Drivers Don’t Like Them, but Traffic Enforcement Cameras are Spreading


Last week, a man with a shotgun walked out of the woods yelling incoherently, stormed up to a speed camera enforcement vehicle parked on the roadside on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and smashed its windshield with the hammer, says the New York Times. The Maryland State Police are still looking for him. Times business travel columnist Joe Sharkey wrote a column on speed cameras and heard from 500 readers, the responses running 50 to 1 against them.

Business travelers are getting camera-generated tickets in the mail from places they drove through months earlier. Most travelers pay them because they can't reasonably return to fight the ticket. Some complained that they have no choice, as car rental companies pay a camera ticket and charge the customer's credit card. Readers note the documented increase in rear-end collisions at intersections where the fear of being flashed by a red-light camera can cause drivers to slam on brakes at the first sign of lights turning yellow. Some people sent videos showing how yellow light timing seems to be shortened to catch more drivers. A traffic engineer predicts that as technology improves, “camera detection is going to get even more stringent.” He added, “Red-light cameras have become a clear source of government income, and movements are afoot to increase that largess.”

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