Thursday, July 14, 2011

Red light camera deception

William Heuisler

An insurance study says most drivers like Red Light Cameras. Really? Is that true?

Will Tucson drivers rejoice when Pima County adds more cameras? Will drivers cheer when Tucson Police Chief VillaseƱor moves his cameras to new, exciting locations? (

On June 30th the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a study of public opinion that “proved” motorists favor red light cameras. Their study summation asserted,  “…strong public support confirms that red-light camera opponents, while vocal and often influential, are a minority.” (Consumer Reports, 2011)

The IIHS study also brags, “Even in Houston (see below) a city that voted in a November 2010 referendum to shut off its cameras, a majority of drivers say they favor red-light camera enforcement. The people who went to the polls don’t seem to represent the majority of drivers.” (Pruden, 2011)    
IIHS is an insurance company front. Traffic tickets add points; points mean higher premiums and higher insurance profits. So insurance companies like red-light cameras. But the insurance study contradicts actual public votes – the IIHS study actually disputes reality.

Reality? The LA Police Commission voted June 7th to end red-light cameras in America’s second-largest city. Voters in Houston last year (see above & below) amended the city charter to compel a reluctant city council to unplug the cameras, which had been generating $10 million in annual revenue.

In Sykesville, Md., 61 percent opposed camera use. In Sulphur, La., the tally was 86 percent against. In Anaheim, Calif., the vote was 73 percent against. Another half-dozen municipal ballot votes are likely by year’s end as camera opponents gather signatures in California, Ohio, Texas and Washington state. Fifteen other cities placed red light cameras on the ballot. They were rejected every time. (Pruden, 2011)

But politicians love that red-light-camera-cash so much they sabotage the will of their own constituents.

1) Two weeks ago, Mayor, Annise Parker reactivated red-light cameras that were rejected by 343,471 Houston voters last year (see above).

2) In Wenatchee, Washington the camera company persuaded a county judge to block an anti-camera petition drive.

3) In Monroe, Washington, signatures were gathered successfully, but the city council sued to keep the measure off the upcoming ballot.

4) In Longview, Washington the council also sued voters to stop an anti camera initiative.                                 (Washington Times, 2011)

In lofty contempt for the public, crafty politicians and transparent insurance “studies” desperately coax drivers to love their red light cameras. But reality often intervenes: Mindless money machines and their greedy sycophants are losing favor everywhere.

 Consumer Reports. (2011). News Cars. Support for big brother: Survey finds use of red light  cameras favored.

Pruden, W. (2011). Washington Times. Red light camera flop. IIHS junk science claims won’t save deeply unpopular ticketing programs.

Washington Times. (2011). Editorial. Judicial cash grab. Bureaucracies cancel elections to keep red-light camera loot.

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