You may know neighbors, friends and coworkers who have no problem with red light cameras. “They prevent accidents,” these people will say, or “They enforce safe driving.” Once settled on that viewpoint, they go about their lives with no thought to the cameras pointed at their car as they drive through intersections– unless they get flashed of course. Even then, people with this attitude will likely complain and swear at the red light cameras, and then they’ll pay the ticket or ignore it and go back to their lives. What these people need to do is start taking things a step further. We need to ask ourselves what red light cameras are really in place for, and whether or not their placement infringes on our God-given liberty and natural human rights.
Local governments will spout out feel-good quotes about how red light cameras prevent accidents and make people drive safely. Red light cameras may reduce the number of people who run a red light at a particular intersection and the likelihood of a t-bone accident. However, what the government doesn’t tell you is that red light cameras increase the likelihood of a rear end accident as people slam on their breaks at a yellow light to avoid getting a ticket. While some rear end accidents can be minor fender benders, it can obviously get much worse with bodily injury, a car being totaled, or even the car being pushed out into the intersection and into the path of greater destruction. Plus, anyone who has been driving at night and has been close to one of those cameras when it flashes – through no fault of yours in some cases – that light can be extremely bright and disorienting. Depending on the driver, this seemingly harmless component of red light cameras can prove dangerous.
Now let’s think about the government’s statement that red light cameras force people to drive more safely. Perhaps this is so, but at what price? Do you want cameras monitoring you as you go through main intersections in your town? What if you let your friend borrow your car, and your friend ends up running a red light? There is no due process with red light cameras. One of our main civil liberties is shelved because all you receive is a ticket in the mail that you are expected to pay, whether you were the one actually driving the car or not. You may be able to take steps to reverse the charge (assuming your city allows such an option), but you have to go through a lot of government red tape to do it!
And after all, what are these red light cameras really put up at intersections to do? Prevent accidents? Perhaps. Enforce safe driving? It is possible. Fund the local government and use up taxpayer money at the expense of liberty? Yes, that is much more likely. To increase the prevalence of the Nanny State while spouting that it’s for the citizens’ own good? Yes, indeed! Plus, by using ticket revenue to fund the local government, you get the added bonus that this increase in revenue does nothing to prevent too much government spending. If all they have to do is tax the citizens to get more money, they have no incentive to curb spending and actually work within a budget like most working class Americans have to do on a daily basis, which means even more money can be taken out of your paycheck and bank account than there already is.
So how can you prevent the loss of God-given liberty and the sort of greed scripture warns about? Be proactive and be prepared. If there are already red light cameras set up in your town, find alternative routes that don’t put you within their gaze. If your city is planning to put up red light cameras, get out there on the front lines, go to city council meetings and voice your concerns. Even if all the city council members see is dollar signs, at least you have made a stand and did what you could to protect liberty, privacy and what is right in a worsening, apathetic world.