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CAMERAS: Let scofflaws help pay cities’ bills

Letter by Ted F. Cooley, Lakewood on March 23, 2012 at 10:23 am with 20 Comments »
March 23, 2012 12:35 pm

I read that the Puyallup City Council is considering whether to discontinue use of red-light
cameras (TNT, 3-22).

It’s difficult for me to understand why there’s any question whether or not these cameras reduce accidents. Of course they do. That’s why so many citizens are against them; they want to continue to run red lights without any penalty.

I fail to see why all levels of government shouldn’t consider that one of the most ideal solutions to their budget dilemmas is to make those who take the law into their own hands the best ones to help them avoid their critical shortages.

Those of us who obey the speed limits, don’t tailgate, don’t cut others off and don’t run red lights are perfectly content letting the lawbreakers and scofflaws pay for the extra costs of law enforcement.

Leave a comment Comments → 20
  1. fredfarkwater says:

    I totally agree with Ted and encourage the state, counties, and cities to keep in force the camera’s. I would also encourage those same govn’t’s to patrol the intersections more frequently. And for those who complain about getting a ticket it’s as simple as don’t run the red lights, don’t speed, don’t drive wreckless. You will not be contributing to the budgets of any these enties.
    We all have to share the roads and get to where we are going and most of all we all want to arrive safely.

  2. Fibonacci says:

    I agree 100% with drstreme. These cameras are not about safety they are about revenue. They were supposed to be the same as a parking ticket, to serve as a reminder. But no, they chose the absolute highest “parking ticket” they could, $124. Please, it is about the money and nothing more. I had a friend that got two tickets for stopping with the front bumper over the white line. The second one was given before the first was received.

  3. anotherID2remember says:

    Mr. Cooley,

    Would you like to have a sensor installed on your car that automaticaly sends you a ticket in the mail if you speed, change lanes without signaling or have a tire cross the white line (the line to the right of ther person you are passing as they take a left). This sensor will allow you to make regular contributions to driver safety. I am anxious to make our streets safer and do so no cost to the city since the cost of the device will be paid for from proceeds of your tickets.

    ON a more realistic note, if traffic safety were the top priority then has anyone done a study on how many accidents are prevented if we lengthen the yellow light rather than shorten it when it is on a “photo safe” intersection?

    What about putting a delay between the red light in one direction and the green light in the other direction? Has anyone studied that? NO. This type of study would bring in ZERO revenue.

    I have yet to meet a person that got a ticket because they were blowing thru in the middle of a red light. If you did not see it turn red and went thru anyway then your actions would not have changed even if it is a “photo safe” intersection. Think about it! The company that sells the cameras for this money generating device shows a video of a young gal having a near miss with a car running a red light. They do not mention that the person running the red light did not realize that it was red! How does a person that did not realize the light was red have the time to realize that there is a camera at this intersection and I had better be sure that the light is red. Simple minded city council members swayed by easy cash.

    Still disagree? Then ask yourself….why are the cameras not installed on a flat rate fee? Why not? Because a % of the steady revenue stream for the camera company is much more lucrative for both the city and the company!

    For your information, I have never gotten a “photo safe” parking ticket but I have had several near miss accidents from people slamming on their brakes because the light turned yellow as the were about to enter the intersection.

    Are you ready to have your device installed?

    We can program it to send tickets for lots of things…..following too close, illegal parking etc…..I can see safety rolling in now!

  4. Dave98373 says:

    Ted- If I could provide you evidence that cameras INCREASE traffic accidents and deaths, would you change your mind? Or is your focus on increasing city tax coffers?

  5. frommike says:

    If the presence of a camera makes you think you must drive differently, you are already driving badly. If I’m ahead of you and I brake for the yellow (as I should) you saw the light change the same time I did and you were farther away with even more time to get safely stopped.
    I have occasionally made it through a blushing yellow light, unlucky timing, or just plain a poor decision on my part. But the two cars who pushed through after me have no excuse whatever for not stopping, and there have been several aggressive fools like that. Keep the cameras. I’ll take responsibility for my choices and decisions, I’ll drive as responsibly as I can all the time, everywhere. Anecdotes about bad camera tickets don’t impress me as good arguements, let me know when a judge looks at the video and agrees with you. Then I’ll begin to believe. So long as yellow lights hold a reasonable time, I don’t care if safety improves or not, poor drivers need the reminders a camera ticket provides. When you are tired of providing revenue change your driving attitudes.

  6. A cop in a car, with the ability to both monitor traffic circumstances and act as a visible deterrent, all while writing tickets is the way to go.
    Or better yet, Mad Max style spikes shoot up and destroy your car when the light turns. Now we’re talkin’!

