Nola red light cameras under fire

A decision by a New Orleans judge invalidating a red-light-camera ticket received by a local lawyer is threatening to deal another body blow to the city's already shaky finances -- though it might bring a smile to the faces of motorists sick of the devices.

New Orleans, which took in nearly $10 million last year from tickets generated by red-light and speed-enforcement cameras, was counting on receiving at least as much this year.

But a ruling this week by Civil District Judge Kern Reese has the potential to cost the city millions, though not immediately.

Reese ruled in favor of a challenge to the tickets brought by
Metairie lawyer Joseph McMahon III, who has been fighting red-light cameras in Jefferson Parish and Lafayette as well as New Orleans since 2008.

While I don't know that McMahon's suit will have as much of an impact in stopping the cameras generally, I'm very glad to see them being challenged vigorously in the courts.  I'm particularly disgusted with the crop of school zone speed cameras that popped up in the past six months all over town.  They operate for extended periods when there are absolutely no school children present in the vicinity at all, and they enforce a speed limit of 20 mph on roadways where such a speed is impractical - and actually dangerous to other motorists dropping down from a noticeably higher authorized speed.  The red light cameras, from numerous anecdotes and personal interaction, are definitely inaccurate and often incorrect in their assessment of motorist actions at intersections - usually penalizing people like McMahon who are simply making a right turn.
While the various traffic cameras clearly stand to provide significant revenues to a cash-strapped city, I don't think they should stand in for sound budgeting.