Outsourced Automated Traffic Tickets Pit Safety Against Profit
And you can bet safety is the more likely loser.
AP says that one out of every five Americans lives in a community that pays a for-profit company to install and operate cameras that record traffic violations. That’s 700 communities in nearly half the states have for-profit deals. USA Today:
Some contracts restrict police from doing things like lengthening the yellow signal and leave taxpayers holding the bag if the contracts are terminated early, says the report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the federation of state public interest research groups.
“The most problematic contracts require cities to share revenue with the camera vendor on a per-ticket basis or through other formulas as a percentage of revenue,” the group says. “In other words, the more tickets a camera system issues, the more profit the vendor collects.”
“It just creates this really broad incentive to fine as many people as you can,” says Phineas Baxandall, a co-author of the report. “That’s not a good safety model.”
It certainly undermines the claim that the goal is to increase safety through compliance. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety threads the needle:
Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a proponent of automated enforcement, says cameras “are a highly effective way to reduce red-light running and reduce crashes, especially serious crashes, at intersections. … The most effective program would be one where no tickets would be issued because no one is running a red light.”
for the moment I’m not finding a link to the actual report.