After a scathing reports by the Virginia Department of Transportation in 2005 and 2007 documented that red light cameras caused an increase in the number of accidents and injuries, the deadly devices have returned to roads in the Commonwealth. Virginia Beach this week became the first city to resume issuing $50 citations.
At the moment, two intersection cameras are generating tickets with a third expected at the end of the month. The first phase of the “open-ended” contract between Virginia Beach and Redflex anticipates ticketing at ten intersections. The partnership between the city and the Australians eventually will expand to allow 43 automated ticketing machines to generate revenue — the maximum allowed by state law.
How did this happen when the evidence shows that the program was a colossal safety failure? Redflex Board Member Karen Finley answered the question in an October press release to the Australian Securities Exchange. (press release PDF)
“As the true pioneer of the photo enforcement industry, Redflex has been an active leader in legislative initiatives in more than half of the 21 states in which it operates,” Finley said. “To ensure the industry’s successful propagation, Redflex has made a strategic investment in a team of legislative experts with a keen knowledge of working the delicate, formal, legislative processes and grass root efforts. When the original 1995 Virginia photo enforcement legislation was not renewed, we implemented a focused legislative effort: two-years later, these efforts were successfully received by the Virginia General Assembly as referenced by the state-wide enablement of photo enforcement programs.”
In other words, it used high-priced lobbyists to buy the votes of legislators willing to sell out the safety of their constituents. “Strategic investments” means cash in the pockets of lawmakers. “Grass roots efforts” mean setting up phony corporate front groups like the Campaign to Stop Red Light Running that gullible media use as a source of “victims” of red light running in their stories. The campaign’s paid drama queens talk up the horror of red light running as if a red light camera would have prevented a single death or accident.
Instead, Redflex cameras just take photographs of these tragedies while creating hundreds of new accidents, injuries and tragedies nationwide — as seen in the national studies that were not paid for by the camera industry’s legislative experts.