Redlight Cameras In Kansas City Are Too Successful

from the gotta-hire-more-people dept

We’ve had a bunch of stories about problems with redlight cameras, in that they don’t seem to make intersections any safer, but they do present an easy way for cities to bring in a lot of cash quickly. However, there’s an apparent “downside” to the cash influx, as well. Reader mrtraver alerts us to the news that redlight cameras in Kansas City have been issuing so many tickets that the police department needs more money to handle all the tickets. Kansas City wants to hire four new officers just to deal with the automated tickets, or get more money to pay officers’ overtime salaries for dealing with so many tickets. Apparently, in just three months, the cameras at 20 intersections have given out 6,900 tickets, and there’s a big backlog as officers need to review each photo to make sure it’s legit before sending out the citation.

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Comments on “Redlight Cameras In Kansas City Are Too Successful”

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Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

quick income

How much douse it cost to run a red light? I could imagine it’s over $100. That’s $690,000 earned in three months for paying those 4 new cops. Granted, once the runners get their tickets, the number of incoming tickets will go down and those 4 new cops won’t be needed. Maybe they could then get jobs in insurance claims with all the rear end collisions that are going to be happening.

Designerfx (profile) says:

Re: quick income

There are more problems than rear end collisions. One is that yellow lights are intended to separate green and red. Red light cameras essentially get rid of this; it’s now a violation to have some separation between green and red per the citations. This is not only dangerous, but creates a disparity between the use and intent for having traffic lights.

Pixelpusher220 says:

Re: Re: quick income

Please explain how “red light cameras essentially get rid of this [yellow light separation between red/green]”?

Going under the assumption that the yellow light duration isn’t changed, how does having a camera catch you going through a RED light have any effect on the the yellows? This is simply enforcing the actual law that previously was wildly broken (as evidenced by the large number of citations). The cameras only take pictures when they are triggered by a car passing through during a RED light; the yellows are untouched.

Every single argument against red-light cameras fails on 2 levels.
1. implementation – the implementation of a system is the culprit if it’s rigged to generate illegal tickets, not the system itself.
2. training – we expect that people will immediately know how to react to these things when springing them on people without any required additional training.

point 1 is rectifiable via the courts if things are done outside of valid norms.

point 2 is something that will over time fix itself, but it will generate more accidents in the process. These are not the failure of the system, but of our continuing driver’s education (or more correctly, lack thereof).

Simply because lots and lots of people are running RED lights (not yellow ones – which is perfectly legal albeit risky) does not mean the tool to enforce such violations is a bad tool.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: quick income

I agree with most of that EXCEPT catching red light runners should be extremely low for the police. Typically red lights are ran in dangerous situations because the driver is doing something already illegal. Like not paying attention to the road or drinking while driving. Such things cameras will not help.

Sure people run reds A LOT but it’s people squeaking by right after the yellow turned off or following a train of red light runners. Yea you are breaking the law and pissing off motorists but you aren’t endangering people’s lives or property.

A police officers time is better spent solving serious crimes like catching those drunk drivers before they get to an intersection instead of giving them a ticket because they are sitting in a room for 3 months looking at pictures of people who committed crimes so long ago they can’t even remember if they were driving their car then!

Pixelpusher220 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 quick income

Not endangering people’s lives or property? seriously?

Red light running is a prime source of very serious accidents. If you go through on the red, even if it *just* turned red, what about the person who is coming up to an intersection and sees it run green? They are going to go through at full speed not just from a standing start, and now 2 cars are in the same space at the same time.

You could mandate some ‘dual’ red time, but that ends up slowing down everybody…maybe justified, but stopping illegal activity should be the first step I would think.

And red light runners are likely to be both inattentive and drunk ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’d rather at least they get tickets than wait for a cop to witness their crimes, maybe that will give them a heads up to change their ways. Longshot sure, but hey, better than nothing right?

Talmyr (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 quick income

Which is why here in Europe we have decent long times on the yellow – and in fact, before a light goes green, the red and yellow are on together so you shouldn’t be sailing through at ‘full’ speed ๐Ÿ™‚

I would be interested to see more on the accidents ’caused’ by red lights – which again, can often come from people driving illegally/dangerously close to one another, which is fixable by education – supposedly.

