The Saturday Post-Dispatch had a letter debunking the advantages of red-light cameras. I was delighted. I hate those suckers–even if it does put me in the same camp with Sen. Lembke (r-turn down free federal money).

Red-light subterfuge

Every driver has seen red-light cameras at area intersections. Now, a “national” organization is running television and newspaper ads promoting the use of these cameras by using stories of people who have lost loved ones in crashes by drivers running red lights.

That sounds great, but the truth tells a far different story.

The National Coalition for Safer Roads is running the ads. NCSR is headed by David Kelly, a Washington lobbyist with Storm King Strategies, the lobbying group for American Traffic Solutions, the company that runs the red-light cameras.

NCSR touts studies that show that red-light cameras save lives. It doesn’t mention the studies that show that rear-end crashes at camera-monitored intersections have spiked dramatically. One study showed that rear-end collisions more than doubled, right-angle collisions rose 41 percent and all crashes increased, on average, 55 percent, with about a 79 percent increase in injuries.

American Traffic Solutions has sued cities that lengthen the time of the yellow light because doing so results in less revenue generated by the red-light cameras.

NCSR will tell the public that these cameras are constitutional; yet five state attorneys general and several court rulings claim the cameras violate the constitutional right to due process, face accusers, be presumed innocent and receive a fair trial (Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments).

Ten state courts have declared that the cameras are illegal.

NCSR cites a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that claims that red-light running is the No. 1 cause of urban crashes. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that red-light violations cause a mere 1.5 percent of all accidents and just 2 percent of fatalities (762 of 37,261 in 2008).

It is disgusting that NCSR is using stories about families losing loved ones to promote red-light cameras for American Traffic Solutions.

Cameras do not save lives or make our roads safer; they just make money for American Traffic Solutions and the cities that go along with these little money makers. Nothing more.

The Missouri house is holding hearings to get rid of the cameras.

D. James McKeown • St. Louis

We’ve had an ad from the national organization pushing these cameras on the site for a couple of weeks now, but since I didn’t know what a group of fakes the ad buyers were, I said nothing. But as soon as I saw the letter above, I knew I would post it here. The only question was whether to take the ad down or take their money and make fun of them. I even contemplated buying an ad on our own site that exposed their tactics and provided a link to this posting.

Dagnabit, though, I sat down to write this and the ad was gone. Those folks must have ESP.