Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Green Light Cameras"? - This Sounds Like a BAD Idea

I do not like the idea of the proposed green light cameras that Alberta has just given the go ahead for.

The problem I have is simple - as a driver, if I'm coming up on an intersection as the light turns yellow, I have a snap decision to make - try to stop, or try to go through. I've seen more than enough cases where trying to stop would create a panic stop situation, and likely as not, would end up with the car behind hitting me. The second option is often to push it a little and accelerate through the intersection. This is a split second decision - based entirely upon my immediate judgment of the situation.

What this does, much like the Red Light cameras do, is create a situation where a driver's decision is now subject to penalty, and is only measured along a single vector of consideration. I'm not objecting to nailing people who speed, or run red lights - but rather the problem is the fact that these things can be set overly aggressively, thereby penalizing drivers who are making legitimate safety decisions as they drive. (and yes, the yellow light period is a gray zone - and that's what I'm most worried about - I don't care about solid green or red situations, but I do care about the yellow light - there's just too many circumstances where the decision has to be made in the moment, and a camera simply cannot capture that context)


pissed off in Edmonton said...

Hey.. Did I hear the news report correctly that Harper is appointing a finance advisory council made up of billionaires and big business leaders?

Aren't these the dudes that created this financial crisis in the first place?

I guess the ordinary worker, tax payer, retired or homeless person
doesn't matter in Harper's new Reich.

I hope some ordinary people will wake up and make their voices heard.

pissed off in Edmonton

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that there are two possibilities regarding the "Green Light" cameras. First, if you are caught on camera with the light at Amber are you speeding on Green Light? A technicality? It depends on the wording of the law. Second, if you are correctly travelling at the speed limit when the light turns Amber, consider it unsafe to stop and thus speed up by say 5km/h I doubt that the police would charge you with speeding on a green light. It just isn't worth their while for a few dollars. What the police are looking for is the idiot who crosses the line on a Green doing 60+km/h. MAS

MgS said...

Looking at the driving conditions this week is a prime example of how limited these devices are.

What I object to here is the prospect of receiving a ticket from one of these devices with no recognition of the circumstances and context being applied.

Yes, you have a lovely picture of my car going through on an amber light, what you don't have is the pickup truck that was a little too close for me to stop safely when the decision was made to run the light. (as opposed to acquiring a redecorated back end for my car)

There are serious limitations to this kind of automation, and I'm very concerned about applying it to Amber light situations - there's just too many judgment calls being made in the moment.