Regarding the Dec. 28 guest column “It’s time to ban traffic cameras:” Albeit lacking empirical data I offer this opposing view.
Despite an increase in citations, automated traffic enforcement (ATE) does increase public safety. Noticeably, traffic has slowed since cameras were installed on Interstate 380 and fewer drivers weave through traffic. The thrill of driving may have diminished but sense of personal safety has increased.
Devices are poorly located and not situated relative to propensity of accident occurrences is a great point. Let’s install more devices.
Present facts if a conflict of interest exists between those who impose fines and those who benefit from the funds. Engage all parties, seek a solution. I favor funding the police pension. I like law officer presence in neighborhoods while ATE is nabbing speeders. I don’t like exposing an officer to risk when issuing a ticket.
Absence of fairness because enforcement is based on reading a rear license plate seems like a plausible argument. However, the same logic could be used to ban store surveillance cameras since all shoplifters may not display their face therefore impeding their identification.
Legislators might consider changing the license plate location requirement or challenging the private sector to improve ATE technology, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.
Empirical data or not, the presence of ATE works to slow traffic and improve highway safety for travelers as well as law enforcement personnel while holding accountable, by means of a fine, those who violate the law.