Another Report Shows Redlight Cameras Increasing Accidents

from the but-they-make-the-city-money dept

weneedhelp points us to yet another report suggesting that red light cameras quite frequently appear to increase the number of car accidents, even as they're pitched to the public as a way to decrease accidents. In this case, police data from Philly showed that aggregate accidents apparently increased 12% at the locations where cameras have been installed for at least a year. What's odd, however, is that the local Parking Authority, who runs the red light camera program, insists that the police data is inaccurate, and that its own data shows a decrease in accidents. Of course, it's not clear why or how the Parking Authority would have crash data. The police seem much more likely to have such data, so it seems like that's a lot more trustworthy. As we've noted in the past, if municipalities really wanted to decrease accidents, they'd do two things: (1) increase the length of yellow lights and (2) add a delay after lights in one direction turn red before the lights in the other direction turn green (and, yes, many places do this already -- but lots of them do not, including most lights near where I live).

Of course, it's not difficult to see that local governments have no desire to actually stop violations at all, because things like red light cameras have never been about safety on the roads, and have always been about money:
Motorists have paid $45.3 million in fines since 2005, of which $21.1 million has gone to PennDot.

The rest of the money - $24.2 million - has gone to pay the expenses for operating the program, mainly to American Traffic Solutions Inc., the Scottsdale, Ariz., company that installs and maintains the cameras, and to the Parking Authority.

PennDot distributes its revenue from the camera program for transportation projects: half to Philadelphia and half to the rest of the state.

So far, Philadelphia has received $8.4 million; another $8.4 million has gone to 116 other municipalities in the state. Philadelphia is to get $1.5 million more, and a like amount will go to the rest of the state.
Apparently, the amount being made today absolutely dwarfs what was made in tickets before the cameras were installed. And, so, rather than actually making the roads safer, they're being made less safe in order to beef up government revenue.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Not-that Anonymous Shill, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    Mike, you start by advocating piracy, and now you're advocating MAKING IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO VIOLATE TRAFFIC LAWS?

    Where does it end? Should we just turn Techdirt into Criminaldirt? Are you going to get those posts on murder finished by the end of the month?

    GOSH MIKE YOU'RE MAKING IT EASIER AND EASIER TO HATE YOU FOR MY JOB EACH AND EVERY DAY.

     

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      Ninja (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      9/10 for the CAPS LOCK. You didn't use Pirate Mike. Other than that good trolling!

       

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:25am

      Re: Job, you say?

      "YOU'RE MAKING IT EASIER AND EASIER TO HATE YOU FOR MY JOB"
      So, it's your job to hate techdirt?
      Thank you for confirming one of my long held suspicions concerning paid shills on this site.

       

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        A Dan (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:29am

        Re: Re: Job, you say?

        He's obviously mocking the people who say those things. I hope you can tell sarcastic trolling from real trolling.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

          Re: Re: Re: Job, you say?

          He's obviously mocking the people who say those things. I hope you can tell sarcastic trolling from real trolling.


          Don't bet on it. Tons of people fell for my trolling yesterday, even though some of it was pretty obvious. One guy was still posting today about how I needed to answer him or I would suffer. I think I was supposed be darned to Heck for a little while for all of it.

           

