Louisiana To Ban Red Light Cameras?

Maybe so. There’s one bill that would ban them, and another that would require municipalities with cameras to send almost half the revenue to Baton Rouge for state wide highway safety projects. I’m guessing the latter would decrease camera revenues enough that it would kill them, too.

There’s a nice summary of one of the many problems with the cameras:

Baton Rouge, New Orleans and other local governments have the traffic cameras designed to take photos of motorists as they run red lights. City officials have argued the machines improve safety — their presence makes motorists wary and so reduces the number of running-through-red-light violations. The cameras also raise millions of dollars for city governments, and for parishes such as Jefferson, which received $11 million on nearly 144,000 tickets, as of late 2008.

These two incentives are in direct conflict. There’s been more than one study showing the cameras increase accidents. Cities also have decreased yellow light times, even though it increases accidents, because doing so dramatically increases revenue. Here’s a recent article about both these problems.

Given the choice between the well being of residents and increased revenue, we all know what local politicians will choose. So here’s hoping the state legislature takes this weapon away from the locals.

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