Crashes, vehicle speeds down near red-light cameras, reports say

Red-light Camera at Oak Ridge Turnpike and New York Avenue

The largest crash reduction near red-light cameras occurred near the system at Oak Ridge Turnpike and New York Avenue/Lafayette Drive.

There has been an overall decrease in the number of car crashes near red-light camera systems installed at four locations in Oak Ridge five years ago, and vehicle speeds have dropped near two schools, officials said.

Council members had requested information about crash frequency and history as the controversial five-year red-light camera contract, approved in August 2008, comes up for renewal in April. The crash information, as well as data on vehicle speeds, is included in the agenda packet for a Monday night Oak Ridge City Council work session.

The information said the largest crash reduction occurred at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Lafayette Drive/New York Avenue. Accidents there fell from 86 to 58, or roughly 33 percent, and injuries fell from 25 to 13, about a 50 percent reduction.

The totals compared the number of crashes from one four-year period starting March 2005 and ending March 2009, and a second period starting April 2009 and ending in November 2013, or a little more than four years.

There was also a significant crash reduction near a second set of cameras on Oak Ridge Turnpike between the Civic Center and High School. Crashes there fell from 71 to 57, although injuries fell only slightly, from 16 to 14.

The number of crashes near a third set of cameras at North Illinois Avenue and Robertsville Road stayed the same at 23, although injuries fell from eight to five, according to the information, which was supplied by the Oak Ridge Police Department.

In both time periods, there were zero crashes near a fourth set of cameras at Robertsville Road near Willow Brook Elementary School.

Reports of property damage fell at the two Oak Ridge Turnpike camera locations—from 55 to 43 near the Civic Center, and from 61 to 45 near New York Avenue—but increased slightly at North Illinois Avenue and Robertsville Road, climbing from 15 to 18.

The camera vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., said the cameras have reduced the speed of drivers in school zones where “traffic is free flowing” by an average of 4.94 percent during non-school zone times and by 14.33 percent when reduced school zone speed limits are in effect.

The largest reduction from 2009 to 2013 occurred in the westbound lanes on Oak Ridge Turnpike near the high school when the school zone was in effect. Vehicle speeds there dropped from 22.2 mph in 2009 to 16.75 mph in 2013, a 24.55 percent reduction.

The second largest drop occurred among eastbound drivers near the high school. Their average speed dropped from 21 mph in a school zone in 2009 to 18.17 in 2013, a 13.48 percent reduction.

The statistics said there was a drop in vehicle speeds at all cameras near the high school and Willow Brook, both when school zones were in effect and when they were not. The changes ranged from a 1.67 percent reduction to 24.55 percent.

The camera systems at Oak Ridge Turnpike and New York Avenue, and North Illinois Avenue and Robertsville Road, can both issue $50 citations to drivers who speed or run red lights. The other two systems near the high school and Willow Brook only issue tickets for speeding.

Tonight’s non-voting City Council work session starts at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Services Complex at 100 Woodbury Lane, behind the Kroger shopping center. See the agenda here.

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  • Kay Williamson

    Those ticket can not be enforced and NO ONE HAS TO PAY THEM. They do not report to the state, your insurance company, and NOTHING CAN HAPPEN TO YOU IF YOU DON’T PAY THEM. This Company has admit to numerous frauds regarding the Red Light Camera’s.

    • Ellen Smith

      It’s my understanding that the fines are enforceable through the municipal court. That generally means that you do have to pay them, although I’m sure that some people are successful in evading the bills.

      However, Kay is totally correct when she says that traffic camera tickets are not reported to the state DMV or to insurance companies.

      • Harry Pruitt

        Oak Ridge is banking heavily on a surge of sales tax revenue from the new Kroger complex when it opens. Reports suggest that most of the speeding and red light tickets are now given to non-Oak Ridge residents. Wonder how many folks from outside of Oak Ridge will want to run the speed camera gauntlet to spend their money their. I suspect Koger is concerned about that too.Of course, some Oak Ridge folk say “stay out of Oak Ridge if you don’t like our cameras.” Maybe they will. We can always increase property tax’s if that happens, right?

