I found it surprising that this WSJ story on “red light camera” rage — and I’m waiting for the moment some fool checking his “Trapster” on his PDA blows a light and crashes — made it through an entire article without mentioning a.) the number of people killed in red-light running crashes (uh, more than 9/11 every year); b.) how countries with an increased adoption of the technology have made more impressive gains in their traffic safety records and c.) that rear-end crashes, which critics always cite as rising after installation of the cameras, are relatively minor in nature; while side impact crashes, which studies have shown have been reduced after installation of the cameras, tend to be more serious, and often fatal — to compare them so casually is typical of myopic mainstream-media reporting when it comes to traffic safety. The story notes the study that found that “governments use traffic tickets as a means of generating revenue”; it might also go to the trouble to cite the related study that, while finding truth in that, also found jurisdictions had improved their traffic safety. Traffic fatalities and injuries in and of themselves are a hidden “fine,” or “tax” if you will, that each year cost the U.S. more than the much-touted productively losses due to congestion. Looking also at studies that show tickets reduce the likelihood of a driver subsequently being involved in a fatal crash, fines can also be viewed as expenditure reducers.
Not to mention that the fact that I was taught, as every driver is, to maintain a sufficient following distance from the vehicle ahead — so much so that you could stop in time if the person ahead had to do something like slam on their brakes (particularly at complicated places like intersections).
This entry was posted on Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 2:47 pm and is filed under Drivers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.