The city government in Lubbock recently rescinded their contract for red-light cameras in their city. These cameras take a picture of cars running traffic lights that have turned red, so the owner can be sent a civil traffic ticket for breaking the law and endangering fellow citizens.
The city said they discontinued use of the cameras because accidents had risen in their city after they had been installed.They make it sound like they had created a more dangerous situation for motorists.
I don't believe it. While there may have been a rise in rear-end collisions, I believe the number of these collisions would have gone back down after the public became used to the cameras.
In addition, the rear-end collisions are not nearly as serious and life-threatening as the side-impact collisions caused by people running red lights at a higher speed. I think the "rise in accidents" was just an excuse.
I think they had begun to get negative feedback from citizens opposed to the lights, and these elected officials began to worry about keeping their jobs in the next election. Sadly, they considered their jobs more important than citizen safety.
Now we hear from John Kanelis of the Amarillo Globe-Republican, that a Lubbock lawmaker wants to outlaw the red-light cameras all across the state. Rep. Carl Isett wants to introduce a law in the 2009 legislature that would outlaw the cameras in every Texas city.
Isett (pictured above) listed a couple of reasons for wanting the camera ban. First he says they are a violation of a driver's privacy. This makes no sense. The cameras don't take a picture of the driver, but only of the back license plate of the car. That plate is already hanging out there for anyone to see. How can taking a picture of it be a violation of privacy rights?
Isett also said the cameras were just a "money trap" for the city. I don't know how every city handles the funds raised in this manner, but here in Amarillo every cent of that money will be spent to make our streets safer to drive on. That's the kind of "money trap" that I approve of.
Isett's hometown has already banned the cameras. He should let the other cities in Texas make up their own mind. His opinion is neither needed nor wanted.