Speed cameras? Yes, please

It’s Wednesday confession day so allow me to unburden my tortured soul. I’d put red light cameras at every traffic light in Minnesota.

I don’t care if the person driving isn’t the person who gets the ticket. I’ve seen too many close calls with people who just had to get to the next red light 30 seconds sooner, risking death and injury to everyone else on the road.

The same goes for speed traps. I’d run one on Interstate 94 in the east metro all day and night and I’d use the newfangled cameras for them too.

Neither of those will ever happen in Minnesota, of course, because when the cameras were installed a few years ago, so many people were caught running lights that politicians had little choice but to remove them.

Rhode Island authorities are learning the lesson too.

When speed cameras were installed in Providence school zones a few weeks ago, speeders were stopped at the rate of 27 times more often than what the police across the border in Massachusetts were doing. That’s a feature, not a bug.

Monday was the first day the 12,000 speeders — I say again: 12,000 — had the chance to contest their fines in court.

It was a nightmare, the Boston Globe says.

The evening judge, looking out at 1,500 people scheduled to have their cases heard, announced he didn’t want to hear any explanations — pay the fine or go to trial at a later date. His goal was to get everyone home by 2 a.m.

“We should start a revolution,” one man in the courthouse lobby shouted.

Or you could just slow the heck down, sir.

“These are all working people,” said Peter Basiliere, a teacher at local Roger Williams Middle School. “These are people that can’t afford $95.”

Or you could just slow the heck down, sir.

“This shouldn’t be a trap to get people that didn’t know about it to pay,” Councilwoman Sabina Matos tells the Providence Journal. “We have to make sure we are solving a problem and not creating a problem.”

If only there were a sign that could be erected to tell people what the speed limit is, maybe even bright yellow ones that say something like “school zone, speed limit 20 mph.” That would help, right?

Matos said some people opened their mailboxes last week and found three or four tickets. If people can’t pay for the tickets they may not be able to register their cars or renew their licenses, she said.

Again, a feature, not a bug.

Providence’s Council president doesn’t think the cameras, which only capture people going 11 mph over the speed limit, are going anywhere.

The number of tickets issued speaks for itself, he said.

Here’s betting they’ll all be removed by summer, some pedestrian will be killed by a speeding driver, and the citizens of Providence will wonder why authorities never do anything about the problem.