Texas Looking To Ban Speed Cameras?

from the making-the-roads-richer,-not-safer dept

There are all sorts of problems with things like speed cameras and red light cameras, starting with technical problems and moving on to the more serious questions about whether or not they make the roads any safer. Since they're usually offered in combination with private companies who receive a large percentage of the fines, it's often pointed out that these cameras are more about making private companies and government coffers money, rather than any real attempt at increasing safety. Still, they've only become more and more popular recently, with a new speed camera catching over a thousand speeders in a single day. However, it looks like Texas may actually be heading in the other direction. Jeff Nolan points us to the news that Texas lawmakers have approved a ban on speed cameras. The law also requires signs warning about red light cameras -- though, it's unclear if that will help, since studies have shown red light cameras often increase accidents, as drivers are more likely to slam on their brakes.


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  1.  
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    Team Tutorials, May 24th, 2007 @ 6:48am

    Banned

    Speed cameras have been the subject of debate in my local area. They have been ok'd then removed and back and forth. Right now they are illegal, but it chances a few times a year.

     

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  2.  
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    ReallyEvilCanine, May 24th, 2007 @ 7:26am

    Safer intersections

    I have trouble arguing against speed cameras on the open highway as well as in the 30km/h zones found in Europe (other than the fact that I want to drive faster). However red light cameras, as you point out, make intersections more dangerous.

    To make an intersection safer, yellow/amber needs to be increased to a minimum of 3 seconds plus an additional factor based on a distance/speed calculation 50% over the posted limit. There also needs to be a two-second delay between one direction's red and an intersecting direction's green. It doesn't stop the runners but it does increase the safety of the intersection.

     

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  3.  
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    Overcast, May 24th, 2007 @ 7:31am

    Just more ways for politicians to squeeze us for cash. Lemme guess - most of these politicians pushing for this either own or have a large stock interest in the same companies that make the cameras... I'm sure they do.

    I find it's really not that much of a pain to just keep it at the speed limit and stop for lights. It may take a little time, but anything beats paying the government more money.

     

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  4.  
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    Dean W. Armstrong, May 24th, 2007 @ 7:43am

    Nevada

    Nevada banned them in 1999 when Clark County started creating a traffic control network using video-controlled lights--it would be technically trivial to use them as red-light cameras, but when they were funded it was promised they wouldn't be used as such. Unfortunately some lawmakers keep trying to reverse the law (and keep losing).

    The reality of the situation is red light running is dangerous, but in order to lower the required legal evidence for conviction (aka a private company can collect the fine, no proof you were driving, just the owner of the car gets the ticket), governments change red light running to the level of a parking violation.

     

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  5.  
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    Casper, May 24th, 2007 @ 7:45am

    It's all about the money

    There has never been proof that the cameras do anything more then add congestion. Right now on the west coast of the US, the highway speed is generally limited to 65 depending on the state. When your actually on the road, the average speed is closer to 75-80 and there are no more accidents then when the average speed is around 55-60. In fact, when traffic has dipped BELOW the speed limit is usually when the most accidents occur.

    People would love to point at anything other then the drivers ineptitude as the reason for a crash. The reality is , more often then not when a police report is filed that states "excessive speed" as the cause of a crash, it really means they don't know what happened but they think the participants were over the speed limit.

    I know in our local area consider speeding tickets nothing more the random taxation. They do nothing to curb the hazards of the road and they increase the number of people unnecessarily breaking or changing lanes when they see a police officer.

     

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  6.  
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    Aaron Iles, May 24th, 2007 @ 7:46am

    Speed Camera use in Australia

    The use of speed cameras has been a central part of many state governments programs for controlling road fatality rates for many years now in Australia. The following link to the Australian Bureau of Statistics summarises recent trends in road fatalities.

    http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/bb8db737e2af84b8ca2571780015701e/3C6D1AAD1683 6ED0CA25723600056D67?opendocument

    As the figures show, most state governments have been successful at control and in many cases decreases road deaths and accidents even while the number of registered road users have increased. Interestingly (although not conclusively) Victoria, the state which most heavily utilises speed cameras, has been the most effective. As an a side, Victoria is the first state to equip all Police vehicles with alcohol breath test units as well as provide illicit drug saliva swab kits to the dedicated police "Booze Buses".

