A Fair Compromise for Speed Cameras
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Automated speed cameras are slowly coming back in fashion after police traffic stops were reduced during the Black Lives Matter era and lots more drivers and pedestrians then got killed due to worse driving.

From NPR:

Traffic fatalities have risen sharply over the past decade, and safety advocates around the country are desperately searching for anything that will get drivers to slow down. But critics say speed cameras can be a financial burden on those who are least able to pay. …

Police departments in many places have scaled back their traffic enforcement, Adkins says, and speeding and reckless driving seem to be getting worse. He says automated cameras can help fill that void.

“The question is, how do we deploy them in a fair and equitable way with the public support?” Adkins said. “It can’t be a gotcha, it can’t be a surprise.”

Here’s a suggestion: how about every other speed camera must also come with a big sign telling you your speed? I’ve been driving through Beverly Hills a lot lately, and I must say that I appreciate that Beverly Hills put up a big sign on Coldwater Canyon just as you enter their city telling you how many miles per hour you are going. That seems a fair reminder to entering motorists that they’ve got a strong police force and will ticket speeders, so you are given fair warning.

Skeptics say speed cameras are a cash grab

No one likes getting a speeding ticket. But the objections to automated traffic enforcement go deeper than that.

“We are very skeptical that safety is the real goal,” says Jay Beeber, with the National Motorists Association, a driver advocacy group.

There are other ways to get drivers to slow down, Beeber argues, including speed feedback signs that show drivers how fast they’re going in real time.

“There’s many ways to get greater compliance,” Beeber says. But many cities are focused on speeding cameras, “because they do not want to lose the money from the tickets they are issuing.”

Safety advocates have touted automated enforcement as a neutral alternative to police stops, which can be potentially biased by race, and as a way to reduce unnecessary interactions between police and communities of color.

But in practice, that hasn’t always been the case. Studies in Washington, D.C., and Chicago show that tickets from automated enforcement are paid disproportionately by people of color.

“Automated enforcement has become a significant revenue driver for the city,” said Olatunji Oboi Reed, who runs a nonprofit in Chicago called Equiticity. “And it’s financially harmful to Black and brown people.”

For decades, Reed says, Chicago has failed to fix some of the most dangerous intersections, or to redesign roads to discourage speeding and encourage biking or public transportation.

“The only solution we get is automated enforcement,” Reed says. “That’s not a failure of Black people who speed and run red lights. That’s a failure of the transportation sector in Chicago.”

So, why not mandate that 50% of speed cameras giving out tickets have those kinds of big displays to give you a chance to observe the law, while the other 50% are sneakier?

[Comment at Unz.com]

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