Monday, June 7, 2010

Red Light Cameras – Facts Are Stubborn Things, Cooper City Mayor

Red Light Cameras – Facts Are Stubborn Things, Mayor

"He (she) uses statistics as a drunken man (woman) uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

According to Mayor Eisinger, (See this Agenda, Item 11) “To date, research collected from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org), the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (www.fhwa.dot.gov), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.gov), report that Red Light Cameras do actually reduce the number of “t-bone” accidents at intersections caused by red light running (which are far more dangerous than rear end collisions).” Dominant theme: 'Red lights are good for all of us'...trust me!

Not so fast, Mayor! A Virginia Transportation Research Council research report by Nicholas J. Garber, Ph.D, P.E. (et al) entitled 'The Impact of Red Light Cameras (Photo-Red Enforcement) on Crashes in Virginia' strongly disagrees. This meticulous study, carried out over a 7 year period and over a large sample area (The entire State of Virginia), concludes that on average and over time, a small (statistical) reduction in injury crashes is observed overall, with the incidence of minor, or non-injury crashes increasing to the extent that “When these results are aggregated across all six jurisdictions, the cameras are associated with a net increase in comprehensive crash costs (emphasis mine).” The study concludes; “[t]hese results cannot be used to justify the widespread installation of cameras because they are not universally effective (emphasis mine).” In essence, according to this exhaustive and highly respected study, red light cameras are universally ineffective and have the added burden of actually increasing costs! Ladies and gentlemen, facts are stubborn things. You can read all about a Florida based red-light camera study here, from the Florida Health Review, which mirrors the Virginia study in regards to being hazardous to your health.

Our mayor goes on (my comments in brackets) “Under the newly adopted law, which goes into effect July 1, a $158 fine will be assessed against owners of vehicles caught on camera running red lights. Of that amount, $75 will go to the local government entity. The remaining fees would go to the State, and the State is required to use $10 for health care (government boondoggle) and give $3 to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis for brain and spinal cord research (another government boondoggle. Why not crash safety research, yellow light timing fixes, or a road traction study?). In the event the State runs the program through the Department of Highway Safety, $100 of the fine will go the State’s general revenue fund (padding out the budget) and $45 to the municipality in which the violation occurred (again, padding the city budget - maybe for a new city hall - and divvying up the spoils). The registered owner of the vehicle would get ticketed, regardless of who was actually driving the vehicle.” Increased taxes, costs that come out of the subject's citizen's pocket.

As I have said repeatedly since this debate began, “It's all about the money!” Consider “a $158 fine will be assessed against owners of vehicles caught on camera running red lights (emphasis mine).” There is no attempt to find the actual driver of the vehicle, no effort is made to determine culpability for these infractions, the system simply takes a photo and sends the bill to the registered owner. Under this system, If I borrow Mayor Eisinger's car (an unlikely event, but bear me out) and drive through a red light, she gets the bill. Hooray! And...I get off 'Scott free'. Hey Mayor, can I borrow your car..pleeze? I feel like running a lot of red lights today! Add to that the increased insurance premiums assessed against all of these rear-enders and now we're talking real, serious, new city hall money, both the various governments and the insurance companies cash in on hard earned our dime...Cha-Ching!

When considering legislation one is always obliged to ask “Is this new law 'legal' ?” We shall soon see, as there are numeorus court cases and appeals in the making.

The fifth amendment to our Constitution clearly states: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence (sic) to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation (emphasis mine).” Clearly this law deprives me of my rightful property without the due process of law. Try replying to one of these 'auto-tickets' with a photograph of $158 and see what happens! In fact, in a recent Red-Light camera case, the lawyer subpoenaed the camera itself as a witness, and it failed to show up for court, as a prime witness. Case dismissed for lack of a witness!

Moreover, the sixth amendment to our Constitution clearly states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence (sic) (emphasis mine).” Am I to assume that in order to defend a charge arising from my car running a red light (not me, personally), my legal defense will be obliged to subpoena the red light camera as my accuser (as happened already)? Are they sentient or intelligent enough to answer rhetorical questions and/or affirm that they saw me drive my car through a red light at a given date and time? Of course not. The law is written to pad budgets, not punish lawbreakers or make running red lights safer. Simply having a police officer'sign off' on a citation does not make it so.

Once again, I find myself opposed to the local 'legislation' of a petty tyrant, intended to further suppress the rights and freedoms of ordinary people and deprive them of their rightful property (money) in pursuance of an agenda driven by the logic of socialism and the nanny state, not the solid principles our founders laid down for us in our constitution. Instead of casting about looking for ways to increase revenues by reducing unnecessary expenses and pad out the city coffers, our mayor should be taking steps to increase red light safety by utilizing proven engineering methods, reign in the wasteful and unnecessary spending rampant within, and under her disgraced administration, cutting taxes and putting the money back where it belongs – in the pockets of you, We The People. If my car commits a crime, take it up with my car, not me. Please join with me in reminding our mayor whose money she's trying to steal (for a new city hall maybe?) and tell her a resounding NO! to these ridiculous schemes, now and in the future.

Yes, mayor, facts are stubborn things. Behind every scheme there's a schemer, wringing her hands and drooling over all the ways to deprive us of our hard earned property and money. Enough already! Again, go and re-read your sacred oath, unless it means absolutely nothing to you...

Contact Mayor Eisinger at (954)434-4300 ext. 260, or via e-mail at: mayor_eisinger@coopercityfl.org and tell her to stop trying to steal your hard earned money thorough local resolutions, ordinances and majority commission votes!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 comment:

  1. http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/columnists/mayo/blog/2010/07/red_lightcamera_locations_in_s.html

    Red Light Camera locations

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for posting your concerns and leaving your comment! it may be approved shortly...

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.