What is the value of a human life? Is it $158?
Ask the survivors of someone killed by a driver running a red light.
Should negligent drivers not know they are being watched by red-light cameras?
What’s the purpose of law enforcement? Is it not first and foremost public safety?
Shouldn’t technology assist in public safety? Isn’t that why security cameras are everywhere, even inside and outside homes?
Why should the argument that red-light cameras are only installed to make money for government or a company drive the opposition? What does that have to do with public safety?
Is the political opposition due to offenders objecting to being caught breaking the law and they make their displeasure about cameras public to their elected officials? And their enablers excuse law-breaking based on evidence of rear-end collisions that are the fault of tail-gating motorists and not drivers who have learned the value of a safe distance from the vehicle ahead?
Should the argument that the rise in rear-end collisions because of red-light cameras be justification that those devices be removed, to — let’s be truthful here — protect bad drivers who are negligent, inattentive and/or reckless for following too closely? How are those crashes the fault of an inanimate object like a camera?
Isn’t the value of red-light cameras well beyond the intersections where they are installed? Isn’t the greater value in changing behavior? So other intersections are safer? So motorists learn that an expensive ticket can be avoided if they just simply follow the law? Isn’t that the right thing to do?
A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety surveyed 79 cities across the county and discovered fatal crashes increased by 30 percent at intersections where those red-light cameras were dismantled. Want that here?
That statistic should not be ignored.
There’s a very simple answer to opponents of red-light cameras at dangerous and busy intersections: Just don’t speed through them and risk slamming into another vehicle. And injuring innocent individuals who had every right to be traveling safely and every expectation that their day would include enjoying the company of family and friends.
But those red-light camera foes want to divert the attention to a false argument, that being it’s not about public safety but about revenue. That rings hollow when death could be prevented.
The simple solution is just don’t run the light. It’s illegal. You are breaking the law. You should be penalized with a fine. Object to the $158 fine? That’s perfectly avoidable. Slow down. Stop. Simple.
This is once again an issue here. The Bradenton City Council is debating whether to renew a contract with a Colorado company empowered to operate the very few red-light cameras in the city — all of seven.
If the timing on the cameras is the problem, change that and give motorist more than a “millisecond” to comply with the law, as Bradenton Councilman Bemis Smith asserted at a council meeting last week. Milleseconds should not be the issue here, lives should. Drivers should not be snared over a fraction of a second entering an intersection. We totally agree with that. Change the timing.
But if this debate is about money and not lives lost, them shame on us.
More than 44,000 law-breaking motorists got caught by red-light cameras since the city installed them in 2009. How many crashes were avoided? How many lives were saved? How many devastating injuries did not occur because of the tickets that taught a lesson and brought a driver to his or her senses? We’ll never know. Isn’t that a good thing?
Bradenton should keep the cameras.