one for going above school zone speed limit, when it is posted that the limit is only in effect when school is in session? 

Quoting SandyLaxner:

Yep,got one in '09 in Chicago.

 

grandma B

SandyLaxner
by Bronze Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:10 PM

SW side Chicago.  i lived there my 1st 40 yrs,in '09 I was giving my sister a ride.I live in the western burbs now.

grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:13 PM

 My oldest girl is in Rogers Park, and the youngest one is up in Richmond (on the WI/IL border).

Quoting SandyLaxner:

SW side Chicago.  i lived there my 1st 40 yrs,in '09 I was giving my sister a ride.I live in the western burbs now.

 

grandma B

SandyLaxner
by Bronze Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:13 PM

LOL,don't get mestarted on mayor tiny Dancer.  ya can't give a ticket for speeding in a school zone if school is not in session!  Come on,Rahmbo.  i know we are broke but really.

SandyLaxner
by Bronze Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:14 PM

 


Quoting grandmab125:

 My oldest girl is in Rogers Park, and the youngest one is up in Richmond (on the WI/IL border).

Quoting SandyLaxner:

SW side Chicago.  i lived there my 1st 40 yrs,in '09 I was giving my sister a ride.I live in the western burbs now.

 Both R far from me.


 

grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:21 PM
1 mom liked this

 Well, he has to get the money somewhere to pay off the union bosses.  That's more important than hiring more cops, putting them and the ones he already has on the streets, and drastically reduce the gun deaths of innocent children and adults.

Quoting SandyLaxner:

LOL,don't get mestarted on mayor tiny Dancer.  ya can't give a ticket for speeding in a school zone if school is not in session!  Come on,Rahmbo.  i know we are broke but really.

 

grandma B

grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:24 PM

 Oh, that's too bad.  That's the one thing I've been very thankful for....that they are within close driving distance.

Quoting SandyLaxner:

 

 

Quoting grandmab125:

 My oldest girl is in Rogers Park, and the youngest one is up in Richmond (on the WI/IL border).

Quoting SandyLaxner:

SW side Chicago.  i lived there my 1st 40 yrs,in '09 I was giving my sister a ride.I live in the western burbs now.

 Both R far from me.

 

 

 

grandma B

29again
by Gold Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:26 PM
1 mom liked this

I've not been caught by one of these  things.  (knock on wood!)  I do object to them on principle, though.  I believe that someone should physically observe me breaking law in order to ticket me for that infraction.  This is worse than letting the TV be your babysitter.  At least then, you are in the house with the kids.  With these cameras, no person need be anywhere nearby. 

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