    • Johnny Beck

      People in Knoxville were told for several years that they didn’t have to pay these because no one would enforce it. Then Knoxville started sending them to collections, and it’s costing the drivers way more than the initial ticket cost.

      If you get a ticket, you broke the law. Why can’t people own up to that fact and pay the ticket? And since the tickets are legal tickets, couldn’t you be brought into court for advising people in a public forum to break the law? If I told someone to break into a store because there was no security and they wouldn’t be caught and they did it, I’d be arrested as an accomplice.

      While I have no doubt that the cameras have and are slowing people down and making them pay better attention to the lights, I still have to wonder how it’s legal to charge different amounts for the same offense depending on how you are caught?

      And many scientific studies have proven that the best way to cut down on accidents at intersections is to add a second to yellow times AND to the times that both lights are red.

      • Ellen Smith

        Since you asked about why there are different fines for the same offense:
        If you are ticketed for speeding or a red-light violation by a police officer, you can be charged with violating state law, and you are fined (and reported to the state) accordingly. In contrast, traffic camera tickets are a bit like parking tickets. The camera can identify the car that committed a violation, but not the driver. Therefore, the ticket can’t be recorded against you personally. Also, it’s a municipal ordinance violation — and due to a 19th-century provision in the Tennessee Constitution, the maximum fine for violating a municipal ordinance is $50.

        • Johnny Beck

          Thanks for the info as always Ellen, I understand the train of thought behind this a little better now. It still doesn’t completely make sense to me though, because speeding and running a red light are still violations of the state law no matter how you are caught. It seems like it’s “a creative loophole until a higher court strikes it down” kind of thing.

          • Ellen Smith

            Law often doesn’t make complete sense.

          • Johnny Beck

            That’s OK neither do I, at least according to my wife and kids. And some of my coworkers. And most of my friends.

  • Cindy McCullough

    Interesting information. Less accidents at one spot, but not much less in injuries. Other spot accidents stayed the same. I wonder if there was any change in accidents in parts of the city that didn’t have cameras, especially injuries, so I have something to compare to.

  • Peter Scheffler

    I’m glad to see the reductions. Related to Ms. McCullough’s comment, how did accidents and injuries at these locations and others compare with changes in traffic volumes? Perhaps accidents and injuries have dropped because traffic volumes have dropped due to people bypassing the cameras. And what about severity of accidents and injuries? I would hope that the severity is lower because speeds are lower.

    • johnhuotari

      Peter and Cindy,

      A few people have asked how the changes in number of crashes at these locations compares to changes at other non-camera intersections. I don’t have that data yet, but I’ll see what I can find out.

  • Susan Gawarecki

    The cameras always remind me to check my speed and in general increase my safety awareness. I think this effect carries over as more awareness when cameras are not present. It takes a while to develop a habit, good or bad. While no one likes the negative reinforcement of a $50 fine, in the long run these cameras improve the public’s driving habits.

    • Philip W Nipper

      I agree. I think we should have cameras at every intersection on the Turnpike and on S. Illinois Ave. In the end, they work. They make most drivers pay attention, slow down and obey the traffic laws. I hope the city council votes to keep them when the contract comes up for review/renewal. John, maybe you could have one of your polls set up for the use of red light / speed cameras in town?

      • johnhuotari

        Good idea, Philip. I added the poll. I should have thought of that earlier.

        • Philip W Nipper

          Thanks John. By the way, what’s the deal with the comments made by Kay Williamson, fact or fiction? Can you find out?

          • Kay Williamson

            Look at Ellen Smith reply down below., she said on the city council until the last election and she comment on my post below.. I’m sure you would take her word for what i posted to be A FACT..

