In the good old days, a real police officer pulled people over and gave out tickets. Now, localities are increasingly sending tickets in the mail after automatic cameras photograph an offending vehicle’s license plate.
Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica wrote an interesting story about people covering their license plates with fake tags so that the tickets are sent to the wrong person:
…these cameras are not sensitive enough to pick up the differences between these paper license plates and the real things. The students then tape the faux plate over their own and purposefully speed in order to be caught by the speed camera, causing the real owner of the license plate to receive a $40 citation in the mail.
Personally, I think these cameras should not be used for fines. Aside from the issue of not being able to prove who was driving the vehicle, the cameras have no way of taking into account special circumstances. For instance, a motorcycle may not trigger a light to change. After stopping and waiting, the motorcycle may have to safely proceed through a red light when the intersection is clear.
Localities should get over their hi-tech addictions and go back to enforcing traffic rules the old fashioned way. Do you agree?