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      A_nonny, Oct 31st, 2011 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      I think your not looking at the big picture here! it is most likely the opposite of advocating to make it easier to violate traffic laws~~~ Its more about how traffic lights are supposedly suppose to protect us but,The overall reason which my husband and I believe is to collect cash from people~ Yes the lights work to protect us a bit but do you think that the police or government would ever vote to not have photo radar machines? of course they would not vote for that ever it's how they make $ and I am 100% for safety I really dislike those who speed and violate traffic laws but, I also think MIKE has a good point... about 4 months ago overnight all of a sudden there were flashing Orange lights when at a turn lane well you might think that is good for safety but actually because there was no warning and had never ever even been on the News or there for any kind of alert for these lights Many people were & are confused on what to do or when to go and it causes the driver to feel rushed because now the person behind you is getting furious that you slowed down when you could had kept on going in which I have witnessed more than several times where there was nearly an accident caused all because of impatience...I believe they cause more people to rage~~ And if people are the type to break traffic laws not any kind of light is going to stop them...Mike I feel was just simply showing us all that what is made to seem safe is not as we think it is... I by the way Hate the orange flashing lights and feel much more safe with having to come to a complete stop,While my husband who does experience road rage occasionally Welcomes those types of lights so he can just keep going without being stopped. He and I have way difference of opinions on those lights but totally agree that racking up tickets with photo radar is a positive for the police...And how bored would they be if zero people broke rules and was always precise on their driving....Anywho I Enjoyed this bit of info from Mike and wish I could see stats on how many accidents have occurred since the overnight installation of the orange flashing lights because I think there has probably been ton's. I want systems that show that our lives are worth something and more than just another day on the job. I think the problem can be sometimes when protecting people is your job even if you began whole heartedly it will catch up with you and eventually caring 100 % Drops down to half that because of how humans can be.. And I am sorry but, I do think there is a tad of a power trip role that happens to come out when pulling people over...sometimes yes and sometimes not ~ Depends on the personality,morals and Judgement of the officer present. I mean to be a fly on the wall of the locker rooms in the precinct would be great and what things would be said that we would be disappointed to hear?... I like to be real and humans are as real as it gets a job becomes a job and people might not be as worth it over time unfortunately.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 8:59am

    Part of the problem here is that the accident counts are not being accurately sorted in a manner where any conclusion can be drawn.

    Example, is there a decrease in side impact crashes (the type most often attributed to red light running), while an increase is attributed to "2nd car trying to run the light" and running into the first car which stopped? Over time, as people get more use to the car in front stopping, would that number of accidents decrease?

    Also, what is the severity of the accidents involved? If we have moved up to more fender benders, and lost some of the more significant hits, are we safer?

    With a lack of quantifiable data, it is incredibly hard to draw any conclusions. You cannot even conclude that red light cameras had anything to do with it one way or another.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:14am

      Re:

      There are easier, better, and cheaper ways to make us safer (from side impacts as well as rear end). The problem with those ways is that they also help prevent drivers from getting ticketed.

       

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        pixelpusher220 (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:18am

        Re: Re:

        care to name these ways?

         

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          AJ (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Georgia house Bill 77 extended the yellow light length by 1 sec, and as a result, decreased violations by 80 percent. Decreased violations = less people running red lights = safer roads...

          Hows that for a start?
          http://georgia-speeding-ticket-blog.c om/2009/04/27/future-not-so-bright-for-georgia-red-light-cameras/
          http://www.thenewspaper.com/new s/27/2713.asp

           

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            AJ (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Funny thing is, it decreased the violations so well that they are taking down the cameras. They are not making enough money to keep them. All it took was extending the yellow 1 sec!!!

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Increasing the length of a yellow light may decrease accidents in that area, but a driver use to the longer yellows might be in for a shock when he gets to the next town and the yellows are shorter, leading to... running red lights and accidents.

            The issue isn't the length of a yellow light as much as the public's perception that they can go through on a yellow. The choice to hit the gas instead of the brake is the real problem. Adjusting the length of a yellow is only giving into the public's self defeating actions.

             

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              AJ (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Increasing the length of a yellow light may decrease accidents in that area, but a driver use to the longer yellows might be in for a shock when he gets to the next town and the yellows are shorter, leading to... running red lights and accidents."

              Nope. Every long term study done proves your wrong.

              "ITE began to change the timing formula so that it would consistently produce shorter yellows. As data from Fairfax County, Virginia show, the benefit of reversing these changes and lengthening yellows does not diminish over time."


              http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/reports/rlcreport5.asp

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 11:01am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                AJ, I have a very hard time to believe anything posting on an anti-red light camera website. They have all the motivation in the world to quote only what supports their point of view, while ignoring everything else.

                 

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                  AJ (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "AJ, I have a very hard time to believe anything posting on an anti-red light camera website."

                  I get that, If i were you I would feel the same way. But if your truly interested, do some research. I've read several studies on both sides, and in my honest opinion, the cameras are just not worth the risk to public safety. Now... more cops on the streets would be another matter altogether....

