The National Motorists Association is a leading critic of red light cameras, saying the cameras are exorbitant and unnecessary. The group has issued a red light camera challenge, betting any city $10,000 it can accomplish all the goals of the cameras without needing them.
National Motorists Association places a bet
One of the leading voices in the fight against red light cameras, the traffic cameras that snap pictures of motorists who blow through a red light, is the National Motorists Association. The advocacy group opposes excessive law enforcement actions that the organization and many others feel gouge drivers for the benefit of governments.
Red light cameras have been one of the NMA’s biggest issues over the years, according to the group’s website. Most cities that have the cameras haven’t been entirely receptive, so the NMA has thrown down the gauntlet. According to USA Today, the NMA is betting any willing city $10,000 that using the group’s guidelines, which are easy and cheap, will reduce red light infractions and accidents more than any camera issuing tickets by mail.
Better engineered intersections over gadgets
The terms of NMA’s bet are that the city has to make its recommended changes to an intersection with a high number of red light infractions, normally punished by tickets. The city has to lengthen yellow light time, implement an “all-red light” period before green lights and mark traffic lights and lanes more clearly.
If infractions don’t reduce by at least 50 percent, NMA will give the city $10,000 to spend on whatever traffic programs it wishes. If the NMA’s recommended traffic solutions work, the prospective city has to make NMA’s traffic engineering recommendations permanent and dismantle its red light cameras.
Group does not expect takers
The NMA, according to USA Today, isn’t holding its breath for a city to take it up on its bet. The group believes that because red light cameras are so profitable, no city is willing to risk its “gravy train.” According to a Jersey Journal article on NJLive.com, Jersey City, N.J., expects to make up to $7 million per year from its newly installed red light camera systems. The city of Atlanta, Ga., made $1.5 million from its red light cameras during 2009 and 2010, according to CBSAtlanta.
There are also serious allegations of corruption regarding the traffic cameras. According to the NMA, the cities of Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn., Dallas and Lubbock, Texas, Union City, Calif., and Springfield, Mo., were found fixing yellow light times to ensure more motorists would get tickets.
A scandal involving red light cameras hit New Orleans, La., earlier this year. A police officer had formed a private contracting company that was paid to review tickets from the city’s cameras and then cherry-picked officers to review tickets and pay them for it, according to WGNO, a New Orleans ABC affiliate.