Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Money more important than safe intersections

Jerry Stratton, March 26, 2008

The National Motorists Association highlights six cities that shortened yellow light times when installing red light cameras. When cities install red light cameras and make money off of violations, they go out of their way to ensure violations, even if it means creating unsafe intersections.

In 2006, Nashville resident Joe Savage obtained the data on every red light running ticket issued on Broadway street since 2000. He said that yellow lights are longer at intersections along Broadway until the areas where police are issuing tickets. At those locations, Savage clocked the yellow signal time at less than 3 seconds, in violation of both state law and federal regulations. A local newspaper, The Nashville Scene, then confirmed his findings.

Here in San Diego, we had the same thing happen. First, the cameras were specifically placed at intersections that had short yellow times, not intersections that had accidents. Second, some existing yellow times were shortened by up to a full second. Not just the city, but the company that installed the cameras made more money the more people ran red lights. In some cases, the yellow time was so short that it would have been unsafe to stop if traveling at the posted speed limit.

If governments benefit when the law is broken, they’ll find ways to ensure that laws are broken more often. There should never be a per-violation revenue stream; it is too tempting for whoever receives the fines to create more violations so that they can increase their revenue. Even when it means creating more dangerous intersections.

  1. <- Lizard Brain John McCain
  2. Paranoid Times ->