The Daily Pulse:

McElroy Likes Red-Light Cameras

News-Sentinel editor Jack McElroy is stirring a hornets' nest by defending red-light cameras, which are about as well-liked inTennessee as the prospect of an income tax is.

McElroy basically says that these cameras are effective at reducing the number of people who run red lights, and are thus helpful to public safety. He's probably right about that, but that's not the only question in play.

For one, there are probably a number of technologies government could deploy to increase public safety but which would violate citizens' rights, so that's not a justification per se.

Secondly, McElroy doesn't address a big issue surrounding the cameras' use: namely, the outsourcing of government duties to private corporations that do not necessarily care about public safety or laws as much as their bottom lines.
Lawmakers are now raising some good questions about the specifics of red-light camera operation. One proposal from House member Joe McCord of Maryville would institute lesser fines for first time offenses, rather than setting the first fine at $50. Another would extend yellow-light periods to give drivers a greater buffer.

These proposals could help clear up some of the more unseemly aspects of the cameras while preserving the public safety benefits.

But even so, McElroy's not going to make any friends with this argument.

Comments » 1

  • January 19, 2010
  • 3:14 AM
Treyver writes:

The ruling (No. 08-1363 decided January 5, 2009) -— authored by the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Frank H. Easterbrook — resolves the citizen's rights or constitutional issues.

Several Tennessee cities have extended their yellow light, yet red-light violations continue.

These red-light violation fines are not levied against the populace — these fines are levied against red-light, running violators (which I hope are a very, very, very small minority of drivers in Tennessee).

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