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Speed ​​camera back? How to win hearts and minds

Among the many things that we didn’t realize counts as infrastructure, we recently learned that the Biden administration’s infrastructure law sets out money for local governments. install speed camera.

Oh joy, you might have thought, camera speed.

It’s part of the new initiative of the US Department of Transportation to reverse the increase in traffic deaths. Why is it that, as every year when a car model introduces new safety systems, we see an increasing number of deaths? Because speed kills, as you’ve always said – it’s a factor in a quarter of all road deaths in 2019 and traffic deaths. has gotten worse and worse since then. Americans are driving faster, a habit formed during the pandemic shutdown. (And, just maybe, we’re driving angrier and more selfish in these angry times.)

There is a lot of research to support the claim that speed cameras and photometric radar red light are effective in saving lives. The synthesis of such studies indicates that they reduce their speed by up to 15%, reduced in number skirunning vehicles by 65%, accidents by 8% to 49%, fatal accidents or serious injuries by 11%-44%.

But. Cameras are always controversial.

A survey last month authorized by Erie Insurance (insurrance companies love technology) found that half of the respondents supported them, while a third opposed. However, half also think the camera is an invasion of privacy. And 61% think speed cameras shouldn’t be fines unless the driver is over the regulatory limit by at least 10 mph.

The main accusation you always hear from critics (and you probably have too): More than half of those surveyed said the primary purpose of a camera is simply to generate revenue.

Going back to the “kill the speed” maxim for a moment: 60% of motorists surveyed admitted they drove over the regulatory limit by at least 20 mph during Covid. (If that means more than 90 mph on a highway recorded at 70, do you think 60% of the public would be particularly adept at that? And 45 out of 25 isn’t one either. looking beautiful.)

Bottom line: We admit that we are speeding. We found that to be an issue the camera could solve. But we feel oppressed by them and believe that they are mainly trying to run away from us.

Subject to supervision

Yes, there’s something about the chilling nature of a speed camera – you’re driving along, then a few weeks later you get a ticket in the mail with a picture of you looking stupid. stupid behind the wheel. It’s like Big Brother. Never mind, we were under constant surveillance by license plate readers and CCTV. Elon Musk Recently it seemed surprised and annoyed to learn that public data from the FAA could be used to track his private jet. Wealth comes from a guy who has companies keep track of what their customers do behind the wheel. Take a breather in your car, and Tesla HQ is sniffable.

The Highway Safety Insurance Institutein the speed camera debate, the reason that 174 communities are currently using them. But IIHS not to mention that a decade ago, 540 the community tried them out before hundreds left them. Residents hate these, plus sometimes technology makes mistakes. The IIHS says camera-permissive laws are being revisited in eight states – but eight other states have banned them. In Missouri, they were found to be an unconstitutional invasion of privacy by State Supreme Courtand a judge in Ohio called them “cheat.”

In other words, a lot of people can relate to this Australian who worked so hard to flip the speed camera.

One Automatic log story 8 years ago, outlined some of the corrupt government practices that disheartened tech users: Cameras hidden in the foliage, some circling the length of yellow lights in Chicago to boost camera sales by rows. million dollars and was rejected by Nassau County, NY. to reveal camera location. Then there’s the Brooklyn camera parked in an area of ​​sudden speed changes issue 1,551 tickets in one day. Told one AAA spokesman: “When it’s done right, lives are saved. When it’s not right, people feel very angry about it.”

This rounds out the hostility of the camera from four years ago quotes Paul Fisher, a traffic researcher at the University of Arizona: “People really don’t seem to like red-light cameras. Polls almost always lead to elimination. “

Camera type is important

If this is new DOT money triggers the return of the camera, the local government needs to do it now. Let’s distinguish a number.

  • School zone camera placed in a position impregnable to any driver. You think flashing lights are enough, but no. School is a cold ticketing place robot is justifiable.
  • Red light camera: More than 50% of fatal accidents or injuries occurs at intersections. In 2019, 846 people were killed and 143,000 were injured in accidents involving running red lights. There are other ways to reduce such accidents, by fundamentally redesigning poorly configured intersections or even convert them into roundabouts. But let’s admit that there is a controversy over photo radar cameras at intersections.
  • Camera speed: These devices, when not placed at intersections, seem like a money machine speed trap. Worse are the mobile devices on the trailer or vans. If they’re moved around, that feels like a “gotcha” element in action.

Years ago, I received a ticket in the mail after visiting Tucson. It was mid-afternoon, on a four-lane divided road through the desert that had a 45 mph limit but was clearly built for 60. On the other hand, the boulevard was free of traffic. I was enjoying a beautiful sunny day and didn’t notice the “Image Execution Area” sign. A traffic cop tracking down a stupid tourist with an out-of-state driver’s license could have made judgments about road conditions and gave me a warning and a warm feeling about the good Tucson. Best. But machines don’t exercise judgment or cut us any slack, which certainly adds to their unpopularity. Tucson residents clearly don’t like them more than this guest, because in 2015 they voted 2:1 for Camera ban.

Now, today’s car dashboard technology constantly informs us of posted limits, and will even warn us about speed cameras ahead. So maybe this time the camera won’t be so annoying.

All the major multi-letter safety organizations (IIHS, AAA, GHSA, etc.) have come together to create this checklist for governments to refer to when considering speed cameras. It has some good ideas, many of them trying to solve the PR problem of technology – which they are well aware of. The Governors Highway Safety Association even addresses the issue head-on: “Critics of speed and red-light cameras argue that they exist to make money for law enforcement and/ or technology providers. However, the goal is to deter violators, not to catch them.”

What the public says, yes, yes, is possible.

Changing hearts and minds

So here’s an idea – a really daring idea – for all of you mayors, city councils and DOTs out there to ponder (maybe appalling).

Ask yourself: Are speed cameras really about public safety? Is their goal really NOT to make money? Then there’s an easy way to prove it. Instead of setting city coffers with camera fines, do this instead:

Give money to charity.

That’s right. Every penny. Take your hand off. Don’t spend the profits from speed cameras on paramilitary police hardware or hire more police (don’t speed cameras liberate the police?). Do not use cash to fatten the general fund. You say you need to fix potholes with that money? You already have a budget for that. This is new revenue, don’t be greedy.

Send money to your own community’s United Way.

Only this will show that your intentions are pure. Only this can silence the critics. You will have clean hands and credibility when you tell your citizens that this is all about public safety and public interest.

And most of all, you’ll save lives and prevent injuries. Compared to that, losing a little revenue from tickets is a big change.

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