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Could police make Seattle intersections safer?

Intersections can be dangerous, especially during rush hour. Drivers in a hurry may attempt to pass through an intersection just before the light turns red, if not during a red light. In the worst case, they can cause a crash. While there are legal punishments for these crimes, sadly they still happen on a daily basis.

Many Washington drivers wish that intersections were safer. Reddit users, presumably Seattle residents, suggested that the city should station traffic control officers at a few of the busiest intersections. In the forum thread, they pointed out that the cross between Mercer Street and 9th Avenue North suffers from cars piling up and blocking each other. They believe that police could be more efficient at directing traffic than lights.

To some degree, that idea seems to make sense. Drivers could become more cautious in the presence of police. If an officer controlled the traffic in person, it’s possible that residents might drive more carefully to avoid a ticket.

On the other hand, police might not be any better for the task than machines. Red-light cameras, for instance, can detect violations and dole out tickets. Because they are computerized, they have no element of human error, such as discrimination or inattention.

Furthermore, this solution would be far too expensive. An SDOT representative pointed out that Seattle does not have enough officers to supply these intersections. He also believed that it would be a waste of city resources. The city may be able to find an alternative solution to improving these streets.

Still, intersections are perilous whether traffic is moving fast or slow. Impatience and other factors can lead to accidents, such as T-bone and rear-end collisions. Unfortunately, not even police can prevent other drivers’ negligence.

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