"Liberty" Flees Virginia

Less than a year ago, Virginia lawmakers admirably outlawed red light cameras in the state, citing--believe it or not--"liberty" as their reason.

How fleeting, this "liberty."

In just twelve months, the state did a complete about face, when, yesterday, the state senate gave its okay to traffic cameras. The bill had already passed the House of Delegates, source of the "liberty" holdup last year. After failing last year, it passed almost 2-1.

Governor Tim Kaine is expected to sign it.

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  • Dan T.||

    So being allowed to drive through red lights is a form of "liberty"?

  • Dan T.||

    And btw, I'm a troll lol

  • ||

    From a commonwealth's whose motto is "sic semper tyrannis."

  • ||

    Admitting it is half the battle, Dan T.

  • ||

    So being allowed to drive through red lights is a form of "liberty"?

    Being fined, which is expensive and cumbersome to contest, by a device that has known failings is not a form of "liberty".

    If red light cameras even moderately affected safety in a positive, one could think that they have at least some reasonable basis for existing. But they don't. In fact, they have been shown to have a negative effect on safety.

  • ||

    Liberty fled Virginia a long time ago...

  • KoWT||

    I don't have a problem with camera set ups like this

    when you're in public, people can see you

    ever been t-boned by a scofflaw who ran a red light?

    if fear of the camera issuing an automatic ticket is going to make people think twice before blowing through a red light?

    so be it

    just like I hope the gang bangers over north (minneapolis) are thinking twice before firing a gun since the cops installed a lightpole based system that report gunfire coordinates to dispatchers

  • KoWT||

    I'm a troll too lolol

  • ||

    of course, i think these cameras are b.s. and unreliable and all that.

    i have to admit though, if i'm going to be ticketed, i'm starting to like the idea of just having it mailed to my house rather than sitting through the condescending bullying of a typical traffic stop.

    for all its faults, a camera can't be a jackass.

  • Dan T.||

    If red light cameras even moderately affected safety in a positive, one could think that they have at least some reasonable basis for existing. But they don't. In fact, they have been shown to have a negative effect on safety.

    Not true, here's the FHWA report:

    http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/pubs/05048/index.htm

  • ||

    KoWT, do you know how refreshing it is when you include a question in your posts? Because then at least one of your sentences actually ends with punctuation.

    Your writing "style" is an affectation, and it's annoying.

  • ||

    I'd have less of a problem with the cameras if I could believe that they are about anything other than revenue generation. But the fact that rear-end accidents tend to increase where these cameras are installed makes it all but impossible to buy into the safety argument. So do the communities that have be caught shortening the yellow after cameras were installed.

  • ||

    The cameras are a barely tolerable nuisance IF there is a reasonable procedure for challenging the ID of the driver, and IF local yokel jurisdictions don't do bullshit stuff like reducing the length of the yellow light in order to increase revenue.

    BTW, the far worse measure under consideration in Virginia is the one that yanks drivers' licenses for providing alcohol to minors, even if said procurement had no relation to operation of a vehicle. I can see a potential constitutional challenge there.

  • lunchstealer||

    In fact, they have been shown to have a negative effect on safety.

    How so?

  • ||

    Number 6, great minds think alike at the same time... :)

  • stephen the goldberger||

    I don't understand. How is a camera any different than a police officer who issued tickets solely for everybody who violated red lights at a given intersection. Is hiring more police officers and making them give out ticekts for red lights a violation of the citizens' liberty? if not then why is having cameras on intersections one?

  • Illmatic||

    Governor Kaine is a douchebag and a swine.

    I hate the Virginia Republican Party for not finding a decent candidate to oppose this statist, paternalist, busybody ass-monkey.

    On the bright side, Virginia has the verifiably awesome rule that you can only have one term as governor.

    It's the best rule ever. Turnover keeps our commonwealth healthy.

    Given its outsized powers, the American Presidency could be positively improved via this useful reform.

    Call, write, or waterboard your Congressman and demand reform today!

  • ||

    How so?

    I've seen information regarding how the increase in rear-end crashes (caused by driver's being overly wary of getting a ticket) offsets the decrease in t-bones.

    However, according to the study linked to by Dan T., the offset may be only partial. Money quote:

    The combined results from the seven jurisdictions indicated a positive aggregate economic benefit of approximately $39,000 per site per year when property-damage-only (PDO) crashes are included and $50,000 per site per year when PDO crashes are excluded (table 21). These results indicate that the increase in rear end crash costs (due to the increase in frequency, with a lower severity) do not negate the savings in right-angle crash costs.

  • Dan T.||

    I'd have less of a problem with the cameras if I could believe that they are about anything other than revenue generation. But the fact that rear-end accidents tend to increase where these cameras are installed makes it all but impossible to buy into the safety argument.


