Automated Enforcement of Speed Limits

Automated enforcement of speed limits and red lights could substantially reduce accidents.  So far, we have not been willing to use the new technology in Massachusetts.  To improve safety, I hope we can build support to experiment with automated enforcement in a thoughtful and transparent way.

The technology to recognize license plates is now quite reliable.   The barriers to using plate readers for enforcement of basic traffic laws are not technological.

Nor are the barriers financial.  Appropriately placed automated enforcement tools could easily pay for themselves.

The barriers are legal and political.  Implementation of automated enforcement requires state legislation to define a new procedure for attaching fines to violations.  The legal problem is that, in the absence of an officer pulling someone over, it is impossible to know who was driving the vehicle.  So, we would have to hold the vehicle owner responsible, but there is no currently mechanism to do that for moving violations.

The necessary legislative action has not been forthcoming.  The issue has been kicking around the legislature for a decade.

Most of us are accustomed to making personal decisions about whether or not we can or should attempt to get away with a close push on a red light or a speed five or ten miles per hour above the speed limit.  The fact is that police resources are very limited and millions of traffic violations go undetected or ignored every day on the roads of the Commonwealth.

Many of the laws we have in place are not consistent with driver behavior and the lack of enforcement is what keeps people from rebelling.  For example, the new 25 mph limit in densely settled areas is slower than most drivers tend to go on many urban roads.  I support the lower limit because the safety benefits of lower speeds are huge – accidents are less frequent and less severe.  But I’m conscious that on many urban roads, most drivers will continue to go 40.

If municipalities had the authority to implement automated enforcement, there is a concern that they might use it to create revenue-producing speed traps, or through a clumsy roll-out end up issuing tickets to thousands of people, provoking a backlash (as recently occurred in Providence).

In addition to the legitimate reservations that some legislators may have about over-enforcement, privacy advocates are concerned about the expansion of cameras and the accumulation of data about the movement of drivers.  This is indeed a legitimate concern, but it is one that can be addressed by clear rules and automatic deletion of  records not needed for the prosecution of particular violations.

People concerned about over-enforcement and the “big brother” accumulation of data often also raise questions about how effective the tools are in changing behavior.  In my mind, the effectiveness depends on practical decisions made in the roll-out.  Where are the cameras placed?  To what extent do drivers have advance warning?  It seems beyond reasonable dispute that a good implementation with fair enforcement goals could change behavior in positive ways.

We included authorization for local use of automated enforcement by municipalities in the Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities — an omnibus traffic safety bill that a group of safety advocates developed.  The proposal attempts to address many of the privacy and fairness concerns that have been raised. The larger bill is still moving, but without the controversial red light provisions.

I do intend to continue to pursue the issue of automated enforcement, but I recognize that it needs a broad discussion and we cannot do it without broad popular support.  Your thoughts much appreciated.  I would especially appreciate thoughts on how to target automated enforcement and how to make it work fairly.

Automated Enforcement in the Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

Section 22 of  the act defines the enforcement proposal. The key features are:

  • A municipality could not use the tool until it obtains approval from its town meeting or city council.
  • Automated enforcement could be used for a speeding violation over 5 mph above the limit, failure to stop at a red light, failure to stop for by a stopped school bus or an illegal turn on red.
  • Limitation to one fixed camera per 2500 residents in a town, provided that cameras installed at the 200 most dangerous intersections in the Commonwealth would not count against that.
  • Photographic images may only be captured of the rear of the vehicle, to protect the privacy of the occupants of the vehicle.
  • Signage must notify drivers of the presence of the road safety camera and there must be a public awareness campaign beginning at least 30 days before the enforcement program begins.
  • The maximum penalty shall not be over $50 and it shall be a civil penalty assessed on the owner, but shall not count for insurance purposes.
  • Enforcement notices should be sent by first class mail to the owner and may be contested.
  • No liability will attach if the vehicle was stolen or rented or if the operator gets separately stopped and ticketed by the police or if the violation was necessary to allow an emergency vehicle to pass, etc
  • Compensation to the suppliers of the equipment cannot be based on the volume of revenue the equipment generates.
  • No less than 80% of the proceeds of the ticketing must be devoted to road improvements.
  • All records from the enforcement system shall be destroyed within 48 ours of final disposition of any recorded event and will not be used or shared for any other purpose.

