One of the latest trends in traffic enforcement is the “red-light camera,” high atop a telephone poll, which snaps pictures 24 hours a day of vehicles that run red lights illegally. Such cameras were the subject of a story in Sunday’s MDJ, “Mayor, council members laud technology for making roads safer.”
Officials say the cameras are only mounted at the busiest intersections and argue they have caused a drop in motor vehicle accidents. Their critics say the main reason for the cameras is to generate fines for local government coffers.
The truth probably is somewhere in between.
But as someone who, like most of us, sometimes drives too fast, and who on occasion has gunned through an intersection as the light was changing from yellow to red — and who has gotten two tickets thus far thanks to red-light cameras, here’s an idea: Why not post signs near the intersections where the cameras are installed; signs that would warn motorists that such cameras are in use? Something along the lines of “Inter-section Monitored by Red-Light Cameras.”
That way, motorists would know before entering the intersection that they needed to slow down — or run the risk of a ticket. Yes, drivers are supposed to do that anyway, but wouldn’t such signs encourage more of us to slow down? Moreover, the recipients of such tickets would know they “had it coming,” rather than feeling ambushed.
A cynic might even say that the city’s refusal to put up such signs would be further evidence that the reason for the cameras is to generate fines — not enhance safety.