                   

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              AJ (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I could have posted numerous other links, but your obviously not looking at them so meh...

               

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              Ron Rezendes (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 11:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Your guesses versus actual studies, I'll go with the studies.

              Thanks AJ for your citations and sound reasoning, refreshing!

               

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              sudont (profile), Oct 25th, 2012 @ 3:12pm

              Re: Yellow Length

              I have some experience with this. I'm an over-the-road truck driver, so I've hit traffic lights in many, many states and towns. What I've noticed is that yellow lights have become unpredictable for me.
              As you might imagine, stopping distance is quite different for an 80,000 lb. vehicle than for a 4,000 lb. car. Over the last few years, it has become a lot more difficult to judge whether to stop, or keep going, when a yellow comes on. This is because many municipalities have shortened yellows, so I no longer have a feel for how long they should last. Trucks have a 'point of no return', where there is no longer enough distance to stop. Very often, I now find myself going through a red, even though there was no way for me to stop when the yellow hit. As a result, I often jam on the brakes soon as I see yellow. This too is dangerous, as I cannot see any cars behind me. Especially if they're following close.
              Traffic light length should be determined based on traffic engineering principles, rather than how much revenue can be generated. Shortened yellows are especially dangerous on roads with truck traffic.

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          From the group of words way up at the top of the page, sometimes known as "the stuff you should read before replying":

          if municipalities really wanted to decrease accidents, they'd do two things: (1) increase the length of yellow lights and (2) add a delay after lights in one direction turn red before the lights in the other direction turn green

           

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      pixelpusher220 (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:17am

      Re:

      Thank you.

      When we implement a new law or traffic pattern, especially one that involves the quick change of kinetic energy of a 2000 lb vehicle, without any sort of driver training...well, yes you're going to get more accidents.

      Sadly, the initial roll outs of red light cameras had all of the (very justifiably wrong) monetary issues that soured everybody on them.

      You had the contractor servicing the cameras getting a piece of the ticket in some cases. You have the same incentive for local governments at a time of massive cut backs in state/fed revenue to find new revenue sources.

      Those issues definitely soured people on the technology above and beyond actually getting a ticket. But they are also simply implementation details and not any flaw of the technology itself.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:34am

        Re: Re:

        "You had the contractor servicing the cameras getting a piece of the ticket in some cases. You have the same incentive for local governments at a time of massive cut backs in state/fed revenue to find new revenue sources."

        Don't almost all the camera tickets still go through some company in AZ? Specifically these guys http://www.redflex.com/
        Who actually have redlight camers all of the world

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2011 @ 7:25am

      Re:

      There have been several scientific published papers on this topic. They show that there is a dramatic increase in rear-end accidents, and NO appreciable decrease in other types of accidents at these lights. Mostly because the other accidents occur because someone didn't see that the light was red when they ran it. (Very few people voluntarily run red lights after they've been red long enough for opposing traffic to start crossing) These same papers say that the BEST way to decrease accidents at lights is to add 2-3 seconds to the yellow light. (consequently, they usually decrease the yellow when installing cameras to catch more people running the light)

       

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      unbound, Nov 1st, 2011 @ 6:42pm

      Re: Stats...

      In the article, however, the stats that seem suspicious are from traffic camera monitoring group.

      In one paragraph, they talk about the 2 years before and 2 years after a traffic camera was installed in 2005. In the next paragraph, they talk about the 3 years before and 3 years after a different traffic camera was installed in 2007. This is classic data cherry-picking since they clearly have data from 2003 (or earlier) all the way thru 2010.

      In fact, if you get thru the article, you'll find that the more recent study that looked at more cameras found mixed results (some intersections had improved, other intersections have gotten worse).

      Keep in mind that a large federal study years ago found that traffic light cameras were pretty much a wash for safety. Side impacts down, but rear ends made up the difference.

      The 2 points brought up in the original post remain the most effective way to increase safety.

       

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    anonymous, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:02am

    everything is always about 'the money'. no difference here!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Third thing:

    There's something else municipalities can do to reduce accidents: countdown timers on the green lights.

