By ANDY HOLT
This last legislative session, I was asked by countless constituents to sponsor legislation to outlaw traffic cameras across the state of Tennessee. After carefully reviewing the research on traffic cameras, I came to some very disturbing conclusions.
We are told the cameras are for safety, not revenue. We are told if you aren’t breaking the law, you have nothing to worry about. It’s all an elaborate scheme.
Virtually every study cited by city officials to build a case that traffic cameras improve safety are actually funded by the very companies and municipalities making millions of dollars off of them.
When these studies are reviewed by independent agencies, they are found to be highly flawed and manipulated. The truth is, studies that best adhere to scientific research methods find that cameras are actually associated with an increase in crashes and injuries. If not for safety, then what for—?
Money. Research from the University of Tennessee shows the cameras are used to generate revenue. In fact, University of Tennessee researchers said municipalities purposefully remove state sanctioned signs warning drivers about the cameras (required by law), shorten yellow light times and increase speed limits just before the location of cameras in order to increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket.
What happens to all of that money? Flowing to Arizona and Australia, where the two camera vendors Tennessee uses are located, the vast majority of it leaves the local economy.
Yes, you read that correctly- Australia. In a single year, Gallatin and Murfreesboro collected more than $1.4 Million in traffic camera fines. The cities sent almost $1.1 Million of that money out of state and country to pay ATS and RedFlex.
Corruption, bribery and backroom deals also surround the cameras.
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