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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Profiteers

Keeping you safe: HT

At Manchester Avenue and Figueroa Street, accidents more than tripled from five before the cameras were installed to 16 afterwards. Westwood Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard tripled from three to nine. At Rodeo Road and La Brea Avenue, collisions nearly tripled from seven in the six months before the cameras were installed to 20 in the same period afterwards. 

The reason? 

"People see the light flash and they slam on their brakes," Ellison said. "That's just human nature. As a result, more accidents, more rear end accidents." 

That's what happened to Dale Stephens, who knew the yellow light up ahead had a camera.

"Because I had that in the back of my mind I knew I had to stop. And it's so expensive to get a ticket I knew I had to stop. Well they had no inclination to stop," Stephens said. 

"They" are the two cars that hit him from behind. 

Posted by Richard Anderson on November 19, 2009 | Permalink


1. If you are driving so closely behind someone that you cannot stop when they slow down rapidly, then you are driving unsafely close. The rear-ending cars' drivers are at fault and deserve the blame for these accidents.

2. If cars are driving over the speed limit, they are breaking the law to begin with. If they did not speed, there would be no need for sudden breaking and thus no accidents. The speeding driver who slows quickly is to blame for these accidents too.

3. If roads were privately owned, as the libertarians here like to advocate, there is no reason to think that this would be less of a problem. One man's "profiteers" are another man's entrepreneurs.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-11-19 7:07:18 AM

Fact Check, it would be different in a few ways. One is that the state can use trafic laws to be overly heavy handed and intrusive. There is no motivation for private entities to do that. Another, is that with a profit motive, there will be pressure to be resonable, profitable, and efficient. Something the state does not have to do. In any case, I would always prefer money in the hands of a person or a business than the state.

Posted by: TM | 2009-11-19 12:43:28 PM

At Manchester Avenue and Figueroa Street, accidents more than tripled...................
Posted by PUBLIUS on November 19, 2009

Actually if you look at the map of areas that camera's were placed you'll see that in LA the areas where accidents increased is the same as the number that stayed the same or decreased. The accidents in the San Fernando Vally (north) are
all on major boulevards that have much higher speed limits than those in LA.


Posted by: The Stig | 2009-11-19 1:21:22 PM

Contrary to FC's claim getting ticketed due to cameras does not equate to bad driving. I know of several stuck in an intersection with a camera due to the car in front waiting to turn, which resulted in the light changing to yellow and therefore a ticket. Cameras are unable to distinguish between a person running a red light and the situation just described, the more common one of the two.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-11-19 2:30:51 PM

The goal is to reduce accidents. Why not have the lights in all directions turn to red until the intersection is completely clear, at which point the next rotation to green can be initiated. If you want to keep the cameras have a countdown timer, tie the ticket to the car rather than to the driver and assess demerits to the car. After a certain number of demerits, a Denver boot would be applied and the car taken off the road for a specified period.

Posted by: DML | 2009-11-19 10:59:22 PM

Stupid people get exactly what they deserve. Unfortunately laws are designed to protect stupid people. Have you ever seen those cardboard sunshades for windshields? They say do not drive while inserted in windshield. Who needs these directions? This is the dumbest cover-your-ass policy that I have ever seen.

Posted by: Doug Gilchrist | 2009-11-20 9:40:13 AM

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