Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pushback on Traffic Cams

Even as HoCo expands the use of red-light cams and speed cams, opposition to these robo cams is getting organized and, in some cases, forcing governments to reconsider their deployment. According to this story by Corey Dade on NPR, opponents suggest that  “red-light cameras actually increase the number of accidents, making the devices little more than cash machines for camera manufacturers and financially strapped governments."

"Cameras aren't about safety; they are about revenue," says Michael Kubosh of Houston, whose decision to intentionally run a red light as a protest ignited opposition and led to a 2010 voter referendum dumping the city's camera program. After settling a lawsuit brought by the company that supplied the cameras, Houston finally shut off the cameras this year.”

In case you still think that these cameras are more about public safety than a new source of revenue, consider this:

“A study by the consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG addressed the financial incentives behind camera programs. PIRG found that many contracts between local governments and camera companies require the parties to divide revenue from fines. Some contracts mandate the narrowest duration of yellow lights, preventing governments from lengthening the time — which could reduce the number of violators ticketed.”

I don’t know what kind of financial arrangement HoCo has with the camera companies but I’m going to look into it. Stay tuned.
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