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Thread: Texas Motorists Screwed again

  1. #1
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    Texas Motorists Screwed again

    It looks like Texas will not ban red light and speed cameras as expected. While the Texas House said yes to a ban, the senate moved to remove the ban in a bill since they are controlled by camera vendor money.

    The Texas legislature meets every 2 years, so it will be 2011 before the issue is taken up again.

    www.thenewspaper.com

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat View Post
    It looks like Texas will not ban red light and speed cameras as expected. While the Texas House said yes to a ban, the senate moved to remove the ban in a bill since they are controlled by camera vendor money.

    The Texas legislature meets every 2 years, so it will be 2011 before the issue is taken up again.

    www.thenewspaper.com
    Of course not; too much money would be lost and right now the SOBs are desperate for any and all "revenue" they can extract. Open tax hikes are politically not doable. But anything that smacks of "vice" or can be justified on the basis of "safety" is front and center, ready to go...

  3. #3
    Alabama upheld the cameras and put it into law so we can keep ours and actually use the revenue we've been saving. I can think of quite a few more intersections where they'd be good, including the one right by my office.
    I'm going quackers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    Alabama upheld the cameras and put it into law so we can keep ours and actually use the revenue we've been saving. I can think of quite a few more intersections where they'd be good, including the one right by my office.
    The problem is that they are not good - for safety, much liberty.

    Case in point
    - Accidents doubled in Washington DC when RLCs were installed.
    - In VA, over a 5 year period, rear end crashes increased 42 percent and injury accidents increased by 29 percent
    - The North Carolina A&T University study spanning 5 years termed RLC's a 'detriment to safety."

    Adding an extra second of yellow reduces violations by anywhere from 40 percent to 80 percent.

    The truth is that RLC's are a violation of the constitution and unsafe.

    I fear driving in areas with them because my chances of being involved in a crash are substantially higher at red light camera intersections.

    The cost of the accidents to public health must also be considered. I am sure that cities will be using part of their budget to provide emergency medical service to RLC crash victims.

    Believe me, wherever you are, you will grow to hate them.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    Alabama upheld the cameras and put it into law so we can keep ours and actually use the revenue we've been saving. I can think of quite a few more intersections where they'd be good, including the one right by my office.
    I hate red light runners (a special concern if you are a motorcyclist) but I almost hate red light cameras even more. The money motive is too well-proven to allow what amounts to revenue machines - enhanced by reduced yellow intervals (this also has been done - deliberately - for the purpose of increasing violations and thus, revenue).

    Cameras deny the accused his "day in court as the charges are almost invariably handled on a guilty until you prove yourself innocent basis, and not by a judge but by some bureaucratic "administrator. This is an affront to due process.

    They also set the precedent for automated enforcement of other laws - many of them laws that are idiotic and which we all routinely (and rightly) ignore, such as under-posted speed limits. Would you really like to live in a country where it is impossible to "speed" without getting a piece of payin' paper in the mail?

    Properly designed intersections, properly set up signals - and real cops monitoring for violations on a case by case basis - are preferable because they're focused on legitimate traffic safety issues rather than automating (and maximizing) the "revenue stream."
    Last edited by Eric; 06-03-2009 at 06:17 AM.

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    Red light cameras invariably iNCREASE the number of red light runners through shortened yellows and recently in FL, punishment of technical foul violations like not stopping with your front wheels behind the white line and making a right turn on red without coming to a complete stop.

    These things are despicable and vile.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat View Post
    Red light cameras invariably iNCREASE the number of red light runners through shortened yellows and recently in FL, punishment of technical foul violations like not stopping with your front wheels behind the white line and making a right turn on red without coming to a complete stop.

    These things are despicable and vile.
    Yes - and if the idea isn't stomped out completely, it'll spread to enforcement of speeeeeeeeeeeed limits and everything else.

    In which case, it's time to quit driving. Otherwise, you're just agreeing to be taxed every time you get behind the wheel - and I am not playing that game.

  8. #8
    Initially the city put the cameras at either 7 or 8 intersections thought to be among the worst. One thing they have learned is that one of the intersections isn't that bad and they are going to be moving that camera to one that needs it more (and it's a very bad intersection). You can grow very old at some of ours. They have tried increasing the yellow timing and guess what? More people try to cram through them than before because they know they have more time. I know this is a subject we're going to have to agree to disagree on, but I actually like having them around at some of these places.
    I'm going quackers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    Initially the city put the cameras at either 7 or 8 intersections thought to be among the worst. One thing they have learned is that one of the intersections isn't that bad and they are going to be moving that camera to one that needs it more (and it's a very bad intersection). You can grow very old at some of ours. They have tried increasing the yellow timing and guess what? More people try to cram through them than before because they know they have more time. I know this is a subject we're going to have to agree to disagree on, but I actually like having them around at some of these places.

    More people trying to cram through is more perception than reality. Violation rates do actually drop and stay down when you add an extra second or so of amber light time. Here are a couple of studies showing that fact.

    http://thenewspaper.com/news/02/243.asp
    http://thenewspaper.com/news/26/2650.asp

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    Initially the city put the cameras at either 7 or 8 intersections thought to be among the worst. One thing they have learned is that one of the intersections isn't that bad and they are going to be moving that camera to one that needs it more (and it's a very bad intersection). You can grow very old at some of ours. They have tried increasing the yellow timing and guess what? More people try to cram through them than before because they know they have more time. I know this is a subject we're going to have to agree to disagree on, but I actually like having them around at some of these places.

