Like we all need one more reason to love Congressman Ed Perlmutter. The hero people’s-rep today introduced a bill in the U.S. House that would ban the use of red-light cameras across the whole country.
Go, Ed, go.
Please, start here in Aurora. This paper is no fan of the funky contraptions designed only to rake in cash for cities and inflict tight grips and sphincters upon unlucky motorists who see the flash of light pass before their eyes and car windshields all across the country. Our own state lawmakers hasn’t found the temerity to take on such a substantial line-item budget number in almost every state in Colorado — Aurora included.
It’s hard to see how he could gain any traction on a bill like this since relatively mundane traffic matters are the purview of states. But, hey, Perlmutter is a lawyer, and like President Lincoln said, anything is possible with public sentiment, and impossible without it. And if you ask most folks, they’re seeing plenty of red over the damned things. They immediately bring the overwhelming question to mind when jerks are behind the wheel all over the country, “Where’s a cop when you need one?” Sitting on the other side of the camera, folks.
It takes a brave man to lift a finger to the camera as you pass by, or to naysayers on the U.S. House floor, or to finally do something in Congress that actually needs to be done.
Go, Ed, go.
— Dave Perry, editor
Here’s the release:
Perlmutter Introduces Legislation To Ban Red-Light And Radar Speeding Cameras
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) introduced the “Prohibiting Automated Traffic Enforcement Act of 2015” to prohibit states, cities or other local governmental entities from utilizing automated red-light and radar speeding cameras for traffic enforcement purposes. The legislation includes an exception in school zones and work-construction zones. Automated traffic enforcement cameras have not sufficiently proven to reduce traffic safety and are primarily being used to generate revenue for municipalities to fill budget gaps.
“Police officers are the only sure way to apprehend seriously impaired, reckless or other dangerous drivers,” said Rep. Perlmutter. “All of us are concerned with reducing accidents and reckless driving but it is not evident photo radar cameras improve highway safety, reduce accidents or improve traffic flow.”
States across the country are implementing laws to curb or ban the use of automated traffic enforcement including Mississippi, New Jersey, and Maine among others. Several other states, including Colorado, are currently debating state legislation to curb their use.
“Automated traffic technology should be used for improving public safety purposes rather than local governments relying on these devices to generate revenue. My constituents tell me these cameras are excessive and seem to do little to improve public safety,” continued Perlmutter.
In August 2013, the University of Tennessee produced a study, titled “Some Measures for Sustaining Red Light Camera Programs and Their Negative Impacts”, looking at data from existing research on traffic at intersections in counties and states. The study found there is no consensus on whether cameras actually increase traffic safety, citing “dual, conflicting purposes” in the system. Additionally, Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher noted in recent testimony before the State Affairs Committee at the Colorado State Legislature, the City of Denver “cannot demonstrate that either program has had a tangible impact on improving public safety.”