By Noah Dawson
Amarillo's city council has again displayed its lack of interest in public safety. At the council meeting yesterday, the an ordinance related to red light cameras was passed, which seems to indicate the city is maneuvering to add teeth to the already dangerous program.
Several studies have shown that red light cameras harm public safety, causing more accidents than they prevent. Though running red lights is definitely a problem, the cameras are not a solution.
I've seen it myself, with cars either slamming on their brakes or speeding through intersections to avoid getting tickets. Now, the problem will likely become worse, as the city is looking to give more bite to the bark of the program. Previously, many people who had received fines under the program have ignored the fines with what seemed to be no repercussions. That will soon change, as the city has begun to lay the groundwork to add further penalties the system.
This will only make the issue worse. As people become more worried about getting a ticket, they will drive less safely.
Meanwhile, the people have expressed strong desires to get rid of the cameras, with an attempted ballot petition last year earning the signatures of many residents. In fact, the state legislature has their eyes on banning red light cameras, and several challengers running against the incumbent council have come out strongly against the program. Hopefully, the program will end soon, one way or another.