Larry Copeland, USA TODAY reports;
Local governments hungry for revenue are signing contracts with red-light camera companies that put profit over traffic safety, according to a new study by a national public interest advocacy group.
Some contracts restrict police from doing things like lengthening the yellow signal and leave taxpayers holding the bag if the contracts are terminated early, says the report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the federation of state public interest research groups.
“The most problematic contracts require cities to share revenue with the camera vendor on a per-ticket basis or through other formulas as a percentage of revenue,” the group says. “In other words, the more tickets a camera system issues, the more profit the vendor collects.”
“It just creates this really broad incentive to fine as many people as you can,” says Phineas Baxandall, a co-author of the report. “That’s not a good safety model.”