Resources

Informal Poll Result

800 subscribers to my news list (subscribe here) responded to the following poll (with question order rotated).

Which statement best summarizes your views about automatic traffic enforcement:

I’m really concerned about the invasion of privacy and the possibility of over enforcement of traffic laws with cameras.  I don’t want “big brother” watching my every move.

OR

We need to stop the carnage on the roadways.  Too many people drive way too fast.  If automatic enforcement will mean better driver behavior, I’m all for it.

OR

I’m not sure.  The devil is in the details.  I don’t want to vote.  I’d prefer to consider and discuss the issue.

The responses broke down as follows: No/privacy, 38%; Yes/safety, 31%; Maybe/details, 31%.

We can’t get too far ahead of the public on enforcement matters: Automated enforcement is a tool that we need to use with great caution and concern for fairness.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

193 replies on “Automated Enforcement of Speed Limits”

  1. “millions of traffic violations go undetected or ignored every day on the roads of the Commonwealth” so I have great concerns about the Commonwealth being able to use this for revenue generation and also to use this to target specific individuals or neighborhoods. And the fee of $50 would be a bigger burden for some rather than others. There have been experiments with assessment of fees being based on % of income.

    Or could the automated assessments be based on extreme events only such as reckless driving eg. far more than 5mph but whatever would be an accurate offense that 5% do? Or instead of fees turn it into a fee of “ losing time” Since people speed to save time. Maybe a cost of time, like showing up for a safe driving lecture or spending time doing community service would be a better “cost” if the focus is on safety rather than revenue generation.

  2. In my opinion, speed doesn’t seem like the problem-it is more failing to adhere to stops and yields and not beinng aware of the variables beyond the pavement. A close friend was hit by a car, not speeding, but failing to stop completely before turning right on red. I think the money would be better spent on those solar powered yellow flashing pedestrian crossing lights…the flashing alerts unfocused drivers to the presence of pedestrians.

  3. I feel very apprehensive about the “Big Brother” factor. I already feel uncomfortable about license plate readers on police cars. If the technological capability is there, it is only a matter of time before it will be abused.

    On the other hand, I live on a side street that is often used as a cut through. Drivers come down our street at unreasonable speeds. And in Coolidge Square, I feel that speeding is often a problem in addition to failure to adhere to signals and stop signs.

    Do we have to sacrifice privacy in order to avoid being mowed down by careless drivers?

  4. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THE USE OF THE TRAFFIC CAMARA, MY CONCERN IS WHO IS MAKEING THE INTERPULATION OF WHAT IS RECORDERED,WHO IS MAKUNG THE DETERMINATION IF OTHER THAN THE POLICE OFFICEE, ARE THAY PAID BASED UPON THE NUMBER OF TICKETS ISSUED OR BY THE HR. RICHARD D LIASSE

  5. I favor the proposed legislation – it appears well crafted and constrained. I see the need for better enforcement but do have a concern for loss of privacy – this proposal is well-balanced.

  6. This sounds like a good idea to me. For those worried about getting a ticket, there is a simple solution–don’t speed. And for the cynics who think it’s a way to raise revenue, well, our transportation system needs it. Again, if you don’t like it, don’t speed.

  7. My concern is over-enforcement..traffic, especially highway traffic is fluid..safety requires at times driving over the speed limit to avoid groups of cars that tailgate one another and folks who do not recognize that the left highway lane is a passing lane…cameras cannot differentiate and account for traffic conditions..
    If automated ticketing was,perhaps limited to groups of vehicles who are tailgating one another and/or driving exclusively in the left lane, two of the most common causes of accidents on the highway accidents would be addressed and revenue would increase by a very high percentage, I’m sure.

    1. I agree! Who’s the “bad” driver here, after all? A steering wheel,an accelerator and some situational awareness are also safety tools. I often need a burst of speed to escape from a clot of fools on the road. Conditions are different on residential streets — like Huron Ave, in Cambridge, for instance

  8. I support the use of these cameras. Using such technology would, I presume, reduce the incidence of racial profiling by law enforcement.

