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Photo Radar

Old 07-11-20, 05:12 PM
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mcours2006
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Photo Radar

City of Toronto just installed 50 photo radar cameras across the city. https://www.toronto.ca/services-paym...lng=-79.297729

I know some will just say that this is a cash grab to recupe some lost revenues due to COVID, but when these cameras were installed in NYC it did elicit a change in driver behaviour with regard to speeding.

Interesting read on speeding from Eben Weiss:https://www.outsideonline.com/241240...angerous-stats
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Old 07-13-20, 10:47 AM
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In Tucson, we had a voter referendum and had all the speed traps and intersection cameras removed. (Well, most of them are still there, but the cops can't use them for issuing tickets anymore). As much as I like the idea of having those intersections monitored, the city was really starting to use them for a cash grab, shortening the yellow lights, and citing people for the most borderline of cases.

I think it only had a marginal improvement at one or two of the intersections, but little to no effect at others. A bigger improvement to safety came from changing the high risk intersections to the 'Michigan Left' type of intersections.
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Old 07-13-20, 11:09 AM
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You bring up an excellent point Notso_fastLane , the speed and red light cameras are often used where there is a bad intersection or roadway. Often a better solution would be a redesign to make that area safer. There are problems with redesigns, like they take a bunch of money and if you're a politician, it takes too long from the time you start the process to when it is complete. You'll be retired by then. If you are a politician, you need money for the projects that your past politicians borrowed too much for and contracts that they over paid for so the solution is to put in red light and speed cameras in the name of safety. It would be great if some of that cash grab money could go to actual safety improvements.

We really need to get better safety for motorist and cyclist that are so vulnerable. We don't stand a chance against a 3500# car.
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Old 07-13-20, 01:40 PM
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My only real objection to red light cameras is that they are owned, installed, maintained, monitored and citations issued under the guise of the local jurisdiction they are in when actually they are private companies. As such no one looks at why the infraction happened. Only that it did happen.

In real life a cop does have some leeway as to whether or not to issue a ticket, a warning or do nothing at all. Circumstances such as funeral processions, stopping but then running the light at 3:00 am when no one else is around and you are trying to get to the hospital for an emergency and many other things don't always need to be ticketed. Even if they can be exempted, you have to go through a lot of bureaucracy between the local government and the private company that gets to collect your money for the government to resolve such. As well, most of the revenue generated go to a private company and only a portion goes to the state or local government.

I didn't read enough to see how they implemented it it Toronto, but in the US that is the typical way red light cameras were implemented and why so many states voted them down.
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Old 07-13-20, 04:03 PM
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Not talking about red light cameras. These are photo radar cameras that take a picture of your licence plate if you go over the limit, then send you a ticket. They are installed in areas notorious for speeding, as well as school zones.

Again, not talking about red light cameras. Whole other and DIFFERENT issue. Please read the thread title and OP before responding.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:17 AM
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I have noticed a difference in driver behavior in NYC since the speed limit was lowered and many cameras were installed. Many (not all, of course) drivers are much calmer and drive more slowly. You get far fewer of the drivers who would jack-rabbit start when the light turned green, then screech to a stop at the next light, rinse and repeat. Average speeds on the expressways, parkways and large avenues are noticeably lower. It's hard to say if this has made things safer for cyclists and pedestrians. There still seem to be a lot of fatal collisions, though many of these seem to be with trucks (anecdotally, I haven't looked at the statistics).
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Old 07-14-20, 08:09 AM
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Okay, change my statement to "speed cameras". Still pretty much the same view point with regard to most of the revenue goes to private companies.

It's much like the "speed trap" areas back in the 50's and 60's. The stigma on such was so bad that county sheriffs in this state are not allowed to have radar or give speeding tickets. To often, it was just used as a revenue stream.

There is merit to wanting to slow traffic down, just not convinced on the methods. Personally driver training and drivers getting together discussing their issues will do more for road safety.

People get a drivers license as a teenager and never have to do anything else but pay a renewal fee in most places. I took a summer drivers education course back in the early 70's and which even used driving simulators. There was a lot of discussion and situational awareness taught.

Was my course superior to previous courses? Probably not but certainly better than today. The things I hear about in many drivers education classrooms is sad. They just teach to pass the DL test. They don't even get it correct on how to adjust the side rear-view mirrors.

