The National Motorists Association is betting communities around the country $10,000 they can make intersections safer than red light cameras.
The group is prepared to pay a bounty to any community where it cannot reduce the number of tickets at an intersection by at least 50 percent, according to a release issued Monday.
If a community loses the challenge, it is obliged to remove its red light cameras.
Traffic safety, including making traffic signals more visible, marking lanes better, setting yellow-light durations properly and brief all-red-light delays is preferable to a moneymaking scheme, Gary Biller, the group’s executive director, says.
"A true traffic safety program will result in decreased accident rates over time. But red-light cameras are a for-profit proposition for the cities and camera companies, one that depends on an ongoing, steady stream of photo citations,” Biller says. “If city officials are truly interested in the safety of their citizens, they should look at solutions that work rather than just collect money from traffic tickets."
While red light cameras have been embraced by local officials - more than five dozen Texas cities including Austin, Fort Worth and Arlington employ them - voters in Houston and elsewhere have rejected them.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.
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Photo of red light camera sign by flickr user fringehog, used via a Creative Commons license.