      1. Agreed! I’m much more concerned about laws that are selectively enforced than about automated enforcement. Speeding tickets are famous for this problem.

  9. Would rather see law enforcement get their faces out of their lap tops and phones and go after the red light runners and speed scofflaws.

  10. Strongly against it. So far all attempts to use those that I saw, were an undercover attempts by local governments to collect more fines from drivers.
    Saw it so many times in last 10 years – it all comes down to fraud and corruption.

  11. Well thought out. Thank you. There are a lot of scoff laws out there for vehicle laws, including the police.

  12. I don’t like them Will. I understand that cameras are all around us in many big cities for security purposes, but do we really need this level of surveillance? Will police departments lay off officers and just have cameras on Concord Avenue and Trapelo Road?

    I have one experience with the technology, in Hannibal Missouri. Was driving a rental car on way back to airport from family memorial service. Three months later I got a notice from the car rental agency about this. Photo was inconclusive on running red light in my view. But, I would have to appear in court in Hannibal to appeal. Paid hefty fee to the town and car rental agency. No doubt Samuel Clements would have seen the humor in this. I didn’t.

  13. A lot of things can make us healthier or safer in some way, but we don’t have to do them all.

    But I don’t want to give up the ability to be anonymous when I’m out in the world. Sadly, we already give up a lot of privacy for convenience (e.g., E-Z Pass, and much of the web).

    Some people say that if you have nothing to hide, it’s not a problem. That’s not much of an argument to me; it doesn’t lead anywhere good.

  14. Installation of cameras and their use for enforcing driving laws, will require (1)education of the public and (2) a cultural change to adjust to the new law enforcement weapons, and (3) a change in current driving habits. As a result, and looking at Section 22, I’d prefer a slow initial rollout, limiting the cameras to known, objective compliance measures-stop lights, stop signs, school bus stops,etc. I have no problem with rental cars being included (other countries do it, and the rental company passes the charges on to the renter). Making it a civil infraction is nice, but what is the rationale for excluding a “camera ticket” from insurance consequences, when the same infraction caught by a policeman is included? The appeal/payment process from an infraction should be streamlined, and periodic testing of the accuracy of the camera calibration should be included. After the public gets used to cameras at intersections, then maybe add them for moving violations later.

  15. Camera surveillance will catch cell phone users, causes of many accidents. But . . . we will need an independent third party to referee footage. I’ve heard about questionable calls by police as it is.

  16. Will, thank you for soliciting the public’s opinion on this matter. It seems to me that this is a perfect example of a situation in which new technology could be put to use nominally enforcing our laws in an equitable way–but the possibility raises the question of what we really want the “rules of the road” (!) to be, and how we want them enforced.

    For instance, I drive on Rt. 128 twice every workday. The official speed limit of 55 mph is completely ignored (except when there are traffic jams!) We COULD easily issue tickets to everyone going faster than 60 mph. But do we, as a society, really want people to just drive 555 mph on our highways in good weather?

    One thing is for sure (and the draft rules above clearly cover this): we should install camera-based systems just as a method of raising revenue, as some states and towns have done.

    To address other issues you raise, I’m OK with a shift of responsibility for fine-paying from the driver of a vehicle to the owner. Also, I’m not terribly concerned about the privacy issue–and in general I take privacy VERY seriously–if relevant data is in fact discarded after a reasonable period of time.

  17. Thank you for your attention to this issue, which borders on being a public health crisis. I have called your office about my concerns with the driving behavior in my neighborhood. In the Back Bay, accidents are so common that many have become desensitized. Pedestrians and bikers have been killed and injuries to car drivers and passengers are business as usual. Speeding, red light running and texting are the culprits. It’s clear that we will not get police officers in our neighborhood so the cameras seem like our best hope. Culture change will not occur in this case without enforcement. While this isn’t this biggest problem in the City of Boston, it deserves intervention and resources.

  18. The privacy issue became a big deal when I served in Germany. People were getting speeding tickets by mail. When the wife opened the mail, her husband was in his car in a place other than he was supposed to be and the picture of the rear of the car showed woman(not his wife) in the passenger seat. The problem was solved by blocking the rear window in the photo.