    When the light turns yellow there's a brief moment of "do I have enough time to clear, or should I brake". If you're a new driver (and sometimes an older one) this can be slightly panic-inducing - you're forced to make a split-second decision immediately. If you guess wrong, you can cause a collision.

    At a number of intersections, my city has installed countdown timers on green lights. They were installed for pedestrians, but drivers use them too - they tell you exactly how many seconds you have before the light changes. You thus have lots of time to gauge traffic and slow down safely if the light will be yellow when you get there.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:18am

    From the linked article:

    "The Parking Authority's own analysis last month of recent crashes at three red-light-camera intersections on Roosevelt Boulevard found accidents down by 8.5 percent with injury accidents up by 8 percent."

    Less accidents, more injuries! Yay cameras?

     

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      pixelpusher220 (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      If those injuries are sore backs and necks from rear end collisions vs t-bone accidents that send people to the hospital or graveyard, yes 'yay cameras'.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 3:12pm

        Re: Re:

        You're saying cameras cause more injuries but at least they're *different* kinds of injuries and that's...good?

        Sorry, that's parasailing preposterously over my head.

         

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        The Devil's Coachman (profile), Oct 29th, 2011 @ 3:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Your resemblance to an anus is startling! Your output at the keyboard only confirms it.

         

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    AJ (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:19am

    Georgia house Bill 77 extended the yellow light length by 1 sec, and decreased violations by 80 percent. It also allows the owner of the vehicle to contest the ticket in a formal hearing.

    Guess what happened next? The cities started taking down the cameras. Even our politicians were admitting it was all about the money.
    "The legislation, sponsored by Loudermilk, was part of a broader attempt to curtail use of the cameras.
    “The problem is, for many cities, it’s about the money,” he said."

    Never about money? Bullshit!

    (Caution PDF)
    http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2008/ga-hb77.pdf

    http://georgia-speeding-ticket-blog.c om/2009/04/27/future-not-so-bright-for-georgia-red-light-cameras/

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/new s/27/2713.asp

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

    What value is it adding to the site? Is this just filler? Am I (turning into) just another lame hack? Where's the fire and fizz of my youth? Is this REALLY what I want to do with my life? Am I making a difference? What could I be doing that's better? Why even put this out? What am I saying here? Things are awful and gov't lies? Is there someone who hasn't caught on to that yet? How do I get and keep an audience? Is same old crap that everyone else has going to even keep me on a level? Okay, so I tell people blah blah blah, now what?

    Well, if I wished to improve society -- and frankly I see no evidence that Mike does; he wants (someone else) to work up some schemes for better grifting using the internet, but is silent not only on IMPROVEMENTS but on how to fight the power -- then I'd ... oh, wait: I'm not giving MIke benefit of my knowledge FOR FREE. My only public service here is to illustrate that he's at best a shallow guru.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:37am

      Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

      Hmmmm, its not irony.....whats the word for hilariously self-referential?

       

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        out_of_the_blue, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

        @Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:37am

        Hmmmm, its not irony.....whats the word for hilariously self-referential?
        --------------

        Not contradictory, though. I'm not trying to /add/ value to the site. Presumably you are.

        So, recursively, do you see how YOUR comment ADDS NOTHING?

        Pick a fixed handle and STATE something that can be picked at, smartass. See how you fare at anything but empty snark.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

          Says the king of empty snark.

           

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            out_of_the_blue, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

            @Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:50am

            Says the king of empty snark.

            -----------------------

            I don't accept such title any more than George Washington did.

            But I'd agree that you're a peasant in comparison.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

              Cricket...cricket...chirp...cricket...chirp....

               

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

          Your argument is, "I'm not trying to add value, you are a moron for not adding value!"?

          Blue sometimes I log in and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I post something thoughtful, sometimes something fun, sometimes something snarky or sarcastic. All you post semi-on-topic rants trying to draw some fault out of the article. Usually these posts are full of misinformation which you will vehemently defend no matter how much counter evidence you are presented. Most of the time you have no clue about what you are speaking but god damn if you don't have a strong opinion.

