Thursday, January 29, 2009

Red Lights

If you've ever visited Tuscaloosa, you probably noticed a difference in the way people drive from most of the country.  Not that we have awful drivers, but there is one problem that stands out: people run red lights ALL the time here.  My theory explaining it is that in the Northeast, red light cameras are much more common.  When it's common knowledge that there might be a camera to catch you running a particular red light, you're less likely to push it.  Here, there aren't any red light cameras that I know of, and therefore people take advantage of the lack of accountability and run the lights more.

In Criminal Procedure this morning the Judge (Judge Colquitt) was commenting on it, and he said that in his conversations with the police in Tuscaloosa, they've just said that there aren't enough resources here in terms of the number of officers to focus on traffic violations.  I know that bigger cities have more financial resources, but they also have more crime (in general), right?  In Baltimore, where the murder rate is pretty high, shouldn't the police officers be focused on bigger problems than traffic violations?  I would have thought that police in Tuscaloosa, where the most common problem is corralling the drunk college students, would have more time to monitor smaller things like traffic problems.

I've only had experience driving on the East coast and in the South.   What are drivers like in other parts of the country?  

1 comment:

anonypotamus said...

I don't think it has anything to do with the severity of the crimes in your area. More police means more patrol cars driving around, which means there will be a higher rate of traffic violations. In a city like Baltimore, for instance, if you are pulled up to a stoplight, and a patrol car pulls up behind you at the light, chances are very good that he/she's run your's very easy to do. That means within seconds of pulling up behind your car they are privy to every little outstanding thing against you.