A recent traffic light camera at an intersection in my neighborhood has been taken down. You know those cameras that are installed at traffic lights to catch people running red lights…? Yeah, well, this particular intersection is near the largest mall in the state and one of the largest malls in the country; Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois. People were getting ticketed by these traffic cameras and the city of Schaumburg was getting threats from consumers saying they would stop going to the mall because of it. The city eventually caved under pressure and took down the camera, and order was restored to the world.
Sounds like a story of whiny people simply getting pissed over getting caught breaking the law, right? I mean, the city has our best interests at heart — they said these lights were installed in order to reduce accidents, after all. Do you want us to get in wrecks and make the streets unsafe? Why are you complaining? You broke the law — deal with it.
Well, the real story is in the details. See, cities make SERIOUS fucking bank on these things. In fact, at this particular intersection, the city received $1 million through camera-issued tickets in the span of three months. One million dollars. In three months… at a SINGLE FUCKING INTERSECTION. I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not.
Again, to the uninformed, this just sounds like a lot of people getting caught committing a crime and they’re just getting pissed over it. Bully for the city for cracking down on such rampant crime! Huzzah!
But think about this: How is it possible, in the span of 3 months, that 10,000 people can run a red light at an intersection and yet only 7 total accidents occur? For the mathematicians out there, that’s over 111 occurrences of people running a red light at this one intersection in a single day. If you extrapolate it, in less than 2 years, every man, woman and child in Schaumburg would have gotten a ticket for running a red light at this lone intersection. Statistically, none of this seems possible…. Something’s up.
Traffic light cameras are programmed to take a photo and issue a ticket every time a car crosses the white line while the light is red, including instances of people going right on a red light, with no exceptions. Now think about your driving history and how these cameras would adversely affect your life:
Every time you inched your car over the line to see past the SUV next you… that’s a ticket. Every time you slammed your breaks and your bumper accidentally crossed the line… that’s a ticket. Every time there was a blizzard and you couldn’t see the line and accidentally crossed it… that’s a ticket.
That 111 moving violations a day begins to make sense now, doesn’t it? Crime seems rampant when there’s zero tolerance.
Even though the city said these cameras were to make these streets safer by lowering traffic accidents, they still took the camera down. But if the cameras actually lowered accident rates, why take it down? Why fold so easily? Is it because… THEY DON’T WORK? The city even admitted the cameras don’t work in reducing accidents, and even if they did, how could you conclusively prove it without getting into a “coincidence vs. direct correlation” argument?
Like electronic voting machines, we’re instituting flawed technology that only creates a nigh-incontestable situation that ultimately harms us. Sure, you can appeal the ticket, but they might not listen to you. And that’s $100 a pop down the tubes over virtually nothing. Imagine how awful it would be to drive around if they install these cameras at every intersection. One snowy day could fill your mailbox with traffic tickets, and believe me when I say I personally know people who got a bogus camera ticket at this exact intersection.
In Illinois, the government will look for any goddamn excuse to squeeze as many dollars out of us as possible. Road tolls, city stickers, and the highest sales taxes in the entire country. Money is the bottom line to them, which is why the city folded so quickly when people complained that they would stop shopping at Woodfield because of the traffic cameras. It’s not about making streets safer — it never was — it’s about money.
Big Brother is watching you, and he has dollar signs in his eyes.