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Not to be outdone by Florida Highway Patrol's little money making machine on US1 in Key Largo, the City of Homestead now is instituting their own version of a speed trap on US1. In fact, the city is so proud of their trap, that they had a press release and photo op for the city council just for the occasion:
This particular intersection at Campbell Drive and the highway is dangerous. It is a very wide intersection with multiple lanes. It needs some work and adjusting. It needs sane drivers passing through it. It needs accidents to stop.
However, what I can see happening with intersection cameras as people panic stop to avoid a ticket and their tailgater rams into them is that accidents now will occur at the stop bar and end up in the middle of the intersection. Nice. This new idea the city council has may make the Busway accidents seem trite.
The stoplight cameras are a terrific economy booster for the city. If you get nailed for not stopping, the city makes a profit. If you ignore the ticket and your driver’s license is pulled, you can go to jail, lose your job and the state of Florida eventually makes money, too.
However, then on the other hand, if you stop too quickly and are hit by the vehicle behind you, the car repair shops, auto dealers, doctors and hospitals make money. If you are lucky, the funeral home won’t.
Seriously, other than the press release reads like a commercial for the company selling the cameras, there are some questions to be answered:
One has to wonder what the total cost of the equipment, maintence, and the cost of police officers to review the tapes and issue tickets will be.
What will one good lightening strike do to the equipment? (Not to mention a hurricane.)
What is the city’s liability if someone is killed trying to stop to avoid the camera’s piercing eye?
And, how exactly does a person know what to do if the light is going yellow to red just as they are approaching the stop bar but they can’t stop because of momentum? Do the camera’s know the drivers ability and reaction time? I would guess not.
This sure looks like another opportunity to roll the dice on US1, except this time the drivers are rolling the dice on their life every time they approach a Homestead intersection. Driver pay attention: Homestead has upped the ante.