Home > law, philosophy, regulation > Remove Red-Light Cameras

Remove Red-Light Cameras

Here is a letter to the Sun-Sentinel:

Arguing in the affirmative, the Sun-Sentinel seems to overlook the unintended consequences of red-light cameras (Kinks remain, but red-light cameras worthwhile, June 25).

Red-light cameras add a new variable to the driving equation – forcing drivers to respond in sudden and often unpredictable ways.  Many studies indeed prove red-light cameras reduce right-angle collisions at intersections; however, they also show an increase in rear-end collisions.  Instinct kicks in when drivers spot cameras, causing them to slam on the brakes with little to no warning, surprising trailing vehicles, and potentially causing collisions amidst attempts to avoid a ticket.

Furthermore, the approach fails to bring in sufficient revenue for camera companies and city governments, thus increasing court costs in the process.  The Sun-Sentinel points out that only 44 of the 830 red-light tickets challenged in court were upheld in Broward County from July 2010 to May 2011.  Surely, those resources can be put to better use.

Moreover, cities like Dallas and Nashville have already been caught shortening yellow lights in order to yield more tickets, proving their intentions to generate revenue, rather than increase driver safety.  Alternatively, increasing the length of yellow lights is proving a much more effective mechanism for preventing accidents and fatalities than red-light cameras.


Craig D. Schlesinger

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