- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 7, 2004

A committee in the Virginia House of Delegates has killed a bill that would have expanded red-light traffic cameras statewide. The Virginia Senate, which passed the pro-traffic-camera bill that the House rejected, has also voted to extend pilot programs that allow traffic cameras in some areas. The test cases are set to expire next year. If the House rejects the extension bill, traffic cameras will be banished from the Old Dominion. That would be progress.

There are similar movements rising up across America. Thus far, traffic-camera supporters have set the parameters of the debate. The insurance industry, for example, suggests that privacy concerns form the only argument against the programs. The inherent violation of privacy is a serious problem, in that there is no proof that a ticketed motorist was driving at the time, a driver doesn’t get to confront his accuser and, in general, Americans don’t expect to have government cameras following their every move. But equally important is that traffic cameras simply do not work. They increase rear-end collisions as more motorists slam on their brakes haphazardly.

If the goal is to increase road safety, the National Motorists Association advocates adding one second to yellow lights, which can decrease red-light violations by 90 percent. The problem is that traffic cameras are not about safety. They are about revenue — and they bring in a lot of money.

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