letter to the editor

Eyesores, increase accidents: red-light cameras

I have been dismayed to see the scourge of red-light cameras appearing along Kingston Pike (now at Smith Road, Concord Road, Lovell Road). I recently moved my family here from the Chicago suburbs largely to avoid bad politics.

But amazingly, one thing most communities there got right was to remove these things. Not only are they an eyesore, it is well documented that they increase accidents at intersections due to nervous and unpredictable behavior in response to changing lights.

University studies in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia have documented this, to name a few — easy to find online. Yet municipalities ignore this and install them as an easy revenue generator and a means to automate their police force. I won’t go into the kickbacks that the private companies managing these systems often receive, or how they are incentivised — you can find that online, too.

Kingston Pike is a race track and should be better patrolled. But the right way to do that is through well-paid, well-trained police officers able to make judgment calls and judiciously issue tickets that attach to individual driving records.

The wrong way is to use a cheap camera box snapping pictures of cars with nameless drivers based on what a sensor tells it to do.

Mike Turner, Farragut