Friday, March 27, 2009
Traffic Camera = Unjust income for Cities
Guess what? The government wants more of your money, and no surprise, they are taking it. Many cities throughout the country have used traffic violations as a way to increase revenue for the city. To protect and serve is what it reads on the side of police cars these days. However, I think we need to reconsider who they are protecting and serving, maybe the city and themselves instead of the taxpaying citizens. Well, not only with the defecit in many city’s budgets, the increase in traffic violation citations, and additional cops patrolling, there is a new eye in the sky. Yes, the man is watching your every move! Just kidding, but they are watching your driving decisions.
An increase in traffic cameras at intersections is currently on the rise, and at an alarming rate. What necessarily do these cameras do? Well they are put at busy intersections in cities throughout the country in an effort to find those who run red lights,turn on no turn on reds, and those who speed. However, in a study conducted by the Highway and Traffic Safety Administration last July showed that only 5% of crashes were due to traveling to fast and 2% were caused by running red lights. Falling asleep at the wheel, adverse driving conditions and crossing the centerline were far much higher that those two. So why the need for these cameras??? To raise money for the city.
How it works is, when the person in question runs the red light, the camera stationed at the intersection takes a photograph of the license plate, and in some cases even the drivers face. Then, the information is processed at a third party organization (more detail coming soon) who then sends their information to the police where a citation is written and sent to the person in question to pay the fine. In an article from the Wall Street Journal shows, these third party organizations who monitor the cameras make roughly 5,000 dollars per camera per month. Is it really necessary to put the law in the hands of a third party? They also have systems set up over the highway that ticket people that are traveling 11 miles over the speed limit.
Many cities use the excuse that the cameras are put in place to raise safety in that particular area. However, is it really decreasing the single digit percentage of crashes from speeding and running red lights, or raising extra revenue for a city that has a budget deficit. Some cities have also bought a new technology that uses infrared lasers to read the license plate number of cars that pass the cop car, then searches through the database that lists people who haven’t paid their parking ticket so that the cop can impound the car.
Many people are outraged that local authorities are dropping to such a low level to increase their revenue. Police are put in place to protect and serve, not to enslave and tax. That is the reason that our founding fathers left Europe, to free themselves from harsh tax and unjust rule, so are we in the same boat again???