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4 Reasons to Kill Red Light Cameras

1. Red light cameras are about profit and not about safety.

Red light camera companies claim that their automated ticketing systems are for safety, but really they are about plain and simple greed. A common sense understanding of how they work will prove this. There is an inverse correlation between how effective red light cameras are at preventing accidents and how profitable they are. In other words, the more a camera reduces red light running at a particular intersection, the less money it will make. All red light cameras are operated, maintained and owned by private vendors. These private vendors are not in the business of losing money. They are not providing a service for free and like any successful business, they want to make a profit. Contrary to their claim that the cameras are there to reduce red light running, these companies are well aware that the cost to run their business, as well as any profit gains are dependent on red light runners. In fact, it is easy to see that red light running is actually the life blood of the cameras. If no one runs red lights, then there is no reason for the cameras. To say the least, this is a very cynical and immoral enterprise because red light camera companies have essentially monetized accidents. No matter how much a society implements systems to manage risk, it will always exist. Red light camera companies are banking on this. They know that there will always be accidents, so why not make money off them? After all, most drivers will run a red light at least once in their lifetime and there will never be enough police officers to catch even a fraction of these incidents. Imagine the size of this untapped market and you can see clearly why someone came up with the greedy idea of automated enforcement.

2. Longer yellow lights are more effective at reducing red light running and unlike cameras, cost almost nothing to taxpayers.

Studies conducted in California, Arizona and Virginia have concluded that accidents decrease with longer yellow light duration. Even a small increase of half a second is at least as effective at reducing red light running than the use of photo enforcement. And, unlike automated traffic systems which cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions annually to install and operate, increasing yellow light duration costs almost nothing.  Analysis done in Oakland CA showed that lengthening yellow times at intersections with red light cameras is so effective at reducing accidents that it proves the camera systems are unnecessary. The significant reduction in tickets being issued was so alarming to the Oakland police lieutenant who is responsible for the cities’s camera contract, that he ordered municipal engineers to immediately restore the yellow light duration back to it’s original shorter time. It is clear that longer yellow lights reduce revenue and therefore camera companies and their government contractors are adamantly against increasing yellow light duration as an alternative.

3. Most people hate red light cameras.

All over the world people are rising up against red light cameras. Vigilantes in the United States, including: New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio and Texas, as well as other countries, including: France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Israel, Poland, Belgium, Finland and the UK are recurrently attacking and disabling both red light and speed cameras. There are a number of strategies used to attack the cameras. Attempts at simple disruption have included: blocking the lens with a bag, duct tape or spray paint, while others aim at completely disabling them by pelting, shooting at them with a high powered rifle, setting them on fire, blowing them up with incendiary devices, as well as severing a devices leg, or just stealing the cameras outright.

Automated enforcement is very unpopular at the ballot box. Despite some successful attempts by camera companies to use the courts to block voters, many local and state representatives are receiving pressure from their constituents to include ballot measures that put automated ticketing systems to a vote. Camera companies are very aggressive in their efforts to prevent the public from including measures on cameras because automated ticketing systems are not popular. Many cities in states, including California, Texas, Washington and Ohio are voting to ban red light and speed cameras. As many as 77% of voters in League City Texas voted to have all automated ticketing machines removed. Pro-camera candidates for many city councils are also being targeted by voters and are being defeated when it comes time for reelection. The newly elected council members then cancel automated ticketing contracts or deny renewal.

4. The red light camera business is exceptionally corrupt.

Criminal charges of bribery have been brought against red Light camera vendors such as Redflex, ATS and ACS (Affiliated Computer Services). Between at least 2008-2012, police and other government officials have received gifts comprising of expensive hotel stays, airfare, sports tickets and other services from photo enforcement providers in exchange for lucrative contracts and favorable testimony at government hearings. In 2013, Redflex Incorporated is in imminent risk of losing their most lucrative contract in Chicago after being convicted of bribery in an Illinois court. During the proceedings, it was disclosed that instead of reporting the incident to city officials when the company “discovered” the indiscretions, they proceeded to cover up the scandal for two years. As the corruption probe widens, more ethics violations are being uncovered in other cities, and as a result of the Chicago ruling, Redflex’s stock plummeted, forcing the company to dismiss several executives.



4 Reasons to Kill Red Light Cameras