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Ticket Cameras in Buffalo

Ticket cameras. Politicians love them because it’s an easy sell to the safety advocates, and if you say you’re against them, then you must be a criminal. Now at least some Buffalo politicians, such as Mayor Brown, are on the red light camera bandwagon. However, the mayor may have played his hand too early by already planning how to spend the money from the not-yet-approved by the Common Council cameras, forcing him to quickly revise his budgetary wet dreams to ease tensions with the Common Council.

Despite the safety claims, study after study shows they are an ineffective safety tool and increase rear-end collisions at intersections. The National Motorists Association has compiled a collection of studies and written a large collection of articles on the subject. Some communities that have installed red light cameras have also tried shortening yellow light times to increase tickets, as well as various other frauds that were introduced. Ticket cameras also ticket the owner of the car, not the person driving, which gave some enterprising pranksters the idea to simply print out their own fake license plates with the number of someone they had it in for, and then tape it over their own license plate and proceed to drive through some red lights. Funny! Unless you’re on the receiving end and now have to waste your time trying to fight the ticket.

There are far more effective ways to improve safety and traffic flow at the same time, such as synchronizing lights in the city. But those don’t have the appeal of being a new revenue stream. Think I’m wrong? Take any article written about the red light cameras and show me where the politicians trying to bring them in talk about a target number of reduced accidents instead of a target amount of dollars they’ll bring in.

For those opposed to the idea of red light cameras in Buffalo, there’s a group on Facebook that is planning a protest in front of City Hall Thursday May 21st at 3:00pm.

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