So actually todays driver training probably isn't any better than learning from mom and dad even if they also are poor drivers.

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Old 07-14-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Not talking about red light cameras. These are photo radar cameras that take a picture of your licence plate if you go over the limit, then send you a ticket. They are installed in areas notorious for speeding, as well as school zones.

Again, not talking about red light cameras. Whole other and DIFFERENT issue. Please read the thread title and OP before responding.
In many places, they are used interchangeably (in the sense that many intersection cameras also double as speed cameras).

Again, good idea on paper, but they inevitably lead to abuse (maybe Canada can do better than the US). Lots of jurisdictions will put the cameras right at the 'speed trap' area where the speed limit drops from 50 to 40 or similar situations. It becomes more of a 'gotcha' and money making scheme than actually improving safety.

I've no doubt speed trap type cameras CAN be effective, but if that's the case, why not just post a traffic enforcement officer at the known locations on a regular basis?
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Old 07-14-20, 10:03 AM
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Cops should not be enforcing traffic law, straight up. They do it discriminately, if at all, almost always at the expense of poor and brown people. It's clear cops cannot be trusted to do this.

Most important, having cops enforce the law this way ("with discretion" = with bias) does not make anything safer. Only when all motorists know they will be caught and enforcement will be automatic and indiscriminate, will they consider to slow down.

It still needs to be a public body that automates traffic law enforcement, to ensure transparency and accountability, data protection, and eliminating a "for profit" system. When such an automated system does not record any violations (and accordingly, no fines or penalties), then it will have succeeded - and no capitalist business model can handle that, as they don't benefit from the safer streets. But we all do (benefit from safer streets), so keeping this as a public-servant-run body is the way to go.

The technology exists, it can be done. What is required is political will.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:28 PM
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I no longer care to listen to a bad driver's reason why he needs to exceed the posted speed limit. After four years of trying to obtain VisionZero, Toronto's road fatality hasn't changed. During lockdown, stunt driving has increased and car-to-car collision stayed the same.

So it's now slow down or pay. Those cameras can't hear your lousy excuses.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Not talking about red light cameras. These are photo radar cameras that take a picture of your licence plate if you go over the limit, then send you a ticket. They are installed in areas notorious for speeding, as well as school zones.

Again, not talking about red light cameras. Whole other and DIFFERENT issue. Please read the thread title and OP before responding.
I would also welcome red-light cameras. I can't tell you how often at pedestrian-controlled intersections, there's always somebody running the red light - once even when I was just about to cross. And then at the major intetsection just ourside my neighbourhood, I can't recall how many times people would run the red causing a lot of collisions. One notable morning was when a car ended up on someone's front yard. I was lucky enough to ride past the long row of cars to get to work.

I did write to the Mayor and my city councillor about installing red-light cameras in certain locations but no response back.
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Old 07-15-20, 01:31 AM
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New Jersey just added 1000 more radars
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Old 07-15-20, 07:41 AM
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Red light cameras don't necessarily make things safer, though.

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/un...ccidents-19125

The results are mixed. I know in Tucson, even within the same city, they had mixed results in different locations.
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Old 07-15-20, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Red light cameras don't necessarily make things safer, though.

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/un...ccidents-19125

The results are mixed. I know in Tucson, even within the same city, they had mixed results in different locations.
Don't blame bad driving on the red light camera if drivers are following each other too closely.
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Old 07-15-20, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
I've no doubt speed trap type cameras CAN be effective, but if that's the case, why not just post a traffic enforcement officer at the known locations on a regular basis?
Because automated enforcement is more efficient, and less expensive too. How many citations can an officer write per hour/day? The magic cams will top them many times over.

Call it a cash grab if you want, I don't care. States DO need the money. Might as well get it from law breaking motorists... there's certainly no shortage of them to go after. Why even have speed limits if we can't enforce them?
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Old 07-15-20, 02:29 PM
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Of the roughly 9000 fatalities caused by speeding vehicles in 2018 for the US, there were 36,560 other motor vehicle related fatalities.

Seems like money spent on something that is only less than 25 percent of the problem is not money getting used to it's fullest potential.

