Seattle is a city in serious need of cash. To make up for its budget shortfall, it has increased street parking rates so incredibly high that drivers feel as if they are the victims of a highway robbery.* But the most controversial measure, by far, has been the implementation of red-light and speed cameras.
City governments justify the use of traffic cameras because they claim it increases public safety. However, for both red-light and speed cameras, the data on this is mixed. Of course, regardless of whether or not the cameras actually serve a greater purpose, cities are quite pleased by the substantial bump in revenue they receive from them.
Recently, I found myself on the wrong side of the law. (Well, legally, traffic camera tickets fall under the purview of civil cases, not criminal cases.) The citation said I was traveling 30 mph in a 20 mph zone, and for that, I received a whopping $189 fine. But there was a big problem with the photos they provided as “evidence”: They didn’t really prove their case.