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Old 2008-02-08
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Exclamation Speed Cameras: Harming the Bill of Rights, Civil Liberties, and Freedoms

Speed Cameras: Harming our Bill of Rights, Civil Liberties, and Freedoms

There are many supporting reports floating around on the Internet, sponsored by for profit foreign multi-national corporations based within societies with don't have our same historical perspectives or share our values of individual freedom.

These sponsored reports, generally conclude that the use of photo radar speed cameras, red light cameras (speed on green cameras), and other automated photo enforcement ticketing/citation systems, result in improved highway safety and reduced traffic accidents.

Sounds like a nobel cause, indeed, that is until you look further into the "unintended" side-effects that these photo enforcement systems have on our society at large.

These photo enforcement and insurance industries which support these conclusions fail to consider far more important alternative positive contributing factors which server to improve highway safety.

Many of the improvements to highway safety come from the automotive industry's voluntary improvements to their vehicles. In the last twenty years, automotive manufactures have fabricated cars and trucks that sport improved structural designs, ABS braking systems, improved suspensions, and computer controlled dynamic stability, to name just a free. We've also seen vast improvements by the supporting manufacturers, such as tire companies, brake systems, illumination systems. The primary driving factors in these improvements, which significantly enhance driver safety, is the intention competition between brands.

The reports also ignore the major contributing factor to vehicular accidents (either vehicle/vehicle or vehicle/pedestrian): increased driver distraction and inattentiveness (from the increased use of multi-media devices and cell phones).

And, finally, the most egregious omission from these reports are the corrosive effects speed camera photo enforcement has on an individual's Civil Liberties.

Bottom Line: When one closely examines the dollars/versus "lives saved" (even using the speed camera industry's own inflated/exaggerate estimates), it's an inescapable conclusion that speed cameras, red light cameras, and other automated photo enforcement systems are the most inefficient "enforcement" deterrent systems ever devised: great for the shareholders and the fiscally irresponsible and indebted local and state governments which implement them, but extremely poor for everyone else.

Doing some simple number crunching using their revenue projections of one company's Investor Guide, they are projecting a market potential of roughly 15 billion dollars annually. And that is before we factor in the additional revenue stream potential created by the automated enforcement of owner vehicle registration of which these systems are also capable.

That economic impact translates to $30,000,000 per lived saved, $167,000 per injury averted, and $150,000 per accident avoided! Yes, you read that right. Furthermore, if their optimistic correlations don't hold-up (they can't) these figures increase more into the stratosphere. (Imagine $100,000,000 per life saved!!!) Surely, we can put $100,000,000 (that's right 100 million dollars to save more live than merely implementing speed cameras, red light cameras, speed on green cameras.)

Think how many children can be educated with $100M. How may people without health insurance could be treated. How we could use this money to improve our country's roadways and commuter-rail systems. Now that is something I would support in a heart beat. Imagine the potential number of lives we could save with these approaches, plus we'd get the added benefits of reduced carbon emissions and less congested roadways.

There are very simple and cost efficient ways to improve roadway safety. To name just one, re-timing red light cameras has the potential to reduce intersection accidents at a far higher rate while actually making them safer, instead of shortening them to pop the ticket issuance rate (increase revenue) and actually make the intersections much more dangerous whether you are red light runner or not.

Of course, there are better and more sensible alternatives to turning this great country into an Orwellian totalitarianistic society.

Remember, when you form an opinion on the increased use of photo radar speed cameras in the U.S., please recall these patriotic ideas:

"Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons." Ron Paul, Texas Straight Talk, April 23, 2007

This battle to preserve our Civil Liberties
will most likely intially play out in the court of informed public opinion and then our courts.

If, like me, you find these speed cameras and red light cameras as patently offensive to our freedoms, as I do, please join the fight to preserve our freedoms, before it's too late. Get involved! Join the NMA. Contact you local and state representatives and tell them to vote NO to these systems.

Remember, this is an election year...
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