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Against Red Light Cameras

We saw article that Massachusetts is considering the use of red light cameras. We are strongly opposed to these cameras. These cameras are NOT about safety; it is about raising money on the backs of cash-strapped citizens! A segment of the story states that one red light camera maker's PR person notes "Everyone's looking for new ways to make revenue." The Reminder story also states that the camera maker has info showing there are "significant reductions in most collisions." That is NOT true! We refer you to this site from Car and Driver magazine from 2008: www.caranddriver.com/features/columns/c_d_staff/patrick_bedard/robot_revenuing_shots_were_fired_column. Here is an excerpt: "It's a safety sham. A report last year, funded by the Federal Highway Administration and the Virginia Department of Transportation, said that 'cameras were associated with an INCREASE in total crashes.' Six Virginia cities with red-light cameras were studied. Injury crashes were down five percent in one and up from six to 89 percent in the others. Rear-enders were up in all the cities, by 136 percent in Falls Church and 139 percent in Arlington. "Crashes were up in Stockton, California, too, from an average of 14 per year before to more than 20 per year in the 2004-06 period, after red-light cameras were installed. Same story in Seattle, where crashes rose from 4.94 per intersection before to 5.25 after cameras were installed at four intersections. Untroubled by the facts, Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske declared complete victory and proposed camera coverage on 14 more intersections. "If red-light cameras don't reduce violations, what does? The length of the yellow light is the most important factor, says the Texas Transportation Institute, which studied 181 intersection approaches over three years. Adding one second to the Institute of Transportation Engineers formula cut violations by 53 percent. Conversely, shortening the ITE time by one second hiked violations by 110 percent. "This dovetails neatly with a report by the California state auditor that studied camera results in eight of that state's cities. Overall, 77 percent of the violations occur in the first second of the red. "As good as it might be for safety, lengthening the yellow is bad for [revenue raising]. San Diego saw a $2 million increase in revenues in the first year after trimming its 'grace period' to 0.1 second versus 0.3 to 0.5 before. In Dallas, 7 of the 10 highest revenue-raising cameras have yellows shorter than the minimum recommendation of the Texas Department of Transportation. "When the choice comes down to safety versus the money, safety doesn't stand a chance." Patricia and Michael Kaplan East Longmeadow
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