Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tired of Gotcha

I realized as I was driving to work yesterday morning that I have changed my commute to work in an effort to avoid the traffic enforcement cameras in DC. It’s a little longer but the possibility of getting a ticket is greatly diminished.

The first time I came home and my husband held out a photo and greeted me with “Looks like you were on candid camera”, I had a vague recollection of the bright flash of light in my rear view mirror. That’s when you of course say to yourself, “Oh shit, I hope the license plate is blurry.” A couple more of these and I have now learned exactly where the cameras are positioned and which ones are still turned on.

A few months ago, the state of Virginia decided that there were more accidents being caused by people speeding up when the light turned yellow to try to avoid the camera than there were previously, so Virginia has pulled the plug on the red light cameras.

But DC is still raking in far too much revenue to turn off these cash cows. That’s OK. I can avoid South Capitol Street and I am well aware of the camera just past the tunnel under the Capitol.

It’s not that I am a blatant lawbreaker. It’s just that sometimes it’s a close call and I’d prefer not to pay any more money into the DC treasury – at least not until they fix the potholes that are spreading like the plague. I have a healthy respect for a yellow light, but would prefer to think of it as CAUTION and not PANIC!

How many times have you starred on Candid Camera?

6 Comments:

Anonymous charles ravndal said...

Hmmm I havent heard about that before so what are these candid cameras for ?

7:56 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

They catch people who run red lights or are speeding. By taking a photograph of your license plate, they know where to send the ticket! No points, but a flat fee to pay!

8:52 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

There are red light cameras in Ottawa. I have never been caught. Some argue that it causes more accidents for exactly the opposite reason you cited - people abruptly stopping to avoiding being caught in "the zone".

Ontario had a speed cameras on the highways for a while, but they were ruled illegal (or something similar) since the courts ruled that a police officer had to actually catch and ticket the offender.

Changing your routine is not a bad idea. It is one of the techniques for getting out of your comfort zone - small changes that slowly add up.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

The speed cameras drive me nuts. I've turned to driving as little as possible - maybe I should just obey traffic laws.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

For the toll highways we have here, my husband purposely never cleaned off the mud on his plate, but they sent us a bill anyway! Must be laser or infa-red light sensors or something!!

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Bengal said...

Hi Barbara. My feelings toward the red-light and speed cameras has mellowed quite a bit over the past two years. (And yes, I've been caught, once, by a radar-cam heading out of DC on New York Avenue, just east of Bladensburg Road. It was a portable set-up, I chose the wrong day to have a heavy foot.)

At first, I agreed with my libertarian friends that the cameras were yet another "Big Brother" invasion of one's privacy. But, on further consideration, how much privacy should one reasonably expect when breaking the law in public? Yeah, "none" is right. I figure that the evidence from the cameras is pretty compelling, the police have more important crime to fight than traffic scofflaws and, if it didn't get the revenue from the cameras, the District of Columbia would just raise property, sales, or income taxes ... or all three.

So I've calmed down a bit, slowed down a bit, and learned where the cameras are. It's pretty funny to watch from the Massachusetts Avenue overpass, as traffic on I-395 slows to a crawl approaching the radar speed trap. That's got to be the worst kept secret in city known for its leaks. Aloha, Bengal.

9:43 AM  

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