A few months back, I noticed where some city councils in our area either had tabled or given up considering cameras at signal lights. I wasn’t surprised for more and more, elected officials are caving in to a handful of complaints from a handful of citizens without fully looking into the matter. You know, the squeaking wheel syndrome.

I guess that’s okay, Hey, that’s how you get re-elected. Forget about the fact that someone might be killed in an accident because an idiot tries to beat a red light.

That has happened too frequently.

And all of us who drive do, from time to time, speed up to beat the light.

There are a number of reasons we find ourselves in that position. It isn’t as if we pull onto the highway with the mindset that ‘we’re going to beat all the lights.’

Of course not. We have a destination, and that’s our focus. Still, you can’t deny that talk shows on the radio, CDs blaring, cell phones, or any of a number of other distractions play a part. If you don’t think so, I have a mountainside retreat just outside of Bridge City I’ll let you have at a good price.

The other day, my wife and I headed for the local pharmacy. We pulled up to a four way stop on a heavily traveled street on the north side of Port Neches. A black Corvette was coming toward us. I had the right of way, but something about the momentum of the Corvette warned me. I stopped. The sports car zoomed through the four way stop. The woman behind the wheel had a cell phone growing out of her ear.

If she’d hit someone and killed them, I’m sure she would have been sorry. But the victim would still be dead.

So why do people resist cameras at signal lights?

Obviously, they don’t want to stop their method of driving.

Signal cameras work in many cities without costing taxpayers any extra. In fact, companies install the cameras, read the pictures, and in accordance with local laws, send tickets. That frees the police for more important work.

As a member of the Alumni Association of the Citizens Police Academy, I received a detailed explanation of how the cameras would operate in Beaumont.

In the beginning, six locations would have been designated and made known to the public. These locations were ones that have had the most accidents. Makes sense, okay? Notice, I said ‘would have been.’ Beaumont tabled their operation. Nederland threw theirs out.

Now, let me tell you, folks. I’m pretty slow, but if I know that such and such an intersection has a traffic camera, there ain’t no way I’m going to be blasting up to that light. On the contrary, I’ll be slowing down as I draw near.

Now that doesn’t mean I won’t try to beat the next one.

A couple times a year, we go to Louisiana to place flowers on my father-in-law’s grave. About forty or fifty miles into the state at the base of an overpass, a state patrol car is always—I mean, always parked. Sometimes an officer is in it, sometimes it’s empty.

But you know something. We always slow down when we hit that overpass.

Ninety percent of us drive too fast, and if you’re honest, you’ll admit even the sight of a white Ford or Chevy behind you will slow you down. How would you react if you thought there was a signal camera at the next light? Huh? Think about it.

You’ll always hear excuses like the dingy who claimed she was rear-ended because she had to stop so suddenly at the intersection with the camera.

Hey, I’m dumb, but she’s stupid. If she knew the camera was there, why was she driving so fast in the first place?

I truly believe some city councils just wimp out. I hope the powers that be will reconsider cameras. Let the whiners learn how to drive appropriately.

If it were up to me, I’d put up as many cameras as I could.