Me and Tim Together Again


That pedestrian got cleaned up very nicely too...
I got into this argument with a chimpanzee over on Questionland a while back. His argument was that red-light cameras are themselves TERRIBLY DANGEROUS, because of all the rear-end collisions that take place when people actually stop at red lights. His argument was transparently stupid, and supported by dubious data from suspicious sources, just like Tim Eyman's, and blithely indifferent to both the increased harm from T-bone crashes in intersections and to the logical flabbiness of suggesting that people are too dumb to NOT FOLLOW SO CLOSE.

But even though I demolished him I'm quite sure he came away from that argument thinking he'd won. Any restrictions at all on the behavior of the white male behind the wheel of a 4,000 pound automobile are against the Will of God. It's Tim Eyman's central belief. Hmm, maybe it WAS Eyman.
This makes me never want to cross at an intersection again.
I just don't see the argument against them. It will save lives to have them. What could be more important? Oh, that's right, this is Eyman, so the answer would be money. Nothing is more important to him than money.
But the people who argue for red light cameras are often the same people who hate the cameras in parks. And they could save lives and prevent crimes as well.
How did this red light camera save any lives? It just recorded at least one death.
I agree with #5. I work in a fishbowl and I HATE IT. I asked for a partition and they said no because they like to see my screen and that I'm working. Absolutely demeaning.
I'd hoped you were namedropping Minchin for once, but noooooo, just your usual nemesis. (How I wish I had a nemesis, but no - I remain my only true enemy...)
@6, red light cameras decrease the number of times that people run red lights. The fewer times red lights are run, the fewer chances there are for things like this to happen. Now for something else that is really hard and should keep you entertained for a few hours, a game of connect the dots!!!

A * *B

Good luck!
Saving lives or not is debatable. But what, exactly is so wrong with red light cams? Is Tim Eyeman (and others) saying that they want the right to run red lights and not pay fines for breaking the law? If he wants the right to avoid stopping without punishment, why doesn’t he instead push for roundabouts at major crossroads? Of course, to do that, the nasty evil government (of the people) would have to raise some sort of revenue to do so. But how to do that? Raise taxes again? I wonder if there’s a way to raise revenue by fining people who use the road but can’t seem to obey the rules of use…
If we installed roundabouts at every major intersection (like they have in France), you would no longer have people running red lights, nor would you have an inane proposal from Eyman to get rid of red light cameras.

After spending several days driving around Europe last summer, I was pretty impressed with how effective the roundabouts were. They force you to slow down in intersections -- it's simply impossible to careen through one and pay no heed to other drivers. Making it through a roundabout requires that every single driver be paying attention. It works, and it's efficient too, because you're never stopped for THREE MINUTES waiting for a red light, which is the case with one near my house.
@4 Hell, why not have cameras everywhere..? We'd be SUPER safe then!

(Oh, and those park cameras? Yeah, they stopped using them in Cal Anderson park because they weren't doing jack shit- not once were they used by police to catch anyone.)
Cameras at intersections good, monkeying with yellow light intervals to hike camera ticket rates bad.

Why not legislate tighter yellow light standards? Oh that's right, it doesn't help Tim's war against our state government.
@2 Fab story.
Cameras in Volunteer park did nothing to lower crime--as the stranger pointed out over and over again--but it infringed on our freedoms and made a private contractor a shitload. It's intellectually dishonest to apply the direct opposite logic to red light cameras.

Someone point out to me a credible study that shows that red light cameras save lives. Maybe there's one out there, but I haven't seen it, so please show one if ya got it. The only one I know of is was paid for by a red-light camera company and relied on questionable and inferred data.

Also, I suspect most red-light accidents (perhaps the one above as an example) happen because people don't pay attention. Most people will not speed through a solid red light just because they think no one will give them a ticket. A camera doesn't make someone more awake or alert. It doesn't stop someone from texting or changing the radio. It doesn't stop all the behaviors that I argue are the majority of causes in red light accidents and many more accidents. It only gobbles up money for the city and a private contractor and furthers the Big Brother mentality.

Finally (and least of all, but I'm sure this is the only point many will rabidly set upon), have you ever driven through the intersection at 15th NW and Market? The flashes on those red light cameras that go off at every light change are incredibly bright, distracting, and startling. That's how accidents happen.
Red light cameras are good deterrents against very dangerous driving. The problem arises when companies contracted to build and install them are paid on per-ticket basis as this creates a conflict of interest and can undermine safety.
While we are at it, lets lower the speed limit to 10 miles an hour, then even less people would get hurt! We must do everything we can to stop bad things from happening.
@13 is spot on. In other municipalities that have installed red light cameras there's a tendency to shorten yellow lights as the cameras become less about safety and more about fund raising. That's a combination that is dangerous but the cameras in and of themselves should be helpful.
I'm against the red light cameras because:

1) I don't believe they actually save any lives. I haven't seen any compelling evidence that wasn't more compellingly discredited elsewhere.
2) They shift burden of proof onto the accused. You're guilty until proven innocent with a red light camera.
3) There are better ways to make intersections safer. Lengthen the yellow light time and the time that all directions are red.
4) They don't seem to actually work the way they're supposed to in the first place. The one at the intersection nearest me will flash at any time. It'll flash when the light is green. It'll flash when no one's moving. It'll flash at three in the morning when there isn't a car around.
5) I fucking hate that flash. Every time I drive through that intersection, I'm worried it's going to blind me and I'll crash into someone because of it.

