Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Lesson in "Red Light" Economics

Coming to a city or town near you (if it hasn't already): Red light scameras:

Clive’s red-light camera program will be cranking out tickets again Monday morning, after the City Council voted to approve a new contract with service provider Redflex Traffic Systems.

Clive City Council members voted 3-2 at their Thursday meeting to approve the agreement. Council members John Edwards, Steve Brody and Ted Weaver supported the item. Votes against were cast by Councilmen Michael McCoy and Eric Klein.

The cameras will be turned back on Monday at 12:01 a.m.
Why will the cameras be turned back on? Well, that gets to the real reason why they were turned on in the first place:

 City officials had budgeted to collect approximately $700,000 through the program during the current fiscal year, which is about 4.5 percent of the city’s general fund. Money brought in has gone to public safety efforts, like paying EMT wages.
Yes, that's right the city of Clive, Iowa is addicted to the money. So much so that they can't find 5% to cut anywhere to turn the red light scams for good.

Those of you who think automated enforcement systems are a public safety need, think again. Dozens and dozens of red light scamera studies have show that accidents at intersections with red light scameras actually have an increase in rear-end collisions  as drivers screech to a stop to avoid being scammed.

Likewise for traffic scameras -- they have no impact on driving habits whatsoever except in the area everyone knows that are installed. In our area, they start enforcing at 10 miles an hour over the posted speed limit which effectively makes the sped limit in the traffic scam area nine miles an hour over the posted speed limit.

If these scameras have no impact on safety, what are they all about. Take a guess:
 City Manager Dennis Henderson said the new contract gives Clive more money per paid citation. Clive received roughly $43.50 per ticket in calendar year 2012, and Redflex received about the rest from the $100 infractions. Under the new contract, Clive will get approximately $68.50 per infraction, while Redflex’s cut will be about $31.50.
It''s all about public sector greed folks, not about public safety. 

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