As for the Anonymous Coward that says that police time is wasted – how can it be wasted stopping someone who may already be breaking the law? If they get enough points (in Europe anyway) they’ll lose their licence. If they are driving illegally (drink, drugs, no licence) then they can go to jail. That’s one less unsafe driver on the roads! Plus others will know to be more careful.

Similarly, a you score a fail on the argument that “it’s already done so why bother catching them”. Would you use that logic after any other (non-ongoing) crime such as murder, burglary or a mugging? (“Yes Mrs Peabody, we know you were mugged on the way to church and lost all your money for donations, but since the perp has already run away, even though we know who he is, there’s no point going after him or posting police in the area.”)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 quick income

“Which is why here in Europe we have decent long times on the yellow”

Not here in America, at least not where there are cameras. It’s all about money, not safety.

“and in fact, before a light goes green, the red and yellow are on together so you shouldn’t be sailing through at ‘full’ speed :)”

A good idea is that before the light turns red it should turn yellow + red to alert you that it’s about to turn red in like 2 or 3 seconds (further studies should be done to optimize the length of time, be it 2 or 3 seconds). Yellow lights should last longer.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 quick income

I have to ask. Where do you guys live that there is no delay between when one light turns red and the other turns green? I’ve been all over the eastern half of this country and haven’t seen a single one that douse that. They all have up to 2 whole seconds between the switch.

“Red light running is a prime source of very serious accidents.”

No it isn’t, it’s drunk driving. Hell, in my time driving (only 5 years so far I’ll admit) I have seen more accidents due to tires falling off of cars than from someone running the red.

“If you go through on the red, even if it *just* turned red, what about the person who is coming up to an intersection and sees it run green?”

The logic behind that is flawed. If the driver of car 2 is driving the speed limit and is that close to the intersection than he was going to run the red anyways.

Longer yellow lights and dual reds (even for .5 seconds) are the way to go.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 quick income

I have to ask. Where do you guys live that there is no delay between when one light turns red and the other turns green? I’ve been all over the eastern half of this country and haven’t seen a single one that douse that. They all have up to 2 whole seconds between the switch.

There’s no delay here in Northern California. The switch is at the same time. One direction goes red, the other goes green.

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 quick income

“Hell, in my time driving (only 5 years so far I’ll admit) I have seen more accidents due to tires falling off of cars than from someone running the red.”

What? Most accidents at controlled intersections are either T-bone or head-on (turning across traffic). These are either red or yellow light running.

“… which is not corrected by cameras”

Of course a red light camera corrects the behavior, because you’ll get a ticket for all your near-misses. Not every red light run results in an accident, so if you can correct the behavior before it leads to an accident, then you can prevent it.

Another AC says:

Re: Re: Re:3 quick income

“You could mandate some ‘dual’ red time, but that ends up slowing down everybody…maybe justified, but stopping illegal activity should be the first step I would think.”

And Here I always thought the first priority should be safety, 2 seconds of dual red really makes a lot of sense from a safety perspective.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 quick income

Red light running is a prime source of very serious accidents. If you go through on the red, even if it *just* turned red, what about the person who is coming up to an intersection and sees it run green? They are going to go through at full speed not just from a standing start, and now 2 cars are in the same space at the same time.

You could mandate some ‘dual’ red time, but that ends up slowing down everybody…maybe justified, but stopping illegal activity should be the first step I would think.

And red light runners are likely to be both inattentive and drunk ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’d rather at least they get tickets than wait for a cop to witness their crimes, maybe that will give them a heads up to change their ways. Longshot sure, but hey, better than nothing right?

The problem is that the vast majority of those accidents are due to people being impaired/not paying attention, something cameras do not fix. This is the purpose behind ALL lights having a slight delay between greens. It’s not possible for a calculation of red light to green light to account for all the variables in a traveling object and traffic situations. For instance, a slick surface, a car being propelled into the intersection by a rear ending, etc. That is the purpose of the red red dead zone. It gives traffic a chance to not only prepare to stop, but to actually do so before the other traffic enters the intersection. Yellow is not a stop, it’s a preparation of stopping, allowing cars currently traveling at a speed too high to stop for the light, time to travel across the intersection before the light changes. Sometimes they are too committed to stop, but traveling too slowly to cross the second line before the red…. that doesn’t mean they ran a red light, it means the light was out of sync with the reality of the traffic flow. That red red zone gives all traffic a chance to safely stop and clear an interesection before proceeding.