I hate Eyman probably as much as the next guy, but stopped clock and all that.
@15 Right. Except, not.
First off, how is fining people for ignoring rules of use a bad thing? After paying $124 for a ticket, wouldn't you pay a little more attention while driving? After receiving a speeding ticket or three, most people will slow down (or pay more attention for cops while speeding).
Secondly, if a few light flashes are dangerously distracting for you, should you be driving in a city?
I'm also trying to figure out what's going on in that picture, and who's running what there. Is the pedestrian crossing against the signal? Or was the SUV just sailing through a light that had been red long enough for the pedestrian to walk most of the way across what looks like five or six lanes?
It makes me really queasy to admit it, but, uh... I'm kind of with Tim Eyman on this one. UGH! There, I said it. Now I have to take a shower.

Here's another issue where I agree with Goldy! The safety side is fine and good, but the unequivocal upside is the revenue. I can't imagine a better revenue source than taxing lawbreaking.
So has Canada killed Baby Joseph yet?

Is Slog ready to pop the cork celebrating this victory of Socialist Death Panels?
I like the concept of red light cameras, but from what I've heard:

- agencies that use them mostly lease the equipment and end up paying about 30% of what they take in to some private company
- It's not uncommon to, if not enough revenue is being generated from a given light, *shorten the length of the yellow* to "fix" the problem.

Basically, I'm all for using monitoring to keep people from running red lights. If it can be made less wasteful and less abused for revenue generation, I'd be a lot more rah-rah over it.
@23: It's an extremely regressive manner of taxing, if that's your primary goal.
#1, tim eyman needs to create revenue for tim eyman . #2, tim eyman wants to deprive government of revenue. that's the extent of his ideology.

this initiative means he's running out of ideas..
Doceb @26: Do poor people run more red lights? I didn't know.

But I think it's kind of odd to even care. Poor peple do, for example, commit more violent crime. Should we not punish violent crime because the burden of punishment would fall disproportionately on the poor?
There is no expectation of privacy in public. Anyone can take anyone else's picture in public places. Now, maybe a good compromise would be to use them to determine who is at fault in the case of an accident as opposed to anyone who runs a red light. Only because cities play games with the timing of lights. So, until there are statutes that deteremine a legal time allotment for yellow to red, we at least have accident prevention at work.
@28: If they run the same number of lights, their "tax" burden is a much higher percentage of their income. Thus making it regressive.

I'm not arguing against fining people for breaking the law; I'm just pointing out that it's not a perfect revenue generation stream.
You should have warned people what was coming in that video.

NPR did a great interview a month or so ago with a man who had researched red light cameras. His findings may change your mind.
The real issue for Eyeman's crowd with red light cameras is that they don't discriminate.

There's a mountain of data in prison populations and conviction stats and on and on showing that discrimination is real, but it is always hypothetical until you turn the discrimination off and get a taste of blind justice. You can viscerally feel the depth of race and class discrimination in everyday policing by the degree of shock the privileged class feels when you put a robot to work who doesn't know or care if you're white or black or brown, or if the car they're busting is a lower class car or an upper class car.

With no warning, white, middle and upper class males get treated the same as everybody else and hate it. The only comparable situation is Republican efforts to cut IRS enforcement funding: they hate it because it catches too many white males.

But forget that. I don't think local democracy is so broken that cities and towns can't decide for themselves whether to use red light cameras or not. A law from the state telling them what they can and can't do?

That's big government, Tim, you clueless twit.
While I support red light cameras, let's get real - they'll do nothing to prevent accidents like the one in the video, which result from the driver failing to notice the red light.

Alternatively, let's say, hypothetically, that this driver is an adrenaline junkie psychopath who likes playing Russian roulette at controlled intersections. If the risk of death and/or totaling his isn't incentive enough for him to obey the law, do you really think a ticket is going to make a difference?
Doceb @30: Thanks for the clarification.
@32 So its an affront to white male privileged? I gotta give you points for originality, but unfortunately need to deduct for stupidity.
@30: This isn't a tax, let alone a regressive tax. It's a fine for illegal behavior, and whether or not a given person risks incurring the fine is his/her choice.
I could have gone my entire life without seeing that video. Warn us next time, would you? That was horrifying.
In Finland, traffic fines vary by the offense and by the driver's income. There's no reason you can't have progressive traffic fines. No reason other than drooling teabaggers and creepy Austrian economists with questionable pasts, and the Koch brothers and all the influence their money buys.

