Thursday, September 27, 2012

Red light camera fine, but picture shows you already in the intersection. How come the fine?

I’ve just been analysing the pictures of a red light camera fine and what surprised me is the red light camera pictures don’t show you actually breaking the law. They show you after you’ve broken the law and it can only be deduced that you broke the law.

For a lot of people this won’t make sense. How can they possibly fine you when you were already in the intersection?

Two pictures are taken and based on the position of your car, you can easily determine the average speed you were travelling and using some basic maths,  estimate your position before the picture was taken, when you actually broke the law.

I’ve read people complaining the amber light has been reduced in terms of shortening the time it is on and if you check the roads, the sensors are now in front of the stop line, in where people would consider they’d be in the intersection. Both make it easier for people to get booked and the cynics amongst us will say, raising revenue for the government. None of us like being booked so the best thing is don’t go through a red light.

Some common sense tips are: reduce the speed as you approach a light. If you are caught with the front of your car over the stop line just stop. Don’t proceed through the intersection or you’ll get snapped. Be prepared to stop as you approach lights. Sadly, and I say sadly because I think this creates a dangerous situation, If you have to brake hard (I’ve found lights now change very quickly) and a person runs up the back of you, it will probably cost you more in time and money getting your car fixed than the fine, but for some losing their licence due to having too many points will cost far more.

Personally I think reducing the amber time is a mistake. For those who like to obey the law the longer amber period will provide plenty of time for people to stop and leads to far more relaxed driving. There is enough stress on the road without having to put people under greater pressure by reducing the timing of lights. Unfortunately there are those with a heavy foot which means they’ll feel they have more time to race through. It is understandable watching people’s behaviour why the government continues to tighten things done, but unfortunately it does mean a lot more average people end up paying fines and some losing their licence. Again I do think people feel the government is doing this to raise revenue and that creates an us and them attitude where the government is thought of as ripping us off. One local business owner even said to me they’d prefer the government raise taxes through fines as they’re leaving them alone. The government should consider rewarding people for good behaviour. If you continue to use a stick and not a carrot to control people, you end up with very angry people in our society and that’s not good for any of us.

Next time you approach a red light just drive appropriately and chances are you’ll save yourself some money and arrive safely.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

UPDATE: The amber timing for 8 red-light camera locations around Melbourne have been set incorrectly. The question is will the government automatically refurnd the fines and demerit points. For more information including videos of the before and after timing of the traffic light visit http://justlocal.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/will-government-automatically-refund.html.

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