The deliciously named Los Angeles suburb of El Monte decided to end it’s five year old photo ticketing program. Reason: The cameras failed to produce any reduction in the number of intersection accidents. Actually, the real reason is they failed to increase revenue. It always comes back to the money.
“We’re spending a lot of staff time on this just to gain $2000 a month,” City Manager James W. Mussenden explained. “It doesn’t reduce accidents — that’s what our studies and results have come back.”
El Monte’s decision comes on the heels of San Jose’s similar decision to get rid of their red-light cameras. Good things are happening, people.
A great website regarding red-light cameras in California, Highwayrobbery.net, suggest the loss in revenue could be related to the fact that the city increased the yellow warning time to 3.5 seconds for the left turn movements at the intersection of Peck Road and Ramona Boulevard. The number of tickets dropped from 665 to 265 immediately after that. More proof that increasing yellow lights is good for traffic and can lessen the number of accidents. This directly contradicts what happens in many cities where red-light cameras exist, since they provide an incentive to decrease the yellow light time so they can get more money from tickets.
The Texas Transportation Institute found that increasing the yellow signal time beyond the bare minimum amount can decrease violations by 53 percent. Luckily for the citizen of El Monte, the program didn’t increase revenue, because if it did, officials probably never would have admitted that it doesn’t save lives.
Score one more for logic, reason, freedom, and the American way.