See? The mere mention of white male privileged makes you see red and you start frothing and flailing around, and the best you can do is call the idea "stupid". Try to calm down and maybe come back in an hour, and see if you can think of a reasoned response. But don't be surprised if it's too hard for you: the emotions involved in something like this are powerful and difficult to overcome.
@36: tell that to 23, to whom I was responding.
#11, let's first have a tutorial for impatient Seattle drivers who don't know how to use them! If my neighborhood roundabouts are any indication, you would instead be waiting for/crashing into idiots who want to turn left through the roundabout to "save time".
@41: Those traffic circles in your neighborhood are not roundabouts (or rotaries, as they're called back east), just islands stuck there to slow you down. Big difference.

And Using this video -- which is from a surveillance camera, not a red-light camera and thus irrelevant -- is strictly for sensational value and serves no purpose.
@32 I dunno if your idea is stupid exactly, but the basis of your argument is a little off. All those prison stats/conviction rates prove is that certain groups of people commit crimes more often than others. (The basis of why this is the case is the real problem) People try to use those stats as proof of discrimination, but it cannot be done as discrimination (in the case of arresting/convicting a individual) is a willfull act. Those stats can't and will never be able to prove the motivation of the the arresting officer, the sentencing judge, or the convicting jury.

The white priveledge thing though - that's pretty much fact.
There is an extensive history of red-light camera operators manipulating yellow-light durations and thus to decreasing public safety in the interest of increased revenues. Automated Law Enforcement is the next growth industry and will be run with the same sense of justice and humanity as the for-profit prison system.

I don't really care what Eyeman's motivations are. In this case he has somehow accidentally ended up on the right side of an issue.
What @38 said.

Then explain why ALL the ridiculous whinging I hear about completely fair tickets comes from white males.

They shift burden of proof onto the accused. You're guilty until proven innocent with a red light camera.

That's true of any traffic ticket. You're guilty until you drag your ass into court and challenge it in front of a judge.
@46 Because... men of color and women don't whine about traffic tickets..? Only white males do? What?
Kirby, TVDinner et al...

As for the video, if I warned you about it, it would lose its impact. And bigyaz, how this video was shot is not the issue; the point is to illustrate the devastating result of red-light running, and the fact that the majority of people killed in red-light crashes are not the drivers who run the red lights.

But be forewarned: there are plenty more videos like this that I plan to post.
btw- that pedestrian that got creamed was totally crossing against the light.
@32 - It would be interesting to compare rates of red-light infractions for whites vs. minorities using cops vs. robots. If the cop/robot rate differed substantially, that would show an undeniable bias (vs. the old saw, "minorities just commit more crime").

Do you have this data, or are you just assuming? An interesting question just the same. Goldy, can you mine this data?
This week alone, I've had three cars go thru red lights or stop signs in Fremont and the U District when I was in a crosswalk.

One got so close I almost had to do a Jump City Seattle roll off of it's hood.

More camera tix please.
Oh. Right, riiiiiiiight.

We didn't just a have a Washington Supreme Court Justice bounced out of office because he was fucking married to the utterly discredited notion that the reason prisons are filled with minorities is because minorities commit more crimes. We didn't just have every reputable criminal justice expert in the state running from Richard Sanders' racist troglodyte notions like he had the fucking plague.

And now I'm supposed to supply links to all the data on that because it wasn't all over the freaking news not six months ago. How about instead Google Justice Richard Sanders and read what you find?

My other question is this: When do white males not support more law and order? When do they not want more crimes on the books, more enforcement, stiffer penalties, and more certainty that the guilty will be punished? When do they not loves them the long arm of the law?

When? Tax evasion enforcement and traffic cameras. Explain that. Why those two special exceptions to the rule?
@52 You forgot one: When they or their children get caught.
@48: But this isn't someone trying to beat the light. This is clearly a drunk or otherwise distracted driver not even noticing there IS a light, or even an intersection. Tell me how red-light cameras are going to have any effect on this kind of accident.

By giving bad drivers more opportunities to rack up infractions and get taken off the road before they kill somebody. By freeing police resources from routine enforcement to target the worst drivers. Not to mention other, more serious crime. And, finally, by causing a cultural shift where speeding, tailgating, and running through yellow and red lights are no longer considered "normal" behavior. There's a significant amount of research showing that social acceptance of scofflaws and corruption correlates with a higher rate of traffic fatalities.

