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National Motorists Association Says No To Red Light Cameras With $10 Grand

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On: Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 3:10PM | By: Chris Weiss


National Motorists Association Says No To Red Light Cameras With $10 Grand

Red light cameras are one of the true thorns in the tires of motorists. Sure, if you're blatantly ignoring red lights and putting the public in grave danger, you deserve to be fined heavily. However, if you're a millisecond late on a left turn because some impatient yahoo in the opposing lane gunned it at the very last flash of yellow, you probably don't deserve to fall victim to the camera police.

Not surprisingly, the National Motorists Association, an organization devoted to promoting and protecting the rights of American motorists, doesn't like red light cameras any more than you. And it's putting its money where its mouth is.

Red light cameras have been attacked on a variety of fronts from inaccuracy to ineffectiveness at actually increasing intersection safety. Yet many municipalities have chosen to use them anyway because they provide an easy, viable solution (and plenty of money for municipal coffers).

Like motorists in general, the NMA feels that red light cameras are generally ineffective and unnecessary. In fact, the organization has a list of 10 reasons why the cameras need to go. It believes that a far better solution would be to implement enhanced traffic infrastructure such as longer yellow lights and more visible traffic signals.

The association is so confident these measures will prove superior to red light cameras, it's issued a "$10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge." The challenge tasks cities with putting NMA's solutions to the test. If they don't find that they cut red light violations by 50 percent or more, NMA will funnel $10,000 into the city's traffic safety budget. If NMA's solutions succeed, the city must remove any other red light cameras and use similar solutions at other problematic intersections.

Gary Biller, executive director of the National Motorists Association, explained in a statement: "Voters consistently reject camera measures because they are suspicious of safety claims made by public officials and camera companies. To put cities to the test, we have issued the $10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge."

NMA cites voter initiatives in 22 out of 23 cities over the past few years that have gone against red light cameras.

It'll be interesting to see if any cities take NMA up on the offer and how it plays out. The challenge sounds like a good way of dissuading municipalities from installing red light cameras, but if it doesn't work out, it could very well have the opposite effect.

Of course, the challenge doesn't sound all that enticing from a city's standpoint. It basically breaks down into spending money installing NMA's solutions while agreeing to possibly spending more money in the future. Unless NMA is funding the installation of its solutions, I don't know that many cities will bite.

Interested cities can contact the organization at 608-849-6000 or via email at nma@motorists.org.

PRESS RELEASE

NMA Issues Challenge to Cities Using Red-Light Ticket Cameras

November 2011

The National Motorists Association (NMA) announced its $10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge, a program designed to prove that engineering solutions --- not automated enforcement by ticket cameras --- are the real way to prevent red-light violations and accidents at problematic intersections.

Public disdain for red light cameras was on display earlier this month as voters struck down camera programs in seven cities, including three each in Ohio and Washington State. In recent years, voters have rejected photo traffic enforcement at the ballot box in 22 of 23 cities, including Houston, Albuquerque, and Cincinnati.

“Voters consistently reject camera measures because they are suspicious of safety claims made by public officials and the camera companies,” said Gary Biller, Executive Director of the NMA. “To put cities to the test, we have issued the $10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge.”

Biller described the challenge as follows:

1.Point out any camera-equipped intersection that has high numbers of red-light violations and the NMA will guarantee a minimum 50 percent reduction in those violations through the application of engineering solutions. 2.If NMA recommendations fail to meet the violation reduction goal, the drivers’ rights organization will pay the community $10,000 to be used for any traffic safety program or project it chooses. 3.If the NMA’s safety recommendations succeed, the community must employ the same engineering-based measures at other troublesome intersections, and scrap its ticket camera program.

The NMA maintains that sound traffic engineering principles are the most effective way to prevent violations and accidents at problematic intersections. “We are willing to wager $10,000 to prove that measures such as properly set yellow-light durations, brief all-red delays, higher visibility traffic signals, and better lane markings and signage will lower accident rates. If city officials are truly interested in the safety of their citizens, they should look at solutions that work rather than just collect money from traffic tickets.”

Biller explained that cities have become addicted to ticket camera revenue. He noted, “A true traffic safety program will result in decreased accident rates over time. But red-light cameras are a for-profit proposition for the cities and camera companies, one that depends on an ongoing, steady stream of photo citations. The engineering solutions we propose through the $10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge will achieve meaningful and lasting improvements in intersection safety.”

Communities interested in learning more about the $10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge should contact the NMA at 608-849-6000 or via email at nma@motorists.org. Additional information about engineering solutions for better intersection safety can be found at http://www.motorists.org/red-light-cameras/alternatives.




Comments

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Stephy21 | 9:17AM (Tue, Dec 6, 2011)

I personally don't think the red light camera's should be placed on red lights. Anything could go wrong with them and give people tickets for no reason. If their that interested in catching people running red lights and to make intersections more safe, they should have a cop at every one of them.



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