Monday, February 18, 2008

Red Light Cameras - Safety or Money?

A couple of years ago I was forced to pay three Red Light Camera tickets even though I was not driving the car that was ticketed. The car was registered to me and that's all that mattered to the city that issued the tickets. This motivated me to search for a way to protect myself from unjust tickets.

If you don't have Red Light Cameras in a city near you, it will only be a matter of time before they sprout up like weeds in the cracks of your driveway.

Cities have discovered the "cash machines" that are Red Light Cameras. The private companies that make the cameras will put them in for "free" and give the city a small portion of the money. The city can just sit back and watch the money roll in without any effort on their part. The Red Light Camera company gets a cash bonanza!

Some intersections have dual purpose cameras that can ticket you for the red light and your speed. So if you go through the intersection above the speed limit you could be facing two tickets. Some portable speed cameras can be loaded into vans that can pop up on any street without warning.

By the way, you don't have to be driving your car to get the ticket (see above.) The cameras only take a picture of the license plate of the car. If you loan your car out to a friend or relative you could get a nasty-gram from the city ordering you to pay anywhere from $100 to $400.

Toledo, Ohio started out with just a few cameras, now they have twenty-six and just increased the fines so they could generate more revenue. This small city is planning on reaping a 2.5 million dollar windfall from the cameras.

Here's what they don't tell you about the cameras:
  • Despite all the rhetoric "it is all about the money."
  • Some cities have shortened the length of yellow lights to boost revenues.
  • Statistics show that at some intersections rear end accidents have actually gone up.
  • The cameras can WRONGLY target you for a ticket.
  • Getting out of the ticket is made as difficult as possible by the city.
  • Private companies are profiting from law enforcement.
So what can you do to avoid feeding the revenue machine? There are a number of methods to keep from becoming a victim of Red Light Camera greed.

First and foremost drive safely. With that being said we have all approached an intersection at the legal speed limit when the light changes suddenly and a severe stop would have to be made to avoid going through the light. So do you slam on the brakes and hope the guy behind you can stop?

One way to protect yourself from unwarranted tickets is to use products that make it nearly impossible for the cameras to read your license plate. For instance PhotoBlocker™ spray can treat your license plate with a specially formulated high gloss finish that will over expose the photo and make your license number virtually invisible.

This coating does not cover or obscure the license number to normal vision. In fact you really can't even tell that the license plate has been treated. But the high power flash from the Red Light Camera will cause the license number to "wash out" and be unreadable.

Also available is a license plate cover that looks perfectly normal to the eye but distorts or reflects the light from the camera.

Increasingly popular are GPS devices or radar detectors that incorporate GPS, that will warn you when you are approaching a Red Light Camera. These can be used in conjunction with the PhotoBlocker™ spray or license plate covers to provide maximum protection.

For more information on these products click the link below:

Stop the greed and Zap the Red Light Cameras

The PhotoBlocker™ Spray

How does PhotoBlocker Spray work?

A majority of red light & speed cameras utilize a strong flash to photograph the license plate on your car. Once sprayed on your license plate, PhotoBlocker’s special formula produces a high-powered gloss that reflects the flash back towards the camera. This overexposes the image of your license plate, rendering the picture unreadable (see picture on right.) With PhotoBlocker, your license plate is invisible to traffic cameras yet completely legible to the naked eye.

Q. What types of Cameras do PhotoBlocker Spray™, PhotoShield™ and the Reflector™ Defeat? A. Our products are designed to protect you from unjust tickets issued by most types of red light, speed and photo radar cameras.

Q. Is this product legal? A. The laws in most countries require your license plate only be legible to the naked eye. PhotoBlocker™ Spray is a high gloss, clear reflective spray that is undetectable. It causes neither distortion nor obstruction to your license plate’s view. YOUR LICENSE PLATE WILL BE VISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE.

Red Light Cameras: Safety vs. Revenue


Red Light Cameras: Safety vs. Revenue

Red Light Cameras are promoted as safety devices but opponents point to accident statistics that would seem to contradict this view.

Toledo, Ohio

Touting the safety benefits of red light cameras, Toledo City Council voted to increase fines for red light violations from $95 to $120. The City will also receive a larger share of the fines from Redflex Traffic Systems, an Arizona subsidiary of an Australian company that installed and operates the digital cameras. In all, Toledo expects to increase red light camera revenues from the current $600,000 to $2.5 million per year.

The mayor of Toledo, Carty Finkbeiner, defended the cameras as a means to reduce accidents. Critics of the cameras cite increased rear-end collisions at some intersections and the lack of due process as reasons to scrap the program.
Lubbock, Texas recently shut down their red light camera program after seeing an increase in rear-end accidents at intersections with cameras. Costa Mesa, California experienced a near doubling in the rate of rear-end accidents at some intersections after red light cameras were installed.

A long-term study done in Australia (Andreassen, 1995) found no overall decrease in accidents resulting from red light cameras.

Though studies suggest that increasing the duration of yellow lights would be more effective in preventing accidents, some cities have actually done the opposite to increase the number of tickets issued. The American Automobile Association withdrew its support of Washington DC’s red light camera system due to the shortening of yellow lights and the City’s emphasis on revenue generation.

“Toledo is focusing on the revenue aspect of the red light cameras while ignoring engineering changes that will truly make the intersections safer for drivers,” said Tom Miller of

Others say that the system puts due process on its ear by targeting the owner of the vehicle rather than the driver. The vehicle owner is assumed guilty and must prove his or her innocence without the ability to face their accuser in court.

With the current explosion of the use of red light cameras the debate over safety vs. revenue will likely continue to heat up. Some wonder whether the cities will ignore the accident statistics in favor of the revenues generated. was founded to help motorists protect themselves from unwarranted and unjust tickets.
My Zimbio
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