Monday, October 02, 2006

Red Light Revenue Enhancers

Heard on the radio this morning: Red light camera violations have dropped in the past year in my town. The chief of police says this is a good thing.

But is it? I have a feeling that somewhere in City Hall, someone in the finance department is giving birth to a bovine (that's "having a cow," for those of you in Dundalk). You see, from the standpoint of city coffers, this is terrible news.

A decline in red light camera violations means that less revenue from fines is coming in. And remember, with these fines, an owner of a vehicle (not the driver!) may NOT confront his accuser (a machine) in a court of law. Much more about that phenomenon at this site.

I predict that within three to five years, the red light camera program here will be discontinued, just as it has been in Salisbury, MD and Greensboro, NC. The reason is simple: the revenue generated will be insufficient to pay for the costs of the system. As drivers get more accustomed to red light cameras, there will be more compliance (the stated goal of the program) but less revenue (the unstated, but more important goal).

This just goes to show that red light cameras, while trying to raise more taxpayer money, turn out to be a waste of taxpayer money.

Note: I am not advocating the violation of highway laws, nor am I trying to say that running red lights is a good thing. Indeed, one of Maryland's unwritten laws seems to be that the red light means "only three more cars." I am opposed to a solution that's worse than the problem.

2 comments:

Puffy said...

We have the photos taken at certain intersections, too. Last night, we saw the camera flash 4 times...4 cars ran the red light, turning left!

Cygnus said...

Ouch, Puffy!

Have you ever seen this?

Lime-helmet away if necessary.