    It's worth pointing out that speed cameras are:

    a) Only a part of the solutions.
    b) Run by the Police.
    c) Most affective when used as a deterrent to speeding.

    Being run by the state Police forces controls the misuse of speed cameras for blatant commercial profit. Effective use as a deterrent requires that mobile speed cameras (mounted on vehicles), portable speed cameras (hand held speed guns and portable speed traps) as well as fixed speed cameras need to be used and no signage or warning of their imminent use is provided to motorists. The following link illustrates some of the other aspect of the road fatality management programs used.

    http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/088FE289-64D0-442A-B2F6-0B088CFA147D/0/ann_rep0 506_roadsafety.pdf

    I'll admit that none of the evidence here is conclusive that speed cameras work. Further, I'm comfortable in stating that most Australians dislike speed cameras even though they will grudgingly accept that they have been effective. However, the experience here does indicate that speed cameras can be used effectively to curb road deaths.

     

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  7.  
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    Bob Jones, May 24th, 2007 @ 7:47am

    If they tried to ban them in the UK it would take years to get them all down, there are so many here I imagine the police can't keep track of the hidden ones.

    It doesn't make us any safer, the stats show, but heck, if it means they won't increase taxes just yet they might be worth it.

    *This post was scanned by the British Big Brother organization, keeping you safe and controlled since 1997*

     

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  8.  
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    SpeadsheetFun, May 24th, 2007 @ 7:55am

    Driving SLOW kills more people than driving FAST

    The purpose of a car is transport not safety. You can make a completely safe road simply by making the speed limit 0mph. But time spent driving on a motorway is wasted time, and a 0mph road means you waste your whole life sitting in a motionless car.

    So how many lives are wasted driving on motorways and how many fewer lives are wasted if you drive faster?

    So do the maths, here's the UK numbers for motorways.

    The Data
    --------

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_safety
    2 deaths per billion KMs of motorway.
    23% of miles are on motorways.

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=24
    7208 average miles per person per year. Mostly car and bus.

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?ID=952
    512,993 deaths in UK per year.

    If Speed Limit is 70mph
    -----------------------
    7208 miles driven
    23% Driven on motorways
    1657.84 miles driven on motorway each year
    70 mph speed limit
    23.68342857 hour driving a year on motorways yearly
    50 years spent driving
    1184.171429 hours spent driving per lifetime
    49.34047619 Days spent driving
    512,993 Deaths per year
    69346.07918 Lives wasted driving

    If Speed Limit is 90mph
    -----------------------
    90 mph speed limie
    18.42044444 hours spent driving each year on motorways
    50 year spent driving
    921.0222222 hours spent driving on a motorway in lifetime on motorways
    38.37592593 Days spend driving in a lifetime on motorways
    512,993 Deaths per year
    53935.83937 Lives wasted driving

    Conclusion
    ----------
    15410.23982 Lives not wasted driving if limit increased from 70 to 90mph.


    Deaths From Speeding
    --------------------

    Yeh, OK, so I'm comparing apples and oranges, deaths and lives wasted are not exactly the same. Fair enough.
    But how many deaths are there on the UK motorways each year from speeding and alcohol and accidents?

    2 Deaths per billion km driven
    1.24274238 deaths per billion miles driven
    1657.84 driven on motorways each year per person average
    60 million people
    99.4704 Billion miles driven
    123 Deaths per year on motorways

    123!!

    My Point
    --------

    My point is, that people are so busy making the world safe and cosy and protective and nice and in doing so they're making us suffer miserable dull uninteresting lives.
    123 people die on motorways from accidents (all causes).
    15410 people lives are wasted in pottering along at safe speeds on dull motorways.

    Quit mollycoddling you twat Blair.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 8:19am

    For your referance to be accurate you would ahve to have a death curve based on each speed. Then you could take the death curve that you were looking at, and the life wasted curve to find the best overall speed to let people drive at. To post this speed, you wold have to subtract 15mph in order to account for everyone speeding.

    Even after that you would still come out faster than my car goes... I would presume

     

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  10.  
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    Casper, May 24th, 2007 @ 8:29am

    Re:

    That's another pet peeve of mine. Why do people bring a car onto a motorway that has a speed they know exceeds the speed they should be traveling?

