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2015-01-03 06:30 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 218 references Ignore this thread
RIP One Scam (Hopefully!)

Oh please.

A promising industry betrayed by the behavior of its customers—that’s the story of the red-light camera business.

There has never been any scientific evidence that "red light cameras" improve traffic safety.  Zero.

I will note that the idea that this "product" paid for itself was utter nonsense.  It did no such thing -- it instead stole funds from motorists.  The idea that it was "cost-effective" is utter and complete crap; by definition this is impossible as an officer that issues a ticket for a blown red light puts all the funds into the city or other government entity involved where these "camera systems" do no such thing.

Indeed the fact of the matter is that while red-light cameras decrease T-bone incidents (maybe) they dramatically increase rear-end collisions as drivers will attempt panic stops they cannot safely complete due to the proximity of traffic behind them.  Worse, cities invariably shorten yellow times when the cameras go in which makes the problem much worse.

Yellow time standards are minimum recommendations and are for 1 second for every 10mph of speed with a minimum of 3 seconds, rounded up.  That's a minimum value; note that reaction time is typically 3/4 of a second or thereabouts plus the time to actually stop and thus those recommendations are reasonably valid for passenger cars but often not for trucks, loaded pickups and anything with a trailer behind it.   

The big problem in ordinary traffic is that if someone is following at a distance of less than their reaction time behind you when you panic-brake they will hit you with certainty and this situation (following too close) arises, especially in cities, a lot.

The solution to that when it comes to safety and reducing the number of crashes is longer yellows, not shorter ones.  But if you do that then the camera doesn't write any tickets and suddenly there's no argument for it at all.

Finally, these cameras will ticket you for a less-than-complete stop when making a "right on red"; a "violation" in name only as it carries no safety risk on a clear intersection and in fact helps traffic progression in general if the cross-street and crosswalk is clear and there is a line of cars wishing to turn right.  We should be encouraging things that improve traffic flow and do not impact safety, not citing people for it.

Redflex is a company that has no business model at all absent tampering with well-established safety standards that act to increase crash risk and effectively steal motorist funds.  I argue that individuals and corporations that collude in such a fashion are in fact criminals and while their approach to same may be "innovative" it is exactly the sort of innovation that should be banished rather than encouraged.