    The FHWA report I linked concludes that on the whole the reduction in (much more serious)right-angle collisions makes up for the increase in read-end collisions.

  • PJ Doland||

    Looks like we're one step closer to living in Bentham's Panopticon.

  • ||

    Give me liberty or give me a camera

  • ||

    Hmmm, let me guess. Last year they were running for office and needed lots of votes. This year they need to raise money to pay off their major campaign contributers.

  • KoWT||

    gimme a break

    I'm almost 50 years old

    a 10th grade drop out

    (although I did later graduate from a prison's "higher education" program--some 20 years ago)

    now I'm gonna get run outta here by a punctuation nazis and some punk who used my moniker to declare me a troll?

    tell me about your love for freedom and liberty

    but only in an abstract, fetish kinda way, right?

    God forbid it bring the white trash to your sacred (virtual) stomping grounds

    would calling someone a slow witted navel gazer turned poo flinger make me a troll?

    somehow, I expected better from a libertarian blog

    ...

    heh

    j/k

    I didn't really expect better

    I'm just saying that to make the territorial shitbirds feel crunchy

    besides

    what if I am a troll?

    whatcha going to do?

    call me names from a clownish hiding place?

    damn my ignorant punctuation (because you magically know that I'm faking it?)

    seems kinda self defeating to me

    trolls thrive on attention

    better to ignore me and pray I lose interest

    or

    maybe

    just maybe

    you could address what I said, instead of pissing yourself over how I said it

    back to the topic at hand

    I remember my grandfather telling about how, when traffic lights first came out, some people were pissy about the idea of having to obey a stupid light in the place of a flesh and blood cop

    not much different from the reaction of some to today's cameras

  • ||

    In my town there are a couple of steep hills and lights around blind corners. To warn oncoming traffic that the light is about to change (very handy on icy roads) there are warning signs with lights that begin flashing a number of seconds before the light changes from green to yellow. The delay time is determined by distance of sign from light and the speed limit.

    If cities were truly worried about safety, they would incorporate something like these signs, either with or without the cameras. Just using cameras encourages the government to "tweak" the light timing to gain revenue by causeing more people to run the light or slam on the brakes to avoid doing so, thereby causing an accident. Seems to me that this plan is the antithesis of a "safe" traffic pattern.

  • ||

    Stephen the Goldberger-It's a question of due process. When a cop pulls you over, it's a person with observational powers and judgment who issues the ticket. With a camera, it's a machine. Machines can't testify, they can't swear in court that you were the one driving, and, more importantly, they have no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the incident.
    In many cases, there is no affirmative defense to a camera-issued ticket.

  • ||

    I also wonder about proportionality. I've been driving for about 18 years, and can count on one hand the number of times I've seen someone run a red light.* I've been a volunteer on the local fire department for a couple of years, and have been to a bunch of wrecks. Several happened when people ran stop signs, but none occurred at a lighted intersection.
    Of course, that evidence is totally anecdotal, but I will point out that I've lived, and driven, all over the country, in both urban and rural settings. I'm also well aware that t-bone accidents of the sort you see when someone runs a red light do happen, and are ugly.
    Still, I'm not sure that the response is proportional to the problem. And that brings me back to the supposition that the cameras are mostly about revenue.

    * Oddly enough, the last time I saw someone run a red light was at an intersection right in front of the local sheriff's office. If nothing else, I'll give the guy points for chutzpah.

  • ||

    So being allowed to drive through red lights is a form of "liberty"?

    Uhh, yes.

    The issue is avoiding collisions. With other cars, with people, etc. Traffic lights are deemed necessary because many trolls don't understand concepts of: wait your turn; yield when you do not have right of way; be aware of your surroundings; do not endanger others. Idiot lights are necessary.

  • ||

    Ironchef-That, and stop signs don't work well at multi-lane intersections.

    Roundabouts are an elegant solution, but seem to confuse a lot of drivers.

  • JMV||

    KoWT-

    Agreed, you're not a troll. You're just plain nuts.

  • ||

    Is KoWT the much-missed "dj of raleigh" from a few years back?

  • ||

    I live in Virginia. I got caught in a "Liberty Trap" when they were testing it a year or so ago. It was interesting how they worded the summons. They basically said, "Pay the fine without contesting it and we won't tell your insurance company. Contest it and lose, and we will tell your insurance company."

    I paid it.

  • Paul||

    No, I didn't RTFA, but is there anything that this about-face by the Virgina legislature can be attributed to? Was there a big turnover in the legislature? Change of heart? New study was released? Governors daughter killed in a t-bone accident by a red-light-runner? What?

  • ||

    No, I didn't RTFA, but is there anything that this about-face by the Virgina legislature can be attributed to?

    I didn't read it either, and I have no idea what the inside-baseball of VA politics is, but I will bet hard cash that the answer is:

    greed and cowardice.