          Not only are your posts counter productive with how off topic and full of willful ignorance they are you also insist on butchering the English language and grammar to prove your point. If you have to highlight the important words to make your point then you have already failed. Write a clear on concise argument and you don't have to caps or slash the words you find important. Do the books you read do this? Are they primers for fourth graders? Sometimes authors will use this to reflect a character using emphasis on a word while speaking. Read some of your posts and out loud and over emphasis the words you highlight and maybe you will start to see why most people take you for a moron at first glance.

          Really what the fuck is with the /word/? Is that suppose to be like "word"?
          "I'm not trying to /add/ value to the site" What are you trying to add the word add in this case? What is the point of this other than making you look like a fool?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

          So if I reply to you with an empty post that doesn't add any value to the site will you threaten to quit coming again? We all know you won't stop coming here but it's fun to watch your panties get all knotted up when you threaten to take your ball and go home.

           

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:49am

      Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

      You see the world through your cynical eyes
      You're a troubled young man I can tell
      You've got it all in the palm of your hand
      But your hand's wet with sweat and your head needs a rest
      And you're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
      You're kidding yourself if you don't believe it

       

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        out_of_the_blue, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:55am

        Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

        Let's spam the "Chronno S. Trigger" way!

        Styx
        Fooling Yourself (Palm of Your Hands)

        You see the world through your cynical eyes
        You're a troubled young man I can tell
        You got it all in the palm of your hand
        But your hand's wet with sweat
        And your head needs a rest
        You're fooling yourself
        If you don't believe it
        You're killing yourself
        If you don't believe it
        Greatest Hits (1995)
        You see the world through your cynical eyes
        You're a troubled young man I can tell
        You've got it all in the palm of your hand
        But your hand's wet with sweat and your head needs a rest

        And you're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
        You're kidding yourself if you don't believe it
        How can you be such an angry young man
        When your future looks quite bright to me
        How can there be such a sinister plan
        That could hide such a lamb, such a caring young man

        You're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
        You're kidding yourself if you don't believe it
        Get up, get back on your feet
        You're the one they can't beat and you know it
        Come on, let's see what you've got
        Just take your best shot and don't blow it

        You're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
        You're killing yourself if you don't believe it
        Get up, get back on your feet
        You're the one they can't beat and you know it
        Come on, let's see what you've got
        Just take your best shot and don't blow it.

        The Angry Young Man)
        You see the world through your cynical eyes
        You're a troubled young man I can tell
        You've got it all in the palm of your hand
        But your hand's wet with sweat
        And your head needs a rest
        And you're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
        Why must you be such an angry young man
        When your future looks quite bright to me
        And how can there be such a sinister plan
        That could hide such a lamb
        Such a caring young man
        And you're fooling yourself if you don't believe it
        You're killing yourself if you don't believe it
        Get up, get back on your feet
        You're the one they can't beat and you know it
        Come on let's see what you've got
        Just take your best shot and don't blow it.
        Lyrics by: Tommy Shaw
        Music by: Tommy Shaw

         

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          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

          And you don't see the relevancy of that song in this case? You're just bitching and moaning that life keeps giving you lemons, you and your kind aren't doing anything with them. You have everything you need to make a future for yourself, but you keep bitching that the world isn't making it for you.

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

          I think that SOMEBODY now owes a little cash to Universal Music Publishing Group, no? A line or two might be fair use, but the whole song? Geez... stealing food from Tommy Shaw's table! There's no such thing as a little "harmless" infringement, or so they've told me...

           

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      btr1701 (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:27am

      Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

      > What value is it adding to the site? Is
      > this just filler? Am I (turning into)
      > just another lame hack?

      Who's the bigger loser-- the guy who spends his time writing a 'lame' blog, or the guy who spends his time writing comments about that lame blog?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 10:38am

        Re: Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

        how about the guy who comments on the guy who comments about how lame the lame blog is? Oh god then what about the guy who comments on the guy who comments on the guy who comments about how lame the lame blog is?

        ;)

         

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      Bear (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

      Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

      Wha-hut the fuck are you railing on about? Are you a nutter?

      It's just a little thread about the ongoing story and continuing discussion regarding the introduction and usage and statistics of red light cameras and their handlers.