    It's simple, if your driving a Truck, SUV, Geo, or Prius, you should not leave the slow lane. An SUV/Trucks tires are only rated for 75-85MPH at the maximum, that means if you are in the fast lane to pass someone your already maxing the tires on your vehicle and increasing the probability that you will cause an accident.

     

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  11.  
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    Ray, May 24th, 2007 @ 8:38am

    Counter Measures

    You can buy covers for your liscense plate that are clear but will not allow the numbers to be photographed. It just looks like a big mirror to the camera but clear to the cop.

     

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  12.  
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    me, May 24th, 2007 @ 8:50am

    Re: Counter Measures

    THOSE DO NOT WORK!!!!

    it was on myth busters. totally a scam

     

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  13.  
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    Casper, May 24th, 2007 @ 9:03am

    Re: Counter Measures

    Hate to say it but they are a scam. The laws of QED explain exactly why it is impossible for them to work.

    If you want counter measures, you would have to buy one of the many thousand dollar radar defeating systems. Basically they return a disrupting signal to the radar sending unit that makes it really hard to get a reading. They also have them for lasers, but they only give you time to slow down. As the distance to the laser is reduced the accuracy increases and eventually they get to a 1:1 relation and they get your speed.

    Of course, most active denial radar/laser systems are illegal in many states and countries, so the ticket if you get caught might out weight what your saving.

     

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  14.  
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    Overcast, May 24th, 2007 @ 9:18am

    It's complete BS anyway - here's a study from the State of Virginia stating that the cameras actually increase the number of accidents.

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/01/117.asp

    But here's the REAL reason for them:

    ACS Affiliate Computer Services
    ACS was founded in 1988 and has become, according to their web site, the processor of more than half of the nations child-support and Medicaid payments. They also manage EZPass systems for many toll roads and service about $55 billion in federal student loans. In 2002 they reported more than $3 billion in sales. ACS claims to administer 80 percent of North Americas Red Light Cameras. ACS is one of the only companies in the Red Light Camera industry that continues to use the wet film system. Typically the wet film cameras cost the city much more in maintenance and operations due to the fact that the film must be changed by human hands every day. Most of the other Red Light Camera manufacturers have already switched over to digital film.

    In 2001, ACS purchased the information management division of Lockheed Martin Corp. for $825 million. This move brought them more than $4 million annually from the contracts at the Philadelphia Traffic Court, the Fire Department the Bureau of Adjudication. ACS also pulls in more than $8 million a year in ticket processing fees from the Parking Authority. ACS places many ex-government officials into company executive positions. For example, Maury Hannigan is the former commission for the California Highway Patrol and the former host of Real Stories of the Highway Patrol, he is now a vice president for ACS.

    *
    Here - take a look at the stock price for ACS. Keep in mind - this is just one single company that does a lot of government work. Perhaps a Law should be enacted, to provide a limit on the number of government contracts a company can have?

    http://finance.google.com/finance?q=ACS

    Make sure you look at the 5 year. Nice steady increase.

    Also note - ACS does a LOT of government software. Real Estate title databases, unclaimed funds reporting software, etc, etc..

    Here's a good run down of their board of directors:

    http://www.forbes.com/finance/mktguideapps/personinfo/FromMktGuideIdPersonTearsheet.jh tml?passedMktGuideId=53629

    But start digging into the SEC filings... Lots of goodies there..

    Contract with the Department of Education
    The CSB contract is our largest contract. We have provided loan servicing for the Department of Education’s Direct Student Loan program for over ten years.

    Government Healthcare Contract
    In April 2004, we were awarded a contract by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) to replace and operate the North Carolina Medicaid Management Information System (“NCMMIS”).

    In April 2007, we acquired CDR Associated, LLC (“CDR”), a leading provider of credit balance audit recovery and software services to healthcare payers, providers and State Medicaid agencies.

