Red Light Cameras: Why it is all about money.

Notice how far from the corner this sign is.
We have been told that red light cameras are all about safety.  It's a great pitch - who is against "safety?" The problem is that it just does not add up to be about saving lives and injuries because...
...If they wanted to do that there are several inexpensive things they could do that would make these intersections safer, albeit, less profitable.

1. Extend the length of the duration of the yellow light.

     They should have tried this before they spent million$ installing these cameras.

2. Place Red Light Camera signs at the corners of the intersection.

     Currently they place a sign some distance away from the intersection advising people that the intersection has a camera. However, the overwhelming number of citations issued are for "right on red" turns.  If this practice is so dangerous (turning right on red) why not place another sign at the corner where the right on red turns are being made? Or just make turning right on red illegal!

3. Place red light cameras at dangerous intersections.

     As noted in #2, the overwhelming number of infractions that they cite people for are for "right on red" turns.  If you take the time to notice, these cameras are at intersections that have a prevalence of right on red turns rather than being placed at "dangerous" intersections - those intersections with the most amount of accidents.

4. Don't allow violators to pay a reduced "fine" to expunge their record.

     Currently, if you run one of these intersections and are caught you will be given a notice asking you to pay $158.  The address for this payment is typically and out-of-state address.  If you pay this you will not receive points on your license, hell! you won't even have this sent to DMV.  Hint: They just want this money... But if you don't pay you will be issued a citation and be asked to pay $262. Hint#2: Hire an attorney and fight this.

5. Don't have a third-party company monitoring the cameras.

     If this is about safety and a camera can see an accident occur in real time, how does it make sense to have an Arizona or New York company employee monitoring the camera? Would we not want the "enforcement" officers watching so when that accident occurs an ambulance, paramedics, and police can be called out immediately? (and they could also note the time so they could testify to it, maybe...)

The reality is that these cameras are placed not at dangerous intersections but at intersections where the installing company has told the municipalities where the most money will be made. The municipalities place the minimum amount of signage (as required by statute) in distant (and sometimes obscured) places. They do all this with the hope that they can charge people for safely turning right on red.

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