"More and more cities and towns are installing red light cameras to catch red light runners in the act. In 2008 alone, red light running accounted for 762 fatal crashes in the United States and 137,000 injuries. A study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration attributed a 25 percent reduction in T-bone accidents at intersections to the installation of red light cameras. Because people fail to voluntarily honor the law, these traffic cameras are essential in enforcing these laws and protecting public safety."
Discuss the merits of the preceding argument. Analyze the evidence used as well as the general reasoning. Present points that would strengthen the argument or challenge it.
It is commendable that that authorities are trying to curtail the frequency of accidents and reduce the possibilty of pernicious accidents by the employment of "safety cameras". However, the decision of the authority is based on flawed assumptions and nebulous statistics.
First of all, the author assumes that since the presence of traffic lights at accidents at intersections, they would work equally well with traffic lights and thus will be effective in reducing red-light running. It should be pointed out that just because something works in one case does not mean that it would necessarily work well in another case. If such is the case, and the assumption is not fully warranted of justified, then it is probable that the presence of cameras will have meager effect on the number and frequency of red-light running. If the author can provide a description of how a camera may reduce the number of accidents at intersections, then only may the assumption be properly extraploated into a proper justification.
Another problem with the argument is that the statistics are a bit too vague and broad. For example, it is possible that the density of accidents is not uniform throughtout the US. But rather, it may be possible that the accidents are more concentrated in certain areas than in others. For example, more red light running accidents may occur in california than in Kentucky or Ohio. If this is true, than the employment of cameras in areas where such rankling incidents rarely occur may have little effect. Also, the statisitcs are a bit outdated (The numbers are from the year 2008), and things may have changed overtime. Perhaps the red light running effects are probably not as severe as before. The author can make a more convincing argument by providing more details about the statistics, as well providing numbers over a range of years in order to show that red light running is being worse or stagnant.
Another assumption that the author makes is the fact that the red light running incidents are the fault of the people, in other words, the cause of red light running is not stated explicitly in the passage. It may be entirely possible that inclement weather may make it difficult for people to react to red-lights at intersections on time. If this is true, then the authoritires may require a different approach. Or it may be possible that the fines for red light running are simply too low, hence people may not be too bothered about paying fines, and then sink back into recidivism once payments are done.