ATE Racket Report for October 31, 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…

Our friends at TheNewspaper.com have been busy again this week with three different postings…

Redflex Traffic Systems lost $81.4M since top managers were caught in a bribery scandal with public officials. The company has not turned a profit for the past five years with a 12 percent drop in revenue for 2018. Many cities, including Chicago, have dropped the contractor in the wake of the bribery scandals.

American Traffic Solutions or ATS has changed their name to Verra Mobility and began trading earlier this month on the NASDAQ under the symbol VRRM. The Arizona-based company will now have to file a quarterly financial report.

Australia—the birthplace of Redflex—is saturated with cameras. A New South Wales performance audited was released earlier this month. Conclusion—ATE does not improve safety since traffic fatalities continue to rise. The auditor unfortunately recommended that cities should hide speed cams to boost the revenue—YUK!

El Mirage, Arizona will be turning off their automated traffic cameras in July 2019…a long time to keep raking in the dough but at least they will be turned off. (If no further shenanigans ensue!)

Wait and See…

This time next week, we hope that we can report that Aurora, Colorado citizens have voted to ban the city’s red-light camera program. Ninety-five percent of the time when ATE goes on the ballot, it is banned.  The times they’re not, the scam companies have done some shenanigans with a different measure—confusing the voter.

A motorist in Coral Gables is suing the state of Florida over the use of Automatic License Plate Readers. The suit claims that ALPRs are unconstitutional because it is like the police following you 24/7/365 and the information can be kept up to three years (which is Florida law). With only a population of 50,000, the city is on track of capturing 30 million plates this year. This will indeed be a case to watch!

The Texas Supreme Court is hearing testimony this week on the legality of red-light cameras. Passed in 2007, Senate bill 1119 required cities to conduct an engineering study to justify the cameras’ use. Many cities have said they were grandfathered in but a state representative who coauthored the bill declares that is not the case. Richardson Lawyer Russell Bowman received a $75 ticket six years ago and he sued the city. He has won each time through the court system because the city could not produce an engineering study. A north Texas television station did their own survey of 25 North Texas cities with RLCs and only one city provided the station with a study.  This is a wait and see and hopefully starts the momentum for all red-light cameras to be banned in Texas this coming legislative session.

Bad News…

This title of this story just makes me mad.  Menlo Park, California: Future of Red-light Cameras is up in the air—you see, they aren’t really up in the air. The city just wants to stop doing business with Redflex due to all the complaints from citizens about their corruption.  The city council plans to find another company to service their policing for profit scheme.

Canadians cities seem to be turning on cameras as fast as they can: Regina is the latest.

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

The NMA sends data, information, references to research, and reasons to not use red-light cameras to many cities that are considering adding them or renewing contracts.  Wherever Redflex is involved, we always point out the five guilty pleas or verdicts in federal Redflex-related indictments for fraud, bribery or extortion – and suggest that no city should deal with a company with that felonious history.

El Mirage is the latest AZ city to decide to end a camera racket. There are only a handful of continuing contracts in this the state with the headquarters of both ATS/Verra and Redflex.

With luck, Aurora voters will say NO to keeping the cameras and then it will be 37 losses for the cameras in 41 public votes.

The Texas Supreme Court could rule the systems without engineering studies to be illegal.  It would be most unlikely for the court to demand refunds, but the programs could be shut down until studies are done.

If Menlo Park seeks a new contractor, it might raise the issue at enough meetings to get backlash.

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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