It must have seemed like a good idea at the time – using ticket revenue from traffic cameras to help pay for government. It would seem to fall right in with the views of this site; Tax the problem to pay for the solution, right? The problem arises when you mix the government’s inability to shrink with the conflict of interest of needing to feed itself by creating the very problem it was designed to fix.
I know someone who was recently ticketed by one of those traffic cameras they put at intersections. They snap a picture of your license plate, your face, and take a video (displayed big screen in court) of your violation. They never sleep or decide to let you go with a warning.
There is a huge amount of data online about these traffic cameras, and after some research I came to the conclusion that this particular camera was making around a thousand dollars an hour.
Obviously a lot of cities saw dollar signs and started installing traffic cameras all over, and seeing immediate revenue boosts. The traffic cameras are so effective in fact, that people have actually quit breaking the traffic laws they police. According to dallasnews. Dallas has seen a 50% drop in camera revenue due to lack of crime. Great, we can reduce our traffic patrol now that the cameras have reduced violations, right?
Unfortunately, once government creates a job and gains a source of revenue, it is reluctant to let go. It doesn’t want to lay off employees, it just wants its revenue back. The city is starting to turn off the cameras on a rotating basis. Since the infallibility of the cameras is such a key to their success, I expect this will put people back in a gambling mood and increase violations again. I suspect the city knows this. The traffic cameras are run by a company called Redflex. Redflex receives 80% of the ticket price for the first 95 tickets each month, after that they split the revenue with the city. Where does that money go? It is an Australian company.
Guilty until you find out who really did it?
Unemployed WASP says
Down with the traffic cameras! They are a government scam to suck what remains of the money from our pockets. We have got along just fine without them since horse and buggy days. We don’t need this Big Brother collection scam.