While he's at it why doesn't he do something about the passive radar put in airports
to look at naked people, and the infrared devices used to illegally search someones
home without warrants, and the numerous cameras on display throughout the country
spying on us everywhere we go. This is a small issue but indicative of larger more
On Mon, 18 June 2001, Bill Richer wrote:
> -Caveat Lector-
> WJPBR Email News List [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Peace at any cost is a Prelude to War!
> Armey takes on traffic-surveillance cameras
> Lawmaker says cities have shortened yellow lights to raise revenue
> Editor's note: In collaboration with the hard-hitting Washington, D.C.,
> newsweekly Human Events, WorldNetDaily brings you this special report every
> Monday. Readers can subscribe to Human Events through WND's online store.
> By Joseph A. D'Agostino
> © 2001 Human Events
> House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, is crusading against the red-light
> cameras that have sprouted up at intersections around the country, saying
> that they violate constitutional principles and that localities have
> deliberately shortened yellow-light intervals in order to raise revenue.
> Traffic will be safer, said Armey, when local governments increase yellow
> intervals and stop trying to trap motorists in petty red-light violations.
> "We are responsible for protecting people's constitutional rights," Armey
> told Human Events. "We believe that this is an intrusion against people's
> constitutional rights."
> "We have the state legislature in New Jersey that agrees with us," said
> Armey, "and we have the Supreme Court in Alaska that agrees with us. We ought
> to hold some hearings on this."
> No committee has yet committed to holding hearings on Armey's proposal.
> "There's been an evolution of the federal standards and recommendations that
> has moved us away from the time-honored and effective business of using the
> length of the yellow light to ensure safety at intersections," Armey said.
> "We believe that they have consciously done just the opposite of good
> yellow-light policy to increase the stream of revenue."
> "They have not demonstrated any improvement in public well-being because of
> these cameras," Armey added.
> The House Republican leader said he does not want to use federal regulations
> to micromanage states and localities in their use of cameras for issuing
> traffic citations. "I am against that on principle," he said.
> Instead, Armey opposes traffic cameras of any kind, period, as a matter of
> constitutional principle.
> "I have taken the same position with regard to speeding cameras," he said.
> "The problem with electronic surveillance is that you are denied your right
> to face your accuser and you are assumed to be guilty until you have proved
> yourself to be innocent. In fact, you are assumed to be there. A police
> officer has immediate identification of who's driving the car."
> Armey warned that the United States could end up like England.
> "I would say that I could leave my residence in London, travel all around
> town and make three or four stops, and there would be a record of everywhere
> I went. The surveillance there is that thorough," he said.
> Said Armey spokesman Richard Diamond, "The British government has proposed
> increasing the number of tickets issued by cameras from 550,000 to 10 million
> a year." At present, no American municipality is planning to use traffic
> cameras for anything other than red-light running and speeding.
> A report prepared by Armey's office says, "Today's formula for calculating
> yellow times yields yellow times that can in some cases be about 30 percent
> shorter than the older formula." Armey's office collected traffic studies
> from around the country and found that when the yellow-light time increased,
> red-light running decreased. In Mesa, Ariz., for example, the number of
> vehicles entering an intersection on red dropped by 73 percent; in Georgia,
> by 75 percent; at sites in Virginia and Maryland, 77 percent or more,
> including two sites where researchers reported that the red-light running
> problem was "virtually eliminated."
> But lengthening yellow times does not raise revenue.
> Fifty cities in 10 states now use red-light cameras. In 18 months, San
> Diego's 19 cameras have raked in $30 million. West Hollywood, Calif., earns
> $4.9 million annually from its cameras. New York City's 15 cameras made $5.4
> million in their first year.
> San Diego's red-light camera ticketing program suffered a setback this month
> after the city discovered a glitch that meant some motorists may have been
> ticketed unjustly. After a lawsuit was filed in February, discovery turned up
> a "Potential Intersection Worksheet" prepared for the city when it was
> deciding where to install red-light cameras. Five of the potential sites were
> rejected because "long yellow, vio [violator] volume not there." Other noted
> reasons for rejections included "long yellow phase" and "timing clears out
> A copy of an agreement between Mesa and Lockheed Martin, the company with
> which the city contracted to provide its red-light cameras, prohibited the
> city from lengthening yellow times at intersections with Lockheed cameras.
> The contract gave Lockheed a cut of every ticket issued by its cameras.
> Last year, a red-light camera in Washington, D.C., was turned off after the
> local police department admitted that the intersection where it was installed
> was confusing, but not until after over $1 million was raised, most of which
> will not be refunded.
> Shortening of yellow times has not happened around the country through
> coincidence, Armey's report says. The Institute of Transportation Engineers
> (ITE) produces a traffic management handbook that is widely used by local
> governments. The 1985 handbook stated, "When the percent of vehicles that are
> last through the intersection which enter on red exceeds that which is
> locally acceptable (many agencies use a value of 1 to 3 percent), the yellow
> interval should be lengthened until the percentage conforms to local
> standards." By 1994, the "1 to 3 percent" recommendation was edited out, and
> a suggestion that yellow-light intervals might actually be "shortened" was
> inserted. Now the ITE handbook says: "When the percentage of vehicles that
> enter on a red indication exceeds that which is locally acceptable, the
> yellow change interval may be lengthened (or shortened) until the percentage
> conforms to local standards, or enforcement can be used instead."
> In 1976, ITE found that the average intersection where traffic moved at
> approximately 35 mph required 4.64 seconds of time for traffic to clear the
> intersection once the signal changed from green to yellow. The 1999 ITE
> formula recommends 3.8 seconds of yellow light time.
> Diamond said that studies purporting to show that red-light cameras reduce
> accidents are flawed.
> "They don't even track changes in yellow-light times to see if that is what
> causes reductions in accidents," he said.
> The most comprehensive study produced on the effect of red-light cameras was
> done by the Australian Road Research Board, which concluded in 1995 after ten
> years of monitoring intersections, "This study suggests that the installation
> of the RLC [red-light camera] at these sites did not provide any reduction in
> accidents, rather there have been increases in rear end and adjacent
> approaches accidents."
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