At the NMA we spend a lot of time documenting the misinformation, demagoguery and outright hypocrisy that pervade the pronouncements of public officials when it comes to red-light cameras.
So when we catch politicians doing right by their constituents on camera issues, we feel duty-bound to report it.
Take Syracuse, New York, for example. The City Council recently voted down a red-light camera program after reviewing data from a mobile camera trial.
Commenting on the decision, mayoral spokesperson Bill Ryan pointed to the legal and financial debacles other cities have experienced as a result of their own misguided camera programs. “As other cities are running away from this, why would we run into it?” he asked.
Ryan added that the review committee was not convinced cameras would have much impact on intersection safety and that it would be unfair to burden residents with more costs in a tough economy.
We would like to think that Syracuse’s decision was the result of the NMA’s “$10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge,” which we reissued in a national press release before Thanksgiving to shine a spotlight on the turmoil created by red-light cameras.
But more likely it’s a refreshing example of officials holding themselves accountable to their constituents.
Syracuse is not alone.
In October, Colorado Springs, Colorado dumped its red-light camera program after only one year of operation. Mayor Steve Bach said the program didn’t improve safety, and Police Chief Pete Carey said accidents may have actually increased after the cameras went up.
But of all of the cities that have rejected red-light cameras recently, none has been more explicit about its reasoning than Laguna Niguel, California.
Influenced by the negative experiences of other cities and by studies showing how ticket cameras increase accidents, the city ordinance banning cameras states the following:
- Despite being touted as promoting public safety, there is insufficient evidence to show that red light automated traffic enforcement systems actually accomplish this goal.
- Red light automated traffic enforcement systems’ primary accomplishment has been to increase revenues, not traffic safety.
- The City Council finds that the installation of red light automated traffic enforcement systems do not serve a significant public purpose and specifically not the stated public purpose.
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.