  • johnhuotari

    Note: As I noted in the comments below, we have added a poll to the story above, essentially asking whether you approve or disapprove of the use of the cameras for traffic enforcement.

  • Jim Bouchard

    If safety is truly pushing these cameras I have to ask why one was not installed at the intersection of Illinois and Lafayette? I have seen numerous accidents and speeding in what may be the most heavily congested intersection in Oak Ridge.

    • Johnny Beck

      Jim, The Turnpike was still under construction when the cameras were installed, and no more have been installed since then if I’m remembering correctly. They completely restructured that intersection, so they couldn’t put them in back then.

      • Harry Pruitt

        Not so Johnny. You are thinking of the Turnpike/Ilinois intersection. Jim is referring to the Illinois/Lafayette intersection where much of the traffic is headed to Y-12 and Knoxville. He has a good point. Council would not dare put speed/red light cameras in that location. It’s the primary entrance to the local bomb factory.

        • Johnny Beck

          Woops, my bad. Thanks for catching that Harry. I don’t multi-task as well as I used to apparently.

        • Ellen Smith

          For the record, the City Council did not decide where to put cameras. That decision was made by City staff in concert with RedFlex. I believe that two of the locations were selected because of an accident history at a particular intersection and the other two locations were chosen because they were school zones.

          I don’t know whether the Illinois/Lafayette-Scarboro intersection was considered for cameras. However, it is a very large and complicated intersection. It’s easy to imagine that there could be significant technical difficulties in setting up cameras there.

          • Harry Pruitt

            Thanks Ellen, but your response is an excuse for City Council, which you were a member of at that time. Council can, and frequently does, direct City staff to make changes that Council prefers.

            Technical difficulties at a large and complicated intersection? Surely you jest. That is why RedFlex has engineers and technical people. If any intersections in Oak Ridge need speed/redlight cameras it would be Illinois/ Layfayette and Turnpike/Illinois intersections. But hopefully Council will heed the views of rational people in Oak Ridge and refuse to ne-new the RedFlex contract. I’ll wager Kroger hopes so. What business wants a speed trap at their front door?

          • Philip W Nipper

            I’ll take that bet Mr. Pruitt. I think the majority of folks who live in Oak Ridge approve of these cameras. I’ll wager that council will renew in a close vote (4 to 3). They might even increase the number of these cameras. Should not all of our intersections be as safe as another? The real story here is if you don’t break the traffic laws, you won’t get a ticket, right? If you pay attention to your driving and not the the phone in your ear and not the food in your mouth or in your hands and not your appearance in the mirror, all will be well on our highways and biways. In the end it is simply a method of trying to keep our streets safe for pedestrians and drivers while allowing the police to direct their attention to other duties. I don’t have a problem with it.

          • Ellen Smith

            I also have the impression that the majority of Oak Ridgers do favor the continued use of traffic cameras.

          • Ellen Smith

            Mr. Pruitt, perhaps I need to clarify. City Council took no official action directing the positioning of cameras (or approving a staff proposal for specific locations). Apparently, some decisions on camera locations may have been based on promises that were made to some of the 4 Council members who voted for the RedFlex contract. I was not one of those four.

          • jcwconsult

            Redflex and other camera companies are experts in finding the locations in a city where the cameras will generate HIGH PROFITABILITY. That is there job, and they are extremely skilled in recommending profitable locations for the cameras. Safety is NOT the issue for camera companies.
            Residents might want to Google for the history of Redflex in Chicago where they were thrown out as the contractor, and in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana where officials pledged to return whatever is left of $19.7 million in escrowed Redflex camera fines due to the improper way the company won the contract there. I find it incomprehensible why any honorable US city would deal with Redflex for anything.
            James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

    • johnhuotari

      I don’t recall whether the intersection of Illinois and Lafayette was discussed when the cameras were put in.