  19. Will,
    The obsession with enforcement is unending. This considerable amount of money could go into strong, ongoing, “live” public education, warning, awareness, and “convincing”. It is the ridiculous, technology solves everything approach and “let’s catch them”.

    Why can’t we use creative active disincentives via electronic signage.
    Movable speed detectors and awareness messaging that flash strong messages or visual cues, or public awareness campaigns is a humanistic approach.

    I don’t want the police and government to be in the business of catching and punishing. We do that pretty well now.

    I’d like them take a leadership role toward getting people to act more responsibly, as good concerned citizens and community/family members

  20. I specifically would appreciate red light enforcement. I have not noticed the speeding so much as the wanton disregard for red lights and the safety hazards that creates.

  21. Red light cameras raise money and decrease safety, along with idiotic complexity.
    RLC’s are associated with decreased yellow timing, making it impossible to stop correctly.
    People stop more suddenly, increasing rear-end collisions.
    Where is the data showing that there is any decrease in serious accidents, or any accidents?
    Say you and our current govt are pure of heart. Our next legislators may (will) find it irresistible to change the parameters to apply what is effectely a tax collected through traffic tickets.

    We already see this in the enforcement of disiabled spaces. Merely back up in one to change direction, and the police/town charges a $200 ticket/tax in the name of the disabled. It is tax collection hiding behind virtue signalling.

  22. I agree with Rich Carlson (below).
    Also consider that unpaid fines will only fuel the debt collector industry. Towns selling the unpaid ticket judgement for pennies on the dollar to shady debt collectors.
    Better if the offender was hauled in for a day of driver ed after accumulating eg 10 tickets and if still offending, a license suspension. This ticketing idea is just another scheme to collect revenue. Remove the revenue component and you can bet towns will have diminished interest in this ‘camera safety scheme’.

  23. To add to my earlier comment – cyclists should not be exempt from the 10 ticket earning them a day of road safety ed. Cyclist are just as dangerous. Some ride as if they have a death wish and it is the drivers responsibility to look out for them.

    1. Cars are far more dangerous than cars, its a simple matte of physics and statistics. Cars kill 40,000 Americans a year. When cyclists start killing in those numbers, maybe you’d have a point but for now, you are just doing “whataboutisms” for 1% of road users.

      1. I was referring to cyclists who ride with a death wish – for themselves – not about cyclists running others down. There have been many times when I had to abruptly stop for some fool on a bike running a red light. These riders need road safety ed.

  24. On roadways like Fresh Pond Parkway, where school children cross to get to school at the Tobin and the Haggerty Schools every day, and where the state police have previously claimed that the road’s narrowness prevents pulling over cars and, therefore, renders speed limits unenforceable, I see no other way to safely police both the speed limits and the pedestrian crossing signals. The number of times I have been almost struck in a crosswalk on the Parkway is almost too may to count. We can and must pursue every possible protection for vulnerable users at this high traffic crossings. Please feel free to contact me to discuss further.

  25. It is a great idea to have photo enforcement so police attention can be concentrated on other problems.

    When I drive somewhere with photo enforcement I am better at obeying the laws.

    Road design should help drivers obey the laws, but when that doesn’t happen, photo enforcement is a great idea.

    Speeding and red light running is epidemic in Cambridge.

  26. Hell No! We already live in a surveillance state which needs to be rolled back, not expanded. Red light and speed scameras are just a perverted way to raise revenue.

  27. Much as I detest getting pulled over and having to look an officer in the eye when I’ve committed an infraction, and much as some police officers have committed wrongdoing, at least I get to confront my accuser both on the scene and in a court if I choose to appeal. And the officer’s actions are accountable to the public, as an employee of the taxpayers.

    The beef I have with traffic cams is they’re invariably outsourced to a for-profit company whose actions are all about growing profits, not accountability for effectiveness, public-safety, and a certain quality that I might call “reasonableness”.

    Go ahead with the cams if we must, but keep for-profit companies out of it.

  28. My feeling is that local police would make traffic enforcement a higher priority if there was a greater financial incentive. I believe that right now, the totally of any fine for violating driving rules goes to the courts or the commonwealth. The example of Boston making parking enforcement a priority when I think 25% of the fine stayed with the city completely changed how the city approached the chaos that parking enforcement was before the change. What will happen if cities and towns could keep 25-50% of traffic enforcement fines. Besides such a change is a win for the existing system without the need for privatization of law enforcement.