I know some think that if you violate the law you must pay. But look how long we've been putting drug offenders in prison since illegal drugs actually became illegal drugs. Well over 50 years. All the money spent on drug enforcement has resulted in no decrease in use of illegal use of drugs. How might that money spent on DEA, court cases and prisons been better spent on drug re-hab programs, intervention and just plain counseling with a therapist?

So IMO, dollars spent for speed cameras and red light cameras aren't going to do much for fatalities as would dollars spent for things that might address all the reasons for the fatalities and just accidents in general. Requiring some sort of additional training or even just making some go through a online course and short test even with no requirement for passing, prior to DL renewal might get people at least thinking about things more. Sure speed cameras probably show a reduction in the places they are, but likely it just makes un-monitored stretches worse. Again, IMO.

Of the 36560 motor vehicle related fatalities in 2018 only 857 cyclists were involved. Of those 857 it is not stated how many were from motor vehicles exceeding the speed limit. And the 857 number doesn't for certain say those were all motor vehicle related. Info from other sources suggest only 682 cyclist deaths as a result of motor vehicles.

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api...ication/812826

https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/home-and...tality%20data.

And I know someone is going to say, "but if we only save one life". Well, what about the other 36,559 lives, wouldn't you want to have done something that would have saved more of them?
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Old 07-15-20, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Of the roughly 9000 fatalities caused by speeding vehicles in 2018 for the US, there were 36,560 other motor vehicle related fatalities.

Seems like money spent on something that is only less than 25 percent of the problem is not money getting used to it's fullest potential.

I know some think that if you violate the law you must pay. But look how long we've been putting drug offenders in prison since illegal drugs actually became illegal drugs. Well over 50 years. All the money spent on drug enforcement has resulted in no decrease in use of illegal use of drugs. How might that money spent on DEA, court cases and prisons been better spent on drug re-hab programs, intervention and just plain counseling with a therapist?

So IMO, dollars spent for speed cameras and red light cameras aren't going to do much for fatalities as would dollars spent for things that might address all the reasons for the fatalities and just accidents in general. Requiring some sort of additional training or even just making some go through a online course and short test even with no requirement for passing, prior to DL renewal might get people at least thinking about things more. Sure speed cameras probably show a reduction in the places they are, but likely it just makes un-monitored stretches worse. Again, IMO.

Of the 36560 motor vehicle related fatalities in 2018 only 857 cyclists were involved. Of those 857 it is not stated how many were from motor vehicles exceeding the speed limit. And the 857 number doesn't for certain say those were all motor vehicle related. Info from other sources suggest only 682 cyclist deaths as a result of motor vehicles.

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api...ication/812826

https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/home-and...tality%20data.

And I know someone is going to say, "but if we only save one life". Well, what about the other 36,559 lives, wouldn't you want to have done something that would have saved more of them?
Except "Money spent" on automated enforcement leads to a revenue source. It's pays for itself and lots more. Money that could even be used for the stepped up training and testing programs mentioned.

The problem voters have with it isn't that it can't slow drivers down or reduce wrecks, it's that they know they speed almost all the time on almost every road, and they don't want to have to change that.
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Old 07-15-20, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Except "Money spent" on automated enforcement leads to a revenue source. It's pays for itself and lots more. Money that could even be used for the stepped up training and testing programs mentioned.
It could but it wouldn't. You remove the incentive of private companies to install those cameras by taking more of their revenue stream and you'll find they no longer want to provide cameras, installation, monitoring, services to issue and collect fines and other things they do. Nor will you want to fund a bond issue to pay to do all the things private money was willing to do.

Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
The problem voters have with it isn't that it can't slow drivers down or reduce wrecks, it's that they know they speed almost all the time on almost every road, and they don't want to have to change that.
Probably a lot of truth there. However back in the sixties, if you'd told me that we'd be driving slower today than the highway speeds then, I'd have thought you wrong. What I didn't expect was that we'd have drivers that have no business being on the road. Nor did I expect that we'd find more ways to distract a driver. IE your smart phone. While speed is cited for the cause of many accidents, there isn't really sufficient study on why or if speed was actually the cause of the accident. In NHTSA reporting speed is cited as a factor even if it isn't the cause. Sometimes the vehicle below the speed limit causes the accident in a multi-vehicle crash. It's just not easy to get that type data though for statistical reporting.