  • KoWT||

    JMV,

    who are you agreeing with?

    I didn't deny the troll accusation

    hearing voices are ya?

    and I'm nuts?

  • ||

    if fear of the camera issuing an automatic ticket is going to make people think twice before blowing through a red light?

    People should not blow through red lights!

    If you're going to blow someone in a car, it should be done while driving down a relatively straight interstate highway, doing at least 65 miles per hour, in very light traffic.

  • Jerry||

    There are a whole bunch of studies here:

    http://www.motorists.org/issues/enforce/studies.html

  • ||

    A camera won't beat you up, haul you in or search your car. A state trooper on the other hand ...

  • ||

    No, I didn't RTFA, but is there anything that this about-face by the Virgina legislature can be attributed to?

    The original pilot program for the cameras lapsed in 2005, and the Republicans in the legislature showed a few brief moments of gumption in opposing them. But the moment that the original program lapsed, the Law Enforcement Industrial Complex put on a full-court press to enact permanent legislation to permit the cameras. I figured it was only a matter of time before they succeeded. Most jurisdictions in Northern Virginia never bothered to take the cameras down, as a matter of fact.

  • ||

    I think libertarians view these cameras as a slippery slope issue. Remember, the first surveillance cameras in the UK were on the roads, and now they've got them all over the damn place. Once the Law Enforcement Industrial Complex gets the "nose in the tent," it becomes tougher to oppose camera in other arenas.

  • poco||


    trolls thrive on attention

    better to ignore me and pray I lose interest

    or

    maybe

    just maybe

    you could address what I said, instead of pissing yourself over how I said it

    back to the topic at hand


    Timmo, KoWT's a poet and we didn't know it. Sort of in the "e.e. cummings meets Allen Ginsberg" vein.

    Seriously, KoWT, you're most welcome here, but it is difficult to "address what I said, instead of pissing yourself over how I said it" when what you said is hard to read. Using the shift and punctuation keys, and not hitting a carriage return after every clause, would make your words much easier to scan. You're used to your method of transcription; we are not.

  • ||

    Liberty is off-topic posting
    Liberty is trolling
    Liberty is running redlights (safely)
    Liberty is the Bible in my glovebox and the stash in my armrest
    Liberty is telling my neighbor what I really think
    Liberty is my under-the-table job
    Liberty is my bumper sticker
    Liberty is the joke I told last week about the pope
    Liberty is my recent and temporary eschewal of punctuation

  • miche||

    To warn oncoming traffic that the light is about to change (very handy on icy roads) there are warning signs with lights that begin flashing a number of seconds before the light changes from green to yellow.



    Many countries use this type of system. I have mostly seen it as the traffic light flashing green before yellow, and flashing yellow before red.

    That, and stop signs don't work well at multi-lane intersections.



    At night, many multi-lane intersection traffic lights flash red on two directions and yellow on the other two. Seems to work.

    I don't agree with red light cameras because the ticket goes to the registered owner of the car instead of the person committing the infraction.

  • KoWT||

    poco,

    "e.e. cummings meets Allen Ginsberg"

    heh

    I like that

    what's w/ evil clowns in this forum posting defamatory nonsense using other's monikers (the last KoWT post before this one wasn't mine). Is this a standard operating proceedure hereabout? You know, to make newbs feel "most welcome" or summat?

    Nice touch.

    I'm fairly used to being the LCD (lowest common denominator), but even I can't go that low without feeling petty/cowardly.

    If I promise to work on incorporating punctuation into my posts, will the doppleganger let go of my pantleg? Please?

    or at least use a moniker besides mine to ridicule me with?

    Conceptual continuity and all that...

    speaking of "conceptual continuity", here's a book plug from a compulsive and ravenous reader:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0300072538/reasonmagazineA/

    good luck,and good night

  • Gilbert Martin||

    The traffic light cameras are indeed all about raising revenue.

    If they really want to increase safety, then increase the duration of yellow lights before the red light comes on.

    I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they the yellow duration is actually reduced at intersections with traffic light cameras in order to "create" more violators and more revenue.

  • Rabbit Scribe||

    Off-topic: I saw a guy run a red light at a very busy interesection (Harlem & Irving, Chicago) and clip somebody pretty good- tore off his rear bumper, in fact. He locked his brakes and spun around a few times. The guy who got hit also spun around from the impact. The offender immediately revved his engine and took off at full speed in the direction he was pointed. The guy who got hit crossing the intersection with the light...

    immediately revved his engine and took off at full speed in the direction he was pointed.

    Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey.

  • ||

    Congratulations to the Virginia legislature for doing the right thing.
    It was about time they get some return on the sizeable investment of public money.
    I have been wondering when all those new traffic lights one very other intersection with all those new cameras on them would be put to good use.
    When you visit Frederick County (Winchester) and Clarke County you will know what I mean.

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