Thursday, August 31, 2006


The City of Odessa, Texas jumps on the crooked red-light camera bandwagon

Odessa, Texas -- where I do a lot of street riding -- has just announced to the community that they care about revenue far more than the safety of their citizens with the news that they'll be installing red light cameras at several key interections.

In case you don't know the truth about intersection camera systems, here are a few helpful links:

1. Fatalities rise in speed camera hotspots - "The UK government recently suspended the deployment of more speed cameras pending the outcome of of a University College London probe into whether they actually save lives...56,247 tickets were issued although this had little effect on safety, with an 18 per cent increase in road deaths."

2. Colorado red-light cameras increase crashes - Automated traffic enforcement cameras are sending tickets to drivers at a record pace, but traffic accidents have gone up, not down as predicted when the system was installed. A recent report in the Colorado Avalanche revealed that a system of red light cameras in Ft. Collins issued 64 percent more citations, but the citations did nothing to reduce accidents. The Coloradoan newspaper reported an increase in accidents of 83 percent at the same intersection..."The red-light cameras just don't work as advertised. Thousands of innocent drivers are getting tickets they do not deserve," said Scott. "The red light cameras actually lead to an increase in rear-end accidents as drivers slam on their brakes to avoid citations.

3. Rollout of UK's '24x7 vehicle movement database' begins - ACPO's tech section don't seem to have needed any kind of Parliamentary approval to begin the deployment of what promises to be one the most pervasive surveillance systems on earth.

4. Red light cameras sacrifice safety for revenue - At locations where red-light violations persist, there are simpler and less intrusive alternatives to photo enforcement. Most red-light running can be eliminated through better engineering, including traffic light synchronization, increased yellow-light durations, deactivation of signals during low-volume periods, and proper speed limits.

Here's the email I wrote the city:

To Whom it May Concern,

I never thought I'd live to see the day when a West Texas town adopted this racket. This is sad and troubling all at once.

The companies that operate these cameras have a vested interest in making a profit, and when they find that people aren't running many red lights, they resort to methods such as shortening the duration of the yellow interval in an attempt to up revenue. In cities such as San Francisco and Toronto, the phenomenon has caused multiple injuries and even deaths, as resultant 'panick braking' at yellow lights has caused many incidences of rear-end collisions.

By installing these cameras, you have literally guaranteed death and injury to motorcyclists, as well. I urge you to re-assess the adoption of these crooked, profit-driven systems that ultimately sacrifice safety to stuff city coffers.


Tim Kreitz

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