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According to TheNewspaper.com, the city council in Billings, Montana, voted last week to hurriedly approve new automated red-light cameras – conveniently just before they are scheduled to be banned by the state legislature. With a potential clause allowing existing cameras to be grandfathered into legality still in negotiations, Billings would appear to be attempting to load up on the devices before the revenue-enhancing opportunity closes.

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We all know we shouldn't mess with Texas. And Houston, Texans shouldn't mess around with statistics, because the folks running the show are going to come to any conclusions they want no matter what the statistics say. This is the easy part: a study of red light cameras in the city shows that accidents have actually increased at intersections with the cameras.

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The script for selling one of these "automated revenue enhancement devices" to a municipality might go something like "and the best feature of the Robthepopulace 3000 is that it never makes a mistake - machines don't lie!" Tell that to Thomas, who received a citation in the mail after a South African traffic camera nabbed his VW Polo "clearly traveling in excess of the 60 km/h limit." Right. Technically, the camera is not lying, but machines are incapable of interpreting on their own, otherwise

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Red light cameras are nothing more than a surreptitious tax. Oh sure, they're sold to municipalities as a safety benefit, but what else would you say if you wanted to be paid to install, administrate, and monitor your little ticket-writing bots? The cities and towns that put the cameras greedily snap up the extra revenue generated by dangerously short yellow lights and overzealous cameras. Patrick Bedard has been poking holes in the theory that traffic cameras are the salve for behind the wheel

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Anne Arundel County in Maryland has been running five red light cameras for five years, during which period they raised a fat $2.85 million in ticket revenue. Unfortunately, a comparison of accident statistics shows that the cameras have increased the rate of accidents.

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