Speed and red-light cameras are the bane of many motorists. A modern idea made possible by technology, they have been installed in at least 24 states. Although these cameras are a revenue boon for governments across the nation, their intrusion into daily life is disturbing, and their constitutionality is dubious.
Specifically, use of these cameras could violate the Sixth Amendment. The Confrontation Clause grants criminal defendants the right to be confronted with the witnesses against them. Since it is a camera and not a person that witnessed the offense, such violations generally cannot be considered a criminal offense. The ticket is issued to the owner of the vehicle, not to the person driving it, leaving a lack of certainty as to the identity of the offender.
Therefore, the ‚Äúticket‚ÄĚ in most places is nothing more than a civil fine, making enforcement and collection difficult. To date,...
We had a mayor who implemented red light cameras and they were removed after it was proven that the yellow light was shortened by 2 seconds, causing an increase in accidents, no increase in revenue occurred because folks didn‚Äôt pay and it caused so much controversy that some folks thought it was a breach of privacy. The mayor who implemented the cameras was defeated the next election. That was the best result.
I've heard one city stopped issuing tickets but still uses the cameras to 'patrol' the areas to be able to send police to the site when needed. Of course, this city is not Philadelphia, that great City of Brotherly Love where the residents have such a great love of the police.
We have red light cameras in my city, and I have never heard of accuracy complaints. One time we loaned our car to our grandson and he went through a red light. They sent us an internet link where we could view the incident. We did and he clearly went through a red light. We had to pay a 150 dollar fine.
I don‚Äôt think they were installed to improve safety, but to get more revenue and it worked.
Red light and speed cameras are really about revenue, not public safety. That was the conclusuion of a study that was publicized around Washington DC more than ten years ago back when I was stationed there. In fact, I think you'll find that traffic enforcement is as much about revenue as it is about public safety.
Still, when there are cameras around, I'm extra careful in how I drive.
The article snippet that was posted raises a very good question, and hopefully gets to the heart of the growing surveillance state we live in here in the US. Again, when I was stationed in Washington DC, I remember when cameras were installed atop street lights in Baltimore so the police could monitor activity and watch for crime. The cameras had blue lights, and supposedly were active when the blue light was flashing.
Christopher000 wrote: Safety is fine, but they cause a lot of their own problems.
I found this 1906 film footage of San Francisco trafficūüźé scary to watch, even if speeds were lower. People were less risk-averse in the past. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q5Nur642BU The sound is dubbed, of course, as it wasn't integrated with film until 1929.
Rhode Islanders got the privilege of red light cams, just last year. I'm all for safety, but they're a glitchy nuisance as well. We have a fairly well known court TV show up here, called, Caught in Providence, with Judge Caprio. The show is basically just live cameras in traffic court each day, watching as people plead their cases. Well, last year, when the red light cams went to work, his court was inundated, as in, bursting at the seams for weeks. The city finally lowered the ridiculous fines, and raised the speed buffers.
I kept getting nailed by two cameras around the city, no matter how careful I thought I was driving. For three tickets, I got seven court date summons in the mail, and all on the same day, to appear on all different dates, so they're a mess all-around. Fortunately, my wife knows the court administrator, who took care of all of them for me, so I didn't have to pay or appear, because the glitchyfiasco was going to end up with me having my license suspended.
Safety is fine, but they cause a lot of their own problems.
Tucson removed their cameras, I think for cost reasons rather than legal.
Anecdotally, I see a lot more brazen (not accidental) red-lightūüö¶ running here than in CA, so I don't blame authorities for attempts at enforcement. What I would do is, use sensors to collect anonymous statistics by time-of-day, then park cops at intersections with high violation rates.