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Published: Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 12:01 a.m.
Guest commentary / Traffic safety cameras


Facts that are too often left out by media

Photo enforcement cameras are installed to make roadways safer for all drivers, pedestrians and pedal cyclists. We have a traffic problem. People are still dying because of poor driving habits in preventable collisions -- not accidents.
These cameras are not about "Big Brother" or another form of "taxes on drivers." They're about quality of life and fining traffic violators. Photo enforcement cameras are in place to help us reduce violations, crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by speeders in school zones and those who elect to run red lights. These cameras are completely voluntary and no one is required to participate in the project. You can choose not to be a participant.
Most violators take ownership and responsibility for their violation, and vow to be more careful. Motorists who violate traffic laws pay for the program. The program costs taxpayers nothing! Revenue paid by violators goes to pay for public services. These cameras are a force multiplier allowing law enforcement increased public safety through the ability to focus on other crimes, increasing quality of life for the public we serve.
Nationwide, red-light runners cause 190,000 collisions with 90,000 injuries and 1,000 fatalities annually. The Federal Highway Administration reports the economic cost to society is estimated to be $6.2 million for every fatal collision.
These costs are associated with things such as medical costs, emergency services, vocational rehabilitation, market productivity, household productivity, insurance administration, workplace costs, legal costs, public travel delay, property damage and psychosocial impacts.
Red-light running kills. Stopping for a red light has not and will not kill anyone. Cities that have the courage to use automatic enforcement systems are saving lives. Politicians who are strong enough to do what is right by having the courage to support this system are saving lives. These cameras are tools to catch and change poor driving habits.
We are sensitive to the pressures of your vocal minority, but we are also aware of the extreme fiscal, physical and emotional costs of unsafe driving. We must remember who the true victims of red light running are. They are not the vocal minority, unable to take ownership and responsibility for their poor driving choice, but the real victims -- the families of loved ones killed by red-light runners. We rarely hear from the true victims; the people injured physically, financially and emotionally by these lawbreakers.

Sgt. W. Davis
Lynnwood Police Traffic Division
Shannon Sessions
Lynnwood Police Public Information Officer

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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

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