Red Light Cameras Work Great!

Security technology guru Bruce Schneier has a post up entitled “Red Light Cameras Don’t Work” which ultimately succeeds in making the opposite point.

He points to yet another study showing, as do all credible studies not funded by interest groups, that the cameras not only lead to more crashes at intersections but lead to more severe crashes as well.

So, sure, if the point of red light cameras were increasing public safety, they’re an abysmal failure.

But, as Bruce himself admits, that’s not the goal at all: “the agenda of the government is to increase revenue due to fines.”  And red light cameras are spectacularly good at that.

So, ipso facto, red light cameras work just fine.

via Chris Lawrence‘s shared feed

FILED UNDER: General, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Well if the definition of ‘work’ is to raise revenue, why not have the police periodically stop at homes and see if there isn’t some spare cash or valuables sitting around. That would likely work even better for raising revenue.

  2. Rick says:

    So what you are telling me is that now we have more people who actually stop at red lights (the law if I recall) and who slow down at yellow lights so they don’t run a red light. That seems good, but that others who intend on running the light or follow too closely are causing more accidents (isn’t that against the law?) so we should just let everyone continue to run the lights? Come on , you’ve driven in Fairfax, the traffic laws are more optional every day. It will take time to recondition people to drive according to the law.

  3. Joe says:

    It’s an unfortunate reality that city governments use their citizens as ATMs rather than serving the public interest. DUI laws make little sense, speed limits are arbitrarily posted and intersection cameras are often just plain wrong.

  4. mike says:

    Since I don’t run red lights or speed (usually) I sure don’t mind having extra funding in lieu of taxes (as long it is in lieu of increased taxes and used properly)

    While in Germany, I noticed that police rarely (i only saw it once in 3 years) pulled anyone over except for DUIs/suspected DUIs – they instead focused on doing police work – I got a few tickets for speeding by the cameras and deserved them b/c I was breaking the law – i just don’t see the issue here. Don’t speed/run red lights and you are set. And yes, they are accurate.

  5. James Joyner says:

    And yes, they are accurate.

    No, as the linked study shows, they aren’t. Those running the cameras cheat the yellow lights in order to collect higher revenues.

  6. spencer says:

    I find it interesting that he accuses the insurance companies studies of being biased because he thinks insurance companies will benefit from greater crashes.

    He obviously never worked for an insurance company and/or has no idea of how their business works.

  7. mike says:

    JJ – What I was getting at was they are accurate if properly used – if gov’ts are letting them violate the law, there is no excuse – i meant accuracy in terms of correct speed of the right car and when set up properly.

  8. James Joyner says:

    What I was getting at was they are accurate if properly used – if gov’ts are letting them violate the law, there is no excuse – i meant accuracy in terms of correct speed of the right car and when set up properly.

    They almost invariably cheat the system to increase revenue. In most cases, the cameras are manned by a private company that gets a healthy commission.