Red-light cameras: Cameras are the wrong solution

  • Tue Jun 29th, 2010 7:55pm

It is not possible that the police, who serve at the pleasure of the mayor and city council, actually believe the cameras improve safety. They are fully aware of the fact the cameras, with rare exception, are a cash grab from normal, average, safe and sane drivers.

With revenues steady or going up, the cameras do not seem to be accomplishing increased safety, do they? The truth is, if traffic cameras worked, they would be putting themselves out of business.

Fifteen states have banned the cameras and three more are about to. Cameras have been thrown out of nearly two dozen cities, all because they can only make money if the intersection is made dangerous.

“Just don’t run the lights” is a simplistic but wrong answer to the situation. Unfortunately, the “Kell and Fullerton” equation, on which the light timing is based, is easily manipulated by those with an agenda favoring income over safety, with yellow-light times best applicable to an alert 20-year-old in a new Ferrari.

Slamming drivers for not stopping long enough for the camera to register a full, dead stop for a right turn when no vehicles or pedestrians are present improves safety exactly how?

Not coming to a full, dead stop is easier on the vehicle and occupants, reduces oil imports, improves traffic flow and reduces the amount of copper, asbestos and other contaminants flowing into our storm drains with zero impact on safety. Nonetheless, cities go after it zealously with retaliation and dollar signs, not safety, in their eyes.

Put 2.5 seconds back on the clock for the green light, add 1.5 seconds to the yellow and ease up on the non-consequential, right-turn semi-infringements. The result is the “red-light running problem” is solved before the traffic engineer can close the panel.

Dan Hemenway

Renton