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Sneering at traffic safety

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A Longview, Wash., teenager is leading a campaign to get rid of the city's cameras that catch people running red lights, and an Associated Press article about the campaign mentioned that nine states have banned red-light cameras statewide. Arkansas is one of the nine. The others are Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Evidently, red-light runners have a strong lobby in Little Rock, or perhaps the legislators themselves enjoy flouting traffic laws. A couple of them were caught in that sort of activity during the legislative session earlier this year.

Act 1451 of 2005 prohibits "the use of automated enforcement devices to enforce traffic laws." It was sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Jeffress of Crossett, whose motive is unknown. He doesn't return calls from the Arkansas Times to talk about it. Presumably, Crossett doesn't have big traffic problems, but Little Rock does, and at one time was seriously considering the installation of cameras at intersections. Many cities have such cameras and report they're effective in reducing the running of red lights. In 2001, the city caved in to pressure from red-light runners, and before the issue could be revisited, Jeffress had passed his anti-camera law, possibly at the behest of Little Rock legislators who didn't want their own names on what might be a controversial piece of legislation.

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