Ticketing cameras have been popping up in increased numbers over the last decade. Some of them only measure speed, others red-light running, some actively scan licence plates, and some do a combination of all those. To be honest, we all want to be safe on the road. Nobody likes it when someone runs a red light and certainly not when someone runs a red light and causes an accident. The question remains however of whether or not these ticketing cameras help curb the problem of speeding or red-light running. In fact, some argue that the cameras do more harm than good.
I agree with the sentiment that these cameras do more harm than good and I think anyone that lives with them would agree. I remember here in Arizona we had speed cameras on the highway and red light cameras on the corners. It was nearly a death trap on the highway where everyone would be cruising along ([above the speed limit] and when you got in the area of a speed camera everyone would slam on their brakes. Of course, logic should tell you that if everyone is suddenly slamming on their brakes that there is eventually going to be an uptick of rear-end collisions.
So while the cameras may have stopped people from speeding, did it actually make us more safe? If we traded decreased speed for an increase in rear-end collisions then I’d personally say that the safety of our community was degraded and I think that many would agree.
Likewise with red-light cameras and safety. We may have stopped people from running red lights but we have also increased the likelihood that people slam on their brakes at the sight of a yellow light instead of safely proceeding through and avoiding a rear-end collision. I know that I personally know where the cameras are at in my neighborhood and I try to avoid them. If I can’t avoid them then I approach them with caution – I’m always super paranoid that if I stop on yellow (to avoid running the red light) then I will be rear-ended by someone behind me who isn’t paying attention or simply isn’t expecting me to stop. I literally go through these intersections staring at my rear-view mirror! Scary – shouldn’t my eyes be forward and scanning the road in front of me?
We have all heard the reports when these cameras were being put in about how safe they made people – how people drove slower and ran less red-lights. But were those “studies” done by independent organizations, by lobbyist, or by the camera companies themselves? It seems to me that these studies very well may have been done by the latter two groups. This is even more true due to the fact of all the scandals and judgments handed down against these camera companies – everything from bribery to changing the yellow light timing to ensure more captures.
Here in Arizona we are pushing to finally rid ourselves of this cancer and return ourselves to a more sane, logical, and Constitutional way of nabbing those who break traffic laws by passing SB1167, entitled “Photo radar; prohibition.” So far the bill has managed to pass all paces and has picked up some notable endorsements, to include:
- Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) supports a ban on photo ticketing. (citation needed)
- Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) – Sheriff Babeu ended photo ticketing in his county immediately after taking office. He wrote Senator Ward aletter in support of SB 1167.
- Phoenix Law Enforcement Association voted unanimously last week to support SB 1167
- Richard Mack, a former two-term Graham County Sheriff, and current candidate for Navajo County Sheriff has been calling Arizona Senate members in support of SB 1167. (citation needed)
Tomorrow, 23 February 2015, is the day that the Arizona Senate votes on SB1167. Please consider contacting your Senator and telling them to vote YEA for SB1167. If you do not know their contact information then click here. The email I sent simply said “Please represent me by voting YEA for SB1167.”
Other items that you may want to consider that make red light cameras Unconstitutional:
- 4th Amendment: The cameras scan the license plate and run the MVD data (your personal information) of every motorist in Arizona that passes by them, tracking people like cattle. This is a unwarranted search.
- 5th Amendment: Photo tickets demand a fine be paid, or face the seizure of capital and possessions without offering due process. It’s simply a rubber stamp by an employee of the company who is collecting the fine.
- 6th Amendment: There is no way to exercise your right to face your accuser, when the accuser is a machine.
- 7th Amendment: There is no option for a trial because they’ve taken that right away from you with photo tickets, even though the fines can go as high as $350 in the state of Arizona.
- 14th Amendment: Two sets of standards have been created for the same offenses. Red light and speed camera tickets are treated completely differently by the courts, which is a clear violation of your right to equal protection under the laws. And no machine can replace a sworn peace officer conduction traffic stops.
Below is a link with a collection of studies on whether or not red-light cameras increase public safety.
Arizona can do this. I reported in May 2010 about how Arizona got rid of the speed cameras on the highways – so this is totally possible, especially if we all call our politicians and tell them to support this bill!