Red-light cameras boost traffic safety

June 20, 2013 

I cannot for the life of me (and many others) understand the recent frenzied opposition to the use of red-light cameras. Opponents of the cameras seem to argue three reasons for eliminating what seems to be a life- and money-saving practice.

Their initial claim is that these cameras are an invasion of privacy and constitute one more step toward a "big brother" state. They seem to be saying that an individual can do anything he pleases without being subject to government intrusions into his "privacy."

The obvious fallacy behind this kind of thinking is that no individual has the right to endanger his fellow citizens, nor does he have the right to ignore laws that are promulgated for the common good and safety of all citizens.

Camera opponents also claim that red-light cameras do not improve safety on the roadways, but even contribute to increased accidents. And yet even the very conservative Texas Department of Transportation admits that there are over 100,000 accidents and 1,000 deaths a year caused by red-light runners.

Virtually every urban area that has installed red-light cameras has experienced dramatic decreases in accidents and fatalities. The city of Miami, for example, reports a 43 percent decrease in intersection car crashes since the installation of red-light cameras. Tampa claims a 29 percent reduction (

The final argument is financial: "People are just unhappy with the inherent unfairness of the for-profit corporations setting up these systems ..." (Texas Campaign for Liberty). In truth, red-light running costs the American taxpayer $14 billion each year (

Sometimes I think Americans have a death wish. Protecting the irrational, thoughtless, inane red-light runners at the expense of innocent deaths is simply incomprehensible. Ask anyone who has been T-boned at an intersection and lived to talk about it.

Ed Siemaszko

Perico Island

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