We’ve received the following responses to the Mayor’s June article about Red Light Cameras; you can read the original article by clicking here:
RESPONSE #1 –JOHN BRITTON, DAVIE
Dear Mayor Eisinger,
I read your editorial regarding Red Light Cameras in the June issue of DRW Magazine, with great interest. This is an issue which makes my blood boil and I believe you mis-read the depth of public opposition to this program.
One of the greatest principles in our legal system is that of “Innocent until proven guilty”. This program trashes that notion. Now, no one needs to prove I was driving; if one of my five registered vehicles is captured misbehaving by one of your cameras, I am guilty until I can prove myself innocent. Do you know how infuriating it will be to receive a ticket several days after an event, with no recollection of the event? How do you defend yourself? If I lend a car to a visiting relative and he decides to use my car to rob a bank, are you going to send me to prison because I am the registered owner? That’s the next logical step.
And, let’s get real. This really is all about raising revenue, more than traffic safety. You’re already counting the money and what programs it will fund.
The modern world is already infested with enough every day irritants: pollution, toll booths, road construction, telephone solicitations, robo-calls, spam, pop-up ads, computer viruses, IRS forms, etc. Please don’t add another to the list. I can assure you I will spend thousands of dollars defending myself against an unconstitutional $158 ticket, because I tend to act irrationally and against self-interest in the face of great injustice. There are many people. like me, who feel very strongly about this issue. What ever happened to the notion that everyone gets his day in court and the opportunity to confront his accuser? How do I confront a traffic camera and a computer? Can you prove the light was yellow for a few seconds before it turned red?
If the state of Florida were really interested in solving problems on the road, why not address the fact that 50% of the cars on the road in Dade and Broward are uninsured? My premiums are double what they should be because the other guy doesn’t pay.
Here’s an easy solution I hope you’ll pass on up to the governor and the legislature: The minimum mandatory insurance premiums should be collected at the gas pump, in the form of an additional pennies per gallon tax on gas. The taxes would go into an insurance pool used to provide minimum coverage to every car and driver. Drivers, who chose to have more coverage, can still do so through their own insurer.
Mayor, I am a resident of Davie, but I drive through Cooper City frequently. I urge you and your City Council to keep your town “Someplace Special”. Red Light Cameras will cause you more grief than you anticipate.
RESPONSE #2 –LEE SPECTOR, COOPER CITY
I realize DRW is not generally a forum for public debate but I must respond to Mayor Eisinger’s editorial regarding the installation of red light cameras (RLC’s.) She decries it as a revenue source, instead resorting to the tired adage of “making our community safer.” Another former Cooper City commissioner used the same argument for reduction of speed limits to 25 MPH in neighborhoods, another money-making grab that has yet to prove itself for any other use.
The passage and enactment of the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act was one based on emotion, not logic or research. Had the endorsing legislators exercised due diligence and done their research, they would’ve known better. I’ve done more than my fair share of research in regards to RLC’s and have yet to find a study that supports their effectiveness; this includes such self-serving entities as the IIHS (an organization run by the insurance industry of all organizations,) the Department of Transportation Highway Administration or National Traffic Safety Administration. To the contrary, none of the studies I read concluded that RLC’s had any positive effect other than to generate revenue for the municipality and the installation/monitoring company. I even found several studies that indicated RLC’s may actually increase, not decrease, the number of accidents at intersections.
The state, over the last few years, brought RLC legislation to the floor on several occasions; it failed each time until the most recent vote. The issues did not involve the integrity, accuracy or reliability of the RLC system but more specifically, to ensure the state got its fair share of the pie, nothing more. Once that issue was resolved, passage was virtually guaranteed. The fact that the constitutionality of this legislation- due process and equal protection issues specifically- was not considered is just mind-numbing. Lastly, the blind disregard for the numerous other states who have banned or over-turned similar legislation is just indicative of the thoughtlessness for approving such legislation.
None of this is unexpected, what with the cash-strapped status of today’s local, state and federal governments. Revenue generation is at the forefront of virtually every elected official’s agenda, contrary to the mayor’s argument. And make no mistake, RLC’s will prove to be a cash cow for every municipality that installs them, Cooper City included. As I’ve read elsewhere, the estimates of revenue generation will be in the hundreds of millions within a few years. What elected official could turn that down?
My purpose in opposing RLC’s is not one based on a disregard for the law. As a retired law enforcement officer with nearly three decades of street experience with a local agency, I recognize there is a time and place for appropriate traffic enforcement. As a motorcyclist, I realize the inherent danger every time I approach an intersection but I also know the presence of a camera is not about to stop a distracted or speeding driver from stopping. It offers no deterrent value whatsoever, particularly when the enforcement action, the mailed ticket, arrives weeks after the event, when the driver more than likely will not even recall the incident, much less learn from it.
Safety from RLC’s? I think not. A new revenue stream? Most assuredly. To think otherwise is only fooling yourself.