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I originally posted this letter in reply on the topic oftraffic camerason the New Mexico forum. But it is even more topical here, as this concerns Colorado. By the way, I couldn't be more serious.
As little as I like Big Brother (have you noticed all the cameras everywhere?), I would approve of traffic cameras if they were fair and equitable. Often they are not. For one thing these systems are grossly overpriced for what is essentially a simple camera and motion sensor. That just the equipment but the real revenue from tickets issued, a large percentage kicked back to the traffic camera companies because cities wish to avoid the high initial cost of installation (which is unwarranted). This arrangement encourages both the traffic camera companies and the cities who contract with them to seek as much revenue as possible. Among other things, there have been documented cases of yellow lights being intentionally shortened in duration to increase the likelihood of revenue. This does and has caused accidents, such as being rear ended.
Do they care? Not on your life. I wouldn't even favor such things save I happen (at the moment) to live on an otherwise quiet country road in the mountains of Colorado, a road posted at 25 mph which is routinely used as a racetrack by virtually all motorists at speeds of 40 mph, 50 mph, even up to 70 mph by some motorcyclists. This in a neighborhood of residences and blind driveways. It directly affects our well being and safety. I have pleaded and begged with the State to do something, all to no avail. And if not effectively patrol this road (which would be impractical and less than entirely effective), then to install traffic cameras that would more or less put a total stop to this behavior. And, by the way, something that wouldn't cost a fortune, nor need to. I even offered to finance installation myself if later compensated. Initial revenue would more than pay for even traditional equipment before people wised up and revenue (and incidents of speeding) drop way down. They won't. Nothing. Not our County Sheriff, our County Commissioner, not the State Assembly, nor the Governor. They offer a variety of lame excuses of no merit and nothing more.
In my opinion they all like things as they are. We residents can continue to suffer but they have a guaranteed source of revenue waiting whenever they wish to tap into it. On rare occasion they'll send a dedicated traffic control officer out for a few hours to collect some revenue, and little else. Then will claim they are doing what they can. Even when this officer is present it has virtually no effect on prevailing traffic, save a few isolated (and to the motorist, expensive) instances. When I asked him, this officer laughed and said I was dreaming if thinking the traffic would ever be different than it is.
Now in town it is somewhat different. They do have some red light cameras in operation, which they claim no authority to place elsewhere in the county (nor any intention of obtaining). This makes sense. It would be impractical to have officers stationed at every intersection, and with these they needn't have a one to automatically collect revenue. From my experience these are even fair and one can easily avoid a ticket by not running a red light, etc. It may even increase the safety of these intersections and of all motorists there.
One should be aware that this technology is only as fair and equitable as those managing it. Every jurisdiction is different. Some have plainly cheated and used that which should be only for safety as little more than revenue collectors. If not impossible, in practical terms nearly so to contest a ticket from these traffic cameras. The ticket is automatic, and one has to prove that the equipment in question was defective that particular day. Good luck.
From my experience the well being and safety of citizens is a low priority of government. They pay it lip service but will do little to make it a reality. This from the perspective of someone who (presently) suffers this abuse daily. Around here 'Protect & Serve' is just a bad joke. They know exactly what is going on here and choose (make that refuse) to do anything. I've been told by several authorities that this road would have to suffer at least three fatalities before they would take any interest. They even acknowledge, given the circumstances, this a near certainty at some point, but are content to wait until then. The bottom line is that they do not perceive this road as enough of a revenue generator to do anything, other than milk it on occasion. Anything else, as they see it, would only cost them money. The safety and well being of we citizens is not a consideration.
So next time you get a traffic ticket know that while you may have broken some law, the real criminals are those issuing it. Above all else they cannot AFFORD to have safe and orderly roadways. True steps to make them so would be inimical to their self interest.
Not sure what the heck this has to do with Colorado??? AFAIK, Colorado doesn't have many or any of these cameras, at least not yet, thank God. Take a look at the Phoenix forum-- there have been DOZENS of threads in the last several months. They have rapidly turned themselves, in the words of one poster there, a "RoboCop" police state. In fact I suggest posting this same exact post there, it will still be off topic, but at the least you'll get a ton of rep points. Another good place for this is the "Great Debates" forum.
All I can say about traffic is that it gets really good all of a sudden when the cops are around; especially in the city limits of Pueblo when you see about 4 or 5 or more marked Police cars, it's a speed trap. And they will pull you over and ticket you for going... I' don't know... maybe 5 or more over.
At that point, you are a quota.
Whatever. I've got two or maybe three goals when I'm going from A to B;
Don't get a ticket
Don't run out of gas
I'll do what I have to do to comply with the three things above and I've done drastic things like;
Don't run a red light and if I have to speed up to get into the intersection while it's still yellow, I don't. I stop. If someone is tailgating me as I approach the intersection, their gonna be wearing their mocha cappa coconut frappa latte in their lap, because I brake for idiots
Don't go over 5 mph over the speed limit
In Pueblo, we've got some traffic lights that have a warning yellow that will tell you when the light is gonna cycle to yellow then red. If you make it to the sign while doing the speed limit, you'll make it. If not, you might T-Bone somebody and kill their family.
I've got all my points. I've got really good insurance. I'd got advice. Who'll listen?
Does anybody know what clearing your blinds means?
How about a fresh/stale green?
How about snow? Does this affect your driving and speed? Should it? If you're riding a motorcycle at night out on the open road, how fast should you go?
