Sunday, July 6, 2008

RED LIGHT CAMERA'S (PT.1): ... Saving Lives or Milking Cow's? ... (Citation Violation Nation PT.1)

Of course ... like mostly anything else ... it's a matter of who you ask. And then ... no matter how nice and great something may look ... there may be an opposite side to that as well. And like many newly introduced and passed laws ... the "fear card" is usually played to assure wide acceptance of such.

Red light camera's is something that caught my atencion for awhile now ... it was just a matter of time before I was going to comment something in this journal about them ... so what the Hell ... I might as well.

First of all ... survey's say that at least approximately 95% of us "fear" getting hit by a red light runner ... personally I dont really think of it much at all ... but since there are so many out there that want to bring to my atencion this other form of how I can die or get mamed ... I'll take the time to think about it for a second or two, but thats it. Because I am already swamped with mail and ad's about how I am going to die ... or live a life of misery, and all those warning me of this ... of course do so ... because ... they want to save my life ... or share with me ... or something else. Which makes sense to a degree ... because if I were dead ... I couldnt be milked for money I guess. And yes ... this last year ... I actually was almost taken out by a red light runner...who if would have hit me...I would almost certainly be dead, probably by decapitation. But still ... I cant dwell ... on what could have been.

Statistics do show though that red light running has decreased all over the nation, a result, assuming of the camera's. And it has made drivers more aware ... to think twice before they attempt to do so. Insurance costs and medical costs across the board have shown that it has been beneficial to their cost's. One wouldnt think so ... since their premium's and cost's always continue to rise ... not decline ... to "we the consumers". A quick example of the reasons some of these folks increase their prices and premiums ... is for instance ... I remember right after 9/ 11... costs on many things went up as a result. What really puzzled me at the time was the drastic increase on my auto insurance premium's ... after all ... I had no moving violations in decade's ... or even a claim ... or even a wreck for that matter. I called and asked my insurance provider at the time ... why such a drastic increase ... and so sudden? They actually told me because of 9/ 11. Hmmm ... imagine that!

But too ... some folks have many questions about these camera's of goodness and life savers. After the first 6 months or so after they were installed at a few locations in Dallas ... the City of Dallas expressed disappoitment in a public interview, because they said it wasnt bringing in the revenue that they were led to believe it would by the company installing and maintaining them. I was shocked to hear that ... I mean ... this is their first public statement about the camera's ... I would figure they would have expressed "joy" ... because ... after all ... were these not installed to "save lives" and "protect us"? And their first concern was ... it not bringing in the money they thought it would ... I mean ... after all ... they didnt pay for them ... the company that install's them take up all the cost's and the deal is they get about up to 50% of all the citation revenue it generates. And from what I gather ... a company called "Lockheed Martin" a Dallas area based defense contractor are the ones setting up about 80% of them nationwide.

Some are a little concerned because the camera's cant be brought into a hearing as well ... to "testify" if you wanted to contest the citation ... thus meaning "habeas corpus" ... your right to confront your accuser is being violated. Some citations are being sent nationwide where they made a right turn on red ... which is legal ... but citated because ... supposedly ... they didnt come to a "complete" stop before making the turn. Of course ... a special "Kangaroo Court" is usually set up using an appointed hearing officer as a judge ... but ... the costs of an attorney ... would outweigh the costs of paying the citation ... since they dont go on your driving record ... and cant even be used to issue a warrant for not paying them ... but they will in most cases ... reject renewal of your liscense or state vehicle registration if you neglect the citation ... so they still got you, any way you slice it.

Other concerns are things like the camera's themselves ... being that they "capture" (search and seize) large quantities of visual info/ data, totally unrelated to the specific violation. Also because they photograph/ record alot of other excess data, pedestrians, surrounding's, and anything else, which concern's folks wondering about their 4th amendment protections, and this info/ data being stored, used, disclosed. And it can favour some motorists as well, since some vehicles might have plates too small to properly photograph, such as motor bikes for instance. It is also a fact that those yellow lights that come between the red and green, times have been modified and cut by a second in some cases. This isnt much? Well ... it certainly is in determining just where your cars position is at the time of the video taping and what part of the car was responsible for the citation, it can taint the accuracy of the alledged offense in other words. And also by altering the length of yellow light times ... it will almost certainly increase rear end collisions, Think about it.

But I'll go along with the reason they are installed is to "Save Lives" ... Why? because you certainly cant "Milk Dead Cow's" ... now can you(?).


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