Traffic cameras could protect

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lights, camera, busted! While that’s not the usual ending to Hollywood’s famous “lights, camera, action!” phrase, the phrase is apt in two Mississippi cities — at least for a little while longer.

Technology has existed for several years to allow automated cameras to help catch traffic law violators in the act.

Such cameras are used across the country and in both Jackson and Columbus.

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But House Bill 1568 would outlaw the cameras. The Mississippi Senate will soon consider the bill.

Critics argue it’s a matter of privacy. Who wants Big Brother watching you?

But Big Brother is watching you sometimes — in the form of Mississippi State Highway Safety Patrol troopers. The only problem is, there isn’t enough of them.

Think about it. How many of us immediately either slow down or instantly check our speed as soon as we see a state trooper setup in the median watching for speeders?

The fact is that even law abiding citizens sit up a little straighter and drive a little more safely when we know someone is watching.

The debate isn’t about privacy. The cameras are on public roadways, not peering into bedroom windows.

The debate is about money and power.

Mississippi would be wise to allow the cameras and realize that the presence of the cameras does no harm to personal privacy and could save lives by providing a constant watch to critical intersections — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.