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Red Light Cameras

People have mixed feelings about red light and speed zone cameras. Most of us hated them when they were first installed. I paid several $124 fines before I learned to be careful.

Mukilteo voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that requires a public vote before any red light or speed zone camera is installed there. The Mukilteo law limits camera fines to no more than the least-expensive parking ticket.RedLightCamera-warning-sign

We used to make right hand turns at 196th by the Convention Center without coming to a full stop. We had to change our behavior. We used to cruse past Lynnwood Elementary School at 25 miles per hour. No more.

There was a problem with the speed zone camera in front of Lynnwood Elementary School, and that was that you were almost in the speed zone by the time the warning light was apparent. Also the camera was working even when the children were in class and not anywhere near the street.

An advantage of such cameras is that they can be situated in locations where there is a speeding problem or where people commonly make right turns without stopping, especially in high pedestrian traffic areas. Another advantage is that police personnel are freed up to take care of other law enforcement activities and do not have to go speeding after violators.

Most of the people I talk with say that over time they have gotten used to these cameras.

The saving grace of the cameras is that camera violations are not reported to the State Patrol and are not registered against your record. For that reason camera violations do not raise your insurance rates.

My only objection to such cameras is that the $124 fine seems high in relation to the amount of labor involved in identifying the violation and collecting the fee. It is certainly less work than when a police officer has to stop a person and write up a ticket. I would think that a smaller fine would teach people a lesson just as well as a $124 fine.


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