To invoke an ancient proverb, what is the sound of one tabloid movie critic with nothing to write about? Answer: a lot of unsubstantiated bitching about traffic cameras.

Kyle Smith's bizarre column in the Post begins with citing an investigation done by his own paper and a AAA study that apparently prove that the city is shortening yellow light times so it can collect more revenue for red light cameras.

Here's what an AAA spokesman told Streetsblog about that "study": “It wasn’t really a study. It was an ad-hoc survey.”

(Here's another AAA spokesman talking about red light cameras: "They save lives.")

Smith then writes, "It's unclear whether the cameras even increase safety."

Actually, there is plenty of evidence that red light cameras increase safety: an actual study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that large cities with red light cameras reduced the number of fatal crashes involving drivers running red lights by 24%, and all types of fatal crashes at signaled intersections by 17%.

Other studies generally underline the salient point: drivers slow down if they think they're being watched, and therefore less people get killed or injured.

Smith then takes aim at Bloomberg:

Mayor Bloomberg, citing two state senators who opposed the installation of more cameras in the city, said this spring, “Maybe you want to give those phone numbers [of the politicians] to the parents of the child when a child is killed. It would be useful so that the parents can know exactly who’s to blame.”

Because, obviously, every child killed in a traffic accident would have survived if only there had been an red-light camera nearby.

The mayor was actually talking about speed cameras, which have made cities like D.C. considerably safer for pedestrians and motorists: the District has seen a 73% decrease in traffic fatalities since installing the cameras.

But yeah, sure, Obama's a socialist.