    See Swamp's post on the actual data about signal/yellow timing. He's correct. Most of the problem can be - and has been - solved by properly adjusting signal timing. Yes, a few jerks will still run the light, regardless - but that's what traffic cops are for.

    What I'm curious about is your thoughts on using cameras to automate speed limit enforcement?

    If you follow these things, as I do, you'll know that as soon as a precedent is established, whatever it is tends to grow/expand. For example, seat belt laws used to be enforceable only if you were stopped for another moving violation. Now in many states they can stop and ticket you simply for not buckling up.

    My point being, if cameras/automated enforcement are a good idea for red light enforcement, why not use them to enforce the speed limit? After all, it is the law. And that is the argument being made....

    Also, does it not bother you that with cameras/automated enforcement, due process has been upended or negated? You are guilty until you prove yourself innocent - the reverse of what was once our most basic legal principle. Also, you often don't even get a "day in court." You must "appeal" to a private bureaucracy (or arbitrary "administrator"). I find this noxious in the extreme.

    And of course, the obvious money motive.

    If cameras are such a fabulous idea, why not limit the fines to just the cost of running the system (any surplus given to a charity)? Instead, enormous sums are generated for the benefit of the government.

    You're ok with that?
    Last edited by Eric; 06-04-2009 at 06:10 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    My point being, if cameras/automated enforcement are a good idea for red light enforcement, why not use them to enforce the speed limit? After all, it is the law. And that is the argument being made....
    And that is precisely why, over here, you can get 'flashed'and prosecuted/fixed penalty noticed for driving at 90 in the middle of an empty four lane motorway (that had a design criteria of permitting sustained 120mph cruising) at three in the morning. Risk/dangerous driving/safety does not come into it, it is purely 'Revenue!'

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    And that is precisely why, over here, you can get 'flashed'and prosecuted/fixed penalty noticed for driving at 90 in the middle of an empty four lane motorway (that had a design criteria of permitting sustained 120mph cruising) at three in the morning. Risk/dangerous driving/safety does not come into it, it is purely 'Revenue!'

    Ken.
    Exactly.

    The no-goodniks take advantage of the good intentions of people like Quackers, who don't realize they're being conned.

    Government is in the business of increasing and expanding its power - as well as its finances. Period. Understand this and you will never again fall victim to shibboleths about "safety" and "protecting the public."

  13. #13
    The way it's done here, all red light tickets are reviewed by a police officer before an actual ticket is issued. In the time we've had the cameras up (about a year now at about 6 intersections) only a handful of folks have taken their case to court - same place you'd appeal any traffic ticket. At this point all of the money that's been received for tickets by the cameras are in a sort of "escrow" account. They've been waiting for the legislature to pass the new law and are making sure it's all legal before they actually start spending it.

    As for using cameras to catch speeders, that's an interesting concept that I hadn't heard about. I can see where they could set it up like one of those signs that says "your speed is XX" with a camera mount on the rear for the tag number. I'd have to look at that one a bit more before I make up my mind about it. I can see it developing into the speed traps of old easily.
    I'm going quackers!

  14. #14
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "The way it's done here, all red light tickets are reviewed by a police officer before an actual ticket is issued."

    This assumes, of course, the object is "safety." In fact, it is about maximizing the revenue stream. Automated enforcement began as a completely "privatized" operation, run by a private company, which explicitly promised local governments huge windfalls from the system. And delivered on that promise.

    The "profits" were split between the two. When this fact became common knowledge, they rejiggered it a bit to make it appear less of an obvious scam. But the bottom line remains that money is the main motive. If that were not so, the systems would not be so focused on "revenue enhancement." Ask yourself how eager these state/local governments would be to turn over a law enforcement function to automation if there were no profit involved. Why are they never set up on a "pay as you go" basis, to cover operating costs and no more?

    Do you think it is ever a good idea to tie a money incentive to law enforcement of any kind? Not me. It is a guarantor of corruption and abuse. See also: The War on Drugs.

    As Swamp and I have noted, it is a fact that most red light running can be dealt with by properly adjusting signal timing. Most people do not deliberately run red lights - because most people are not deliberately reckless. Just as most people do not drive excessively fast/beyond their skill/comfort level (though they may be "speeding" - but that doesn't tell us anything other than the person was driving faster than a number on a sign).

    Many get caught in the intersection, or feel they don't have adequate time to stop when the light goes from green to yellow.

    And: Cameras will not stop all deliberate red light runners, either. But they will entrap more people who get caught in the shortened yellow intervals that are typical with camera enforcement.

    My larger point is that to a very great extent, traffic enforcement and the laws/regulations underpinning it are deliberately set up to extract money from people on the basis of trumped-up "violations" administered by rapacious officials whose bottom line is the bottom line - money.
    Last edited by Eric; 06-06-2009 at 06:49 AM.

  15. #15
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    I expect the review by the officer is "click.click.click, OK I'm done."

    Chip H.

  16. #16
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiph View Post
    I expect the review by the officer is "click.click.click, OK I'm done."

    Chip H.
    Yep.

    "Guilty. Guilty. Guilty."

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