    I do not want automatic enforcement for 2 reasons. One is the contract with the camera suppliers privatizes law enforcement, and bias’s enforcement to be favorable to the revenue stream of the supplier. This was a problem in Chicago and other jurisdictions where they reduced the timing of yellow lights to catch more people running red lights at intersections. They also had issues with miss calibration of the speed detectors. If you think this will not be an issue in this state you would be wrong. Secondly, I do not like the big brother, non-immediate informing one of the infraction. The Idea that a human in in the loop to decide if and when to issue an immediate warning or citation is a good policy and a better corrective than 2 weeks after the fact pay up notice or else.

      1. How is giving a local community an incentive to enforce the traffic laws different than giving a private company an incentive to lease a speeding camera. In both cases the legislature is creating an incentive to enforce rules. The difference is that there is a human in the loop in one case and a idiot computer in the other. There is going to be pressure from the camera vendor to put the cameras in places that have big issues with speeding or light violations so to maximize revenue; the vendor gets a rake off every ticket. With providing the ticketing agency with a small incentive to enforce rules is a way better use of resources than getting a camera. At least the legislature can also require that the interaction to enforce be video taped, and data about who is being pulled over can be required to be collected to ensure the enforcement agency is not being unfair or selective in who they pull over and the situation is reasonable. I prefer people to enforce the law and exercise good judgement, not machines. It remains a trade off. But providing a small incentive, allows local communities to decide what is important, where,when and how many resources to put towards the problem. With a traffic camera, the vendor will have a big say in decision and their goal in more money. At least with using police, and an incentive the community can add or reduce enforcement depending on the local situation. Now there is no reason for the local police to actively enforce traffic laws other than duty and altruism and they have many other calls on their time. This change would be to provide a small incentive from the legislature to communities we think this is important and you should do it more. How much of an incentive, how much data and interaction information needs to be collected is up to the legislature. At least it would get more police to do what seems to be their job.

  29. As much as I have old school “Big Brother” concerns about privacy — the traffic situation in the greater Boston area is beyond distressing, it’s absolutely dangerous. I do feel that speed cameras can have a positive effect on traffic calming.

  30. I think the real problem is that the state (and MA is far from unique in this regard) has diluted its authority on the matter by setting unrealistically low speed limits. 55 mph on a highway? Nobody drives that slow, and it puts into people’s minds that the law is artificially low for the sake of letting cops write more tickets. A lot of local roads are similarly too slow (some roads have no/few houses on them and could be set much faster). Heck, cops don’t even follow the law.

    When people think that the law itself is a scam, they’re probably less willing to make enforcement of them easier. I know I’m in that boat.

    If we do increase automatic enforcement, the law should be written such that we can be sure that it applies just as much to police cruisers (unless their sirens are on, of course) and other government officials, with every exemption publicly posted and explained.

    If we can get the speed limits to reflect our *actual* consensus on how fast drivers should go, then I’m fine with automated enforcement of that. It could even be a good thing, if it reduces or eliminates bias in enforcement.

    Personally, I’m not too worried about privacy as long as proper guard rails are in place. Google and Apple already know where we go, anyway. 😉

      1. There were 400 people killed on Massachusetts highways in 2016;
        354 in 2015; 348 in 2014. I have no idea what fraction of this number was due to speeding, but from here the stakes look pretty high.

    1. Nobody drives that slow

      Speak for yourself. I drive the speed limit. It does not substantively degrade my quality of life. You could, you know, try it. But at the very least drop you don’t get to be all sanctimonious about how speeding is OK because “everybody does it.” Not everybody does it.

  31. Dear Senator Brownsberger,

    As always, thank you for your concern and work that you do for your constituents. I am pleased to hear that you are looking into proposing meaningful reform to how we enforce laws to prevent car violence in our city. As someone that has been hit by 5 cars due to negligent driving, I have deeply concerned about the state of driving in our city and the commonwealth. I know that the car lobby will fight against, people will say its unfair to motorists and the usual talking points because they want to drive fast and ignore the law but you are armed with data, research and precedents of how we can improve road safety with traffic cameras. Motorists drive on public roads with government issued license plates, there is no, nor should there be any expectation of privacy. Driving is a privilege that motorists have abused for far too long and it makes our communities less safe for other mobility options. I fully support your efforts here and once again, thank you for your care. It is really appreciated by those of us that are most vulnerable on the road.

