Red-lighting photo traffic enforcement

Colorado State Senator Scott Renfroe is introducing a bill to ban photo traffic enforcement, including both speed and red light cameras, statewide. Sen. Renfroe frames it properly: "People need to be held accountable for their actions, but government should be about safety not revenue."

Many people are sympathetic to red-light cameras, assuming they cause fewer people to run red lights, a behavior especially dangerous to others. But that assumption also assumes that fewer red light scofflaws equates to fewer accidents at intersections. Perhaps surprisingly, a raft of studies appear to show that red light cameras may actually be increasing the number of traffic accidents: People afraid of the cameras often stop short, including when the light is yellow, causing the driver behind them also to brake suddenly, occasionally unable to do so in time and rear-ending the camera-fearing driver in front (and causing the same problem for the third car in this line of traffic.) To be sure, those in favor of cameras have a couple of studies they quote supporting increased safety due to cameras.

I've never been sympathetic to speed cameras for a simple reason: Both here in Boulder and around where I used to live in Australia, speed cameras are put in places where there is little safety justification but where people are likely to be exceeding the speed limit, though not enough to have any implications for safety.

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:

  • ken
    Comment from: ken
    01/20/12 @ 09:13:56 am

    I like the British solution on traffic cams. They call them "GATZOS" and they fire bomb them! Here is link to their solution: BOOM!

  • Tobyw
    Comment from: Tobyw
    02/11/12 @ 02:28:29 pm

    Thanks for the Am. Spectator article on red light cameras. Why have cameras when you could have computer controlled traffic for about the same price. I'm also a fan of traffic circles like we have here in NJ,. but there are no signs instructing how to use them, so those unfamiliar tend to be confused. Controlled access could allow lanes to exit in all directions at once. I'm appalled at how little common sense goes into road design. Try timing the time spent by you and others waiting at lights, especially on four lane roads sometime.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in now!