Red-Light Cameras: Safety Measure or Money Grab?

By Tim Jones and Mark Niquette | February 25, 2014

  • February 25, 2014 at 11:01 am
    Whodathunkit? says:
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    These things are a pure money grab. Got hit in Ohio. They claimed we went through a red light. We stopped and then proceeded to turn right on red. Yes the dam picture shows we went right on red, but there of course is no picture of us stopping first. The message is “come fight us and spend lots of money with travel and overnight stays” or send us a couple hundred bucks. Pure money grab. They know people for other states are coming back.

    • February 25, 2014 at 1:40 pm
      NYBroker says:
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      I had the same thing happen to me. In order to fight it, I had to take a day off of work. Now I don’t make a right on red if my GPS says “Red Light Camera Ahead”.

      • February 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm
        Dave says:
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        You have a GPS that warns you of red light cameras? Cool!

    • February 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm
      Cheetoh Mulligan says:
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      My wife got a ticket for right on red too, in Florida. However, with the ticket also came a link to watch the video, and sure enough, she rolled through.

    • March 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm
      Keith says:
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      In Florida, you not only get a picture, but a link to view the incident on video online. The video didn’t lie in my case. Ticket paid.

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:25 pm
    Scott R says:
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    Money Grab!

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    Captain Planet says:
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    Money grab – number of accidents INCREASED once they turned them on here. If it was safety they were trying to promote, they’d do it with a human and not a camera. Hire some officers!

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm
    Wayne2 says:
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    One of the biggest problems is it doesn’t show people who make safe stops and then proceed after looking both ways. Right turns on red are allowed in many areas after a safe stop. I beat one of these tickets by explaining that I made a safe stop after looking both ways I moved forward. Still had to leave work, take the time to do this and could have lost. It takes common sense out of the equation.

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:36 pm
    Chuck says:
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    As a former police officer, I never gave a red light ticket unless it was flagrant. There are instances abrupt stopping is more dangerous than going through the red a few seconds late. This is just another hidden tax (sorry, fee)to pay for more welfare programs.

    • February 26, 2014 at 8:56 am
      Captain Planet says:
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      Yes, you are right. Corporate welfare drains a city of its funds. Wells Fargo has all but raped the city of West Des Moines. And, has fired thousands over the last 7 years. I shouldn’t pick on Wells, they aren’t the only company grabbing the handouts. Strike that, DEMANDING the handouts.

      • February 26, 2014 at 6:43 pm
        bob says:
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        Do you have a compulsion disorder where you have to scream corporate welfare every time you here about welfare programs?

        Corporations are not bankrupting the government. They are funding it.

        Welfare programs are the problem. Not that we aren’t getting enough money from corporations.

        And how did Wells Fargo rape West Des Moines? What money did they receive from the city? What checks were written to Wells Fargo?

        Or as usual, are you trying to say that they got tax benefits? Tax benefits do no = welfare.

        • February 28, 2014 at 10:20 am
          Libby says:
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          Why should corporations get tax benefits? They should pay their taxes the same as everyone else. Nobody gives me a tax benefit.

          • February 28, 2014 at 12:16 pm
            bob says:
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            You want the easy answer? Everyone who works at the corporation gets taxed. Taxing the corporate’s revenues increases the cost of the corporation to do business and destroys profit margins.

            Taxing marginal income taxes, is where most revenues comes from. Maybe the fact that even at high effective rates we will never surpass 10% of revenues from corporations. Maybe the fact that it makes corporations have an incentive to put their location in another country.

            Take your pick.

            But moving on: Tax benefits are still not corporate welfare, and corporate welfare is not just corporate CEO welfare. He’s one guy that usually makes about 2% of the gross revenues of the firm in income. You’re taxing the 98% of revenues going to the workers at corporations.

            You should know this math, but you let your emotions block it Libby.

          • February 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm
            Libby says:
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            Bob – How are we taxing the 98% of workers? The corporation gets taxed on its profits. It writes off expense, including payroll expense. Payroll is taxed on an individual basis.

            A company should pay taxes no differently than an individual. Why should they be exempt from paying taxes??? It destroys profit margins?? Oh well. There go those record profits. Wah! Cry me a river.

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm
    G3 says:
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    FINALLY!! it was a great money generator for bloated city governments but its time has come to an end as the facts are in. Using tax dollars to generate more revenue while doing nothing except generating revenue is PATHETIC at best!!

