It Is Not About Safety

I have been as much an opponent of red light cameras as for sobriety checkpoints. I think the checkpoints violate people rights against unreasonable search. The police have no probable cause to stop you, they just do. I am not in favor of drinking and driving but I also realize that people should actually do something that can be identified (like crossing lines or weaving) before they are pulled over. What next, the police will stop everyone to ensure they are wearing seat belts?

Now we have these intrusive red light cameras that were put up based upon claims that they would make intersections safer. A new study shows that intersections that have them had an increase in accidents. I have always believed that a person has a right to face his accuser. How does one question a camera? We live in a society where they can catch a guy on film shooting the convenience store clerk to death and he gets a trial because he is presumed innocent until they prove him guilty but if a camera snaps your picture going through a red light you are guilty and that is that. The sad thing is they keep claiming that this is for public safety when it has nothing to do with safety. It is all about another way for the government to raise money without having to actually work for it.

I lived in an area where they had one of these cameras and it was put there for our safety though I recalled very few accidents at the intersection. It was removed sometime later and the reason; the camera was not generating enough revenue! If that is the case, was it not doing what it was supposed to? It was “reducing” accidents so why take it down? Because it is all about the money. Red light cameras are as much about automobile safety as searching little old ladies in the airport is about air safety.

People miss the point when they assume the government is concerned about safety. They have interest in it but they are more concerned with making money any way they can. This is why police officers, despite their claims to the opposite, have quotas for citations. Many of the officers I know have told me they have quotas and the overtime is first offered to the cops who write the most tickets. Look at what we have discovered about red light cameras in DC:

The District’s red-light cameras have generated more than 500,000 violations and $32 million in fines over the past six years. City officials credit them with making busy roads safer.

Despite the new information that the cameras do not reduce accidents the police chief in DC wants more of them. He thinks they are a good thing because there would be more accidents without them. Why does he not dispense with that prattle and tell us the real reason. $32 million in 6 years. This is split evenly with the company that installs the cameras so the District gets a pretty penny for very little work. This money goes right into the coffers and they love it.

I think that people who violate the traffic laws and get caught should get whatever the law defines. I also believe they should be caught by the police, not big brother.

Read the stories at WBAL, here.

Join the trackback fest at Stop The ACLU.



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