      As I recall, the intersection of Turnpike and Illinois was, but the west-end expansion of the Turnpike, which went all the way up to that intersection, hadn’t yet been completed.

  • jcwconsult

    Four points.
    1) installing a ticket camera at Robertsville Road at Iroquois Avenue where there were zero crashes in the four year period prior to camera installation could only have been for one reason – $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
    2) The Redflex contract pays the company on a per-paid-citation basis, a commission, a format that many governments feel is so open to abuse that it is not legal. In their contracts, payments to the camera company are on a flat fee basis, giving the vendor NO incentive to improperly increase the citation numbers.
    3) A number of communities have declined to deal with Redflex or refused to renew contracts with them based on the reports of corruption. Among the largest scandals are ones in Chicago and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
    4) Red light cameras produce profits ONLY when the yellow intervals are deliberately mis-engineered to be too short for the ACTUAL approach speeds of at least 85% of the vehicles under good conditions. Speed cameras produce profits ONLY when the posted limits are set less-safely and artificially below the safest 85th percentile speeds of free flowing traffic under good conditions.
    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

    • Johnny Beck

      Mr Walker,

      As you are a paid “consultant” who posts the same comments in hundreds of newspapers across the country against the cameras, I expect more and better research from you.
      If you had done your research, you would have known that the camera at Robertsville and Iroquois is there for the 2 school zones next to each other, and many speeding tickets were issued there in the years preceding the camera. There have also been close calls and accidents there.
      You also should have known that the traffic light timings were fully reviewed before the cameras were installed, and they were adjusted to match the State guidelines.
      And the 85th percentile for speed is not a complete justification for raising the speed limit, which by the way has been the same for over 40 or 50 years on the turnpike. You have to take into account the school, library and park, configuration and spacing of intersections, etc. If you actually lived anywhere near here you would know why it’s set where it is.

      Serial commenters such as yourself do more damage to your cause with their biased incomplete and usually outdated rhetoric than anyone who is actually for the cameras.

      • jcwconsult

        Dear Mr. Beck — I don’t know where you got your information, but I am an unpaid volunteer with the NMA. We only have 3 paid employees and all are at our headquarters in Wisconsin. I make nothing from my volunteer activities.

        My research on the Robertsville/Iroquois camera is right in the records from your police department and mentioned in both the article and the report to Council. For the 4 years prior to the camera there were ZERO crashes. Legitimate traffic safety engineers do NOT install traffic control devices for problems that do not exist. It is completely obvious that the purpose was $$$, not safety.

        I have not studied the state rules for timing yellow intervals in Tennessee, but I know that predatory slow rolling right on red tickets were outlawed by the legislature a couple of years ago. Therefore, the violations will be mostly split second ones of less than one second into the red, deliberately caused by yellows too short for the ACTUAL 85th percentile approach speeds. This is an extremely common scam, often based on the unsafe practice of timing the yellows to the posted speed limits – when the engineer knows full well the posted limit does NOT reflect the actual traffic speeds. I just returned from another state studying this scam where there were cameras in several places in 40 zones but the actual 85th percentile speeds were 49 and 50 mph – which makes the yellows 0.7 seconds short.

        Please read the presentation by the Michigan State Police in the last article here:
        http://www.motorists.org/speed-limits/articles
        Posted limits set below the 85th percentile speeds do NOT affect actual traffic speeds, they just give a false sense of security to the road users. The only way to really reduce speeds is to degrade the roadway environment so drivers feel comfortable at lower speeds.
        For the record, I have actively studied red light cameras for 12 years and speed limits for 51 years. I use the latest research, as well as the historical studies.
        James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association, http://www.motorists.org