It is a myth that red light collisions are just caused by people in a hurry. Most people are distracted or impaired when they run the light and collide with someone, which is not corrected by cameras. They are simply translated from red light running to rear endings (which also can project vehicles into intersections). Most of the red light runners are not perpetual offenders unless they are caught at the end of a yellow light (which are not the people involved in the accidents). The reality is that short of providing an wall to protect traffic from the distracted, there isn’t a way to stop a vehicle with a distracted operator from entering an intersection.

In all honesty it’s usually a combination of distracted traffic in both directions, since the traffic leaving a stop is actually provided a greater reaction time before setting off to assess the situation than the traffic already in motion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 quick income

Back in the dark ages of 1992 I was exiting highway 70 at the Cave Springs exit in St. Peters, Missouri at about 10 PM. When you hit Cave Springs Blvd., there is a light, and it was red, so I stopped. After the light changed to green, I accelerated through the intersection and glanced in my rear view mirror to check traffic behind me. I saw a flash of lights as someone ran the red light in their direction, seconds after the light turned red. I wish there had been a red light camera there just to catch that moron if he had hit either me or the car next to me. How he missed us I will never know. Had he (or she) hit me, I would have been dead because not only did they run the red light, but they were doing about 50 MPH in a 35 zone…double idiot.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: quick income

“Please explain how “red light cameras essentially get rid of this [yellow light separation between red/green]”?”

He’s saying what I was saying, when people realize that the red light cameras are there they won’t risk going threw the end of the yellow and beginning of the red (or the yellow at all due to the risk of illegal shrinking that you spoke of). They’ll just slam on the breaks.

I almost hit someone doing that. I thought he was just going to go threw and I would stop so I was breaking to stop at the line. The guy stayed at speed like he was going to go threw and then just jacked on the breaks at the last second. Luckily I drive far enough back, unlike everyone else in this city. We don’t even have red light cameras here (so those bastards are spreading the danger to other cities as well).

TW Burger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 quick income

Why do Americans almost always whine about getting caught when they break a law? It’s one of those things the rest of the world can not stand about us. The rest of the world breaks the rules too but they eat the punishment and don’t complain like 13 year old girls.

Pay attention to your driving and stop following so close and stop pretending your faults are caused by others and you might start to be a decent motorist and passable human being.

P.S. – It’s “through” not “threw” which is the past tense of throw.

And yes, I am in a bitchy mood this morning.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 quick income

I agree, we need to overturn the stupid laws. But there is nothing wrong with discussing what laws need to be overturned and complaining about the stupid laws to help us decide which ones should be overturned.

Also, we need to ensure that our voting system has integrity

Here is a system that helps solve voter integrity issues and brings transparency to the issue.

We should DEMAND, with overwhelming force, that such a transparent voting system be adopted. We can’t vote for what we want if our voting system is in any way compromised. If it’s not compromised then there is absolutely no reason not to implement a more transparent voting system like the one above.

Also, people should ALWAYS have the right to write in a vote in every state. In California Ron Paul was not on the ballet and there was no place to write him in. We need to ensure that the integrity of our voting system. Very important.

Sneeje (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: quick income

@Pixelpusher: What about the empirical studies that show that the incidents of accidents *increase*?

There’s a saying that goes something like: “Fix the process, not the people.” This really applies to processes that execute in the level of intuition-things that you generally do without concentrated cognitive thought (using a stapler vs doing differential calculus). Expecting people to adapt to a process that should not consume all of your higher thought is generally a recipe for failure.

It is possible that your #2 will work over long periods of time, but the real question is why not use longer yellows, which *have* been shown to reduce accidents?

Pixelpusher220 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 quick income

As I said in my original comment, red light cameras do increase accidents at least initially due to lag time in behavior changes.

I would agree with “fix the process, not the people” but I look at a larger scale. The ‘process’ failure is introduction of new decision flows without any training of the operators in the system. You’re asking them to react within a very short time frame. This results in frantic braking to stop before the light as the awareness comes that ‘oops I’d better stop because of the camera!’, causing the rear end collision. Having people react within 2-3 seconds is not something you want them doing without some adequate training when they have years of prior behavior to overcome in their processing of a situation. It may not be ‘all of your higher thought’ but rarely do you need to do calculus in 3 seconds.