    In April 2007, we acquired certain assets of Albion, Inc., a company specializing in integrated eligibility software solutions. The purchase price of $25.5 million, subject to certain adjustments, was funded through a combination of cash and borrowings under our Credit Facility. We believe this acquisition will enhance our capabilities in the Health and Human Services (“HHS”) sector. The acquisition enables us to address key HHS challenges facing State and Local government clients,

    Revenue in our Government segment, which represents 40% of consolidated revenue for the third quarter of fiscal year 2007, increased $58.2 million, or 11%, to $582.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2007 compared to the same period last year. Excluding revenues related to divested operations, revenues increased $61.1 million, or 12% from the third quarter of fiscal year 2006, all from internal growth. We experienced growth in the following areas: (i) international and domestic transportation contracts,


    Then to sum all that up - it appears they had to clean house of executive officers - they were post-dating stock options.. how nice for a company with SO very many government contracts..

    The evidence gathered in the investigation disclosed that aside from Mr. Rich, Mr. King and Mr. Edwards, one other of our current management employees, who is not an executive officer or director, was aware of the intentional misdating of documents. Based on the evidence reviewed, no other current executives, directors or management employees were aware of either the improper use of hindsight in selecting grant dates or the intentional misdating of documents. It was also determined that these improper practices were generally followed with respect to option grants made to both senior executives and other employees. No evidence was found to suggest that the practices were selectively employed to favor executive officers over other employees.

    They do all this - and RED LIGHT CAMERAS TOO!!!

    Maybe I should buy some stock in them too, sheesh.

    I bet if you dig into a number of other companies like; Computer Sciences Corp, Lockheed Martin, Haliburton.... you'll find tons of info just like this.

    I'd really like to have a list of all of their top investors. I bet it would look like the role call in congress, lol.

    I think most of these companies are just a way for politicians to channel tax money back into personal bank accounts. It would be too obvious to steal it outright.

    Anyone else have 10 grand in cash in their freezer? :)

    Notice - when that whole issue came up with Sen. William Jefferson - how QUICK the other side (republicans) were to suddenly 'protect' him.

    But, like I have been coming to realize over the years. The whole 'two-party' hype is really just smoke and mirrors for the whole lot of them in Washington. They are all sitting around patting each other on the back while they rape the economic systems of the world. They just want us to think the Dems and Repubs hate each other. It gives the media and the public something to 'bicker' about, while the real issue is the political dynasties and funneling of money back into corporate interests that the political dynasties own.

    Too bad it makes too much sense to be a wild conspiracy theory to me... But perhaps... I should make a tin foil hat, lol!

     

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  15.  
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    AL Flanagan, May 24th, 2007 @ 9:37am

    Wait a minute?

    >> since studies have shown red light cameras often increase accidents, as drivers are more likely to slam on their brakes.

    Gee, so the solution to preventing low-speed rear-end accidents is to increase the probability of high-speed t-bone accidents? Smart.

     

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  16.  
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    Matthew, May 24th, 2007 @ 9:54am

    Re: Counter Measures

    Ineffective and illegal.

     

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  17.  
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    Clint Fix, May 24th, 2007 @ 9:56am

    What about wrongful tickets?

    I'm surprised that it hasn't been pointed out, but speed cameras and red light cameras do not give the ticket to the one that is driving. They give the ticket to the person that owns the car.

    While this may seem like a somewhat minor point, it is definitely something to consider. Traffic cameras for the purpose of giving tickets automatically assume that the one that owns the car is the guilty party, when many times it may not be. If one of my friends or family members was driving my car, got caught by a speed camera, and I wasn't in the car, I'd take it to court and tell them that I was not the one driving my car and that I don't deserve a ticket.

     

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  18.  
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    Javarod, May 24th, 2007 @ 10:06am

    I'm against red light cameras, there's too many reports of monkey business with them, and they're far too likely to cause an accident.

    Now speed cameras I don't have an issue with, as long as they're run honestly, though I do with the company running them didn't make so much money from it. Here the speed limit is 65, and the camera only goes off ifn you're going 75 or better. Companies are unlikely to be interested in playing with that simply because of how bad valley drivers are, they've clocked speeds out over 120MPH in that stretch, and catch thousands a month even with a ten MPH cushion.

