(Paul Jacob/Common Sense) – Politicians seem to love what are called “red light cameras” — cameras that take pictures of cars that run red lights. And then ticket the registered owners.
Citizens? Not so much. I’ve reported how Tim Eyman — an activist who usually sets his sights on tax increases — orchestrated a citizen initiative petition campaign to get rid of the red light cameras in his town. There are many other such movements.
But those who habitually side with government don’t get it. They see the issue as the Washington Post editors see it, as “common sense. Police can’t be everywhere, and officers should not be diverted from high-crime areas to police every high-risk intersection.”
A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety backs up this “common sense” with, uh, science. Sort of. The study’s method has been attacked pretty thoroughly.
More importantly, as Radley Balko notes, there are better alternate policies — more effective in saving lives at intersections, and far less creepy.
Like what? you ask. Well, bear with me. It’s hard to understand: Longer yellow lights.
Yes. Longer yellow lights save lives. What a shock. And yet it turns out that when politicians have red light cameras installed, they tend to decrease the time of the yellows — the very opposite policy.
For our safety?
For their revenue.
People who “go into politics” show their true colors when they prefer to pump up surveillance state powers instead of enacting simple, decent reforms.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.