The question then, is the nature of the accidents. Rear end collisions from someone stopping quicker than expected are markedly less severe than the T-bones that running a red will produce.

If longer yellows have a net positive affect I’m open to that idea, I just haven’t seen any data on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 quick income

“If longer yellows have a net positive affect I’m open to that idea, I just haven’t seen any data on it.”

I think a count down panel on top of the red light that says, 4, 3, 2, 1 would be cheaper than these sophisticated cameras and more effective. It’s not expensive to get a few light bulbs that light up the appropriate orientation to form the proper letters, crosswalks already have them. In fact here is one (sorry for hotlinking but I consider this fair use since the freedom of speech here is important). Here is the original link to give credit.

and aeriously, don’t tell me that this is too expensive either, if they can afford these sophisticated cameras THEY CAN AFFORD THIS!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 quick income

“Rear end collisions from someone stopping quicker than expected are markedly less severe than the T-bones that running a red will produce.”

Uhm… If someone hits me from behind where is my car likely to move? There is a (likely sufficient) force on my car from behind so, according to the laws of physics, it’s likely to move somewhere. The laws of physics says it’s going to move in the direction of the force, which just so happens to be in the direction of the intersection. How is this safe?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 quick income

I know there have been studies conducted after yellows have been increased that show that the longer yellows reduce red light running. However, have there been any follow up studies to show what happens after six months or a year?

Locally, our city increased the lengths of yellow lights at intersections with higher speed limits. Interestingly, the longer yellow lights actually seemed to cause problems because people used to the longer yellow lights on roads with speed limits 35 mph and above began running red lights (based on my observation) more often with the shorter yellow lights on roads that were 30 mph or less. I also notice that as people approached the intersections on the higher speed limit roads they sped up when the lights turned yellow, knowing they were long enough to get thorough if they drove fast enough. Though I have also seen idiots miss the yellow and slam on their brakes as cross traffic began entering the intersection 4+ seconds after the light change. Maybe they were texting.

I think some more studies would be interesting.

Anonymous Coward says:

When the city of Schaumburg, Illinois decided to scrap their red light camera program, they found that “about 98 percent of the violations were from vehicles that didn’t stop completely before making a right turn.” The camera’s are not catching people zooming through the intersection at high speed. They are catching people making a right turn on red.

If you want to stop people from running red lights at high speed, it seems to me a rather simple PR and enforcement campaign would do the trick. Simply raise the fine to something painful, $250-$500 depending on your demographics. Hold a few press conferences and get a few informational articles in the local papers or on the news stating the new fines and using your slogan “you can’t afford to run red lights in .” Set up a few targeted enforcement areas and assign a small crew of officers to pull over every person who runs the light. Not only do you get the revenue, you get the publicity. Giving them a fine and wasting 1/2 hour of their time is a much more effective way to deliver the message than sending them a ticket in the mail a month or two later.

Vincent Clement says:

Re: Re:

Many laws have unintentional side effects.

Here in Ontario, the government passed street racing legislation in response to a couple of incidents. Part of the legislation defined exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h as ‘street racing’ meaning that not only is your licence suspended immediately, the vehicle is impounded (even if you don’t own it) for a week and heavy fines are levied.

So what has happened since? Well, the cops have been pulling over people travelling 150 km/h on freeways. Yes, you could be the only vehicle on the road and they will pull you over and cite you under the street racing legislation.

Meanwhile, this past weekend two people died and one was injured in a supposed street racing incident. The street racing legislation did nothing to stop the incident.

The best part is that you could travel 99 km/h on residential street signed at 50 km/h (or 98% faster than the speed limit) and not be pulled over under the street racing legislation. But if you were travelling 150 km/h on a freeway (designed for high speeds) signed at 100 km/h (or only 50% faster than the posted speed limit) you would fall under the street racing legislation.

Now tell me, which situation is more dangerous?

mobiGeek says:

Re: Re: Re:

Don’t be ridiculous. No Ontario highway is designed for 150km/h travel. The penalties for traveling that fast on the highway are extremely strict already, prior to street racing legislation.

