Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Red is in the Eye of the Beholder....
It is actually a plea of sorts. Three people that have been in devastating car accidents are asking people to "TEXT RED". The context of the campaign is to have Missourians text the word red to a given number to show their endorsement for cameras to be put up at intersections. These cameras are to capture pictures of the red light runners.
The three speakers in the commercial all have poignant, heart breaking stories, and I would be texting like a mad woman except, I am not a Missourian. I live on the Kansas side of this city. My vote doesn't count over there.
I am amazed at the ongoing debate over this issue here in Metro KC, though. Hardly a day goes by that some group isn't campaigning for or against the cameras. As always, I am a bit conflicted. The battle within my brain however is clearly stronger on the "I AM FOR IT" side.
Both Kansas Cities (Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO.) already have beau coup cameras in place. This is SO ticking a whole bunch of people off. I don't understand how it is against their right to privacy, as they claim. I also, don't see how it infringes on their civil liberties which they also claim. The fact, that there are traffic laws that say "STOP ON RED, GO ON GREEN", seem pretty forthright. It is the law. So STOP your damn car already when the light is red.
SO MY FIRST THOUGHT IS "I AM FOR IT'
The one little niggling of a problem I have is this. A couple of months ago, I got a letter from the state of Missouri complete with a $113.00 ticket in it. There were all kinds of directions as to who to make the check out to, where to mail it, and if I choose to contest it who to call within the KC court system. I, of course, am not loving this letter. I look to see where I supposedly ran a light. Frankly, I am even shocked that I would have run through a red light, because I am that person that tries to always follow the rules. That is part of my LACK of charm. I am stuffy by some peoples standards. Back to the letter... It tells me I ran a light in a section of town here known as Red Bridge. I am suspicious.... I haven't been to Red Bridge in ... heck, I don't even remember when. Maybe two years ago.
So, I immediately start yelling at hubby, (so unfair, I know) saying did you use my car and run a red light????
He is vigorously denying running a light while he is yanking the pages of ticket-giving documentation out of my hands.
Of course, he quickly gets to the incriminating proof that lies on the last page of this ticket o'mine to find the picture of my car and license plate. (alleged car and license plate)
Here's the deal....Car in picture IS NOT MINE. Not even close. Under the picture there is a web address that says I can go online, using my ticket number as a password, and view the incriminating footage of my act of recklessness.
Which, of course, I do. What I see on the web site is a dirty (as in needs washed) law breaking Volvo that blatantly ran the red without so much as a pause. The video is as clear as day in the picture, while the license number is not so clear.. The dirt on the dirty little Volvo is obstructing the robotic reader that is taking a picture of this crappy driver and his vehicle. Evidently in Missouri, they make a guess and my license plate was close enough.
The black Volvo sedan is now causing my Radiant Red SUV a big ole problem. Not to mention it is making me cranky. I follow the directions on the ticket to contest it. All this bureaucracy because some dirty car and it's driver doesn't get the concept of STOP ON RED, GO ON GREEN.
I fax in the appropriate paperwork and follow up with a phone call to the company that is anxiously waiting for my $113.00 to arrive in the near future. (which by the way is in Arizona) The person on the phone is clearly thinking I just don't want to pay up but I am insisting that I drive a mid-size red SUV and I didn't run a light. She wants pictures of my vehicle with a clear picture of my plates along with my registration that shows the make and model of my car.
OK, this is what the real glory of the Internet is. I take pictures with my IPhone, download to my computer, email the "less than friendly" person in Arizona all the required information.
She says....We will review your case and get back with you in a couple of weeks.
What?? I have a ticket that is to be paid and according to your paperwork if I don't pay it there are consequences. (the word warrant was in there somewhere). This is the kind of crap that makes me crazy.
I decide to wait it out. Low and behold a couple weeks later I get another letter. My case has been dismissed. No explanation (could have said because it wasn't you) no apology (because it wasn't me) not anything except the "case is dismissed."
MY SECOND THOUGHT IS "IF YOU HAVE THESE CAMERAS MAKE SURE THE PROCESS WORKS CORRECTLY
Of the more than 18,000 tickets issued in KC for red light runners only about 8,000 actually paid the fines. Surely not all of those ten thousand were mistakes. What is wrong with this system??? KCTV5 said in a recent broadcast that 57 percent of the time there are no consequence to running through a red light here.
The Good for the Day.... Efforts made to keep people safer.
The Bad for the Day...Bureaucratic glitches that cause people time and effort to get messes straightened out. Oh, and ineffectual programs that don't do what they are designed to do.
The Weird for the day... Why are we all in such a hurry???