It’s time to strike down the red-light cameras

I saw some abuses of the red-light cameras on the news at noon. In one case, the car next to the one that ran the light got the ticket. In another, the owner wasn’t driving the car. The reporter asked the mayor of Florissant, Thomas Schneider, if that was fair.

“It’s safe,” he said. And he said the same thing to every other question the reporter asked.

That’s debatable. But guess what? Josef Stalin’s regime was very safe. Do what Stalin said, and you were safe. That doesn’t make Stalin fair, right, or ethical. It doesn’t make Schneider fair, right, or ethical either.

It’s not safe, either.

The yellow light near me is a good 20 seconds long, if not longer. On red-light-enabled cameras, it’s much shorter, which invites rear-end accidents. Not only that, at I-70 and Goodfellow, the camera fires on yellow, not red. Run the yellow, and you get the ticket. Wait for the red and run it, and you don’t. And I’ve seen people wait for the camera, then run the red, right in front of a police officer, and the police officer let them go. It’s not about safety.

It’s a revenue scheme. That’s all. Schneider denied knowing anything about that. How convenient.

So what about when the owner isn’t driving the car? Schneider shrugged his shoulders. The owner of the car has to hold the driver accountable, he said.

That’s not how it works with anything else in life, but Schneider and the other red-light-camera-toting mayors, as we’ve established, don’t care about fair. What if the car or the license plate is stolen? It happens. I know a guy I see on the garage sale circuit who’s been driving with stolen plates for years, for a variety of reasons. Avoiding red-light cameras may be one of them.

If the courts don’t strike the law down, citizens do have an option for bringing back fairness. But I’ll talk about that another time.

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