Monday, May 19, 2014

TRAFFIC CAMERAS - Good Traffic Enforcement or Violation of Due Process?

First, just what is the difference between a traffic LEO sitting at a corner watching for red-light-runners and a traffic camera doing the same thing?  The traffic camera is always there, not off chasing a violator or home in bed.  Also, traffic tickets have always been a cash-cow for cities.

"Do traffic cameras save lives or violate due process?" PBS NewsHour 5/17/2014


SUMMARY:  Ten years ago, only a few dozen communities had red-light or speed-enforcement cameras.  Today, hundreds do.  On Saturday, we take a look at a debate in Ohio.  Camera advocates say the technology saves lives.  Opponents say the devices are profit-centers for municipalities and camera manufacturers and a violation of due process.

RICK KARR (NewsHour):  Drivers who run red lights kill nearly seven hundred people every year nationwide.  Sue and Paul Oberhauser refuse to call those crashes “accidents.”

PAUL OBERHAUSER:  Most of those are intentionally people think they going to get away with it and they run the red light.  They never think they’re going to kill a person.

RICK KARR:  Their daughter Sarah was killed by a driver who ran a red light in 2002.  She was thirty-one years old and a mother of two, a high-school chemistry teacher and basketball coach in Oxford, Ohio.  She was on her way to a teacher-training workshop on a Saturday morning when her light turned green.

SUE OBERHAUSER:  There was a young man who was 21 years old.  And he ran the red light going 55 miles an hour.  And he T-boned her car and Sarah was killed instantly.

RICK KARR:  The Oberhausers believe there’s a way to prevent crashes like the one that killed their daughter: automated cameras that keep an eye on intersections 24/7.  So even when police aren’t there, drivers think twice before running a light.  And the proof that they work, according to the Oberhausers, is a forty-minute drive from their farmhouse in Ohio’s state capital.

RICK KARR:  The City of Columbus installed its first red-light camera at this intersection in 2006.  Since then, it’s put cameras at more than three dozen other intersections.  And at those locations, side-impact collisions are down by 74 percent.

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