This has to do with Colorado because there are traffic cameras presently installed in some municipalities, such as Ft. Collins, CO. Also, because at least where I live the authorities flatly refuse to enforce their own traffic laws, and in that context I'm also referring to noise (there is a statute against noise over certain dba, by the way. This specifically has to do with many motorcyclists who blatantly disregard it with near impunity).
Beyond particular enforcement techniques, yes the most effective avenue towards safety drivers who actually drive that way. I'd hazard to say the majority of drivers do not because they are busy talking on the cell phone, texting, applying lipstick, or most anything other than paying true attention to the road and their primary purpose. As annoying or unsafe as it may be at times, speeding is only incidental. Aside from this, few have the training or skills to deal with difficult situations when they arise. They were never taught much more than how to put the vehicle in gear and then issued a license. If not mistaken, I believe countries such as Germany require comprehensive knowledge before issuing anyone a driver's license. They take it seriously.
I'm not advocating that everyone drive like little old ladies. Only that the rules be fair and when applicable adequately enforced. Otherwise why have them? According to the Transportation Research Board 43,200 Americans died in traffic related accidents in 2005, with 2.68 million injuries:
United States Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatalities and Injuries: 2005 Projections (http://www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=6195 - broken link)
Somehow year after year such carnage is largely ignored. If anything the authorities will point to such statistics as reason to ask for more funding and police. I wouldn't give them a dime, not unless and until they make safety (not to mention my well being) their first priority. Otherwise it is just more of our money in their pocket.
As for Arizona, their legislature is presently contemplating rescinding laws that presently allow traffic cameras on highways outside of towns: Bill introduced to ban cameras on highways in state
Their citizens have a point, viewing such things as an unwarranted invasion of their privacy. I am advocating exactly the opposite, but only if used for traffic and safety, and fairly and not as some high tech speed trap.
Either all these laws mean something or a total farce and unfair, unethical and wrong.
The problem with traffic in America is the drivers. I see people pull knucklehead stunts all day long.
Yet, you see a few people who mind their own business and seem to get from A to B just fine and they never get tickets and they don't wreck.
It can be done. Most people push the limit, are as selfish as not seeing past their nose, they drink their soda and eat their chaloopas and they read their books and have that phone sticking in their ear at 7:45 in the morning like they're somebody! They're inconsiderate, wait to the last minute to get into that turning lane, hate to get stuck behind a truck, weeve from lane to lane... have no regard to what the speed limit is at any given moment, go too fast or too slow...
You're trying to say that we're the victim? Driving is a privilege. Traffic infractions and injury as a result of such is a business. What else is new? Is it up to the cops to make us drive better?
Go back to the first line in my last post; People miraculously drive perfectly when the cops are around.
How about this; take the bus, Gus. It's a matter of human nature.
Sometimes they enforce the laws hard in Colorado and sometimes they get lax. I like to drive like this is the day. I've got a TomTom One that tells me exactly when I'm gonna be there; it alarms when I speed 4 mph over. I usually don't even have to speed to get there on time. I'm usually 2 minutes early sometimes 2 minutes late. What's the big deal?
McGowdog, I agree totally with you! I have no problem at all with however many cameras they put up at intersections, because I drive carefully and defensively and so I don't worry about how "unfair" they may be. I know what the yellow light means when I'm approaching an intersection. In over 40 years of driving, I've gotten two tickets for moving violations. If we have to put up cameras to force people to drive safer and more responsible, then I say put them up at every intersection! I for one do not want to be a traffic fatality because someone else can't control themselves.
Intersections are potentially and statistically dangerous, right? Imagine you're going through an intersection at full speed, light's green, but someone comes plowing through the intersection and you get T-boned or they get T-boned... someone's going to die. This is more dangerous than a head-on collision... for the one who gets a grill in the ribs.
People as a whole are too stupid to drive around at the speeds we drive and not wreck into each other. So we, as a society, have chosen to build around our mistakes; to sort of soften the blow. Out in Europe, it isn't so easy to get a driver's license; and I think it's overall a whole bunch more expensive. They don't have that many wrecks out there. I hate to admit this, but I rarely ever see an accident in Mexico! I see the most horrific traffic out there and violation of laws and lack of courtesy; but they don't speed and they don't drive through red lights. No wrecks! No fenderbenders! Why is this?
People in the States are rude and pushy. They're a bunch of punks and if you get hit by somebody who doesn't have a license or insurance, you think they're gonna stop and exchange info?
I personally love to drive... just for the sake of it... the freedom! I'll do what I have to in order to comply. It's been over 4 years since I've had a speeding ticket. I hate that feeling. I get sick to my stomach. If you're out there speeding and think you're smart or that you'll never get caught, you're wrong. You will pay. You're just riding the percentages.
And if you think "They" are unjust or out to get "Us", then why fight it? Go join "them" if you think they've got so much power. Go work for the city or the state. Become a judge. Then come back and tell us all if you're treated so special.
One thing a lot of people don't realize is that if you drive at high enough speeds (over 110 MPH) through those red light cameras, the camera literally "blurs out" and doesn't capture your license plate image, so no ticket. (don't try this at home)
If you're driving 110 through an intersection, you're attempting suicide and aiming to take someone out with you. You may blow the stop light, but I'm going to get your plate number and call *277. You can't outrun Motorolla.
You could do like Matt Dillon and plead "not guilty" if you do get caught. I wonder how that goes. Get caught for going well over 30 mph and try to keep your license in this state. Your lawyer better be that guy who defended John Denver back in the day.
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