Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Georgia Town Admits What We All Knew All Along: Red-Light Cameras Were Never About Safety

Approximately ten years ago contractors around the country convinced many towns to install automated red-light enforcement systems. Often these systems were operated and maintained by the contractors -sometimes Defense contractors - whom shared in the revenue from the citations. As these systems rolled out, many towns actually SHORTENED their yellow lights to increase revenue while simultaneously INCREASING the rate of accidents and jeapordizing public safety. I don't think I need to argue why profit-driven law enforcement, particularly when combined with private entities, is evil.

Well, I just read an article about a town in Georgia where the city frankly discussed why they're pulling out the cameras: revenue is down. Turns out that the State of Georgia implemented a law requiring *longer yellow lights* and that has reduced red-light violations to the point where the automated systems no longer generate enough revenue to pay for themselves. Of course, this is all states had to do in the first place.

"The drop in citations is due, in part, to a state law that went into effect Dec. 31 that mandated a one-second addition to the yellow phase at all camera intersections."

"The city pays $1,200 a day for the service, on top of expenses for postage and police personnel to review the citations, Johnsa said. This year, the city’s projected revenue, excluding expenses, was $1.2 million. "Based on what we’re seeing now, I’ll be surprised to see $850,000," he said." .

Of course the Mayor has some pithy bullshit quote to try and safe face: "Mayor Dave Williams stressed their presence was never about generating revenue, but increasing safety. 'But with the changing of the lights, violations dropped so much that it was going to cost taxpayers a significant amount of money to continue to have those cameras in place,' Williams said."

Never about the revenue ? The simple idea of giving people a longer transition time from green to red never occured to you ? Sorry Mayor Dave Williams, you're either completely full of shit, or completely incompetent. My vote is on both.

Full article: http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/gwinnett/stories/2009/03/13/red_light_camera_cost.html

and now for the post-punk fan's : "there's a town in Georgia's got a law on the books that says if we all got cameras then we won't have crooks". Name the band and origianal lyrics :)

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