I have not heard of a “flood” of street racing charges being laid on highways. But if someone is driving so much over the speed limit on any road that they fall into a new category of fine (“excessive speeding” vs “street racing”), then so be it. Stop breaking the law and you … uh…won’t be breaking that other law either.

Now, do you want to have the legislation changed so that there has to be a proven “intent”? That makes the law unenforcable.

Do you want the law changed so that it must involve multiple vehicles? That takes away from those who are racing the clock (or just “for the sake of speed”), which is one of the intents of the legislation.

Personally, I think that 150km/h on an Ontario highway is incredibly dangerous.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: PR and Enforcement Campaign

I disagree with public relations and enforcement campaigns. Several times a years, the U.S. Dept of Transportation push a PR blitz for people to wear their seat belts. Guess what in Texas, drivers and passengers don’t care that they are forcibly ejected from their vehicles in major accidents and roll over incidents when they drive at speeds exceeding 80 miles per hour.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: PR and Enforcement Campaign

lol…They especially do not care when they come to rest against the ground, head first. Of course, they also then do not care about bills, the house payment, or anything else, and it is left to their heirs to deal with their worldly goods and any children left behind. I think we call this a “natural right”; when you get into a car crash while exceeding the speed limit or running a stop sign and are forcibly ejected from your vehicle, you have a natural right to be killed by the physics of your collision with a fixed object.

none says:

TW Burger

so if the gov is doing something for cash instead of making things safe, we shouldn’t complain?
part of america is the ability to complain about everything from government to fast food joints.
at least here we aren’t shot for complaining about the gov. ๐Ÿ˜‰ the rest of the world (those not trying to get over here to be in america) can go screw. they live their 3’rd world lives their way we live our first world life (for now) our way. I do not complain about how people in zimbabwe do things in zimbabwe.
damned zimbabwayans’s s.’s. ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anonymous Coward says:

Its all about the income

You really think they care if your speeding, running red lights, or making that illegal left hand turn? No they don’t, they don’t care about your safety or that of your families. It’s all about the dollars. Dollar bills yawl.. If they wanted to actually make it safer and do some good for someone other than themselves they would start actually training people how to drive. I live in California and trust me, there are WAY too many idiots on the road around here. Because no one was ever thought how to really drive, then you get the FOB in and they are lucky enough to have the non-driver teaching them how to drive.

Want to fix the problems? Training.. Pure and simple. Tickets don’t fix the problems. Makes me just want to go faster (which I do, being I’m on a bike and you all are lap traffic, I’m on the road, I’m fighting for my life is how I see is and if I do something you don’t like, tough shit, I’m trying to arrive alive..)
Start putting people through a real training course so they can know what to do when they lose control and such and we’ll all be better off. When was the last time you had your car sideways at 60 mph? Never? There you go.. No clue..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Its all about the income

I agree with you. The real punishment should not be tickets, but having to pay for and go through a 40 hour driver’s training program. After you have gone through two or three of them, you might actually learn that a red light means STOP, not blast through because cross traffic has not started yet, or roll through on a right turn because you can beat that car coming from your left.

Incidentally, the last time I had my car sideways at 60 mph was in 1985 (hit a patch of ice). Fortunately, I had real driver’s education, so I knew what to do and recovered with no damage to my car or to anyone in it.

john (profile) says:

Actually in many parts of Los Angeles during rush hour, usually afternoon, There are so many cars that having 3 cars make a left at a red light is an everyday occurrence. There are so many cars that many intersections can be partially blocked after the light changes red as well. Red light cameras are nothing but a scam to gather more income from anybody who drives down the road. I don’t gas why they have a camera or where it is placed, they are all designed to do nothing but generate $$.
I look at digital speed signs and traffic cameras as nothing more than a waiting target for a high speed bullet or shotgun blast.
Furthermore, I guarantee if the population were allowed to vote on the matter, they would all be removed. Speaking of which, who are the fucking thieving assholes who should be shot who thought that crap up. Fuck those cameras, all of them, fuck the cops who pretend they are your master, and fuck the beurocrats who think they are going to charge me extra for driving down a publicly owned and maintained highway, much less charging me to park there and do any business.

TheOldFart (profile) says:

Why not switch to a lottery system?

Instead of hiring four LEOs why not just keep one LEO on the job and randomly select 25% of the “contest entrants” for a fine?

It’s no different than playing the odds of having someone actually observing you crash the light.