     

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  19.  
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    Old Guy, May 24th, 2007 @ 10:17am

    UK Stats

    What's with the stats from the UK? You are always going to have more issues in place where people constantly drive on the wrong side of the road...

    hehe

     

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  20.  
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    SpeadsheetFun, May 24th, 2007 @ 10:28am

    Unlimited speed = 246 deaths/year

    "For your referance to be accurate you would ahve to have a death curve based on each speed. "

    Bear in mind Germany (UNLIMITED SPEED) is 3.8 deaths per billion, so at most we're talking 2x the 123 = 246.

    So it's insignificant compared to the waste of life sitting in cars plodding along on motorways.

     

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  21.  
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    Janus, May 24th, 2007 @ 10:36am

    On the other hand...

    Police and public safety officials give the reason for speed limits and such as: it saves the public money.

    Compare what we spend for people having accidents on the highways TO what we spend paying for traffic fines and court costs. I wonder which would be higher? :)

    Perhaps, if their logic of 'it saves the public money' could be put to use in abolishing speed limits and fines on the roadways, we could all sleep a little better at night.

     

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  22.  
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    Mo, May 24th, 2007 @ 10:46am

    Re: What about wrongful tickets?

    This whole article is about Texas and in Texas the ticket may go to the owner of the vehicle, but there is a picture taken of the driver - so go to court all you want, you won't be able to convince anybody it wasn't you driving when they have a nice picture of you behind the wheel. I also believe they compare the image with the drivers license photos. Otherwise rental car agencies would be ticketed constantly.

     

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  23.  
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    Clint Fix, May 24th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    umm..

    Number 19:

    Only 1% of the roads in Germany have no speed limit. It's a common misconception...no worries

     

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  24.  
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    SpeadsheetFun, May 24th, 2007 @ 10:50am

    Time = Money

    "Perhaps, if their logic of 'it saves the public money' could be put to use in abolishing speed limits and fines on the roadways, we could all sleep a little better at night."

    Bear in mind the huge life cost, if unlimited speed would at most double the death toll (an extra 123) on the motorways.

    15410/123 = 125, so as long as the 1 death on the motorway doesn't take more than 125 man days to clean up, it's seriously money positive.

     

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  25.  
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    SpeadsheetFun, May 24th, 2007 @ 11:00am

    1%, no 75% of Autobahns

    "Only 1% of the roads in Germany have no speed limit. It's a common misconception...no worries"

    1. *Motorways* we're talking about, 75% of Autobahns have no speed limit.
    2. I'm aware of the greens and their dubious local speed limits. (I have a German speeding fine, the officer explained it may not be legal and gave me the address if I wished to challenge it).
    3. The limit the greens imposed is 80mph, still 10mph more than UK limit.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 1:24pm

    I am not for speed cameras but I do support red light cameras. Where I live every light has 2 or 3 people who go through on the red. This happens at almost every light. When a light changes green and I am coming up on it, I still have to slow down to check for red light runners.

     

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  27.  
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    SailorRipley, May 24th, 2007 @ 1:33pm

    What is all this bs...

    about red light and speed cameras causing accidents? that is just ridiculous.

    First of all, if somebody has to brake hard, because (s)he sees a red light camera, wouldn't (s)he, in absence of the red light camera (and braking) be running a red light? That sure sounds much safer...

    Same for the speed cameras, if you have to brake when you notice one, you were speeding to begin with, so don't go blaming the camera.

    In addition, the cameras don't force you to brake hard, it's still the driver's choice to do so (and try to avoid a ticket even though they clearly were doing something wrong).

    I grew up (and drove around for about 13 years) in Belgium, we have tons of (mobile/portable) speed cameras and red light cameras...they do the same thing cops do...they register offenses, whether it's speeding or running a red light...

    I don't need a camera to prevent me from running a red light, but when the light's yellow and I gun it, it's my decision, and if on occasion I am a tad too late and technically run the red light, well, I knew that could happen, my decision to begin with, so I have no right to bitch about the big bad cameras. Same thing with speeding...I did speed, not all the time, but not rarely either. I have gotten a couple of speeding tickets in the mail, but I never bitch(ed) about it...you speed, you accept the risk a camera, or a cop in an unmarked car for that matter, can spot you and write you a ticket...your decision, your consequences...

    So don't go blaming the cameras or try to convince anyone that driving faster is safer or that cameras are causing accidents, they don't, it's drivers making bad decisions (both before seeing the camera (= decision to speed or try to beat the light) as when they notice the camera by braking hard) that cause those accidents. Just like they're the ones responsible, when an accident does occur, for making an accident worse than it should/could have been because they were speeding instead of respecting the speed limit.

