The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The Traffic Camera Scam

Feb 17, 2014

Last week the Washington, D.C. government massively expanded its “safe streets” program, with the addition of 100 new ticketing cameras.

Do all these cameras make the streets any safer? Authorities point to a reduction in fatalities since starting the program, but that’s been due to improvements in emergency medicine and in automotive technology.

In fact, as people learn the locations of the cameras, they do modify their driving – at least near the cameras. So each camera tends to generate less revenue as it ages. The city’s “solution” to this problem is simple – just keep adding more cameras and more types of infractions! They started with “just” a handful in 1999 – and now they’re up to nearly 300 cameras with even more already being planned. And those cameras ticket everything, from speeding as little as “1-5” miles per hour over the limit, to stop sign violations, to not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Even more insane is a recent study done by University of Tennessee traffic engineers. The study showed that under “budget” pressure, municipalities with red light camera programs were shaving time from yellow lights, removing “signal ahead” warning signs, and increasing the number of green-red cycles so that so that more people are placed in danger of running a red. Yes, these so-called crash preventers are actually crash generators!

Well over 100 million dollars have been raked in from camera tickets. THAT is what city officials care about – not safety.