Speed Violation Cameras: Less Safe, More Money

Dailywireless has a post about speed violation cameras. These are cameras placed at intersections that can record your license plate number as you run a red light and then send a ticket to you.


A study of red-light cameras in Washington, D.C., by The Washington Post found that despite producing more than 500,000 tickets (and generating over $32 million in revenues), red-light cameras didn’t reduce injuries or collisions. In fact, the number of accidents increased at the camera-equipped intersections.

The problem is that drivers are slamming on their brakes to avoid a ticket. Rear-end collisions result. There is also an issue with yellow light timing. Longer yellow light times are safer. However, if a city wants to maximize profit, they can shorten the yellow light time and add the cameras.

I think we have some of these cameras in Minneapolis. If we do, I think we should get rid of them in the interest of safety and increase yellow light times.

I’m guessing one of the original goals of the cameras was to decrease accidents at particular intersections. Too many people were running the red lights. The drivers waiting on the red were hot to move as soon as they got the green. Perfect ingredients for one or the other driver to get broadsided. The ‘runner’ is legally at fault but ‘waiter’ should have checked before driving into the intersection.

So put up cameras and send tickets to the runners. That will teach them a lesson. But it won’t slow them down on approaching the intersection, requiring them to now slam on their brakes to avoid a ticket and potentially creating a rear-end collision situation.

So here’s the pfhyper solution.

  1. Get rid of the cameras.
  2. Lengthen the yellow times.
  3. After a yellow time, have all intersection lights display red. This allows the intersection to clear.
  4. Go to green on the appropriate lights.

A second solution would be to use mass transit, ride bikes, and walk. Rear-end collisions while walking are usually harmless.

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