By and large we have succeeded in making drunk driving socially noxious where it once was considered normal, even a sign of masculinity and competence. Now drunk drivers are thought of as losers and jerks. Which proves that attitudes can be made to change.
@52 That's a hell of a punt.
@ The Wretched Harmony

Let me preface this comment by making it clear I'm not advocating the ability to break motoring laws, nor do I ever find myself on the side of Eyman.

However, I have many questions that need to be answered adequately for me, before I can get on board more cameras.

1. Why are red light camera tickets not moving violations? Why are these tickets treated similarly to parking tickets?

2. Why are we changing the way we regulate drivers, and phasing out police(wo)men?

3. How is the revenue split between the city and the out of state camera operating corporation?

4. Who can you call into court to dispute that you ran the red light? Can you face your accuser?

5. Do red light cameras actually make communities safer? I know for me, I'm paranoid of getting a ticket, and because of this I'm a more erratic (less safe and predictable) driver by monitored intersections.

Instead of red light cameras I have a different suggestion. Why don't we keep increasing the difficulty, and frequency of the driving test? I think if our state made it much more difficult to earn your license people would realize they have a 4000lb vehicle in their control and might pay more attention to the act of driving.
Has there ever been a study that actually showed a decrease in traffic fatalities once cameras are installed? I haven't seen any that hold up to any analysis.

I hate the fucking flashes, I hate the fucking surveillance. Get the fucking cameras out of there.

So #42 you are one of those drivers who block traffic by going left around traffic circles? I probably flipped you off last week.
I got a red light ticket once and was angry for about five minutes and then, because I'm an adult, realized I deserved it and am now more careful.
Eyman's "secret" to staying safe while terrible drivers continue to maul people running red light: drive a big SUV and live in a gated community.

Typical self-absorbed right wing teabag mentality.
"the majority of people killed in red-light crashes are not the drivers who run the red lights"

BINGO! If red light runners were guaranteed to die, and the rest of us safe drivers / peds were guaranteed to live, I would be ALL FOR getting rid of red light cameras.

The ONLY reason Eyman is on this kick is because he drives like an aggressive dickhead, like many stick-up-the-but anti-social vanilla dweebs - and he wants US to get out of HIS way.

If there was no such thing as "self-centered" there would be no such thing as "Republicans"
HisDudeNess, here you go:

1. Why are red light camera tickets not moving violations? Why are these tickets treated similarly to parking tickets?

Because the pussies in the legislature compromised BIGTIME to the Eyman mindset so as to get the bill passed - allowing red light cameras to be deployed initially.

2. Why are we changing the way we regulate drivers, and phasing out police(wo)men?

Because police are already stretched too thin; because to properly enforce a busy intersection you need FOUR cars/motorcycles - and those four cops spend most of their time doing nothing; and because the police should be out catching criminals, not dealing with stoned/drunk/stupid motorists.

3. How is the revenue split between the city and the out of state camera operating corporation?

Who fucking cares? The lights are installed to stop asshole drivers from killing and maiming innocent people. If the city/camera company makes money - WHO FUCKING CARES (aside from Dori Monson, Tim Eyman and habitually bad drivers) If the city loses money WHO FUCKING CARES? The right wing assholes who made this issue into "guvmint picking your wallet" rather than the obvious safety issue...DESERVE to have one of their family members mauled by a red light runner.

4. Who can you call into court to dispute that you ran the red light? Can you face your accuser?

Yeah. You get to watch the video online before you even go to court. You can watch the video with the judge. You can bring all your half-retarded friends and family in if you want. But the VIDEO DOESN'T LIE (unless you're one of those trolls who insists the moon landing was staged)

5. Do red light cameras actually make communities safer? I know for me, I'm paranoid of getting a ticket, and because of this I'm a more erratic (less safe and predictable) driver by monitored intersections.

Yes. That is why they are deployed. Your cluelessness on these issues proves how pervasive right wing / libertardian lies have become.
Here is the NPR report Kirby @31 says "will change Goldy's mind":

Study Finds Red Light Cameras Cut Fatal Crashes
February 1, 2011

Red light cameras are helping drivers remember that red means stop and are saving lives, according to a new study out Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study concludes that the cameras have reduced the rate of fatal crashes by 24 percent in 14 large cities that introduced red light cameras between 1996 and 2004.

But Kirby chose to listen to some teabag clown from Wisconsin, instead:

Gary Biller, executive director of the National Motorists Association, a Wisconsin-based drivers' rights organization, disputed the institute's finding that the cameras have reduced deaths. He cited previous studies — questioned by the institute — that found that the cameras increase crashes, including rear-end collisions.

Here's a sections from his hick website:

7 Ways To Shut Down A Speed Trap
This article explains several ways to bring public and private wrath down upon the perpetrators of speed traps.

Conclusion: Kirby is a sucker for right-wing libertardian propaganda.