Letter: Speed cameras won’t make Roosevelt Boulevard safer

    The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s call for speed cameras on [Roosevelt] Boulevard is the same old statist disinformation. Nowhere has this been more destructive than in the area of highway safety.

    Adding failure on top of failure is the usual response of willfully ignorant politicians when big money is at stake.  Accident rates have not improved in Washington, D.C., after issuing $500 million in speed and red light camera tickets over a period of 10 years. A private study of the effect of speed cameras in Thames Valley, England, over 15 years concluded that the devices failed to produce a measurable safety benefit. In Philadelphia, 10 years’ worth of data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation show traffic has become less safe as accidents have increased at intersections using red light ticket cameras.

    Still, the Inquirer and Senator Michael J. Stack, with SB 1211, continue to exploit a family’s misery over a tragic accident that could not have been prevented with cameras in order to foist a failed fraudulent technology on motorists. Plus the fact that they selectively use accident statistics to scare the public when the Boulevard is no more dangerous than any other highway when deaths per mile traveled are examined. But then, streams of money run in the opposite way from the truth.

    Lengthening yellow light duration and comprehensively synchronizing signals to 40 miles per hour on the Boulevard would reduce accidents and curtail the “speeding.” But that doesn’t generate profit, tax revenue, and campaign contributions for the camera promoters. Didn’t the Inquirer recently call for the re-thinking of the red light ticket cameras? Then why do they call for speed cameras now?

    Consequences are the truest test of any policy. And ugly experience teaches a powerful lesson: Most of the time government is far better at hurting than helping its citizens. Nowhere is this truer than with photo traffic enforcement for profit. Defeat SB 1211 and ban camera enforcement in Pennsylvania for safer streets.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.