September 21, 2005

TRAFFIC CAMERAS IN KNOXVILLE: I think this is a terrible idea.

UPDATE: Maybe I shouldn't say that!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's how it worked in Hawaii:

Everybody didn't like something about traffic cameras.

Invasion of privacy. Zero tolerance. Pay-per-ticket. A presumption of guilt. No police involvement. Rising insurance rates. Speed traps. Bureaucratic bungling. Poor public relations. Political posturing. City and state bickering. Thousands and thousands of tickets that didn't pass legal muster.

What went wrong?

Take your pick.

In the end it was a combination of all those people and things that doomed the van cams.

Gov. Ben Cayetano ordered an end to the program last week amid increasing signs that the courts and state Legislature were about to pull the plug anyway.

The program, which was launched in early December, had noble aims: use advances in technology to slow traffic, reduce accidents and save lives, and free police officers for other duties.

In just more than four months, however, it became possibly the most hated public policy initiative in Hawai'i history, almost uniformly disliked, even by those who thought it actually worked.

I'll have to send a copy to the Knoxville City Council.