     

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  28.  
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    SailorRipley, May 24th, 2007 @ 1:38pm

    Re: What is all this bs...

    I forgot to add: let's be honest...for the people against speed cameras...there's only two possibilities:

    1) you don't speed yourself: why exactly do you have a problem with them, they don't affect you, they only register cars/drivers that are speeding, so there's no big brother issue...

    2) you do speed: for those people, would you take for example a burglar serious when he insist alarm systems should be banned? or bank robbers saying bullet proof glass is bad?

     

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  29.  
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    first off wrong, May 24th, 2007 @ 1:45pm

    "First of all, if somebody has to brake hard, because (s)he sees a red light camera, wouldn't (s)he, in absence of the red light camera (and braking) be running a red light? That sure sounds much safer..."

    No, it sounds much worse. Hesitant drives might stop immediatly on a yellow when they should keep going. Then the people behind them expecting to make the light slam into their rear.

     

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  30.  
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    common sense, May 24th, 2007 @ 1:49pm

    "2) you do speed: for those people, would you take for example a burglar serious when he insist alarm systems should be banned? or bank robbers saying bullet proof glass is bad?"

    Burglers are trying to steal. Driving over the speed limit on an empty road can be safe. People can be the best judges of safe speeds, and that is why police should be the ones pulling over people driving dangerously. Lets not forget, speeding tickets are 50% about making money.

     

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  31.  
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    SpeadsheetFun, May 24th, 2007 @ 2:34pm

    I speed

    "2) you do speed: for those people, would you take for example a burglar serious when he insist alarm systems should be banned? or bank robbers saying bullet proof glass is bad?"

    I *do* speed on motorways, 80% of people do. So set the limits higher because it reflects the majority view of right and wrong.

    Bank robbery is wrong, that's also the majority opinion of right and wrong.

    So the two positions are consistent.
    The laws should reflect the majority view of right and wrong.

     

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  32.  
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    Clueby4, May 24th, 2007 @ 2:38pm

    Revenue Camera's

    If you approve of any camera, red light or speeding, please do the world a favor and take a bath with a toaster!

    The most important reason that these revenue cameras are inappropriate is that they give police powers to unaccountable inanimate objects and/or private companies. I for one don't like the idea of increasing the pool of those with police powers, the existing pool is dumb and corrupt enough.

    Besides, the speed/red line cameras do not exist for safety but for REVENUE!!! Any flapping to the contrary is simple ignorance of the facts.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 3:21pm

    Your argument against red light cameras is fallacious at best. Even though they may increase the number of accidents they change the nature of the accidents from the deadly T-bone accident to the typically minor fender bender rear end accident at relatively small differences in velocity. The statement that the increase in accidents is caused by people slamming on their brakes is outright deceptive. They are caused by inattentive drivers who put themselves in the position of having to slam on their brakes and by inattentive drivers who aren't prepared for the car in front of them to actually stop when the light changes and by idiots who have no concept of physics and follow 10 feet behind the car in front of them. I was run over on my motorcycle for having the audacity to actually stop at a stop sign. The ass who ran me over showed no remorse and tried to blame the accident on me when explaining what happened to the cops. He didn't even received a ticket for an "accident" in which there was no physical way for anyone but him to be at fault.

    The complete lack of enforcement of traffic laws and complete lack of any real punishment on the rare occasions they are enforced have turn roads into a massacre on a level with an actual combat zone. You can drive like a maniac and actually kill people and rarely are there any consequences. As you can see from the responses to this article people take no responsibility for their actions while driving. They insist everyone should drive at whatever speed they prefer to drive at and if they don't any problems are the fault of the person not driving at their preferred speed. This is complete nonsense. You have to have rules to regulate vehicle interaction. What causes some 40,000 deaths on the roads every year is people not following those rules. It's become so bad that actually trying to follow the rules by doing things like stopping at red lights has become dangerous and you seem to be supporting this deadly anarchy.