BTW I disagree *completely* on the red light camera issue. As a long, long (looong) time motorcycle rider, I’d like to see them fly drones armed with hellfire missiles looking for cars crashing red lights, tailgating and changing lanes improperly. Human life is worth more than granting some lowlifes the privilege of risking the life and safety of other humans on a daily/hourly basis.

Seriously, I see nothing wrong with automatic fines for automatically detectable violations. It’s no different than an automobile assembly line, this is simply a case where technology (robots/cameras) can perform the task more efficiently and more reliably than a human operator can. You have to be a luddite to argue against using technology that is more fair, more efficient and improves safety (eventually – after the assholes who have routinely crashed lights for decades quit slamming on their brakes at the last minute)

Isaac Ludwig says:

Re: way to many tickets

can you list out the math you used?
230 tickets a day?

We calculated 4 tickets a day.
take 6,900 tickets divided by 90 days(3 months) =
which then we divided by 20 intersections = 3.83

Rounding up we got 4 tickets a day by each intersection.

How exactly did you work up 230 tickets a day Griffon?

James says:

Its definitely about the $$

A ticket should never be generated except by an officer and even then its pushing it… there’s only one reason for an automated ticket generating system and thats $$.

Do what I do, hold something in front of face (no, don’t obscure your vision a big cup will do fine), then if you get one of these tickets go to court and do like the song says, “say it wasn’t you”. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Its definitely about the $$

Not sure if you’re aware of this, but digital cameras “see” infrared light. The human eye does not.

All you need is a ballcap with a few infrared LEDs and a battery. Arrange the LEDs such that the infrared light obscures your face. (Check with any digital camera)

Wear your new red-light-camera-invisibility-hat, and try *not* to put things in front of your face while driving.

Side note: I wonder what would happen if you lined your license plate with high intensity IR LEDs. Then they wouldn’t even know where to send the ticket. Just a thought.

DrE says:

Some might find this report of interest: It documents the results of several years of red light cameras in several areas in VA. The main conclusion is that the effect of red light cameras on crashes varies with intersection. This implies that it is not yet possible to know whether a red light camera will increase crashes (especially rear end crashes) or decrease them (especially angle crashes). As of this report, we don’t know what it is about the intersection that determines how a red light will effect driver behavior.

Anonymous Coward says:

1. get the insurances companies to pay for the officers scanning the tickets — they will make more from increased rates and less payouts from accidents at these intersections, or

2. use that amazon service and have the humans on the internet make the first pass at what are the real violations versus the false positives.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

In reality.

If this was really about making the general public safer, instead of making money, wouldn’t the cameras be painted international orange and come with a large sign that says “RED LIGHT CAMERA” instead of a tiny black camera and no indication that it’s there?

You could mix in that sign with a dummy camera at *every* intersection with only a handful being real cameras, to maximize the reduction in infractions with a minimal amount of taxpayer money.

Every month or so, send some guy out to move the real cameras around.

It seems to me that the current system is all about catching people who are running red lights instead of preventing people from running red lights.

Bradley Stewart (profile) says:

Smile Your On Candid Camera

When one thinks about cameras in public we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. How about attaching microphones to these things. We could start ticketing people for talking to loud or chewing their food at an unacceptable decible level. Say how about ticketing people for the way that they dress. How about a fifty dollar ticket for an untucked shirt. Here would be a popular one. Staring at disabled people. How about three dollars a second. Yes when we put our minds to it there is no end to how many ways our government can justify picking our pockets. I guess this is what Politicans mean when they say thinking outside the box. And while I’m at it I’m sure that they can figure a way and justify it to ticket it for us carrying a box. Lets not forget the original purpose that this started in the first place. Remember, finding all those terrorists hiding behind every tree, under all our beds, and in our home closets.

Red_light_runner says:

@Chronno S. Trigger: Your name comes from a misspelling of a video game. You’re in your early twenties, can’t spell (it’s “through” not “threw”), and think you know everything.
Big shocker. Also you say “no it doesn’t” to running red lights being dangerous, as a a statement of fact. You don’t even site a source, let alone link to one. Sorry pal, you’re in over your head on this one.

