The City of Lafayette has red light cameras everywhere and they continue to catch people supposedly being bad when it comes to driving.  I have seen them time and again go off when something is happening and I have to admit that it does make you slow down so you don't have to mess with it.

There is one thing that I have noticed that I think is worth talking about when you see these cameras in action.  It appears sometimes that they go off for no apparent reason.  I have seen them take a picture of someone that is making a right turn on red after they have stopped.  I have seen them take a picture of someone that took off after the light turned green, basically catching them doing something legal.  It makes you wonder what in the world they are seeing that is illegal.

The other part of the issue that I have heard that I think is the real key is the idea that you don't get the opportunity to plead your case.  A "ticket" is issued and you really have no recourse but to pay the thing.  Some nameless company that keeps track of the whole system issues this paper that says you are guilty.  No due process.  No runs, no hits, no errors and nothing left in your wallet.  The idea that you have no due process leads me to believe that the cameras are not strictly legal in terms of what the government can ask of you.

I can certainly see how they have impacted driving, at least in intersections where they are.  I have even been around people that have said something to the effect of, "I better behave myself in this intersection because of the camera."  That doesn't mean that the other intersections are safer as well, because drivers are a smart lot.  I can also see that they are a revenue stream and that's not a horrible thing given the state that the budget is in.

Still, if they aren't strictly legal then there isn't much else to be said.  It is time for the cameras to go.