        • Johnny Beck

          Mr Walker,
          Don’t misunderstand me, I do have some respect for a lot of what you do. I’ve read a lot of your articles and documents on the cameras, and as I’ve stated before, I agree that the best way to solve intersection issues is to add a second or 2 to the yellow and concurrent red times. However, you are paid to travel the country and speak against traffic cameras and bad local and state laws concerning speed and traffic enforcement, so you are not being totally honest when you say you are unpaid.
          My main disagreement with your hundreds of posts across the country is that you apply blanket statements to streets that you have never driven. You know nothing of the local environments, and have never observed the children walking to and from school. You repeat the 85th percentile argument for the vast majority of your arguments, but again have never driven or walked most of the routes you apply it to. That’s why I disapprove of your methods.
          If you had ever been here, or even taken the time to look at Google maps, you would have seen that there is an elementary school and a middle school within a block of each other by Robertsville and Iroquois, and no buses for kids that live locally. If you had ever been here you would have seen the kids trying to cross Illinois st Robertsville, and other kid’s parents trying to drive across there to get their kids to school each day. If you had ever been here you would have seen how close the apparently un-timed traffic lights are on the turnpike. These are only a few of the reasons I don’t respect your mass postings. As I said, I respect a lot of your work, but not your remote mass comments.

          • jcwconsult

            Mr. Beck: My salary or consulting fees for what I do total precisely $0.00. I invest an enormous amount of personal time and sometimes get a partial portion of the actual out of pocket travel expenses reimbursed – but that is not always the case. A lot of the travel expenses come out of my own pocket because I believe in what I do – and I have the time to do it. A couple other NMA members are also very active in posting the unbiased research on these issues on articles nationwide – to dispel the false information that comes from groups that make money from the cameras.
            I am particularly active in Michigan where I work closely with the department of the Michigan State Police that is responsible for traffic safety. I go to many legislative hearings in Michigan. I have never been reimbursed for one penny of expenses in Michigan in all the 18 years I have been active at these activities here. Note that when the State Police and I testify for or against the same bills, you could virtually exchange our prepared testimony statements because we believe the same science of how to achieve traffic safety – and that does NOT include cameras.
            I helped stop red light cameras from coming to Michigan last year, and speed cameras would have soon followed. They were stopped with the combined opposition of the ACLU, the Police Officers Association of Michigan, the Campaign for Liberty, the Mackinac Center, a representative of the judges, editorials in both major Detroit newspapers and the National Motorists Association.
            When cameras in Tennessee that can no longer profiteer from slow rolling right on red turns are profitable, the ONLY way that is possible is for the yellow intervals to be too short for the actual 85th percentile approach speeds – as the ITE formula was devised to calculate. If the yellows are long enough for the actual approach speeds, the cameras would lose massive amounts of money and be removed.
            For this and many other situations, I don’t have to drive the roads or see the intersections. The profitability of the cameras tells me for certain the traffic safety parameters are deliberately and maliciously mis-engineered for profitability. If every speed limit and every traffic light were engineered for safety, the ticket camera industry could not exist financially. They would go bankrupt.
            Now let me ask you a very serious question about traffic safety and speed limits. If the 85th percentile speed of approaching vehicles is between 37 and 40 mph, what is the safest speed limit to post? The 85th speeds WILL be between 37 and 40, regardless of whether the limit is posted at 40, 35, 30, or 25. So what is the safest limit to post, and why?
            James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

          • Johnny Beck

            Mr Walker,
            The first part of your response should be in a FAQ that you link to in your posts to articles. Thank you for that.
            The rest ignores my main point, and even shows some arrogance where you state that you don’t need to drive the streets to know them. And you ignored the dual school zones that I referenced because you mentioned that zone in your original comment here. What are your group’s recommendations for school zones? How would you recommend setting the speed limits on a very narrow residential street with on-street parking, houses close to the street, several intersections, and a church and 2 schools within a block of each other?
            People take your mass-posts with their blanket one size fits all data and copy it to fliers and to their own sites and mass posts without verifying that the data even applies to their local area. Then when the general population sees the erroneous data they disregard it due to the obvious flaws. Use you own 85th percentile logic and tell me how people would react to data with an obvious15% error rate.
            I generally support your cause, but not your mass-post methods.

