On the beat: 04/07

Putting a ‘stop’ to red light cameras

By Jim Bucher

Chances are you’ve seen them flash a time or two – hopefully when it popped off you weren’t the “pop-ee.”

I’m talking about the loved or loathed red light cameras.

Proponents say they cut down big time on accidents.

Critics counter they’re nothing but revenue enhancers for city coffers.

Right now a state law has effectively capped the cameras, but some cities are challenging that mandate by continuing the lights, camera, ticket.

I was nabbed by one on Salem Avenue.

Yes, I did run the light, but I wasn’t paying attention; instead I was looking at the green light at the next intersection.

Regardless, I did the crime and paid my fine.

A friend made a right turn on red after a full stop, but was caught on camera clearly showing a violation even though it wasn’t.

The cameras are far from perfect and the mere mention of electronic cop cams bring many opinions.

Leslie wants more: “Wish they had more on Gettysburg Avenue, it’s a racetrack.

Terry takes it all in stride: “YES! Love them when they get the other person. HATE them if they catch me.”

Andrew writes, “They have slowed down traffic by my house!”

Joe looks at it both ways, “Red light / speed cameras are good if they are placed at spots where research shows statistical evidence of a behavior they are trying to control.

Cameras placed as ‘revenue agents’ are wrong!”

Cindy has practical advice, “OBEY THE LAW, then you don’t have to worry about red light cameras.”

Statistically in Springfield – which is also fighting the ban – the facts reveal 77,112 red light camera citations were issued since the program began in 2006.

$3.4 million has been collected in the same time frame.

Last year 44 crashes were documented at red light camera intersections, down from 90 in 2007.

So, do they reduce crashes? Are they money makers? Correct on both counts.

The comments continue.

Shannon has a lot to say: “Really they only document, they do not prevent. As people we all make mistakes. If we want to fix the problems make drivers more responsible. Continuing education and making drivers more aware. Red light and traffic cameras do not stop texting, eating, fussing with the radio and other forms of distracted driving, the true problem we need to address. For those of you who think this is a solution, how many are needed to make you responsible all the time? Every 1/4 mile or so we are totally surveyed all the time. Think about it.”

Wow, Shannon for president.

John writes, “I’m probably one of the very few that like them. They keep drivers in check since there aren’t police out there to catch speeders. I’m on the road all day long and there’s a bunch of speed demons out there anymore. Just my opinion.”

And a good opinion it is too.

A couple of law enforcement officers both past and present weigh in.

Tim says, “Only thing I’m gonna say is they have reduced accidents at Patterson Road at Smithville Road by a huge number.”

But Gary writes, “Hate them and grocery store auto check-outs too.”

I’m with you on that Gary.

Edna’s take, “Nothing but illegal. People who say things like, ‘if it prevents one person from getting hurt it is worth it’, or suggest there should be more cameras everywhere to monitor our every move cause me to be very concerned about where we are going as a society.”

That’s right Edna, big brother is watching.

You wonder what our founding fathers would think. Well, Edna helps us with that too.

“To quote Benjamin Franklin, ‘Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.’ And that, Buch, is how I feel about traffic cameras,” she says.

The overall opinions I received were pro-cam.

Wanda says, “I don’t speed or run red lights so they don’t bother me personally and I do believe they reduce the number of accidents.”

Mark: “Love them. I honestly never see accidents at those intersections.”

Harry: “Love them! If it stops accidents!”

Steven: “If you do not speed or run a stop light, you do not get a ticket – that simple. I do not like Big Brother, but this is something that works. The results of the traffic studies reflect nothing but accident prevention which is priceless.”

Karen has the last word, “If you are not putting others in harm’s way why worry about a camera.”

I have a feeling this debate won’t soon “stop.”

Cheers,

Buch

A regionally known and loved local television icon for over 25 years, “Buch’s” followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Jim Bucher
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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