Thursday, June 19, 2008

Houston We Have a Problem

Okay, so I’ve reference a familiar phrase; maybe it got you’re attention. According to a Houston Chronicle article, City Council met this week and determined to add 125 more red light cameras to increase revenue. You might recall the supposed reason for installing the original set of red light cameras was for the safety of the driving public; if you believed that one I have some land in West Texas up for sale. The driving force is now, and always has been, creating revenue.

“Councilman James Rodriguez asked for the budget amendment, arguing that red-light cameras are good sources of revenue, and the money can be used to put more police on the streets.”

Just as surely as the sky is blue, City Council will always need more money than has been collected. Put this down in your book of things to come; in the not too distant future City Council will ask for a study on remote cameras that ticket drivers for exceeding the speed limit. A private firm will be paid a huge sum of money to justify installing a handful of speed trap test cameras, to make the roads safer (in large print); and to raise revenue (in fine print). Conflicting data will support the notion that drivers slowed down at some locations; but revenue definitely increased.

City Council will approve the installation of several more speed trap ticket cameras and begin the next phase of permanent installations across the board. Speed trap ticket cameras will spring up all over the city and the money will roll in like a tsunami; enough to drown us in money.

Eventually City Council will find a private firm with a technologically advanced gadget to be installed in every vehicle operating within the Houston metropolitan area, a device which records each and every violation and sends the data to a central processing office; don’t laugh, rental car agencies are already using this technology. Tickets will no longer be issued due to the mountains of paper required; instead a monthly bill showing the accumulated infractions, all of which carry incremental fees, will be sent out. Drivers who neglect to pay will have their vehicle booted or confiscated until such time as the debt is paid.

The picture with the posted speed came from, a company which sells similar devices. I have no idea if they’re involved with camera enforcement or not, I needed a visual reminder; but here’s a line from their website:

“Finally, an easy to operate driver feedback sign for neighborhoods, school zones, parks, daycare areas, churches, or anyplace where traffic tends to zoom past a safe rate of speed. The radarsign is built to alert motorists, and tests show over and over, that speeders WILL slow down. Typical speed reductions are 8-15%, and overall compliance with the posted speed limit will go up by 30-60%.”

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