Earlier this year, the legislation failed to vote on allowing them into the state. Because red light cameras (and their closely related cousins, the speed cameras) cannot identify the operator, only the registered vehicle owner, by and large the insurance companies that wouldn't be able to participate in the windfall lobbied against the bill.
Just about right now, some of you may be asking, "What's wrong with ticketing red light runners?"
Actually, very, very few people haphazardously and blindly drive into an intersection on a red light. Still, those are the spectacular crashes red light camera peddlers like to use to sell their systems, even-though cameras couldn't have prevented such crashes.
The majority of red light running occurs during the all-red phase of a traffic light controlled intersection, which is the safest period of the cycle. But why do people "push the yellow?" Because they are frustrated with too many uncoordinated lights, with short yellows and long reds, or because they may notice the traffic light only in the last second.
The solution is not punishing them, but in better engineering; synchronizing traffic lights wherever possible, eliminating the illegal ones that are not justified by traffic volume, switching over to flashing yellow/red lights at night, extending the duration of yellow and shortening the wait time as much as possible, enlarging the lenses, better lane markings, cutting back obstructions, installing dark backing to lights facing east and west, etc. will all reduce the incidence of red-light running - without any increase in rear-end collisions.
Two years ago, a committee formed by the City of Swampscott concluded that "over the four year period, there has been a combined total of 10-13 angle crashes caused by red light running. The limited number of angle crashes, combined with the likelihood that RLCs increase rear-end crashes, led the committee to conclude that the installation of RLCs is contra-indicated at all signalized intersections in Swampscott. Strictly on the basis of public safety, the committee recommends against the use of RLCs in Swampscott."
That's the reason why red right cameras should remain illegal not only in Swampscott but in all of Massachusetts.
"This new law is great news for children's safety going forward in the Commonwealth," said the state Senator sponsoring the bill. Oh, and one other thing Senator: the new law made Massachusetts eligible for up to $750,000 in additional federal funding.
But when a 77 year old woman killed a doctor and his nurse by driving into them, legislation proposed mandatory retesting after the age 85 and a vision test. Presumably this would be designed to teach them how to tell the difference between a brake and a gas pedal.
The theme of this newsletter was IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY. Until further notice, this will not be changing any time soon.
Take care and see you this winter.
MA State Chapter Coordinator
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