TRAFFIC LIGHT CAMERAS
Kevin dismisses the arguments of those who oppose red light cameras.
If you get a ticket days after a violation happens, you’ve already forgotten the circumstances! That might wash for some other kinds of violations, but running a red light? Offhand I can’t think of a single extenuating circumstance.
But there are all sorts of extenuating circumstances that might apply.
*Perhaps you were stuck in the intersection while the light was green and you don’t drive out until the light turned red? That happens to me all the time in the traffic-congested area where I live.
*Perhaps the amber signal is very short? Even if you’re not “routinely pushing your luck,” it’s entirely likely that you will occasionally run a red light in situations of heavy traffic, long intersections, slick roads, and all manner of instances where it would be imprudent to slam on one’s breaks the instant the light turned amber.
I agree that the privacy concerns are minimal if it is just a still-frame camera pointed at a specific location and triggered by the light changing color. But the problem here is that human judgment is taken out of the equation and citizens are forced to prove their innocence; the presumption of guilt is there with the photograph.
Furthermore, because this is such a fantastically easy revenue stream, the authorities have every incentive to set the cameras to routinely fine anyone who “runs” a red light even if only by a fraction of a second. Live police officers would be much less likely to do that, as they have to deal with the violator face-to-face. Indeed, I would much prefer to have highway patrol officers on the beat looking for drivers engaged in potentially deadly behavior like intentionally running red lights, passing erratically, driving drunk, and driving too slowly in the passing lane rather than sitting behind berms with radar guns trying to raise revenue. Anything that makes ordinary citizens more contemptuous of the law is a bad thing.