The following ficitious conversation was inspired by the recently released news that the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has been pushing the state to put up more red light cameras in New York. It turns out that red light cameras brought in more than $50 million in fines in 2010, – a 30% increase from the year 2009.
A police officer pulls over a driver who is in the middle of a 4-way intersection when the light is red.
Driver (attempting to shake the police officer’s hands): Officer, I’m Innocent Man, nice to meet you.
Police Officer: You know you’re supposed to wait for me to talk first right? And keep your hands on your wheels
Driver: Yes sir.
Police Officer: Let me see your driver’s license.
Driver: Why? You don’t believe my name is “Innocent Man?” Or are you just gonna write me up a ticket?!
Police Officer: Sir. I ask the questions. You are aware that you’re in the middle of an intersection and the light is red?
Driver: Oh. I thought you were just power-hungry so you decided to block traffic by pulling me over while I’m crossing an intersection.
Police Officer: Sir, the red light camera above this intersection light just printed out this photo. (Showing a photo to the driver)
Driver: Yep. That looks like my car. The camera sure captured my license plate very well. Did you guys get these cameras from Hollywood?
Police Officer: I’m writing you a ticket for running a red light. Although I didn’t personally see you running the red light, this photo said your car did.
Driver: SIR! You’re out of your mind!!! Did you not see an ambulance with its lights and siren activated just minutes ago? I was moving my car out of the way to let it pass. So I ran a red light…to save a life!
Police Officer: Tell that to the Judge
Driver: (Swearing) You’re crazy! I RAN A RED LIGHT BECAUSE AN AMBULANCE NEEDED TO RESCUE PEOPLE! HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE ME A TICKET FOR THAT?!
Police Officer: Sir. Tell that to the Judge. The camera said you ran a red light. I am just following the protocols. And you need to stop swearing or else I’ll write you another ticket for harassing a police officer.
Driver: You’re crazy. You are crazy. You know that?
Police Officer: Here is your ticket and your driver’s license. The fine is $50 since you were caught with a red light camera. The back of the ticket has information on how you can appeal.
Driver: $50? I am not gonna take an entire day off of work just to fight a $50 ticket. I make $50 per minute at my job.
Police Officer: Be my guest. Fifty bucks more for the state.
Driver (shakes head): Absolutely outrageous. This is what I get for being a good citizen! A ticket for letting an ambulance pass me!
Police Officer: Sir. You might want to acknowledge all the red light camera locations in New York so you don’t stupidly get caught again. They are pretty high-tech (smiles).