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:45 pm
    Dave says:
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    It’s primarily a money grab. But I can see some safety aspects to it if it causes people not to run red lights or make sure they come to a complete stop before turning on red. In practice, these should probably only be used in the case of accidents. Chuck above says as a former cop he only issued tickets for running a red light if it was flagrant. I don’t know if the technology here can make that determination. I know the last time I got a ticket was from a police officer who alleged I ran a red light. It was yellow, but there’s no way to prove that. Not all police are as fair as officer Chuck. And the cameras don’t know what fair is.

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm
    Richard R says:
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    When you hear and see that the traffic light timing is altered at intersections where the red light cameras are being used, it is obvious that it is NOT about savings lives but about generating $$$.
    The light timing should be the same regardless of a camera installed or not!

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:58 pm
    Always Amazed says:
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    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?id=9379726

    And in Chicago not only do we have to worry about red-light cameras; we also have to worry about going over 20 miles an hour while driving around schools and even city parks because of the speeding cameras the city has installed. I’ve seen school crossing signs on streets were there aren’t any schools such as on Clybourn and Levitte for those of you who are familiar with the city. You’ll get a warning in the mail for your first offence then they can fine you $35 for going 6 miles over the limit and if you’re going faster you can get fined $100. It’s really starting to get ridiculous with Big Brother watching 24/7.

    • February 25, 2014 at 4:59 pm
      Dave says:
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      Yeah, I know where Clybourn and Levitt is. I’m normally not around there and will be sure to avoid it. My cousin is a Chicago cop. He’s actually the guy who is responsible for all those blue light cameras around the city (cameras installed in high crime areas – mostly south and west sides). I’ll have to ask him about these other cameras. Were he the guy responsible for these other cameras, I’d have to disown him, but I fully support the blue light cameras.

    • February 26, 2014 at 1:27 pm
      KY jw says:
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      If you’re going 6 miles over the speed limit, you are breaking the law. Why would you think you shouldn’t get a ticket? Illegal is illegal.

  • February 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm
    Charlie M says:
    Hot debate. What do you think?
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    Very simple solution…..If you dont speed or run red lights you wont get tickets.

    Where I live most red lights dont turn to green until 3 to 4 seconds after the cross traffic light has turned red and the number of people who run red lights is still astounding. I guess getting somewhere 2 minutes earlier is more important that the well being of them, their family or their neighbors.

    People dont complain about forking out dollar after dollar playing the lottery. There’s the real money grab!!!

    • February 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm
      Rodger says:
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      Flagrant violators deserve tickets. People going 3-4 miles over the speed limit or making a slow right-hand turn at a red light don’t (assuming they’re driving in a prudent manner), especially if it’s a dedicated turning lane. That’s the difference between being ticketed by a policy officer vs. a red light camera. The office can exercise discretion and use common sense when handing out tickets. The usage of red light cameras is more about the money than it is safety. You know that when you travel through a small town and see red light cameras installed everywhere.

    • February 25, 2014 at 3:34 pm
      Jon says:
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      Except that it’s arguably a clear violation of due process and your Constitutional rights.

    • February 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm
      Whodathunkit? says:
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      Sorry Charlie, I can’t make the jump from red lights (involuntary) to the voluntary spending of ones own money on the lottery. I’m not a big lottery player (almost never) but I just don’t see the corollary here.

  • February 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm
    Gene F says:
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    Of course they are a money grab. Studies have shown that most traffic lights have a reduced yellow light period after the camera is installed. Now people have to jam on the brakes and risk a rear end collision to avoid a ticket.

  • February 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm
    LiveFree says:
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    Complete money grab as most traffic laws are (les DUI and things of that nature). If they really had concern for public safety there would be almost no road signs and almost zero traffic lights (only in area where absolutely necessary). Instead have an open rode and roundabouts. Removing traffic signs has dramatically improved driving safety in other countries and roundabouts reduce traffic accidents at intersections by 75%+.

  • February 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm
    Jon says:
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    Total money grab.

    I’ve always wondered if someone actually successfully argued the 6th Amendment when fighting a camera ticket.

    I mean, how do you cross examine an inanimate object? Who, precisely, is your accuser?

    • February 26, 2014 at 9:13 am
      Mr. Solvent says:
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      The nonsense they’ll spout is it’s an administrative fine, not a criminal offense. Complete rubbish, but that’s what they’ll argue.

      • February 28, 2014 at 10:09 am
        Jon says:
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        And that nonsense is getting challenged in the courts, and in some cases being ruled in favor of the “ticketed” party.

        They put up a bunch of red light cameras in Schaumburg, IL at the Woodfield Mall (one of the largest malls in the country, and a huge tourist draw to Schaumburg) and they noticed that a lot of out-of-towners were getting ticketed–and then not coming back–so they ended up losing tax revenue.

        Those light cameras were quickly, and publicly, removed.