      The number if pissants around here that directly target the folks providing interesting bits about our present realities, typically with ties to technology, is an infestation, a scourge.

      If you disagree either say so or move on. Stop blowing your loads in their eyes. Or frigging publish your own blog regarding your own interests and start your own damn ant hill.

      STOP AND THINK - err.. put up or shut up.

       

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      weneedhelp (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

      Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

      I get it. Awww so cute. You have a crush on Mike, and like the little boy that pulls a little girls pigtails, you love to come here and try to get is attention while entertaining us everyday... FOR FREE. Thank you.

       

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      weneedhelp (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

      Re: Any time you start by writing "yet another report", STOP AND THINK.

      @out_of_the_blue, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:21am
      What value is it adding to the site? Is this just filler?...

      I get it. Awww so cute. You have a crush on Mike, and like the little boy that pulls a little girls pigtails, you love to come here and try to get his attention while entertaining us everyday... FOR FREE. Thank you.

       

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    identicon
    CRD, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Figures

    Figures lie and liars figure... besides 73.25344% of all statistics are made up

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 9:54am

    Something is very wrong when over half the money collected from these red light cameras is going into operating expenses.

    Seriously, other than the electric costs, and occasionally sending someone out to repair a broken camera, what operating expenses are there? Just one guy ought to be able to look at all the pictures a couple dozen of traffic cameras take and write down the license plates of the violators. Plus there's even computer technology to do that job for just the cost of the software (though the technology isn't 100% accurate yet, and would need a human to review it, but that still ought to be even faster than a human jotting the plate numbers down).

    Does it really cost over 50% of the ticket price to have a guy write down the license plate, have another guy look up the person's address based on their plate number, and send the ticket through the mail?

    At the slowest I'd estimate it should take 10 minutes for 1 guy to do all those steps, so 6 tickets an hour, 8 hours of working in a day, 5 workdays a week, that means one guy could send a minimum of 240 tickets in a week. Lets assume each ticket is for $100. That means the state is spending over $12,000 per employee to operate red light cameras. If that 24 million operating expense included the cost of installing all the red light cameras then these numbers would look a lot more reasonable, but there's no mention of the costs of installing them in that number, so I assume it's not a part of the $24 million.

    The real problem here is almost certainly not an outrageously high salary for the employees, or really slow inefficient employees. It's how most governments hire a private contractor to install and operate these red light cameras, and those contractors demand an outrageously high cut of every ticket the red light cameras give. It shouldn't even be legal for a contractor to demand X% of all ticket revenue for all the red light cameras they install, since that money should belong to the tax payers.

     

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    Bear (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    lights & lines

    Why just last night I was driving, it was a bit wet, and I was heading through an intersection and it turned from yellow to red while I was a) driving the speed limit at best, which was 35 and b) within the length of the intersections lane line and before the light passed overhead. This intersection does happen to have a camera.

    It's one of those particularly sucky towns actually. Anyway, the point is that those lane lines should meet or beat the length of a yellow light which corresponds to the speed of a vehicle traveling at the posted speed limit for the intersection. With the exception being lack of a line of course. This provides the driver, any driver, all drivers with the proper information so that they can make an informed and safe decision regarding the operation of their vehicle while traveling within the posted limits.

    Make or brake - should not be an exercise left to chance.

    Any line length (or other similar measure that relays the same information) less than that is increasing the danger of that intersection. Surprises are not helpful.

    Thieving cameras - cameras are thieving, putting safety one notch below where it should be.

     

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    Philly Resident, Oct 28th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    It's all about the $$$

    I live near Philly. I drive there each week. I know where these cameras are. I see people slam on their breaks during the short yellow lights because if you are 9/10 thru the intersection and it goes red, the camera snags you as a violator. Accidents have increased as I have witnessed. This is a government money scam designed to make money at the expense of public safety. Roosevelt Boulevard is now an accident trap thanks to these cameras.

     

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    Tim K (profile), Oct 28th, 2011 @ 7:34pm

    Caught by the Philly cam

    As someone who was "caught" by one of the Philly traffic cams, I felt I should chime in here so you all understand just what a scam it is.