    And don't get me started on the neo-prohibitionist pushing these ridiculous DWI/DUI laws. This crap started in mid 80's with drunks being the primary cause of the carnage on the roadways. Yet despite cars being made orders of magnitude safer since then these laws haven't abated the carnage much. But of course throwing people in jail for breathing the smell from a cocktail before driving or driving lawn mowers drunk or just sitting in their car while drunk is the solution. Maniacs driving are dangerous whether drunk or sober and are only marginally more dangerous with a .10 blood alcohol level. A safe driver is only marginal less safe with a .10 blood alcohol level and is still orders of magnitude safer than most of the maniacs driving sobor these days.

    People need to be held responsible for their actions while driving. Black boxes should be added to all cars that record the last 15 minutes of inputs from the driver. When there is an accident this information is fed to a computer that analyzes what actually occurred. If you are found to have caused the accident you lose your license for 1 year for a first offense with stiffly increasing punishments for subsequent offenses. This will quickly take care of any problems with unsafe or inattentive drivers. Either they'll learn to drive safely or they won't be driving. Can't talk on the phone and drive safe? You'll quickly learn to or you'll stop doing it if you want to continue driving. Can't drink 3 beers and drive safe? You'll quickly learn not to or you won't be driving. Either way it would quickly abate the carnage on the roads. Before anyone brings up the how much it would cost to implement something like this it would be far cheaper then the billions both lost and spent as a result of the carnage on the roads today. And to the idiots that argue that this somehow violates their right to privacy your right to privacy doesn't include actions the risk killing other people.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Safer intersections

    To make an intersection safer, yellow/amber needs to be increased to a minimum of 3 seconds plus an additional factor based on a distance/speed calculation 50% over the posted limit. There also needs to be a two-second delay between one direction's red and an intersecting direction's green. It doesn't stop the runners but it does increase the safety of the intersection.
    Are you an actual traffic engineer or do you just play like it?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 4:01pm

    Re: It's all about the money

    People would love to point at anything other then the drivers ineptitude as the reason for a crash. The reality is , more often then not when a police report is filed that states "excessive speed" as the cause of a crash, it really means they don't know what happened but they think the participants were over the speed limit.
    Police accident reports are often deliberately misleading for political purposes. For instance, if there are any alcoholic containers, empty or not, in any vehicle involved in an accident then the report will list "alcohol" as being "involved" whether any of the drivers or passengers had alcohol in their systems or not. They justify this by saying "Well, we didn't actually say it caused the accident, now did we?". No, they just imply it in order to give politicians and groups like MAD ammunition and bring in more funding (and higher salaries) for the police. Meanwhile, they turn a blind eye to more dangerous behavior such as yakking on a phone while driving because AT&T has friends in high places.

    "Excessive speed" is listed in many cases for the same reason: to build a case for increased police funding. "Excessive speed" really means that if the vehicle had not been moving at the time then the accident probably would not have occurred.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 4:10pm

    Re: Driving SLOW kills more people than driving FA

    You can make a completely safe road simply by making the speed limit 0mph.
    Not true. I used to teach traffic safety and would point out to my students that people have died in cars that weren't even moving. So no, reducing the speed limit even to zero won't make roads perfectly safe.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: Counter Measures

    it was on myth busters. totally a scam
    I saw that episode. It was very poorly done. I got the impression that they were more concerned with being politically correct than anything else. Mythbusters depends on the help of law enforcement and other government agencies for the creation of many of their shows so I'm not surprised at their reluctance to bite the hand that feeds them.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Wait a minute?

    Gee, so the solution to preventing low-speed rear-end accidents is to increase the probability of high-speed t-bone accidents? Smart.
    Except it doesn't.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: What about wrongful tickets?

    there is a picture taken of the driver - so go to court all you want, you won't be able to convince anybody it wasn't you driving when they have a nice picture of you behind the wheel.
    I've wondered how hard it would be to frame someone like this. All one would have to do is:
    1. Rent or borrow a vehicle similar to the victim's
    2. Temporarily doctor the plates
    3. Put on a cardboard mask with the the victim's likeness
    4. Find a traffic enforcement camera
    5. Proceed to commit numerous offenses in front of said camera (being sure the camera gets good shots of the mask)

    Without a real live cop involved in making a stop to issue the ticket what is there to prevent this? These are the kinds of scenarios the traffic enforcement camera aficionados don't like to talk about.

