Why Red Light Cameras are So Bad
By Brian Shrive
Currently Cincinnati city council is planning to install 400 red light cameras at intersections throughout the city. Conservatives who value law enforcement and are concerned about public safety might be expected to support such a proposal. On the contrary, conservatives, and all who cherish liberty, should be outraged at this abuse of the people by the government. I believe the use of Red Light Cameras are a danger to our safety and rights, and must be stopped.
Red light cameras are touted as solutions to a public safety problem, and no doubt running red lights does present a very real danger. However, studies of other cities with such devices show that they cause as many accidents as they may prevent, if not more.
The Greensboro study showed SIGNIFICANT INCREASES in accident rates, the number of possible injury crashes, and NO decrease in severe crashes. The Virginia Transportation Research Council found SIGNIFICANT INCREASES in total crashes, angle crashes, rear-end crashes, injury crashes, and crash costs.
So if it doesnít improve safety, and may well decrease public safety, why is city council pursuing this? Revenue. From day one this has been pushed as a new revenue stream. Public safety was a convenient ruse.
Each victim of a red light camera is mailed a ticket, to be paid without due process. The cost of a trial is high, even a mayorís court or simple traffic court has costs. By eliminating the due process element from the process, the city can realize substantial revenue. In fact, in the most recent budget the city is planning on over $1 MILLION for 2008, and the cameras arenít expected to be in place until the fall! Thatís $1MILLION that doesnít require a cop to witness a crime and sign a sworn statement that such crime occurred, no judge to review the evidence, no prosecutor to present the cityís case. Just a picture and a stamp! In order to challenge the ticket, you must first pay the fine. Justice denied!
And what if you werenít driving your car that day? You can tell the court who was driving the car so they can be ticketed in your place. But what if you donít know who was driving or you donít wish to snitch? Is this not effectively forced speech? What happened to the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments? I know we sometimes joke that the Constitution doesnít apply in Hamilton County, but this is simply too much.
Other communities that have installed red-light cameras have also adjusted the timing on the yellow lights to capture more victims. In addition to creating more red light runners, it will lead to more rear end crashes. Either eventuality will also lead to yet another unintended (or perhaps not unintended) consequence. Moving violations without due process lead to points on your driverís license. Stopping short to avoid being victimized by the city may lead to a rear end collision that would then lead to potential injury. Both of these scenarios lead to one common consequence, higher insurance premiums. Does Cincinnati really need to raise the cost of living in such a way?
Quite simply this is a cash grab by politicians. Unwilling to face the reality of Cincinnatiís budget, they are looking for a new revenue stream so they donít have to make any politically difficult decisions/cuts. This is not a normal cash grab either. It harms us in so many more ways than normal. They are playing a political game here and need to be stopped.
Red Light Cameras will make us less safe, lead to higher insurance premiums, and all while violating the basic tenets of liberty. Cincinnati City Council is in favor of such a thing? Of course they are!
This is a triple threat to all that conservatives believe government should be. I urge you to join the fight against the Red Light Camera proposal. WE CAN STOP THIS. We can protect the safety, freedom and finances of Cincinnatians.
What can you do?
The WeDemand Coalition is circulating petitions to place the use of red light cameras on the November ballot. I encourage you to sign, circulate and contribute to this cause.
Statistics and studies cited are from Red Light Running Cameras: Would Crashes, Injuries and Automobile Insurance Rates Increase If They Are Used in Florida?