Red_light_runner says:

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are 260,000 accidents related to red light running each year. On average there are something like 16,000 DUI related fatalities each year, and probably a much higher percentage of DUI related accidents. I didn’t research fatalities related to red-light running or the percentage of combo DUI/red-light accidents but,out of 260,000 accidents, I’m sure more than a few can be considered “serious”. In other words, “Chronno S. Trigger”, you’re talking out of your a$$.

Grady says:

Ok, I'm irritated.

Simple folks. I stopped reading comments half-way down so if someone has already gone through this, I’m sorry.

What is wrong with red-light cameras (if they are timed correctly)? Nothing? Why? Simple, said person broke the law.

Someone mentioned that Illinois discovered a majority of the tickets were people not stopping to make a right turn on red? In some states, like here in good ol’ Maryland, you MUST come to a complete stop (here a complete stop is defined by 4 seconds at 0MPH) before making a right turn on red. It’s the LAW. I have observed at one intersection, at one cycle, 20 people run a red light, most not even letting their wheels stop moving. Should they get a ticket? Yes, they broke a law.

Those that say a camera increases accidents (specifically rear-end collisions) are just as wrong. Think. Please. It is the responsibility of the driver to maintain a safe following distance. If said distance isn’t maintained, then the most likely result if one becomes distracted for even a half a second at the wrong time, is a rear-end collision. Is it the cameras fault? How, all it does is take a picture, it doesn’t distract a driver, and it doesn’t make the driver follow to close. Rear-end collision are caused by, all intent and purposes, a distracted driver.

Those that think it is a money grab? You’re probably right. But, if people payed a attention, they wouldn’t see the gain from the investment in such a system (or at least, one would hope not).

And yes I have ran a few red lights, none intentionally, and yes, even then, I would deal with the fact I got a ticket (if I had) because, each time, I was distracted.

People, stop complaining, stop driving distracted, and stop blaming the gov’t for ticketing people that broke a law. they are doing what they can to break bad habits and make people pay attention at intersection. More than I can say the most of the drivers on the road. Deal with the consequences of your actions.

Spectere (profile) says:

Re: Ok, I'm irritated.

The problem isn’t the cameras themselves. The problem is that the people running them can have a tendency to get greedy (decreasing yellow light times, etc) and the fact that motorists can’t be sure of what exactly triggers the cameras.

I lived in Maryland about a year ago and they put a couple red light cameras near where I lived. The biggest problem, and the main source of complaints from the netizens here, is that rather than safely, and legally breezing through a light that just turned yellow, many people panicked and slammed on their brakes. Regardless of how close you’re following, seeing someone in front of you come to a sudden stop is very jarring.

Another issue is that there’s no telling how the cameras are going to react to other driving oddities. With the right turn issue, for instance, you can go on all you like about how you have to stop for four seconds for it to be a complete stop, but what if the person is driving stick? Some people, when they stop on hills, prefer to use the clutch to keep the car steady. You’re always going to get a little bit of jitter when you do this but it’s far safer than letting your car roll into the person behind you. If I were to do that with my car would I get a ticket for not coming to a “complete stop?”

Let’s not forget about the right to face your accuser. This Constitutional right is offered by the sixth amendment. I don’t know about you, but having a conversation with a computer-controlled camera doesn’t seem very possible to me.

There are plenty of reasons why, despite enforcing laws, red light cameras can be bad. Again, the problem isn’t that they are enforcing laws, it’s the way that it’s being done.

Spectere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ok, I'm irritated.

True, but wouldn’t that mean that I would be held guilty until proven innocent? And besides, by the time I would get the ticket in the mail what are the odds are that I’d remember even driving through a given intersection. If a patrol officer were to pull me over I would at least know right away that I did something wrong. With a delay like that, coupled with the fact that the cameras give little to no indication that they’ve triggered, the odds of remembering enough details to fight a charge like that are extremely low.

On another note, how would anyone go about fighting a false positive in a case like that? Either the court would have to rely on the testimony of the accused or uphold a citation for someone who could very well be innocent. Neither option is good — the former could easily allow the guilty to go free while the latter could punish the innocent.

John Galt (user link) says:

Info on KC's red light camera system

Daily reader for years, and finally have something worth contributing: Detailed info on the red light camera system in KC. Note the news article about the city employee who quit his job to go work for the red light camera company.

KCMO Red Light Camera Tickets Info Page: forums thread:

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