    Otherwise rental car agencies would be ticketed constantly.
    It's my understanding that "ticketing the owner" usually only applies to individuals, not corporations. I got a parking ticket in a rental car one time and they sent the ticket directly to me, not the rental company.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 5:01pm

    Re:

    they've clocked speeds out over 120MPH
    That's nothing, some of the cameras in Britain have clocked economy cars at over 400MPH. Maybe they need to get some some of those British cameras since theirs seem to be "better".

    in that stretch
    I believe the common term for a "stretch" like that is "speed trap".

    catch thousands a month
    Raking in the cash, aren't they?

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Time = Money

    Bear in mind the huge life cost, if unlimited speed would at most double the death toll (an extra 123) on the motorways.
    How do you put a value on a human life? I don't know but the US govt. has apparently figured it out. I believe the official figure, based on what they pay out when they wrongly killing someone, is about $2000.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 5:12pm

    Re:

    I am not for speed cameras but I do support red light cameras.
    Why would you want to see an increase in accidents? Isn't that kind of antisocial?

    Where I live every light has 2 or 3 people who go through on the red. This happens at almost every light.
    Then why don't the police post an officer there continuously? It sounds like it would justify a full time position that would more than pay for itself. That is, if what you say is true.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2007 @ 5:35pm

    Re:

    Your argument against red light cameras is fallacious at best. Even though they may increase the number of accidents they change the nature of the accidents from the deadly T-bone accident to the typically minor fender bender rear end accident at relatively small differences in velocity. The statement that the increase in accidents is caused by people slamming on their brakes is outright deceptive.
    Bull. What do you base that on? The numbers say otherwise. Are you a graduate engineer? Have you completed any post graduate courses in traffic safety? I am and I have. Until you take the trouble to get qualified then your unqualified personal rants are just that unless you back them some kind of qualified evidence, which you haven't done.

    I was run over on my motorcycle for having the audacity to actually stop at a stop sign. The ass who ran me over showed no remorse and tried to blame the accident on me when explaining what happened to the cops. He didn't even received a ticket for an "accident" in which there was no physical way for anyone but him to be at fault.
    I note that you conveniently leave out mentioning why the other driver didn't get a ticket. I have been the victim in a similar situation where the other driver was even drunk and didn't get a ticket. But it was due to police corruption and had nothing to do with any lack of traffic enforcement cameras as you are trying to insinuate.

    The complete lack of enforcement of traffic laws and complete lack of any real punishment on the rare occasions they are enforced have turn roads into a massacre on a level with an actual combat zone. You can drive like a maniac and actually kill people and rarely are there any consequences.
    I now believe that you are either a nut, a troll or both.

     

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    Wizard Prang, May 25th, 2007 @ 7:16am

    Human Nature

    It's an admirable idea, but... it won't work.

    Why not? because there are a lot of motorists who will take whatever liberties you give them, and then some.

    When I learned to drive, I was taught that Amber means "STOP if it is safe to do so". Now it means "FLOOR IT!!!"

    If you increase the "grace period" you simply increase the number of people who would take advantage of it, the speed at which they will "shoot the lights"... and the severity of the accident that will happen if they hit someone. This is not theory, this is the world I see around me every day.

    If it were up to me, I would mount a "Amber-means-STOP" public awareness campaign and get rid of that "your-red-to-my-green" gap entirely.

    But I am not a traffic engineer; just a guilty bystander.

     

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    Wizard Prang, May 25th, 2007 @ 7:39am

    Re: UK Stats

    Oh Dear...

     

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  46.  
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    Andra Bsse, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 6:34am

    Re: Driving SLOW kills more people than driving FAST

    I guess you have never had to see your 14 yr olds brains lying on the pavement because someone was speeding. Your world is obviously safe and cosy. The Mother of the child im speaking of is better off dead. Her life is not worth living

     

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    Jerry Morris, Feb 28th, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    Speed cameras

    Just another government rip off. In stead of using their old line, "It's for the children", they are lying about speed cameras saying, "It's all about traffic safety". Bull shit! It's all about money and everybody knows it. Every body that gets a photo citation shoud challenge it. I'm a retired police officer and state certified speed detection device operator.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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