Regardless of whether you are a good or bad driver, those red light cameras set up at intersections to catch people running red lights are a big pain in the neck. A good number of drivers have been caught on film -- or should I say digital image -- breaking some kind of traffic rule.
Whenever the public has had an opportunity to voice their opinion on these traps, for the most part, people tend to be against them. Well, public anger spilled over into the ballot box during election day and the anger wasn't just targeted at Democrats and President Obama. The fury was also for those darn red light cameras. It so happens that red light cameras are used to police intersections in Houston, Texas. And, finally, the people of Houston had a chance to voice their opinion. A referendum on the Texas ballot that called for the end of these systems won on election night with 335,778 votes.
Citizens Against Red Light Cameras and the two brothers who run the organization, Paul and Randy Kubosh, made this vote possible. They gathered enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot and fought the city council and endured attacks from the company that operates the camera system, American Traffic Solutions. Moreover, the Kuboshes and their organization were outspent as much as 10 to one during the campaign. Reports say that American Traffic Solutions spent $1,746,000 to defeat the measure.
Citizens of other states around the country also had the chance to voice their opinions toward similar systems in their cities. Voters in Mukilteo, Washington voted overwhelmingly against an automated ticketing machine system; a charter amendment in Anaheim, California prohibiting the use of red light cameras was approved by 73 percent of the vote; and citizens of Garfield Heights, Ohio voted to ban red light cameras and speed cameras.
Other towns that took advantage of the election to vote against red light cameras included Chillicothe, Ohio, Heath, Ohio, and College Station, Texas.
Votes in cities in previous elections also went against these systems. Earlier this year, 61 percent of voters ended a speed camera ordinance in Sykesville, Maryland; in 2008 Cincinnati voters rejected red light cameras, Steubenville, Ohio residents voted against photo radar in 2006, in the 1990s speed cameras were voted down two-to-one in Peoria, Arizona and Batavia, Illinois, in 1997 voters in Anchorage, Alaska voted against the cameras even after the local authorities removed them, and in 2003 voters in Arlington, Texas defeated so-called traffic management cameras with 64 percent of the vote.