Friday, April 18, 2014

Stopping Big Brother

There's a bill currently circulating through the legislature to impose a statewide ban on the use of red light and speed cameras. The bill has bipartisan support, and the usual suspects are bringing in widows and orphans to no avail.

I found 4 articles in no time at all, none of which noted the bills number although one featured a link to SB 14-181.  

The cameras produce large amounts of revenue to the municipalities that use them but actual improvements in road safety are problematic:
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates testified that T-bone accidents caused by drivers running red lights are down 25 percent since the cameras were installed, but the Aurora Sentinel reported that accidents involving motorists who were rear-ended when suddenly braking for a yellow light skyrocketed from 2005-2006 by 175 percent.
Just remind yourself, while sitting at a camera-controlled intersection, that every flash of the light represents about $100 to the city. Adds up fast. The bill is currently in the Senate and hasn't been to the House yet. It's an election year, so it might be a good dime to drop your Senator a line.

It has also been observed that increasing the duration of the yellow light makes for a dramatic drop in intersection accidents as well. There's a handy calculator at Political Calculations that any one can use. The speed of local traffic is a major factor in the formula. What do you bet, the yellow light times are normally calculated using the posted speed limit rather than what the traffic is actually doing, effectively reducing the yellow light times.


Anonymous said...

It's worse than that. In Charlotte, they deliberately lowered the Yellow lights to 1 1/2 seconds to make sure that you triggered the Red light camera. And as you noted, each flash is ~$100 to the city, with a percentage to the Red light contractor.

The NC Supreme court finally said that they had to remove the Red light cameras, as they were functioning as a revenue source, rather than a safety device.

Interestingly, even though the cameras are gone, they haven't increased the Yellow light time.

Billll said...

Sounds like Charlotte is ripe for a lawsuit for public endangerment and dereliction of duties. 30% of any settlement would go to the law firm, cash up front, and the remainder to be rebated to the public as a tax deduction next April 15th.

Around here they seem to have cut the yellow light time but kept the time from the start of the yellow to the beginning of the cross traffic green the same so we get 1-2 seconds of 4-way red. Presumably this raises revenue for red light running while reducing the risk of t-bones or at least not increasing it. Pre-camera everyone noted the delay and factored it into their driving habits. Post-camera this would deliver a lot of tickets.