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Caution: Stop Going

by on September 1, 2011

Red light cameras generate revenue. Oh, and safety. Please don’t forget about all that safety you receive when you get a ticket in the mail a few weeks after employing the audacity to make it through a yellow. Such behavior puts one in the same class of hoodlums who signal turns only after they’re already within 50 feet of the corner.

But signal scofflaws will remain at large while actual bad people get targeted. To wit, Buffalo’s mayor just admitted he was wrong and did something right, which is as rare in the city as a new business. Byron Brown stopped this red light nonsense, as he sensibly put it in reverse and took points off his license by etc.:

The Mayor of Buffalo has taken a controversial proposal off the table after months of supporting the issue.

Mayor Byron Brown is giving up on his plans to install red light cameras throughout the city.

Congratulations to a broken-clock mayor for being right this time. More automated photos of motorists wouldn’t have made driving less crashy. Lighter wallets don’t impact vehicular performance.

In fact, less red leads to more uneventful trips. Extending the length of yellow lights increases safety at intersections, as giving cars more time to clear the crossing remains the best method for keeping them from coming in violent contact with each other.

Longer yellows allow drivers time to get through safely. They negate the urge to slam on the brakes thanks to reducing fears of a relatively quick change to a higher light.

Concerns about the proper percentage of time that each bulb should be illuminated assume that municipalities are interested in more than obtaining currency. You’d be cynical if you maintained that City Hall might consider pretending that the motivation behind a revenue-generating measure was your safety. You’d also be perceptive.

But Brown came to his senses regarding moving pictures. Or maybe he caved to pressure. Either way, he did something right for a pleasant change regardless of the likeliness that he was more into being popular than correct. Even better, he’s in favor of putting cameras to better use:

The Mayor will instead focus on installing more of the Police surveillance cameras in high crime areas of the City.

Criminals may be the only ones opposed to the mayor’s priorities. It seems that it’s less profitable to catch felons.

That said, fewer robberies and stabbed corpses are better for the city than more fines for lead-footed drivers. And reducing crime may just ultimately somehow benefit the economy, too.

Punks who slept through drivers ed still deserve police attention. Blatant red-light runners are to be shunned for being as despicable as cellphone-using drivers and aficionados of car stereos that emit eardrum-melting, bass-heavy cacophonies that some generously classify as music. But there’s a difference between flagrant accelerator gunners and people cutting the timing close.

Still, law enforcement agencies should be allowed to use discretion, just like the mayor admirably did. It’s not just that Brown made a judgment call: it’s that he made a good one. Now, in his honor’s honor, avoid the urge to punch the accelerator when it’s not your turn.

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