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March 28, 2008

Red Light Cameras Deemed Too Effective

Did you think the purpose of traffic fines is to make the roads safer? Guess again: it's to raise revenue for ever-expanding government. A case in point:

Dallas officials reviewed the numbers and decided that a quarter of the cameras they had installed to catch motorists running red lights were too effective. So they shut them down.
They are not alone. Faced with data showing that drivers pay attention to cameras at intersections — resulting in fewer ticketable violations and ever-shrinking revenue from fines — municipalities across the country are reconsidering red light cameras, which often work too well.

Good thing murder isn't punished with fines. Local officials would be handing out knives and slipping PCP into the beer at Yankees-Red Sox games in hopes of driving up revenue.

On a tip from Lyle.

Posted by Van Helsing at March 28, 2008 9:46 AM


Uh, wait a minute. Didn't these same municipalities sweat that red light cameras were all about safety and had nothing to do with revenues?

Those who trust government are idiots.

Posted by: V the K at March 28, 2008 10:08 AM

Local law enforcement over the years has gone from enforcing local laws. state laws, and federal laws to perpetuating themselves through revenue generation by the local enforcement of speeding laws.

Traffic enforcement is part of the job, but when local governments start to depend on revenues generated through traffic ordinances they seem to lose that moniker, "to protect and serve."

Don't get me wrong, some people deserve to be cited for traffic violations. But setting up situations, badly placed speed limit signs, nailing drivers who don't hit the mark when they pass a certain speed limit sign, or give the maximum penalty to someone who has never received a speeding ticket does seem a bit excessive. But, that's what happens when you put policemen on the street to generate revenue.

Off the topic here, but has anyone paid any attention to this nut-job Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. An ex-military, ex-astronaut, and ex-reasonable person who joined the democrat party and now walks around with the "Communist Manifesto" after he flushed The United States Constitution years ago.
He stated he was going to introduce legislation in the US Senate to clean up this Primary mess and provide for the direct election of the President based on popular vote. Please, someone send to his office a copy of the US Constitution and tell him and his staff to read it.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at March 28, 2008 10:49 AM

I am shocked, shocked, that Ricks allows gambling...

Big surprise, the municipalities are after revenues. IIRC, when some of the cameras were pulled from our city (Riverside, CA) one of the main reasons was that all of the revenue was going to the company managing the program. And they were losing money at it because the number of violations went down.

Posted by: mark at March 28, 2008 11:00 AM

Along the same lines - -

As more and more people quite smoking because they can no longer afford the cigarette tax, the government will be loosing so much revenue they've come to depend on that they'll start subsidizing tobacco advertisements.

j/k. they'll only find something else to tax. Weasels every one.

Posted by: Jimbo at March 28, 2008 11:45 AM

"Local law enforcement over the years has gone from enforcing local laws. state laws, and federal laws to perpetuating themselves through revenue generation by the local enforcement of speeding laws." Posted by: Eneils Bailey

Well I certainly have done my part to subsidize the existance of the Indiana State Police! I got two tickets last year, both on the interstate during rush hour, for doing 9 and then 10 over the limit behind all those other cars doing it!!!
I even did the "defensive driving course" (add more money to the state till!!!). LOL! I always did like the Sammy Hagar song, I Can't Drive 65!!!

Blatant Lawbreaking wench with a lead foot here!!

Posted by: HoosierArmyMom at March 28, 2008 12:17 PM

Funny, down here they are taking out traffic cameras because they say that accidents were GOING UP at those intersections!

You're right about Nelson, Eneils. He's out to abolish the electorial college because HE SAYS that it gives small states an "unfair advantage". The doof should know (If he had a brain) that the electorial college was created for just that purpose, so that the states with small populations WOULDN'T BE IGNORED by the polititions durring elections!
But the Donks have been against the EC because they will do anything to win, except run on honest, democratic principles.

Posted by: KHarn at March 28, 2008 12:42 PM

And this story illustrates why I think most cops, specifically the traffic ones, are douchebags. Not only does the local government and law enforcement do everything within their power (and some quite well beyond) to make things 'ticketable', they tend to hire the most unimaginative, unintelligent and positively scary individuals. At least that has been my experience whenever I'm in the Peoples Democratic Republic of Pinellas-istan County, Florida.

Posted by: Brooklyn Red Leg at March 28, 2008 6:51 PM

Have you noticed in most states the best trained, best equipped, and best paid law enforcement agencies are usually the state police? Yet a disproportionate amount of their manpower is dedicated to what amounts to giving people tickets for running in the hall. I'm all for keeping speed limits enforced if they are realistic and I'm fine with cameras to do it. The practice of having a law enforcement officer waiting in the middle of nowhere to give somebody a ticket for speeding is a wasted resource. I'd have that guy, along with others, kicking down the doors of crack houses. You can put a camera in a school zone or at a dangerous intersection. Don't speed in a school zone and don't run a light. Also, don't bitch about enforcement because you'd be screaming for blood if you lost a loved one because some jackass thought he could run the light.

Oh yeah, minimum 20 years added to your sentence if you try to outrun the pursuit. These chase scenes so loved by the "Eye Witless" news helicopter crowd are hardly different from running down the street randomly firing a pistol along the way. If you hit someone, you just may kill them.

Posted by: tfhr at March 28, 2008 7:04 PM

Brooklyn Red Leg,

Be sure you tell them that ("they tend to hire the most unimaginative, unintelligent") either the next time they manage to pull your genius ass over (seems like they've got you figured out, despite your low assessment) or when one is rendering aid after you've been in an accident.

