Opinion Your Views — 12 June 2014
Few repeat offenders mean red-light cameras are working

By Jonathan Krall, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

In response to “Red-light cameras don’t deter scofflaws,” on May 22, I’d like to quote from that same article: “‘One thing we have not seen is the repeat offender,’ [Deputy Chief Eddie] Reyes said last month.”

That few drivers are repeat offenders indicates that the program is indeed deterring scofflaws.

Past studies not only show that camera enforcement is more cost-effective than hiring extra police officers, but helpfully also suggest best practices. For example, a study of speed cameras reported in March 2013 by NBC4 showed that tickets issued in the District, which run as high as $300, are expensive enough to inspire drivers to slow down and so result in few repeat offenders. In Maryland, by contrast, camera tickets are capped at $40 and repeat offenders abound. In Maryland at least, $40 is an acceptable fee for continued speeding.

Sadly, the Alexandria Times did not see fit to report the cost of local red-light camera fines, information that would allow potential scofflaws to visualize the unpleasant task of having to pay a fine. Without this information, scofflaws must wait until they receive an actual ticket to be duly and unpleasantly deterred from further red-light running.

Fortunately, Sgt. Chuck Seckler of the Alexandria Police Department, who reports monthly to the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, was happy to answer the question. Fines from red-light camera tickets begin at $50 and go up from there. Based on the lack of repeat offenders, this seems to be enough to deter scofflaws.

 

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(4) Readers Comments

  1. If you look at the Zipcodes of who gets the tickets, you’ll see that after a camera has been in place for more than six months, the huge majority of the tickets go to visitors. And that means that the presence of the camera will not be able to stop the running, as there’s always fresh meat, sorry, new visitors, and they often are lost and make mistakes. And the business model says it has to be that way, because without a continuing flow of tickets, the camera company can’t have the continuous flow of revenue it needs. So, the cameras are usually put in at intersections controlling the access to regional draws such as major airports, major hospitals, colleges, shopping centers and sports facilities. Or along travel routes frequented by tourists.

    If a city genuinely wants to stop running, and accidents, it will put up more visible signal lights (larger diameter, with big backboards, and placed on the “near” side of the intersection”), and it will paint “signal ahead” on the pavement. It will also do things to make the intersection stand out. Such as putting up lighted street signs for the cross street, and larger bulbs in the streetlights at the intersection. Except for the extra signal pole on the near side, all of these engineering fixes are dirt cheap and quick to do, so if a city identifies a dangerous intersection and then puts in a camera instead of fixing the intersection, you can easily guess that their motive is money from tickets, not safety.

    • Jim,
      Your on the right track,
      Support the #FINNLINE Project today and help us fix this problem.

      We can make roads safer AND take down the Red Light Camera industry at the same time!

      It’s a question of: Who wants to complain? VS. Who wants to do something about it?

      Send me a friend request and I’ll show you how we are going to do it.

      No! I’m not selling anything. We are looking for people who want to help with an Email Merge to over 1500 elected officials and public servants.

      Get the facts! Go to my face book page and check out my post titled “TAKE THIS TO COURT”
      Please also watch our You Tube video titled #FINNLINE SOLUTION.

      If you like it, tell a friend and send me friend requests.

      We need your help.

  2. Once ticketed, drivers find an alternative route to their destination or like the article says, the drivers are from out of town. And the only offense is from the VDOT. The VDOT is the scofflaw. It sets yellow lights to half the time it takes a driver to stop his car, conflicting with the laws of physics, eventually forcing everyone to run red lights.

  3. Reasons why Red Light Cameras violate our civil rights.
    1) If these arguments are not allowed to challenge red light camera citations then the citizen’s right to due process is being violated.
    2) Drivers are helpless to obey the traffic light laws because the law fails to give drivers the information that is necessary and reasonable to make better decisions.
    a) THE LAWS OF CALCULUS DICTATE: An equation is unsolvable if it contains only variables. Currently, the driver’s decision to stop or go at the yellow onset is a formula that is unsolvable because it has no constants. For several reasons (Including “Time flies when you’re having fun”) the human perception of time at the yellow light must always be considered a variable. Pure time solutions violate the first law of calculus.
    b) THE LAWS OF PHYSICS DICTATE: The information of both TIME and DISTANCE are required for drivers to make responsible decisions at yellow traffic lights. Designs of traffic intersections do not give drivers the necessary “safe stopping distance” information needed to make safer choices. (Neither will a municipally do so until ordered by the court).
    3) There is a remedy that the state can implement to give drivers a chance to make better decisions.
    • The FINNLINE SOLUTION: (See Website: CivilLiberty101.com) Extend the no passing line, which is found preceding every stop line, to indicate the safe stopping distance for the heaviest vehicle rated to be on the road at the speed limit. AT THE ONSET OF THE YELLOW LIGHT: a) A “STOP ZONE” is created: If your front wheel has NOT reached the paint. This means the driver has a safe stopping distance in front of the vehicle and is thus required to stop. b) Alternatively, a “GO ZONE” is also created: If your front wheel is in the paint, it means the driver does not have a safe stopping distance in front of the vehicle and the driver is required to go through the intersection safely. This reduces or eliminates driver reaction time and rear end collisions.
    The FinnLine solution provides the necessary DISTANCE information for the cost of <$5.00 in paint. The city is already painting the road. All they need to do is figure the calculations properly and add a few more feet of paint. This is both reasonable and necessary for the safety of the drivers.

    end me a friend request and I'll show you how we are going to do it.

    No! I'm not selling anything. We are looking for people who want to help with an Email Merge to over 1500 elected officials and public servants.

    Get the facts! Go to my face book page and check out my post titled "TAKE THIS TO COURT"
    Please also watch our You Tube video titled #FINNLINE SOLUTION.

    If you like it, tell a friend and send me friend requests.

    We need your help.

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