    1. Here your comment edited with a different context:

      “ .. As always, thank you for your concern and work that you do for your constituents. I am pleased to hear that you are looking into proposing meaningful reform to how we enforce laws to prevent personal violence in our city. As someone that has been hit by 5 people due to their behavior, I have deeply concerned about the state of social engagement in our city and the commonwealth. I know that the civil rights lobby will fight against, people will say its unfair for some people and the usual talking points because they want to behave selfishly and ignore the law but you are armed with data, research and precedents of how we can improve personal safety with cameras. People walk on public roads with government issued SSNs, there is no, nor should there be any expectation of privacy. Engaging with others in public is a privilege that people have abused for far too long and it makes our communities less safe for others who do not wish to engage. I fully support your efforts here and once again, thank you for your care. It is really appreciated by those of us that are most vulnerable when in public. ..”

      Different context but the silliness /absurdity of the suggestion applies to both.

      1. My SSN is not a deadly weapon, nor it is a privilege I have to earn by competency testing.

        My car is both.

        I am heartily in favor of this legislation. I manage my driving and make an actual effort to not speed. The rest of you can too.

  32. who is going to control the calibration of rhe equipped camera?is there a process for challenge?will there be a fee to challenge? will insurance rates be affected?will camera areas be posted? there is no better deterent to speeding or vehicle law breaking than a visible police vehicle.

  33. It sounds fair to me. How would the positioning of the cameras be determined? Intersections with most accidents? Could this technology be used to prevent bicyclists from breaking the law too? As a professional pedestrian I have to fight cars, buses, trucks and bicycles for the right to cross the street with walk signal at the crosswalk, would this technology help me to be safer out there?

  34. Perhaps it can depend on specific locations where automated enforcement
    of speed limits would be placed.

    For example: school zones

  35. The thing that bothers me the most is lack of reasonable recourse if one feels that the fine has been unfairly levied. Government is famous for limited hours, not answering phone calls, lengthy delays, and other “bad” customer service in many areas. The hours and hours it takes someone to right a wrong is absurd and enraging. For the self employed, such as myself, these delays and wasted hours amount to a fine many times greater than the amount listed on the citation. Where is the language in the legislation that forces a speedy and efficient response when the automated system fails to take into account mitigating circumstances and the driver wishes to appeal? Further, what can I bring for evidence if that is required? Will I have to install a dash camera and recording system in my car to support claims for relief? This is the big brother that I’m worried about! There are so many really horrendous abuses of the public’s time in government today (took me *all day* walking around Cambridge and Boston, visiting and waiting in offices in person, only to find out that I would have no health insurance anyway, because nobody would ever answer a phone in any one of four different offices, a few years ago). Sorry, but this struck a nerve. How much productivity is lost on a daily basis from good people stuck by unresponsive government?

  36. I think we should require a roadside radar speed sign that flashes your speed to you (as we now have in a few places) permanently installed, well in advance up the road from the camera location that will take your plate image and levy the fine. If that sign stops working, then it should automatically disable the camera until it’s fixed.
    Government is famous for creating new technology and infrastructure, but infamous for letting previously installed infrastructure crumble until it reaches crisis proportions. Sure, It’s inspiring to make new and boring to keep the old maintained. That’s human nature. But I expect public institutions to do better!

  37. If I am stopped by a red light at an intersection and move forward against the light to make way for a responding public safety apparatus, I get ticketed! Worse yet, what if a person is stopped at the light becomes intimidated by the prospect of being ticketed an elects not to move?

  38. I think we should start small with the violations that statistically contribute the most to safety – I would think that running red lights and failing to stop at stop signs are the most important. We should also start in “debugging mode” so that there is general confidence in the system being accurate and free from bias before fully deploying it.

    Once there is widespread acceptance of automated systems to enforce all our traffic laws (as there appears to be now for tolling), we should do so.

