Tell me this is about my safety. Close to a million dollars is just a bonus, right?
I especially like the case they cite. A van took his right on red, but didn't quite stop first. And the extent of the discussion between the two officers was "Look like he stopped?" "No." There's no thought given to it, even though it doesn't seem like the sort of red light runner we're supposed to be stopping. He yielded to traffic, but didn't quite stop, from the sound of it. Had it been a cop rather than a camera, he would've been told not to do it again.
And the fact that these tickets don't count as moving violations against your driving record really helps me buy the "safety" talks. We punish them by imposing a fee system for running red lights. You simply have to pay $101 per light you run. Hefty fee, but we can't have everyone abusing the privelege.
I'm just waiting for them to take this to the next step: speed cameras. Then seatbelt and jaywalking cameras. With the revenue from those, as well as the eventual public acceptance of such cameras, they'll have cameras pretty much everywhere, in hopes of catching some other criminals in the act. Maybe even cameras in homes, hoping to catch criminals preparing for crime. Are red light cameras Orwellian? Probably not. Are they a step in that direction? If we allow them to be. Call me crazy, but I'm not a fan of giving the police fancy cameras to watch me with.
As for now, they have the red light cameras as a big fundraiser. And they'll tell you they're keeping you safe.