  7. tree_guy says:

    How about some cameras set up in the city parks which will photograph all the people with dogs off leashes and people who fail to clean up after their pets? I’ll bet this would bring in millions!

  8. anotherID2remember
    “..What about putting a delay between the red light in one direction and the green light in the other direction? Has anyone studied that? NO. This type of study would bring in ZERO revenue…”

    The delay you are probably talking about is called:
    “Clearance lost time
    The time, in seconds, between signal phases during which an intersection is not used by any traffic.”
    http://www.signaltiming.com/The_Signal_Timing_Manual_08082008.pdf

    Two of the signals near my house have about a 2 sec. delay between the green/yellow/red and the green for the other lane. Gives a little extra time for the intersection to clear of all cars.

    frommike
    “…If I’m ahead of you and I brake for the yellow (as I should) you saw the light change the same time I did and you were farther away with even more time to get safely stopped…”

    Doesn’t say it is against the law to enter an intersection on a yellow..
    “(2) Steady yellow indication
    (a) Vehicle operators facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal are thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection. Vehicle operators shall stop for pedestrians who are lawfully within the intersection control area as required by RCW 46.61.235(1).”
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/publications/manuals/fulltext/M22-01/1330.pdf

  9. royboy361 says:

    If I had a say I would want more red light cameras. I know a few intersections in Pierce County that if cameras were installed they could pay off the national debt.

  10. For pedestrians and bicyclists they’re the clear berries.
    If you like to see blood, gore and dead people, I guess not.

  11. CrazyJim says:

    If it’s about revenue then good. I live in Puyallup and they need to quit raising my water bill 50% instead of laying off a few of the overpaid workers in this town. Keep the revenue or lower my water bill. This good old boy town needs the cash.

  12. Heck with cameras. Hire more cops. All those MPs coming back from war need jobs!!!

  13. I think what most people have a problem with is the free right turn ticket. I know the law says to come to a complete stop. Most people do not come to a complete stop when it is all clear,not even cops make a complete stop. Police hardly ever pull anyone over that has not come to a complete stop. Most of the money made with red light cameras come from the free right turn problem, not from running red lights.

  14. I must be one of those weird drivers. I have passed through many intersections with cameras at them and I have yet to receive a ticket. I have not slammed on my brakes to make a light. I have not had a ticket issued for being over the line. I have not felt unsafe when driving up to an intersection as I was worried about the people driving behind me.

    I am more worried about the idiot on the cell phone who doesn’t pay attention to the traffic signal and blows through it. But there are not many tickets given for cell phone use now are there.

  15. Agreed with spotted1.

    I have never had a problem with a red light camera. I just don’t run red lights. More red light cameras are needed. I have no problem with it. If you want to pay the cities and counties your hard earned money, run red lights. Its on you.

  16. drxtreme writes, “I have been rear ended by people because, as a professional race driver, I am able to stop a little faster and far shorter than most..”

    LaaDeeDah Doc. Being some kind of “professional” roundy round “race car driver” hasn’t got a danged thing to do with driving on our streets!

    As a professional TRAFFIC driver, I’ll mention that IF you were watching your mirror while sitting at that light, AND you had left yourself an out to escape to, you most likely could have avoided those rearenders….Not to mention since you are so talented at stopping faster than the rest of us (I tend to doubt that!) maybe you should also have discerned that traffic behind you may have been too close and a fast stop to save you a ticket might not have been the wisest move! Or maybe you could have taken a route less traveled and not strewn with cameras and avoided the mess entirely. However I suppose being a “professional race driver” you wouldn’t have figured that out.

    Zoom Zoom!! Haaaa!

  17. Haa! Speaking of bicycles! Yesterday in the Port of Tacoma, I watched two morons on bicycles peddling up the Portland Avenue hill at the 509 ramp…Hogged up the whole lane riding two abreast! Three semi trucks and six cars backed up behind them!

    Sorry to break this to the green, enviro-heroes. But bicycles are NOT motor vehicles, and have no business on streets designed for motor vehicle traffic, any more than roller skates and skateboards do. They are slow, human powered TOYS.

    You wanna ride your bike on a public street, find one with a bike lane and stay in it!

  18. Theefrinker says:

    While I do believe that the red light cameras were intended as revenue generators, under the guise of safety, it seems they are not actually making much money. This is not a problem though; DUI stings were put into effect to create more revenue, under the guise of safety, and that actually pulls in a lot of money (though I admittedly have no figures handy to back that up).

  19. igotdabombfool says:

    Mathius –

    Not coming to a complete stop to make a free left turn IS running a red light.

  20. igotdabombfool says:

    Correction – Free “Right” Turn

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