While reducing speed will save lives, there are various reasons for that. Less trauma and simply if everyone is going slower they won't be driving as many miles per year. Surprisingly, I've seen studies that correlated the amount of miles driven to accidents in a given year. In years that saw a reduction it could be shown that if comparing the mile traveled those years the accident rate per mile was the same. Those studies were back in the 80's. I don't know if they are valid for today.

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Old 07-15-20, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
Cops should not be enforcing traffic law, straight up. They do it discriminately, if at all, almost always at the expense of poor and brown people. It's clear cops cannot be trusted to do this.

Most important, having cops enforce the law this way ("with discretion" = with bias) does not make anything safer. Only when all motorists know they will be caught and enforcement will be automatic and indiscriminate, will they consider to slow down.

It still needs to be a public body that automates traffic law enforcement, to ensure transparency and accountability, data protection, and eliminating a "for profit" system. When such an automated system does not record any violations (and accordingly, no fines or penalties), then it will have succeeded - and no capitalist business model can handle that, as they don't benefit from the safer streets. But we all do (benefit from safer streets), so keeping this as a public-servant-run body is the way to go.

The technology exists, it can be done. What is required is political will.
Do you still believe in politicians ? They are not better than cops, they just don't get caught as easily..
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Old 07-16-20, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Lots of jurisdictions will put the cameras right at the 'speed trap' area where the speed limit drops from 50 to 40 or similar situations. It becomes more of a 'gotcha' and money making scheme than actually improving safety.
That is exactly what happened to me. I got a ticket in the mail for doing 59mph on I-295 at 0130 in the morning where it crosses from Maryland into DC and the limit inexplicably drops to 50mph. Not being from that area I was unfamiliar with DC's cameras.

The letter provided an easy way to pay and specifically stated that it would not affect your insurance. Apparently DC is making millions with this system.
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Old 07-16-20, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
Do you still believe in politicians ? They are not better than cops, they just don't get caught as easily..
I don't "believe" in the *entire system*. A new one is needed.
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Old 07-17-20, 09:09 AM
  #22  
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Drivers have been told for years and years starting or before they took driving lessons about the hazards of speeding. It looks like Photo Radar is the last resort since drivers aren't going to listen or abide by traffic enforcement anyways.

So why not? Bad drivers have their reason for violating traffic rules and the authorities have their reason for installing Photo Radar. The cops won't have to be burdened with listening to lousy excuses.
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Old 07-17-20, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Drivers have been told for years and years starting or before they took driving lessons about the hazards of speeding. It looks like Photo Radar is the last resort since drivers aren't going to listen or abide by traffic enforcement anyways.

So why not? Bad drivers have their reason for violating traffic rules and the authorities have their reason for installing Photo Radar. The cops won't have to be burdened with listening to lousy excuses.
In my city, the mayor scraped the red light cameras because the wrong people were getting the tickers. I'd see the same fate waiting for photo radar. The mayor never spelled out who the right people were.
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Old 07-17-20, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Gyro View Post
In my city, the mayor scraped the red light cameras because the wrong people were getting the tickers. I'd see the same fate waiting for photo radar. The mayor never spelled out who the right people were.
How's that?

The people running red lights would be getting the tickets. Those are the right people. Same with photo radar. The people driving over the limit would be getting the tickets. Again, the right people.

Say what you will about it being a cash grab or not, but photo radar, especially in areas like school zones, works. I can't think of a bigger disincentive to not speed than getting a 300 ticket in the mail. If such automation were possible for things like distracted driving, it'd be even better.
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Old 07-18-20, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
How's that?

The people running red lights would be getting the tickets. Those are the right people. Same with photo radar. The people driving over the limit would be getting the tickets. Again, the right people.

Say what you will about it being a cash grab or not, but photo radar, especially in areas like school zones, works. I can't think of a bigger disincentive to not speed than getting a 300 ticket in the mail. If such automation were possible for things like distracted driving, it'd be even better.
Remember when Bob Rae implemented Photo Radar? One of the arguments against it was that the driver making the offence may not necessarily be the same person the car is registrated. Lame excuse but regardless, political opportunists pick up on this kind of public sentiment and turn it into an election issue.

Last edited by Daniel4; 07-18-20 at 08:58 AM.
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