Slamming on the brakes

Last month, Texas became at least the eighth state to ban red light cameras (thanks in large part to Campaign for Liberty activists across Texas). Texas wised up to the corruption and lawlessness and wisely rejected the money grab by cities across the Lone Star State, and returning the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” that red light cameras deny.

As most Texas cities with red light (s)cameras wind down their programs, it means the police will have to give out tickets the old fashioned way – by actually observing a violator and giving a physical ticket to the offender, rather than to the registered owner of the car who may or may not have been driving.

Study after study has shown that red light cameras do little to nothing when it comes to stopping accidents, and are in fact, just a money grab.  One Chicago Tribune study actually showed that while right-angle or “t-bone” crashes dropped 15% after red light cameras were installed, rear end collisions increased by 22%.

Other studies have shown similar problems:

  • "The number of total crashes at the 100 active red light camera locations increased by 59.6 percent, from 3515 to 5612, between the two study periods examined in this study." (Suffolk County, NY, 2019)
  •  "When the camera program ends, we estimate a statistically significant decrease in non-angle accidents of 18 percent in the Houston sample and 28 percent in the Houston-Dallas sample.... Estimates from the Houston sample suggest that the camera program may have increased injuries." (Case Western Reserve, 2017)
  • "Comprehensive studies conclude cameras actually increase crashes and injuries, providing a safety argument not to install them.... public policy should avoid conflicts of interest that enhance revenues for government and private interests at the risk of public safety." (University of South Florida, 2008)
  •  "The cameras were associated with an increase in total crashes... The aggregate EB results suggested that this increase was 29%... The cameras were associated with an increase in the frequency of injury crashes... The aggregate EB results suggested an 18% increase, although the point estimates for individual jurisdictions were substantially higher (59%, 79%, or 89% increases) or lower (6% increase or a 5% decrease)." (Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Transportation, 2007)

But on the money side, many cities, counties, and state governments appear to be content with more accidents and tickets being handed out without any regard for your rights.

The Automatic Ticketing Machines (coincidentally ATMs), which are owned and operated by private corporations (often from out of state or foreign countries), capture images of the license plate of a vehicle supposedly running a red light or traveling over the speed limit. The owner of the vehicle later receives a ticket in the mail, even if he was not the one driving at the time.

Red light cameras bring in millions in revenue for the cities that use them as well as the corporations that own them. The corporation, instead of police, charges citizens with a crime. Victims of this “taxation by citation” scheme pay the fine to the camera company, and the spoils are then shared with the city.

The shocking disregard for due process is apparent, all to prey on motorists and line the pockets of the city and the camera companies. Millions of dollars are being extracted from U.S. motorists and millions of those dollars leave the state where the fine was issued.

Even worse, another tactic the camera vendors use to make their programs profitable is manipulating speed limits and signal timing. Yellow light times are lowered to dangerously short intervals, causing erratic driving and an increase in accidents. Motorists are left with the choice of slamming on their brakes to avoid a ticket or passing through the intersection a fraction of a second after the signal moves from yellow to red and being fined $50, $100, $200, or even $500 in some cities.

Top employees of Redflex, one of the top red light camera contractors, have been convicted of fraud and bribery in Chicago and other locations. Redflex and other camera vendors buy off and lobby politicians, brokering backroom deals to enrich themselves at the expense of your liberty.

Texas was just the latest state to ban the (s)cameras. Now Tennessee is looking at legislation in their 2020 session to do the same.

If your state still has red light cameras, it's time to put an end to them!

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