Saturday, April 11, 2009

Photo Enforcement

Many cities across the US are rolling out speed cameras & red-light cameras in an effort to improve public safety. These are truly high-tech devices that include digital cameras, video cameras that record to DVR's, and high-speed links to upload images to the local PD.

I am strongly in favor of red-light cameras, especially after a harrowing incident that happened a few days ago.

I had just left my house in the morning, on the way to work. I had stopped at a red light. When the light changed & the cross traffic was stopped, I looked both ways and then started across the intersection. But then I glanced to my right and saw a car that was coming pretty fast & didn't appear to be slowing down to stop for his red light. I stopped my car half-way through the intersection, and sure enough WHOOSH the car went past right in front of me. Another 100 ft. and he hit his brakes after realizing what he had done. If it were not for that 2nd glance to the right, I might not be writing this today.

Now, there is no guarantee that a red-light camera would have prevented that car from running the light. But those intersections usually have not one, but two sets of signs with the warning "traffic laws photo-enforced" and drivers generally learn their locations & respect them. Who knows what distracted that driver from noticing that the light had changed? Would he have noticed the signs & paid more attention to his driving? Hard to say.

Critics claim that photo enforcement only serves to generate revenue for the city, but all it takes is one life-altering moment like this. . .