Posted by: tfhr at March 28, 2008 7:10 PM

I live in Clearwater, Florida and can confirm what Brooklyn Red Leg says. It isn't just my experience, many people have complained about traffic stops where some cop tried to PROVOKE the driver into arguing or throwing a punch.

Posted by: KHarn at March 28, 2008 7:28 PM

Much of the traffic code exists to give the police a reason to stop you and (a) check your license, registration and insurance, and (b) make a quick assessment of whether you're drunk, high, or carrying twelve kilos of pot in your trunk. Smart cops (yes, I've worked with some) use a simple logic when making stops: Joe Workaday with a busted taillight gets a warning; Joe Methhead gets yanked and searched. Sadly, not all cops know the difference...

Posted by: PabloD at March 28, 2008 8:20 PM

A few years ago, I read a study which concluded that adding a two second delay between the moment a light turned red and the moment the opposing light turned green did more to reduce accidents than any camera - and it costs nothing beyond the reprogramming of the signal. However, as we can see here, it isn't about reducing accidents now is it?

Posted by: Kafir at March 29, 2008 7:10 AM


I used to live in Pinellas County and with so many bad drivers already on the road around that area, the least of your problems, if you're a good driver, is to worry about getting pulled over. The number of elderly that should no longer be driving, the large number of tourists from all over the world, the number of illegals that "learned" to drive in places like Bogota, Moscow, Manila, Port-au-Prince and Cairo and have imported that particular traffic coping expertise with them, combined with those locals that are just too stupid to be bothered with following the most basic common sense rules of the road or driving etiquette come together to make the place a good training area if you want to learn to drive in near third world conditions.

With all of that, if you keep the speed within the limits, don't drive like a jackass and do some basic maintenance on your vehicle as needed to keep it road worthy, you're not going to get pulled over without a good reason. If you do get pulled over, don't be belligerent and you won't get the third degree.

Posted by: tfhr at March 29, 2008 9:34 AM

we still have "random stops" down here. One night on my way to a job, I was pulled over and the cop kept demanding what I had been drinking when I was stone sober. He had me out in the headlights, stuck his head in my car, and asked a lot of nosy/stupid questions, some of whice were "loaded" to force an embarasing answer. I co-operated all the way yet when he alowed me to get in my car to go, he said:
"That's a pretty BAD ATTITUDE you have, do you want to talk about it?"
As I said, I had co-operated with him and had been polite. Instead of telling him that a "bad attitude" is NOT against the law, I just said "no" and started my car. He then said "I didn't think so" as if I had chickened out of a fight.
I have many other stories that I have experienced and have heard form others and that had been printed in the newspapers, but this isn't the place for that.

Posted by: KHarn at March 29, 2008 1:35 PM


Sounds pretty outrageous. If you had not been doing anything wrong (no ticket was issued or warning given), do you think you had been profiled, and if so, why? Were you passing through a bad neighborhood?

How long did the stop take and did it make you late for work? That's not a trivial question and what if you had lost your job because you were needlessly stopped?

If I'm a cop, I'm not going to waste my time on someone that isn't doing anything wrong. Was it a sobriety checkpoint? Those are pretty galling to me - I would put cops in bar parking lots and save other drivers from having to experience the danger presented by drunk driver before they get out on the road.

Are you a lawyer? I'm not asking if you need one, I'm just saying that would be a good reason to pull you over and give you a hard time.

Posted by: tfhr at March 29, 2008 4:25 PM

I just wonder why they nail people for going 10-15 miles over, but the people who zig and zag in rush hour almost rubbing bumpers, or do 45 on an interstate and bottle neck traffic or the dipsticks that are weaving in their lane with a cell phone stuck in their ear don't get pulled. Go figure. I think under the speed limit is just as dangerous as over on the interstate.

Posted by: HoosierArmyMom at March 29, 2008 8:01 PM

You've got so much more to worry about on the road in pinellas than red light cams....

grandma ethel and her 20/2,000,000 vision, late stage dementia and her chronic tendency to turn left in the middle of a freeway thinking her driveway is right there! I'm a former Pasco resident... I feel your pain.

Posted by: Alex at March 30, 2008 2:38 AM


Do you remember when the old couple drove into the bay back in 1985/86? When they pulled the old man and his wife from their car - both safe but wet - he mentioned that he thought the gate he went through looked unfamiliar since his last trip across the bridge. It should have because the gate he referred to was at the St. Pete airport and he and his wife had just driven their car down a runway and into the water. No word on if they've installed speed cameras at the water's edge yet.

Posted by: tfhr at March 30, 2008 5:52 AM

"tfhr at March 29, 2008 4:25 PM"

I am eigth generation Irish-American, the incident took place on US19, known as "the main drag" and the only "sobriity stop" part of it was his asking me if I had been drinking. He claimed that I was "weaving", but that was just his oppinion or an excuse.
I was working as a security guard at the time and was in uniform, so maybe he had it in for "vigalantes".

Posted by: KHarn at March 30, 2008 12:12 PM

Sounds like a waste of time to me. I think my first comments in this thread hold true throughout the discussion and that is using cops to enforce speed limits and traffic laws that could be done with a camera is a waste of law enforcement resources. The cop that pulled you over should've been taking down a crack house or on patrol in a neighborhood where people are afraid to come out. That said, it irks me when people make demeaning statements about cops in general.

Posted by: tfhr at March 30, 2008 8:02 PM


I wish I could say that I do, but, about that time i was being born in winterhaven. I'm only 22. I just know what it's like driving in God's waiting room. Been sideswiped by old people countless times on 19 and 52. Family had enough and we moved to Atlanta... thank God.

Posted by: Alex at March 30, 2008 9:27 PM