Politicians are almost always in a hurry to sign on with the Redflex/ATS agenda when they’re shown the money. That gravy train was destined to fall off the tracks all along and last week some Texas politicians got the message.
The epicenter of spy camera funny business in the United States is officially Houston, TX. Even if you never get behind the wheel, you are being watched in the down town area by a newly installed network of over 250 cameras. Guess who picked up the tab? If you said Big Sis Napolitano and The Dept of Homeland Security, you’d be right!
DHS and the city of Houston must have never investigated the CCTV (closed circuit television) system in London which has been nothing but a huge money pit and an absolute failure to stop crime. Then again, who cares about safety records when there’s money to be made from selling and buying expensive equipment? Just ask Michael Chertoff how that little scheme works.
It’s hard to ignore the fact that Houston has been fighting tooth and nail to keep their red light cameras in place at the very same time. (Un) American Traffic Solutions has their dog and pony lawyer show out in full force, suing the city of Houston for allowing the citizens to vote on a citizens initiative. Their arguments, as usual, are so repugnant that they’re not even worth mentioning here.
The problem is that the city clearly wants to lose to ATS so that the cameras stay up and the money keeps flowing in. To make matters worse, the federal judge hearing the case, Lynn Hughes, is not allowing anyone to represent the people of Houston. In effect he is an unelected judge attempting to legislate from the bench. In the end ATS and the city of Houston will fail in their attempt to work over the people, but in the process will waste a lot of money and time.
There will be much more to come next week when the court proceedings begin.
That title actually should come with an asterisk because Peoria, AZ saw similar numbers at many of it’s intersections after installation of surveillance ticketing devices.
If the city of Baytown, TX wanted to drive the accident and injury count WAY up in its intersections, they picked the right way to do it: Install red light cameras.
Numbers about to be released to the local media in the city just East of Houston show an alarming increase in collisions, up to 400% in several intersections. CameraFRAUD has been sent and advance report.
Saferbaytown.com has been fighting for a November vote on banning the system outright, but with the current danger these devices pose to the public, their city council should move swiftly to have them removed before more crashes and injuries occur due to the driver distraction they pose.
Here are some of the alarming statistics from the report, compared with the previous numbers available at the Texas Dept of Transportation website (TxDOT):
Report 1 2009
Report 2 2010
Red Light related
Red Light T Bones
Rear End accidents
Some intersections have seen a dramatically large increase in certain types of accidents, most notably three that have seen a 300%, 350% and 400% respectively.
What would you call allowing this trend to continue after being given the figures that point to sharp increases in accidents? Profit over safety? Absolutely. Gross negligence and public endangerment? There is an argument to be made.
Whatever it is, Baytown, take down those cameras! The public shouldn’t be subjected to even one more day of the danger they pose. We all know the public vote will end the program, but why wait 2.5 months to do the right thing?