It’s the American Automobile Association to the rescue yet again. I hope. Lon Anderson, who does public relations work for AAA Mid-Atlantic, suggests that maybe speeding-ticket cameras should be getting tickets themselves. They are too fast on the draw. And they’re too often being used to bring in revenue rather than to improve safety.
An example is good old Washington, DC, near where I live. Between August of 1999 and June of this year, DC collected almost $22 million in fines as a result of citations generated by red-light cameras. Then there are the citations issued by photo-radar cameras. Which brought in another $30 million during that time. Most of the citations get sent to hapless drivers who run the red light by just fractions of a second. Sometimes the yellow light is on for only a few seconds, and then what’s the motorist supposed to do as it flips to red while he’s in the middle of an intersection? Screech to a halt?
The district is using the cameras to generate revenue, and Mayor Williams admits it. So the AAA no longer supports the district’s use of them. Anderson says, “The truth appears to be that we are not interested in just nabbing the egregious violators it’s the blink-of-an-eye violator, it’s the unintentionals, that bring in the big bucks. I think we ought to be out to catch the bona fide red-light runners who are threatening our lives.”
Let’s hope City Hall brings this program to the shop for an overhaul. Or maybe it should go straight to the scrap heap.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.