            John Huotari,
            Sorry for loading up this thread, I’ve stated my views on this as much as I can and won’t be responding to any more of it. I see the copied/pasted posts in almost any paper nationwide that mentions cameras, and then the local activists copy/paste it everywhere, and I thought everyone should have some facts on the sources. Too many people take it all as gospel without fully analyzing it for their local situations. Mr Walker is very knowledgeable and dedicated and I do respect him for that, and I’ve learned a lot just from his replies here. But based on his responses here I hope the city isn’t going to use his data and comments to them as a major basis for their decisions on the cameras.

          • jcwconsult

            Thanks for a good exchange, and I agree we have talked out the points.
            The question I posed of how you would set the limit when the 85th speeds are 37 to 40 mph is the essence of the issue. Whether you post 40, 35, 30, or 25 – it is almost certain the 85th speeds will be 37 to 40. So what is the safest limit to post and why? It is the most difficult question for most people to answer. Do you tell the truth to the vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists or do you lie to them with signs that suggest cars are coming slower than they are – which can give a false sense of security.
            School zones CAN have lower speed limits at the brief times of day kids are likely to be present and flashing lights to indicate the times is a very good idea. Michigan’s law section 257.627a is a good one. Very narrow residential streets with lots of parking and access points usually produce slower speeds. IF even slower speeds are needed, you have to degrade the roadway environment to make drivers feel safe and comfortable only at lower speeds. Painting lower numbers on the signs will not reduce the actual speeds and may raise crash risks by increasing the speed variance. It simply does not work – but this is devilishly hard to teach.
            Thanks again for the exchange. James C. Walker, Life Member-NMA

        • Johnny Beck

          I’m curious as to your thoughts on I believe it was Missouri’s decision that local camera statutes can’t override state traffic laws, so cameras can’t be used since the fine and violation level don’t match the state’s?

          • jcwconsult

            I was very pleased when the Missouri Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals from the various local authorities on rulings that shut their programs down. To use cameras in Missouri will take new legislation, which will be hard to get approved.
            Remember, if a camera program is profitable it DOES depend on deliberately mis-engineered traffic safety parameters. If the parameters are all done for safety, then the cameras will not issue enough citations to even cover their own high costs.
            James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • Daniel Bridges

    Brad Heun makes a compelling argument (and I think the strongest one here) against the cameras, that they undermine the protections of the U.S. Constitution. I’ve gotten one ticket ($52) after being here about a year, driving west past the high school — 33 mph at 2:51pm, the first time I’d been there at that time of day. I didn’t see the light blinking. I would’ve had to risk paying an additional $150 to contest it — and, given the “we have a video of you with the light blinking” (which I couldn’t view online) implication of RedFlex and the police officer (I called both) that I would not be forgiven, I couldn’t afford to “face my accuser” and plead for mercy. If the choice is “camera or stoplight”, I think the camera is better to save the environment — less cars breaking for an unnecessary stoplight, less wasted energy. But, given Heun’s argument about the Constitution, and the content of this news article (the Council’s only been asked to consider the stoplight), I’d say the ideal is to end the cameras and not construct a stoplight. Personally, I would be okay with the cameras if they’d waive the court fee to contest it (so I wouldn’t have to pay an additional $150 for the opportunity to ask them to waive the $50 ticket) — strictly speaking, one is proven guilty by the video showing the vehicle speeding with flashing light. The mentality shifting towards ‘guilty until proven innocent’ is a problem nonetheless (and so this RedFlex system should be avoided), but if there is a high school safety problem and this system solves it, it seems to me to be constitutional (if the video can be demonstrated trustworthy, e.g. well-calibrated speed detection). That being said, I still find it absurd (and somewhat shameful) that the Oak Ridge Police Department insisted they “had nothing to do with” the ticket, that they “only verify the video; you’ll have to contact RedFlex”: The Oak Ridge Schools system taught me it was the police officer’s responsibility to give speeding tickets. To sell this duty to a foreign business seems shameful. I support automation that frees our officers for more important work, though — so develop your own system. This is supposed to be “a scientific community”, so get to it … On that note, I find the traffic lights in the city to be worse than the cameras: There are two or three lights that require slamming on the brakes seconds after a car pulls up. They should all have sensors (or cameras) counting strings of cars and gaps, so five cars aren’t forced to waste energy for the sake of one car that could have waited ten more seconds. It seems straightforward to increase the sophistication of our traffic lights in this manner to be more energy efficient.

