Those who believe red-light cameras at dangerous intersections do little or nothing to improve traffic safety ought to read the blog attached to this post.
Dallas Morning News blogger/editorial writer Rodger Jones tries to remind those doubters that the cameras actually do some good and that he’s found some research that backs that notion up.
The Texas Legislature appears ready to forbid cities from deploying the cameras. Amarillo has done so and it has used the money generated by the fines collected to improve traffic safety in the city; state law requires cities to dedicate the money to that cause.
State Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, says the cameras don’t do any good. Jones disputed Hall’s contention and found some research by an institute affiliated with Texas A&M University that says the opposite of what Hall contends. Jones quotes the findings: “New research suggests that red light cameras help to reduce the number of crashes at intersections where they are installed. The study, although limited to Texas, is one of the most extensive thus far in the nation, and researchers say the findings demonstrate that the automated enforcement method offers an effective means of preventing crash-related deaths and injuries.”
There’s more. Take a look at it.
The point is that legislators have been accusing cities of implementing the cameras as money-makers. Never mind the restrictions placed on how cities can spend the revenue derived from enforcing laws against those who run red lights. The state sets strict limits on how cities can spend the money.
It’s also interesting that some legislators have become overnight civil libertarians, saying that motorists are denied the right to “face their accuser.” Hogwash! Motorists can appeal the fines and in some cases, such as in Amarillo, they’ve been able to persuade authorities to dismiss the charge.
Whatever. Jones’s blog makes the case that lawmakers such as Sen. Hall aren’t telling the whole story as they seek to strip cities of a tool some of them are using to make their streets safer.