“I am safer with red light cameras”

by Guy W. Midkiff
6/3/08

Last night at city council, one resident of the city got up and spoke of being for red light cameras and how much safer intersections have become and how he is now more cautious at intersections with red light cameras.

To begin, I find the entire public debate on red light cameras, complex and…..fraught with vastly more emotion than fact.

While the eloquent gentleman gave convincing arguments on the virtues on red light cameras and driving patterns, his “feelings” of their value do not jive with reality.

All too many of our citizens have taken for gospel, the highly questionable “facts” that are carelessly tossed about in our local newspaper. For example, two recent articles, in this paper, stated the positive trend that was gleaned from a mere 2 months of statistics at the two intersections in question.

Regrettably, some in our community trust before verifying. Had the newspaper actually done their jobs and reported, not on 2007 and 2008 statistics, but the additional comparison of 2006 accidents statistics, they would have discovered what I had found – an increase in accidents, from 2006 to 2008 – nothing approaching the overstated decrease published in the paper.

Had the paper asked for the information, they could have discovered the same thing I did. If they were aware of the 2006 statistics, and did not report them, they are part and parcel to a general misleading of unwitting citizens around this country.

So, where are we? We have intelligent citizens, such as the gentleman that I refer, that incorrectly believe they are now safer because of red light cameras. They are not, and there are literally new studies coming out monthly, that refute the magical claims of dramatic increase in safety, at red light camera intersections.

Look no further than our own statistics of the 3-year period. There was not one single accident caused by the classic 90 degree T-bone accident, in my data information, I received from the city – not one. 90 % of all the accidents in my data package were rear end accidents and red light cameras not only do nothing to prevent them, but increase rear end accident rates significantly.

I will continue to try and balance this story with truth and logic. Granted, it is an uphill battle. I have next to no voice in the local media. The red light ticket camera apparatus is enormous. The industry is owned by multi-billion dollar insurance companies, a well-oiled political lobbying complex, and cities adding huge fortunes to their general funds – with rarely a dime of their ill gotten booty going to anything approaching safety related programs.

Yes, no doubt the gentleman I refer to, has changed his driving habits, but I seriously doubt he ever blatantly ran red lights because there was no red light ticket camera in place. He certainly may feel the yellow intimidation factor, forcing him into making an abrupt stop, though (as has happened to me.) I can only pray there is not a 45,000 pound truck behind him, when he is forced to make this decision.

You are not safer. National statistics do not support your feeling of safety. Our local statistics don’t support your feeling of safety. You have been, unfortunately, made victim to reality and truth as had millions of other well-meaning Americans.

Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) QUOTATION: Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

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Published in: on June 3, 2008 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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