Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Community News Network

February 27, 2014

Red-light cameras click less as towns get Orwell off roads

The shutters clicked, the grainy photos were sent to the red-light violators and St. Louis raised $4.1 million last year. Now the vehicular version of "Candid Camera" may be ending, as it has in other U.S towns and cities.

A circuit court judge in St. Louis nullified its camera law Feb. 11, two months after a Missouri appeals court judge struck down a similar suburban ordinance. Those rulings have added to the legal and political blowback across the nation against a system whose safety benefits are disputed while its revenue- generating efficiency is not.

"All it is is a money grab," said Joe Brazil, a St. Charles County, Mo., councilman jailed last year for failing to pay a $100 fine in the St. Louis suburb of St. Peters. "It's almost like racketeering. It's not about safety."

Opponents in Missouri, New Jersey and other states are proving that city hall can be defeated with court challenges and political pressure. Even as advocates promote cameras' ability to save lives, the number of communities using them has dropped about 6 percent since 2012 to 509, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va. Lawmakers in five states, including Ohio and Florida, are considering banning or limiting their use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

While drivers have long complained about tickets from real- life police officers, those transactions afford the opportunity for a face-to-face exchange, even if it's often unpleasant. The Orwellian nature of traffic cameras, used in 21 states, has provoked charges they are inaccurate, unconstitutional and fueled solely by the desire of municipalities and camera companies to raise money.

Red-light cameras in Florida alone raised $119 million last year, according to a study released Feb. 7 by the legislatures's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

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Community News Network
  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

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