  • Mike Mahathy

    John Houtari, Why are people posting without their names?

  • Dave Smith

    According to its Discus profile, “DiegoHenry” has more than 300 comments peppered in online news sites across the country, all of which are protestations of traffic camera technology or allegations of corruption.

    I don’t think the above comment adds much to the discussion of the news article here, and much of it seems irrelevant. The gist of the news article is that drivers are slowing down in the monitored school zones and engaging in fewer accidents there as well. DiegoHenry’s comment interjects a discussion of “right angle” crashes (what does that have to do with pedestrian school children?) and impaired/distracted “late runner” drivers. In all the discussion of traffic cameras in Oak Ridge I’ve never heard the claim that traffic camera enforcement of speed limits or traffic light obeyance would reduce or prevent distracted drivers. But my observation (and personal experience) has been that the traffic camera enforcement instigates a peer effect; drivers are less prone to speeding in school zones or running red lights when others are not doing speeding or running red lights. In a subtle way, the cameras promote the obverse of “everybody else is doing it, why not me, too?”

  • johnhuotari

    Sorry, Mike, I hadn’t had a chance to moderate comments yet. I have done so now.
    Our standard practice when we remove a comment because the person didn’t use their real, full name is to send the person an e-mail and offer them a chance to repost it under their real, full name, as long as their comment followed the other guidelines. Thank you.

  • Devon Mann

    I see censorship is alive and well here! Since I am a citizen of this town, pay taxes and such, I feel I should have the right to say what I think and remain anonymous. I see the oak ridge today has no problem when it comes to freedom of the press but muzzles anyone when she/he exercises their freedom of speech and privacy, Sorry to the comment police-Mike Mahathy (If that is your REAL NAME) for saying what I think. Ms Williamson IS WRONG to post that this is not enforceable, some readers may interpret this to be fact and do this, only to pay the consequences later. Oh yes to satisfy the Comment Police Officer Mahathy my name is Devon Mann.

  • Philip W Nipper

    Lighten up Mr. Mann, the commenting guidelines, much like traffic signs, are clearly posted. And just like traffic laws, if you don’t follow them, there most likely will be consequences. And by the way, I agree with you that Williamson’s comments were reckless at best but she too has the right to post them, just as we all do, as long as we follow Mr. Huotari’s simple guidelines.

  • johnhuotari

    Devon,

    Our comment policy was developed in response to reader requests, and it has been in place since October 2012. You can read our post announcing the policy here: http://oakridgetoday.com/2012/10/31/oak-ridge-today-announces-commenting-policy/

    We believe that requiring real names helps keep the conversation civil and adds credibility to the comments. The overwhelming majority of readers who have discussed this issue with me agree. Here’s the bottom line for us: We’re accountable for what we write here, and we think you should be accountable for what you say here.

    Those who want to discuss an issue with us privately are always welcome to send me an e-mail at [email protected].

    Thank you, and please let me know if you have any questions.

    John

  • johnhuotari

    DiegoHenry has not confirmed his/her identity, so the comment has been removed.

  • jcwconsult

    Most interesting you deleted my comment of moments ago. My full name is in the post.
    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  • jcwconsult

    My mistake, my apologies. The comment was not deleted.
    James C. Walker

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