NMA Issues Challenge to Cities Using Red-Light Ticket Cameras

November 2011

The National Motorists Association (NMA) announced its $10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge, a program designed to prove that engineering solutions — not automated enforcement by ticket cameras — are the real way to prevent red-light violations and accidents at problematic intersections.

Public disdain for red light cameras was on display earlier this month as voters struck down camera programs in seven cities, including three each in Ohio and Washington State. In recent years, voters have rejected photo traffic enforcement at the ballot box in 22 of 23 cities, including Houston, Albuquerque, and Cincinnati.

“Voters consistently reject camera measures because they are suspicious of safety claims made by public officials and the camera companies,” said Gary Biller, Executive Director of the NMA. “To put cities to the test, we have issued the $10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge.”

Biller described the challenge as follows:

  1. Point out any camera-equipped intersection that has high numbers of red-light violations and the NMA will guarantee a minimum 50 percent reduction in those violations through the application of engineering solutions.
  2. If NMA recommendations fail to meet the violation reduction goal, the drivers’ rights organization will pay the community $10,000 to be used for any traffic safety program or project it chooses.
  3. If the NMA’s safety recommendations succeed, the community must employ the same engineering-based measures at other troublesome intersections, and scrap its ticket camera program.

The NMA maintains that sound traffic engineering principles are the most effective way to prevent violations and accidents at problematic intersections. “We are willing to wager $10,000 to prove that measures such as properly set yellow-light durations, brief all-red delays, higher visibility traffic signals, and better lane markings and signage will lower accident rates. If city officials are truly interested in the safety of their citizens, they should look at solutions that work rather than just collect money from traffic tickets.”

Biller explained that cities have become addicted to ticket camera revenue. He noted, “A true traffic safety program will result in decreased accident rates over time. But red-light cameras are a for-profit proposition for the cities and camera companies, one that depends on an ongoing, steady stream of photo citations. The engineering solutions we propose through the $10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge will achieve meaningful and lasting improvements in intersection safety.”

Communities interested in learning more about the $10,000 Ticket Camera Challenge should contact the NMA at 608-849-6000 or via email at [email protected] Additional information about engineering solutions for better intersection safety can be found at Alternatives to Red Light Cameras.