  • February 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm
    Richard says:
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    Amen….money grabber….someone has to prove to me that it sole purpose is saftey. The administrative fees alone are a huge money maker…Big Brother at its worst!

  • February 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm
    Wayne says:
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    Money grab.

    The ticket is sent to the owner of the vehicle and the owner is responsible for paying the ‘fine’. The purpose of a fine is to alter behavior, in this case stop at red lights. Since this is not accomplished by making the vehicle owner responsible, it must be about the money rather than about public safety.

  • February 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm
    William Eskdale says:
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    In St. Petersburg FL there is a notorious camera that seems to catch everyone at some point for $158.00 fine but no points. It sits at the bottom of a steep incline with a fast changing traffic light at the cross street. One day I was driving and admit I was not paying full attention, I crossed the stop line on a red light, but brought my vehicle to a stop before entering the intersection. The camera snapped a picture of my car, despite what I believe was a depiction of brake lights on the back of my care (it WAS stopped completely) I was ticketed for running a red light. Had this been a video clip, it would show that I stopped my car before entering the intersection and that I basically obeyed the light. A still picture does not show all the action. This is a money grab and nothing more.

  • February 25, 2014 at 8:02 pm
    nomesaneman says:
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    Beware of the fake tickets that some jurisdictions send requesting that you rat out the person driving the car if it wasn’t you. You don’t have to rat out your family or friends to keep your record clean (they sometimes threaten a “DMV Hold”, but that’s bogus). If it wasn’t you, fight it. They cannot legally compel you (yet, that is) to rat.

  • February 26, 2014 at 12:16 pm
    Rusty says:
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    There is little incentive for governments to cut costs or save money because the public trough is seen by politicians as bottomless. The use of the technology is but another step towards providing more funds to spend. What happens when there are no more avenues for raising funds? Is that when local governments start declaring bankruptcy as we’ve already seen with a couple of major cities? We have to curb the out-of-control spending. Regardless of whether it is fines from red-light cameras (especially those that are time-altered or make no allowance made for right turns on red), or taxes, fees and other avenue, sooner or later the public will be tapped out.

  • February 27, 2014 at 7:18 pm
    FurriePrincess says:
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    To make matters worse, many of the red light cameras are outsourced. The city hires xxx company in AZ to install and deal with the cameras and tickets. Here the bill is $450. The city might get $125 but the company gets the rest.

    • March 1, 2014 at 11:02 am
      KY jw says:
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      In that case, the city has spent no money and is receiving income from the cameras. That’s actually a very good money maker. Think about it. Just for letting some company put cameras at traffic lights, the city is making $125 per infraction.

  • February 28, 2014 at 9:32 am
    common_sense says:
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    If you operate a motor vehicle it is your responsibility to pay attention to the road/traffic/signals and to act accordingly. If you don’t want to pay a fine there is a simple solution; STOP AT THE LIGHT/SIGN. If everyone would, then the cameras would be a waste of tax payer money. However, as there are many drivers who cannot pay attention, they pay the price (ticket fee) for their mistake.

    • February 28, 2014 at 10:12 am
      Jon says:
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      Except there are notable cases where people make legal stops, then turn right on red, and get a ticket.

      So, sorry–but your argument fails.

      The camera is not omniscient, nor can it make correct judgment calls.

      Which is why policing should be left to actual people trained to do the job.

      Plus, you know, that pesky Bill of Rights thing.

      Or would you prefer to have all potential crimes evaluated and judged based on electronic (and non-human involved) decision making?

  • February 28, 2014 at 4:45 pm
    Libby says:
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    This is definitely a money grab, but it worked out OK for me. I definitely did run the light. But instead of points on my license, I paid $75 and that was it. It was well worth having no points, but then again, I was guilty. :-(

  • March 4, 2014 at 10:00 am
    MHB says:
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    Definitely a money grab. Nassau & Suffolk Counties on Long Island, NY are now considering installing speed cameras in school zones-another money grab. I’d like to see the statistics of how many high speed accidents on Long Island occur in school zones. From what I read in the news, they happen everywhere else but in school zones. If it were really about safety, they’d install speed cameras everywhere. They’d rake in a fortune, as no one on L.I. drives the speed limit. Would school zone speed cameras be able to filter out for those times when school is not in session, such as weekends, summer vacation, other school breaks? Also, most schools are set back far from the road with the semi-circle bus driveway in front. The kids are inside the school all day; not outside. Kids don’t walk to school anymore; if they don’t ride the bus, they are dropped off by parents. They are relatively safe from traffic, so why is it necessary to reduce the speed in those locations? Definite money grab.



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