Tona Monroe Ball has been a citizen activist on the red light camera issue for quite some time. I asked her if she would like to do a guest post on her ideas and suggestions regarding the issue if they were to remain legal. Here is her guest post.
Red light cameras, also known as surveillance cameras, and more appropriately called scameras, should be banned for a variety of reasons. Scameras are unconstitutional violating the 5th, 6th and 9th amendments of the federal constitution, they are used to track us and 3rd party analysis shows that the contraptions do not improve safety and in fact increase accidents. The Constitutional, and correct thing to do is ban the devices, but if the State legislature is going to continue to allow scameras then there are several things that can be done that will shut the cameras down by eliminating the profit motive, while at the same time improving safety.
1st Legalize right turn on red at camera intersections
The standard at camera intersections should be yielding, rather than stopping, because there’s little to no safety benefit for stopping. Often, the majority of tickets being issued at camera intersections are for safe right turns on red.
2nd Ad one second to the yellow light timing at all intersections
Georgia has seen an 80% drop average in red light running at camera intersections after a state law mandated that the yellow light timing of camera intersections be set at nationally recognized engineering standards, with an additional one second.
Truth is, the Dick Armey report shows that the yellow light timing formula has been intentionally manipulated to increase red light running; thereby, increasing profitability. It’s a scam! http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/reports/rlcreport.asp
3rd Require engineering solutions first before cameras can be implemented
A AAA Michigan study showed that enlarging traffic light lenses by 50 percent, re-striping left turn lanes with pavement markings, re-timing the traffic signals, and adding an all-red clearance interval resulted in a 47% reduction in collisions and 50% reduction in injuries. http://www.motorists.org/photoenforce/home/aaa-michigan-study/
4th Remove the profit motive
Make all revenue go into a fund that can not be used at the prerogative of City Councilmen. Many North Carolina cities shut their camera programs down because the State constitution requires 90% of the revenue to go to education. When the easy money dries up, the scameras come down.
5th Make the violations criminal instead of civil
Cities have been skirting due process constitutional requirements by changing the type of the citation issued from criminal to civil. Precious constitutionally protected rights should not be eliminated simply by changing the name of the violation and/or tribunal. Criminal due process would afford compulsory subpoena power, the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the charge against you, and the requirement for cities to prove that it was actually you behind the wheel. The burden of proof would be on the City.
Tennessee legislators should show some intestinal fortitude and ban surveillance cameras. 15 states have already done so, through legislative or judicial action.