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
The Atlantic posted a fascinating article last week called: In Fraud Detection, Everything You Do Online and Off is a Clue. Discusses what we already know to be true—how automated license plate readers are used for surveillance.
Unmanned speed traps (speed cameras) are a NO GO in Akron, Ohio. You might think that is a win, but not entirely. Instead, the city has approved both radar and laser cameras for patrol and traffic officers respectively to catch speeders.
The Dallas, Texas Legal Examiner posted an editorial: Should Texas ban Red-Light Cameras? We of course, say YES! The author also sides with the Governor who is now pushing for a ban in his state.
A Fort Worth, Texas (Tarrant County) newspaper posted an article stating whomever is elected as the country tax assessor-collector will not change the policy to renew vehicle registrations no matter how many unpaid red-light camera tickets. Outgoing County Assessor Ron Wright is running for Congress and the two candidates running for his office have declared they don’t want to shake things up too much.
Wait and See…
The NYC DOT Chief said last week that ALPRs are the answer to policing rampant city placard abuse. The city certainly has a problem in this area but is this really the best solution?
Our friends at TheNewspaper.com posted not one but two stories on the ongoing saga of the Dallas School Bus Cameras Scandal:
- Gag Order for Corruption Tainted Bus Camera Operator Legal Challenge
- Texas School Bus Chief Busted in Photo Enforcement Scandal
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law the work zone speed camera bill. This also means that Philly’s Roosevelt Blvd. will also have a speed camera five year trial. A few other bills are still on the table for the governor to sign in this area…indeed bad news for motorists.
In Washington State, the village of Tukwila Police have proposed bringing red-light cameras to the area and are asking for public feedback. Also, the city of Kent is considering RLCs too and have stated that the cameras could bring in $1.5M into city coffers in the first year. There is never a good reason to bring RLCs to a town…makes for bad blood in the community, people will stop shopping in the area and it really is not any safer.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for updating the list.
Jim Walker’s ATE Commentary of the Week
Several cities in Ohio are using the hand-held Lidar speed cameras from several different for-profit camera companies. They are being used in many places with a truly evil stealth from overpasses on under-posted urban freeways. Many of these freeways are posted at 55 mph, far below the actual 85th percentile speeds which are more like 70 mph. Many of the contracts pay the camera company a percentage or per-ticket fee, a type of contract that would be illegal in many venues. As we know, heavy enforcement with either officers or cameras is found only in areas with under-posted limits. Limits set at the safest 85th percentile speeds of free-flowing traffic tend to produce the fewest crashes and get high enough voluntary compliance that enforcement is neither necessary nor profitable.
The Governor’s support for a red-light camera ban in Texas may make it possible for the next legislative session. Then Tarrant County’s honorable policy to not withhold registration renewals for unpaid camera racket tickets won’t be needed any more.
Several NMA members from Pennsylvania and elsewhere worked hard to stop the work zone and Roosevelt Avenue speed camera bill, but we failed. Look for work zone cameras on PA Interstates in poorly-designed work zones with under-posted limits that do not reflect the actual and current safe travel speeds. And look for the cameras on Roosevelt Avenue in Philly to be very profitable and likely make the city even more reluctant to make permanent engineering changes to improve safety on this complex main arterial. The $$$$$ will become more important than ever fixing the engineering.
We are approaching the cities of Tukwila and Kent Washington with reasons to not employ the red-light camera rackets.
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.