Why are we not all “up in arms” at the current push for traffic enforcement cameras at intersections? Here I speak as a major traffic criminal who has a very clean record for driving and yet, in my travels, I have managed to have three of these lovely infractions under my belt. I am putting it out there that I am, in fact, not guilty of the three infractions that I currently own. In each situation, I have erred, yes, but in each case there was a special factor that is not being considered by the “traffic camera.” There is something inherently wrong in a situation that is totally judged by a technological moment. I love technology but this is an inappropriate use of technology that actually could be good with a human touch. Even without the human touch, is there any excuse for a lack of response by the people receiving our monies when we contact them to point out our side in these situations? They just take our money, it certainly is the scam of the current decade and despite the outcries, I have recently seen more and more of them. My most current infraction, on Michael’s birthday was in an intersection where I had no idea that a right turn on red is wrong. I have been using this intersection for years, to the point where I did not observe the signs saying that a right turn on red was illegal (honestly, it doesn’t make sense to me) and I didn’t see the sign about the cameras being present. As I wrote the check yesterday, I saw that the Northfield, Illinois infraction’s payment was even being sent to Cleveland, Ohio. Interesting!
I philosophically understand the frustration of the various municipalities regarding the reasons for installing these technological monsters. I also, philosophically, have a major bone to pick with them because I think that they are opening Pandora’s box as they scam to fill their coffers with cash. Has anyone checked the statistics to see whether or not the good drivers or the criminals are getting the tickets?
My first infraction was on Cicero Avenue just north of Midway airport on a dark, icy, rainy night. I was driving at normal speed in very icy conditions. At that time, I wasn’t aware (as I found out later) that in the “Photo Enforcement Zones,” that the timing of the “yellow light” was different. It was shorter than normal, yet within the legal timing allowed. I learned that, for example, in New York City the yellow light always has this “shorter” span of display, but not here. Here, when we “photo enforce” it is shorter. I saw the situation that icy night, and knew that if I stopped my car as they wanted that I would have slid through the intersection and collided with vehicles, so I went through the “shortened” yellow light…which apparently became red. Since no human discussion of the situation occurs, $100 goes into the coffers, period.
My second was in St. Louis on a misty evening when I was just arriving and searching the area for my hotel, an area that was a spider web maze of roads and odd turns near the airport. I saw what I needed to do and made my turn just as I saw the sign about “photo enforcement” and realized that I was too far in the intersection for my left hand turn, hence I needed to get myself out of there. Another ticket, another $100 for a municipality. I was infuriated! I wrote a long detailed letter that I even thought of posting. Obviously it was just thrown out, they don’t care, they just want their $100!
My third was, as mentioned before. My middle son told me I should contest it, and I really should, but at my age I understand the reality of corruption and scamming and I realize that it is to no avail until we are all up in arms and do something about this. That is a sad statement but true. I decided that perhaps my vehicle of complaint might be this blog. Let’s all do something about this. As my son reminds me, people are going to scam their way out of this one. People might well be barreling faster through these intersections and/or cause more accidents. That does not make me happy. The intersection, by the way, is where Waukegan and Willow Roads connect.
As we drove north to see Michael in his rehab clinic the other day, I noticed at least three more of these intersections. When is this going to stop?