    (Background: it was raining, light turned yellow - I thought it a bad idea to jam on the breaks)

    So I get the violation in the mail. It shows a picture of my vehicle (my wife's minivan which is big, heavy and doesn't stop on a dime) nose at the white line at the moment of RED.

    Here's where it gets crooked(er). The notice of violation tells you that if you pay the fine now, its only $100 and no points. OR. You can request a hearing.

    Hearing requested! Take time off of work - yay!

    Fair hearing it isn't. You sit in a room with a Philadelphia Parking Authority employee - yeah, the same people who manage the program and collect a portion of the revenue. Hmm. Seems impartial.

    Ruling: The light is red, your car is behind the line. Violation upheld. You can appeal.

    Appeal! (out of principal)

    Oh, only catch, you have to pay $35 to appeal. Yeah, $35 to appeal a $100 fine. I wonder how many people bother to take ANOTHER day off work and risk paying $135 vs "winning" and saving $65.

    And of course, at the appeal, the real "judge" has no interest in hearing any logical arguments, takes 18 seconds to declare the violation upheld. In his defense, at least he has plenty of other traffic cases to deal with besides some guy bitching about a red light camera.

    I could appeal again, but at what cost. Time to give up and pay.

    Scam. Scam. Scam. I used to love Philly. Born and raised there. Now I hate it and hope the corrupt local government brings the whole town to its knees. They deserve it for re-electing the same crooks year after year.

     

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      nasch (profile), Oct 29th, 2011 @ 11:47am

      Re: Caught by the Philly cam

      While you did have a case to make - that it may have been safer to go ahead through the intersection than try to stop and maybe fail - it sounds like you actually did run the light. That's not really a poster child case for how the system is corrupt. Not that it isn't, just that your case doesn't demonstrate it particularly well.

       

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    identicon
    Linda Joy Adams, Oct 30th, 2011 @ 1:48am

    Traffic Cams. a govt contract

    Most of the traffic cams in this country are not under the control of any govt entity. They are under the control of an affiliate of Affiliated computer services that Congress gave immunity from criminal wrong doing nor can they be internally audited for how they do their job or how much money collected, etc. This is part of the federal funds to state and locals, in some instances. Shortly before Dan Rather left CBS, he reported that these lights can be manipulated into turning form yellow to red sooner than most have done in the past. bad accidents are being caused from it. Since the local authorities can't get in and check hard drives no one would know. One mega, financially interlocked, international conglomerated has taken over the data and files and control of govts and not just almost all federal and state govt s in this country. Whether one is a follower of Christ or not; some truth is in the Book of revelation: And authority was given to the beast. Folks. Congress did just that. And not one in Congress has introduced a bill to out back the laws that used to be: You can be audited internaly when you get govt monies and you can be prosecuted for crimes. Currently, there is a class action lawsuit over the student loan programs that they are in control of and Pres. Obama has been the first president in several to decide to 'carry out the laws Congress' in that area; which all presidents are required to do , but many in recent years have not done so when they didn't like a law, etc. Also, a civil servant is subject to the law so the push is to get rid of them. In 2014 they will be in charge of all health care plans as they are most govt plans now through affiliates. Death panels are real as mine has been ordered by them and this is witnessed. Linda Joy Adams with files and monies missing in 5 federal agencies under their control ( that includes Social security and Medicare)

     

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    identicon
    Chris, Oct 30th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

    Walk Signal Timers are better than long yellows or long reds

    Actually in the San Fernando Valley they've shown that the best thing you can do to improve safety is to count down to yellow on the walk signals. That way drivers know well before they see a yellow or a red how long they have before they need to commit to entering the intersection. Walk signals sit out to the side, where they're generally visible around tall trucks and other road obstructions, adding to the overall visibility of the signal.

     

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    identicon
    Hotstuff, Feb 5th, 2012 @ 9:54pm

    Beat red light cameras!

    Here's a cool way to avoid an expensive ticket.. it actually makes your license plate Invisible to red lightand speed cameras. Cops just hate it.. Check it out!

     

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


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