Speed cameras and red light cameras: Good or bad?

There are various thoughts about the effectiveness and fairness of speed trap or red light cameras. Some find them invasive. Some say, hey, if you don’t break the law, there’s nothing to worry about. The cameras aren’t something you can argue with easily, so perhaps that’s the beef with them. If you get caught, in general, you pay.

Here’s a case in point: About two years ago there was a photo of our car at a traffic light that arrived in the mail. Yep, either my husband or I were turning from 5th Street onto 4th Avenue in Columbus, Ohio and were snagged by the red-light camera. Neither of us are the type who speed through yellow lights, but on this day, either we turned into that person, or we had pulled into the intersection waiting to make the turn left once traffic passed. It was rush hour. While one of us was in the intersection, the light turned red.

Neither of us are claiming blame since we really can’t remember who was driving the car. Honest. Regardless, we sent in the money and I’m extra careful at that intersection. Not, that I’m not careful at any intersection, but I have it in my head to not take any chances at THAT intersection in particular.

Columbus installed these cameras to make certain intersections safer. Frankly, there are a couple that I think could use one. Some say that they are just revenue boosters for the city.

That’s what some are saying in Arizona, as well, according to this article. Although in Arizona, it’s the speed cameras that are causing a bit of an uproar. In Arizona, speed cameras are along certain sections of highway. Motorists aren’t happy because they say the camera makes people suddenly slow down too much when they see one. That makes it dangerous for everyone else.

In Ohio, that happens along I-71 whenever people see a police car in an emergency vehicle turn around lane. This is more of a scenario on the stretch from Mansfield to Cleveland, if you happen to be traveling on I-71. I see the police cars as friendly reminders. The speed trap in this photo was taken in Alaska.

If Arizona drivers are anything like those on the highways in Ohio, I can see why some might complain about speeders. It’s like being in the Indy 500 sometimes.

If the speed cameras give out tickets when a person is just going a few miles over the speed limit, I can see why that might make people a bit miffed. Who hasn’t gone over the speed limit when trying to pass a particularly slow car, or out of boredom on long stretches of road when the foot feels a bit heavy? Yes, I do know there’s a certain item called “cruise control.”

Also, there’s a difference between going a few miles over the speed limit and twenty. Perhaps that’s the trouble. In Arizona speeding costs a motorist $185. That is steep if you are only five miles above the limit. Because so many people are complaining, the cameras on state highways and state roads might be taken away, although maybe not for two years. The contractor who installed them needs to be paid.

If you’re in Arizona, keep your eye out for the cameras. They’re watching you. They’re also watching you along highways in other parts of the world. The complaints about them there are the same. This photo shows a speed camera in Brasilia.

By the way, the photo of our red light mishap didn’t show who was driving, and the video that I was directed to where I could see the incident didn’t show the traffic light. It also didn’t show if whoever was driving was stopped at the intersection before proceeding. Both of these are common complaints about what is wrong with some red light and speed camera systems.

Traffic Enforcement Camera at Wikipedia presents extensive details about the issues and statistics regarding accident reduction that are attributed to both camera types.


Insults against religion in Italy can get you jail time: Just ask Italian comedienne

I just heard about the Italian comedienne who is facing jail time in Italy for insulting the pope. In Italy, there are laws against insulting religion. If you tell a joke that is against the pope, it can land you in hot water.

According to the story, Italian comedienne, Sabina Guzzanti, a presenter at a rally in Rome this past July, made a joke about what could happen in the after-life to popes who are against gay rights. Now she is facing five years in jail.

Italy is not the only country where people mind their Ps and Qs when talking about certain people and regulations or habits are in place to command respect.

In Thailand, for example, before each movie, there is an ode to the king before the feature film. The audience members stand throughout the king’s anthem and photo montage of images depicting aspects of his life. There isn’t a law that says you have to stand, but everyone does–even tourists like me.

If you don’t stand for the king before a movie, you may feel a bit silly sitting in a sea of waists and legs, but that’s about the worst that can happen, I imagine. If you head to Italy, it seems like when it comes to religion, follow the adage, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

[Here’s an article I came across about the habit of standing up in movies to pay tribute to the king.]