Red-light cameras not a perfect solution

June 25, 2013 

Red-light cameras are not the answer.

I was a firm believer in red-light cameras. But then I received a ticket in the mail. The problem was that it was from a city in northern Orange County, a city where I have never been nor has my black Jeep Grand Cherokee ever been.

Careful examination of the grainy photos seemed to indicate that some things were missing: my dealership decal, the word "HEMI," and my distinctive license plate frame.

So I contacted that city's police department. Thanks to diligent work by an officer it was determined that while the first five characters of the license plate matched mine, the last character was a "W" -- my plate ends with "N."

The "W" plate was indeed a black Jeep Grand Cherokee registered in that city. So much for the infallibility of the red-light camera system!

But there is a simple solution that addresses the real problem -- that drivers currently have no clue how much more "green" time exists. It is archaic to provide this information by turning on a yellow light of unknown duration.

The modern technology is to install countdown timers next to the traffic lights. The timer gives the driver the real information needed to make the "stop," "don't stop" decision.

Even Lima, Peru has deployed timers at most major intersections. Guess what? Drivers there now actually stop at red lights! Lima used to be notorious for red-light-running.

Get a clue, cities, counties and FDOT! Do what is right for your citizens, not what is right for out-of-state camera owners.

David K. Johnson


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