  39. I recently had a situation in DC (with automatic enforcement) where I sped past an erratic driver, and happened to do this by an unmarked camera, receiving a ticket in the mail.

    While I support the goal of reducing traffic fatalities, I question the use of Big Brother means to do it. I do think very open and clear enforcement would help alleviate any rollout. My worry more is the use or misuse of public cameras for non-stated ends. There’s a very very short leap from this to that.

  40. Once there’s a new source of revenue, the political temptation both to increase and divert over time is well-documented.

    Monies are fungible, so required investment of proceeds in road improvements cannot solve the above problem.

    Great example: Look where huge tobacco settlement funds ended up.

  41. I did not respond to your survey because a fourth option was not provided – the use of such cameras should be used to focus on far more dangerous driving habits than mere speeding. Fetishizing speeding at the cost of ignoring turns from the wrong lane, failure to use turn signals, etc. will not improve safety. This was noted by some respondents who also included running stop signs and red lights. To give an example, in our neighborhood we have what I call the “highway of death.” This is Common St. from Belmont St. heading toward Trapelo Rd. Signage clearly dictates that if you are in the left lane, you must turn going west on Trapelo Rd. Yet I see all too many cars think they can get ahead of others in the right lane to jump ahead and continue on Common St. It’s an accident (or several) waiting to happen! Put cameras there for that purpose and hopefully change this dangerous behavior.

  42. It seems that the day of driverless vehicles totally or almost totally taking the place of vehicles with drivers is not far off. Presumably speeding will not be a factor for driverless cars due to their programming. Camera will be helpful for other reasons, but not speed enforcement.

  43. There were 400 people killed on Massachusetts highways in 2016;
    354 in 2015; 348 in 2014. I have no idea what fraction of this number was due to speeding, but from here the stakes look pretty high.

  44. Another point: some readers argue that speed limits ought to be “realistic,” meaning close to the speeds people drive at now. But safety is also an issue. If lots of lives can be saved by shaving 5 or 10 mph off the limit that ought to
    be considered.

      1. So if someone had the reflexes and a Ferrari that can brake from 60mph – 0 in 22ft they should be allowed to do 60mph+ vs. a Prius which goes from 30mph – 0 in 30ft and still be safer.

  45. I wish that I could have taking the poll. I am in your district and I overwhelmingly would have answered a No/privacy! I would be extremely upset to have cameras tracking cars and enforcing speed limits. I have NO trouble with road safety and am very happy with the way speed limits are enforced at this time.

  46. In other states where speed and red light cameras are implemented, the primary goal is revenue and in some cases corruption and kickbacks to government officials.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/03/14/ohio-town-must-pay-back-millions-fines-collected-from-speed-cameras-court-rules.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redflex_Holdings

    Jurisdictions that have implemented cameras are taking them down after backlash from constituents

    http://www.redflex.com/application/files/8815/0534/7276/2017_Annual_Report.PDF

    from page 9
    Americas
    The U.S. photo enforcement market continues to be challenging and subsequently revenue from our Americas business reduced by 13.1% to $69.5 million (FY16: $80.0 million). Continuing negative public sentiment impacts the United States market and has either resulted in state legislation prohibiting the introduction of photo enforcement systems or individual municipalities and cities deciding not to renew their contracts. These factors have led to contract terminations, lower contract renewal rates and the delay and reduction of new programs across the U.S. For Red ex Student Guardian, our school bus stop arm enforcement solution, we continue to pursue targeted new opportunities in school districts within the U.S.. However, the growth of this solution also continues to be challenging given market conditions. Deployment of handheld speed detection systems continue to increase and represent a substantial growth opportunity.
    Our business continues to expand into Canada and Mexico and opportunities are being progressed in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    https://www.thenewspaper.com/news/46/4632.asp

  47. Banning speed cameras is one thing that even the ACLU and Tea Party agree on. How about that as food for thought? The trend nationwide is towards banning cameras after a backlash from citizens and voting the corrupt politicians out of office. Why is Massachusetts even considering implementing them? It’s all about revenue and lining pockets. This is not something that should be decided by legislators due to conflicts of interest, if you believe there is strong support, make it a ballot question.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/02/07/red-light-cameras-under-scrutiny-in-state-legislatures/?utm_term=.41c950c7bf21

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