Step 1 ContentsTicket optionsFight the ticketDon't go to courtTake your timeNothing to loseInsurance hitMore ticketsGood oddsSafer roadsYou're not guiltyCop won't show

f. Safer Roads Now you are probably thinking "If everyone fights their ticket, the courts will be swamped and no one will be convicted. People will start driving with impunity since there won't be any accountability or penalties. Won't this make the roads more dangerous?"

On the contrary, it forces the attorney general and the police to concentrate on what's really important for the community.

Parking tickets are tried in the same courts as speeding tickets. Do parking tickets make the roads any safer? No they don't. They generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for cities. They also contribute to the huge court backlog which eventually forces the attorney general to drop charges for drag racing, careless driving and drunk driving.

In fact, over the last few years, faced with increasing backlogs, the Attorney General has been forced to set priorities, dropping parking tickets and minor offences in order to prosecute the serious ones. This is what they should be doing in the first place.

Do red light cameras really make roads safer? Of course not. Running a red light is a very dangerous thing to do. But a red light camera sends the vehicle owner (not necessarily the driver) a ticket in the mail 30 days later.

Does that make you think about driving safely and not running a red light while you are driving? No it doesn't. You probably don't even remember running a red light a month ago. In fact it may have been someone else in your family who did it, not you. But you own the car so you get the ticket. Is that fair? Is that justice?

Targeting the plate owner who may not have been driving, is just a road tax which contributes to a backlog in the court system. In fact, a U.S. House of Representatives report found many cities were using shorter yellow lights at intersections with red light cameras to increase the number of tickets and revenue for the city. The House Majority Leader stated:

[T]the only documented benefit to red light cameras is to the pocketbook of local governments who use the devices to collect millions in revenue…That is the red light camera scam, and it has gone on for far too long." [1]

A red light camera generates revenue; it doesn't make the road any safer. Having red light cameras give a false sense of security when in fact we should have the police go after careless drivers and drag racers.

That is what's good for the community. Good drivers shouldn't get a ticket because the city needs more money. Bad drivers should be stopped by the police because they are dangerous.

While on the topic of being stopped by the police, the sad truth is that better looking people and more affluent people have a better chance of getting off with just a warning. And police never ticket fellow officers. Even worse, visible minorities get proportionately more tickets and have more run-ins with police. [2]

Is any of this fair? Why should you get a ticket when other people just as guilty as you only get a warning? And while we're on the topic of guilt, here's something you should know...

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1. See "The Red Light Running Crisis: Is it intentional?", Office of the Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives, 2001.

2. See "Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial Profiling", Ontario Human Rights Commission.