ATE Racket Report for November 14, 2018

The ATE Racket Report is a weekly feature of the NMA blog. We want to bring the issues of automated traffic enforcement to our supporters in a more coherent up-to-date fashion.

Compiled by NMA Foundation Director James C. Walker and NMA Communications Director Shelia Dunn

This Week…

A most excellent opinion piece appeared from a tourist to a town he rather liked visiting: Bakersfield, California should fix its Red-Light Camera Problem.  We concur!

Here are some reports still rolling in on the good news from Aurora, Colorado

A Memphis TV Station presented their findings on whether or not red-light cameras have reduced crashes. Conclusion—they have not and instead generated $4 million for the city and the cam company in 2016. NMA is mentioned with this info line from our website: “There is no independent verification that photo enforcement devices improve safety, reduce overall accidents or improve traffic flow.” Absolutely correct!

Wait and See…

Now that the NY Legislature is fully Democratic…expect all kinds of automated traffic enforcement bills coming soon.  A Buffalo TV station asked recently: Will New York Lawmakers Pass School Bus Camera Safety Act?

A judge will rule soon whether a new class action against Girard, OH can proceed. The suit’s attorney claims that the motorists ticketed by a speed camera were not speeding between December 7, 2017 and January 7, 2017 since construction was completed and the speed limit signs were incorrectly posted…Indeed a wait and see.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has won his reelection bid and is still adamant about ridding the state of red-light cameras. Despite this fact, last week the Frisco city officials were touting the use of cameras even though currently the city has just one turned on. They have been using the money towards programs that educate youth on the dangers of drinking and driving and the police are hoping to purchase soon some movable street barricades for use during community events.

City of Seattle, WA budget officials have proposed shifting $900,000 per year in red-light camera income away from school sidewalk and crosswalk projects and instead put it into the general fund. Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said that the school projects will still be fully funded because the school zone speed cameras are raising more money than anticipated. Pedestrian advocates are up in arms…so are we – we don’t like cameras and we especially don’t like it when local governments do a switch and bait in the policing for profits toll lane like this. BAN Red-Light Cameras NOW!

Bad News…

Apparently the DEA and ICE are hiding surveillance cameras in streetlights in undisclosed locations. This is indeed worth a read because Quartz.com actually talks to one of the vendors for this kind of cameras and she’s fairly open about what they are doing.  Scary stuff folks!

Winter Park, Florida will now use automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to buckle down on parking violations.

A Georgia TV station gives the low down on where ALPRs are being used in the state and tries to answer the question on whether the devices are helpful in fighting crime or are they an invasion of privacy.

From the Policing for Profit File: Waterloo, Iowa police seek access to the city’s speed camera revenue. Currently, camera revenue is used for property tax relief two budget years after it is collected. The cams are projected to bring in $90,000 and the ironic thing—they have not yet been installed.  Ooof!

Mason, MI officials have decided that the school district will go all in and invest in new bus stop arm cameras. The newest school buses already have them and the rest will be outfitted with Angel Trax Video Systems for $56,229 each which will be funded through bond dollars. They will also have four cameras inside the buses. No indication of how many buses they will be outfitting.

Norton, Ohio police have been having fun making money using a dragon cam speed trap. For a little less than two-months-time, the department has amassed a $1.8 million in fines catching 9352 speeders on I-76. A dragon cam is a handheld speed camera that can send motorists a ticket without a traffic stop.

NMA’s City/State Lists of RLCs and Speed Cameras

The NMA has compiled a list of which states and cities are using red-light and speed cameras. This may not be a complete list and please send any additions or subtractions to the nma@motorists.org for updating the list.

Jim Walker’s ATE Commentary of the Week

Note that most California red-light camera rackets now depend on ticketing safe slow rolling right on red turns – actions that NHTSA research says are involved in only six-one-hundredths of one percent (0.06% or 0.0006) of crashes with injuries or fatalities. Tennessee makes right on red tickets illegal, because virtually all of them go to safe drivers.

Aurora was another good victory to end red-light cameras rackets, and one that was almost certain to prevail. When voters are allowed to vote on speed and/or red light cameras, the cameras lose 90+% of the time. The count is now 37 losses in 41 votes.

The data from Memphis and many other cities shows red-light cameras are neutral or negative to safety. This is no consequence to most of those cities because safety was never the true goal. So long as the profits roll in, it takes widespread and constant opposition to get them removed.

NY City is wedded to ticket camera rackets. But there is notable opposition in Albany, so we will have to wait and see what happens.

The Girard suit should prevail, it was larceny.

Governor Abbott’s reelection will be a strong force to get red-light cameras banned. He can use the extensive study by Case Western Reserve University showing Texas red-light cameras do NOT produce safety. Texas members should call and write their state Representatives, Senators, and the Governor to politely but clearly insist on a law to ban the cameras.

Seattle’s red-light cameras are rackets using too-short of yellow intervals. Diverting profits away from safety projects into the general fund proves that profits are the first, last, and only goal.

Paying police agencies directly for any form of traffic enforcement guarantees corruption for profits.

Bus drivers kill over twice as many kids as passing car drivers which tells you real safety gains are not the true goal – $$$$$$$$ are.

James C. Walker is a life member of the National Motorists Association. He is also a board member and executive director of the National Motorists Association Foundation.

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