Why Speed Cameras have the opposite effect.

First post of the New Year. And it’s a Rant!

New Years Eve was a bit of a bust for me – first my iPhone 3g breaks (the screen shattered at Paradise Bakery. Great) and then I find that the new job won’t start when it’s supposed to and I have to figure out how to survive till it does. More Great.

Anyway – to the subject in hand.

They’ve just installed 3 speed cameras on route 60 here in Mesa / Tempe. This the main road you take to get into Phoenix and they are located right before cars join the express way via slip roads.

I hate speed cameras – it’s just such a transparent opportunity to gain revenue from drivers – it’s not about slowing things down (although lots of bullshit stats are trotted out on these things – the claim is “accidents are down”. Well yeah, accidents are down across the country. It’s not because you’ve decided to stick a few cameras in very isolated spots on Route 60.), it’s purely about money. I was at traffic school with one of the Tempe city planners last year and she was mentioning to me on a coffee break that they put the cameras where they’ll make the most money, not where they are required because of accidents. There you go then.

The net effect of these things is that regular drivers learn where they are and just slow down when they are right there at them, then immediately speed up right after they’ve passed by them. Studies with speed bumps have already shown that the average speed of drivers actually increases because of things like this because people are so pissed off with the interruption to traffic flow that they actively stamp on the gas immediately after passing these things just to make a point.

Lastly one other thing these things do is that the highway patrol tends not to patrol as much in these area’s because there are speed camera’s and they slow people down anyway right? So the net effect is drivers speeds actually go up and there are less cops around to actually deal with those who should be dealt with. All in the name of Tempe and Mesa making more money from drivers.

Well done City Councils. Brilliant work. Perhaps next we can build a few more coal driven power stations and make green house gas emissions higher too?

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