Commentary: Finding a Middle Ground on Traffic Cameras
The State Legislature has essentially killed a bill that would have done away with the much-maligned red light/traffic cameras. House Bill 160 byRep. Jeff Arnold (D-Algiers) was the first of five which sought to either eliminate or place restrictions on the implementation of these cameras.
While proponents of the cameras have repeated the chorus that they make our streets safer, it doesn’t take a cynic to determine the underlying motivation behind their installation. That being said, Professor Jeffrey Sadow, who operates the blog Between the Lines, posits a very compelling compromise between the two factions.
If these cameras are going to stick around, and it looks as though they are, then the municipal governments which use them should do so properly and effectively. If they are truly concerned about driver safety, then Sadow argues (and I concur), that the fines accumulated should, for example, be directed towards funding driver’s education programs or subsidizing schools which use driver’s ed. Collected money should not be going into a general fund, used to “offset … additional administrative and legal costs…, or worse, line the pockets of various officials and bureaucrats.
Of course, this is Louisiana, so to put it euphemistically, it is often uncertain how taxpayers’ money is being spent. This entails internal auditing and transparency of record so that the public can see how their collected money is being used and whether traffic cameras are actually benefiting us.