Traffic cameras raise privacy issues for sure, but they can also be devastating to your bank account. When I see these things hovering over my head on the pleasant streets of Boulder, Colorado not only do I think of Big Brother, but also of some overbearing bureaucrat trying to get his or her hands in my pocket. To be fair, I haven’t had any specific issues locally with the cameras and I hope not to have any in the future, but residents of Florida tell quite a different story.
In what is merely a sign of our completely corrupt and immoral times, many communities in Florida are intentionally shortening yellow light intervals at traffic intersections in order to catch unsuspecting drivers running red lights. Not only does this lead to soaring ticket issuance, it also causes more accidents. WTSP 10 News in Tampa completed a phenomenal investigative report. Key excerpts are below:
TAMPA BAY, Fla. — A subtle, but significant tweak to Florida’s rules regarding traffic signals has allowed local cities and counties to shorten yellow light intervals, resulting in millions of dollars in additional red light camera fines.
The 10 News Investigators discovered the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) quietly changed the state’s policy on yellow intervals in 2011, reducing the minimum below federal recommendations. The rule change was followed by engineers, both from FDOT and local municipalities, collaborating to shorten the length of yellow lights at key intersections, specifically those with red light cameras (RLCs).
While yellow light times were reduced by mere fractions of a second, research indicates a half-second reduction in the interval can double the number of RLC citations — and the revenue they create. The 10 News investigation stemmed from a December discovery of a dangerously short yellow light in Hernando County. After the story aired, the county promised to re-time all of its intersections, and the 10 News Investigators promised to dig into yellow light timing all across Tampa Bay.
Red light cameras generated more than $100 million in revenue last year inapproximately 70 Florida communities, with 52.5 percent of the revenue going to the state. The rest is divided by cities, counties, and the camera companies. In 2013, the cameras are on pace to generate $120 million.
Money, money, money, at all costs, money. America’s new religion.
“Red light cameras are a for-profit business between cities and camera companies and the state,” said James Walker, executive director of the nonprofit National Motorists Association. “The (FDOT rule-change) was done, I believe, deliberately in order that more tickets would be given with yellows set deliberately too short.”
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