Red Light Cameras: Help Or Hindrance?

100504_red_light_camera_sign_0_01By George Noga


Going Naked with No Traffic Lights or Stop Signs

PC Porcine Paranoia: Piggy Banks, Piglet, Porky Banned in England

Red light cameras are only a logical extension of technology; they conserve law enforcement resources for use against more serious crimes; they merely mimic what a live on-the-spot officer would do; and they reduce serious accidents and, as a corollary, increase public safety.

They are highly reliable and not a threat to liberty. They are not primarily about money. Without traffic lights, mayhem would reign. The benefits to the public from red light cameras far outweigh any possible objections from a small, fringe cadre of citizens.

No, I have not turned to the dark side. Those are the arguments vendors of red light cameras pitch to gullible governments desperate for more revenue and impervious to the liberty of their constituents. Every statement in the previous paragraph is not only wrong, the dead opposite is true. Red light cameras are the latest outrage and abomination from government. Following are a dozen nuggets of truth about red light cameras.

1. Red Light Cameras (“RLC”) do not increase resources for fighting crime. Often they diminish such resources to augment RLC enforcement.

2. Most tickets issued by RLCs are for violations of .25 to .50 seconds. No live on-the-spot cop would issue a ticket for such a short interval.

3. They actually increase serious accidents as many motorists speed up to beat the cameras. Nearly all serious accidents at traffic lights are caused by drivers impaired or distracted; RLCs do absolutely nothing to deter impaired or distracted drivers.

4. RLCs are rife with technical flaws. In many places 90+% of RLC tickets are issued only from the right lane as RLCs cannot distinguish motorists who stop and then make a legal right turn. RLCs ticket all cars in a funeral procession led by police cars.

5. They are a danger to liberty. RLC violations are the only crimes in America directed against property instead of people. They can be used for surveillance and abuse.

6. They are all about money and nothing but money! To increase revenue some cities even have shortened yellow lights despite the obvious danger to those on the road.

7. RLCs have not proven to be a revenue source and, in fact, often lose money. The city of Los Angeles recently dismantled all RLCs because they were hemorrhaging money.

8. Many RLC citations are for rolling right turns on red; this is not an unsafe practice and one most live cops would not ticket.

9. All that is necessary to substantially increase safety at traffic lights is to increase yellow lights by 1 second and also delay the opposing side green light by the same interval.

10. The biggest violators of RLCs are public vehicles which, surprise, are exempt.

11. Cities use the USPS to mail tickets; need I say more?

12. Even if there were no traffic lights or stop signs, mayhem would not reign; see below.

Naked Streets – No Traffic Lights or Stop Signs

Several cities in Europe have abolished all traffic signals and signs; in fact, this practice (and growing trend) has a name – naked streets. Some towns have a sign as you enter proclaiming “Free of Traffic Signs”.

Not only are there no traffic lights or stop signs, there are no directional signs, parking meters, or restrictions of any kind; there aren’t even lines painted on the streets. There are cities with naked streets in Holland, Belgium Denmark and Germany. Even London is experimenting and could be the first naked major city.

“Going naked works by providing more liberty and less government.”

The results of naked streets are impressive. One major intersection in England (where several roads converged) had been the locus of congestion, accidents and injuries. Once the intersection went naked, accidents and injuries plummeted and congestion disappeared.

In one town in Holland accidents at one major intersection fell 95% over a two-year period after going naked. Moreover, traffic flow improved despite an increase in the volume of traffic. Indeed, going naked has worked everywhere it has been tried.

Removing all traffic control devices and signs is counter-intuitive to be sure, but it works by giving drivers more liberty and less government. Germany has 20 million signs with 650 traffic symbols; its cities are corseted with mind numbing signage most of which is ignored.

The greater the number of signs, the more personal responsibility dwindles. A glut of prohibitions treats drivers as children and foments resentment. Going naked allows drivers and pedestrians to interact in a socially responsible, free and humane manner without rules which strip us of our humanity and capacity for consideration. We need to ban RLCs and go naked!

PC Porcine Paranoia: Piggy Banks Banned in England

In acts of extreme PC porcine paranoia, English banks, including Fortis, Halifax and NatWest, have banned children’s piggy banks because they may offend some Muslims. Fortis Bank went so far as to drop its mascot, Knorbert the Piglet. In the West Midlands the town council banned calendars, toys, porcelain figures and all pig-related items from offices. They even banned a tissue box with a depiction of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.

Th-th-th-that’s all folks!

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