A letter to the editor of the Orlando Sentinel defends traffic-cams on grounds unrelated to the tickets they generate:
I was broadsided by a red-light runner four blocks from my house. …
Shaken and confused, I watched the other driver come out of her car and start screaming that I ran the red light. When bystanders started to gather, she dropped to the ground crying in pain.
Four days after the accident, while I was still dealing with injuries and insurance companies, I received a thick envelope in the mail from an attorney the driver had hired to sue me.
Fortunately, that same day, the city of Orlando produced a video of the accident taken by a red-light camera installed at the intersection. It showed the light had been red for several seconds before the driver entered the intersection. ….
It should be noted that much of the critique of cameras — such as the shortened-yellow problem, the incentive they afford for governments to hammer motorists on relatively minor violations such as rolling right turns under safe conditions, the use of presumptions of guilt to get registered owners to “tell on” family members, and their invitation for further expansion of surveillance — involve changes in the relationship of the citizen to the state, to the latter’s advantage. Like other uses of surveillance cameras, traffic-cams undoubtedly do produce some positive externalities, which should hardly settle the ongoing controversy about their use.