Compiled by NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker and NMA Communications Director Shelia Dunn
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.
Here is the list of devices that we will cover in this blog:
- ATE=Automated Traffic Enforcement
- ALPRs= Automated License Plate Readers
- Face Recognition Cameras
- RLCs=Red-Light Cameras
- Speed Cameras (and all their forms)
- Surveillance devices such as Stingrays and Sureshots.
This past week…
- A report from McHenry County, Illinois outlined how with just two communities using red-light cameras, millions can still be made on the backs of motorists. McHenry County sits close to the Northeast corner of the state.
- A Topeka, Kansas newspaper gave an update on the city’s new Automated License Plate Reader program paid for from civil asset forfeiture funds.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper ran an editorial entitled: UNPLUG RED-LIGHT CAMERAS.
- The Texas Monitor wrote a profile story on Russell Bowman, a lawyer who has been fighting red-light cameras for the past six years when he received a red-light camera ticket.
Wait and See
- Brookhaven, Georgia police recently held a town hall to discuss their use of 44 Automated License Plate Readers in the city. The program launched in November and in March, the police reported that 1.9 million license tags were read. 95,000 tags came back as “hits” which meant infractions were on file. 70,000 of those were for non-violent crimes such as expired tags, lapsed insurance and suspended licenses. Police officials said at the meeting that they are only using ALPRs for catching suspects of serious crimes such as robbery or assault and plan to not use them to catch motorists involved in non-violent infractions.
- The Tenth Amendment blog reported that the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Transportation voted to put a limit on ALPR data usage. The bill also would help block sending data to the National License Plate Tracking Program. H3439 has been sent on to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
- Motorists in Girard, Ohio have filed a class action against the city. The plaintiffs claim that they received automated tickets in a (previous) work zone on Interstate 80 one month after the work zone was no longer one. The tickets were between $104 and $179.
- A class action lawsuit will soon be heard by a judge in Denton, Texas. The city’s newspaper, the Record-Chronicle writes the city may be at a crossroads with regards to the future of red-light cameras.
- San Pablo, California’s city council approved the expansion of situational awareness surveillance cameras from 134 to 194. The council also approved expansion of the city’s automated license plate readers from 16 to 72. The city plans to have all the work done by the end of the year. This compliments the city’s Shot Spotter gunshot detection program.
- Automated traffic camera legislation is now in limbo in Iowa. The House and Senate versions were different but no conference committee was set to make the bill work before the session ended last week. There is still a chance in the follow up session.
- A Greenville, NC lawsuit against red-light cameras has been dismissed because the judge said the suit had no standing. The plaintiff does not own a car, never received a ticket and filed the suit last September before the cameras were operational.
NMA’s City and 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 email@example.com to help us keep the list updated.
Jim Walker’s ATE Advocacy Tip of the Week
A MAJOR problem with ALPRs is the lack of rules on the database to protect privacy for vehicles where the plate numbers did not “get a hit.” It is fine to use ALPRs to catch criminals, find stolen vehicles, and get leads on finding people & vehicles suspected of being involved in crimes.
It is NOT fine to create a database of the travels of vehicles and drivers when law enforcement has no probable cause to seek them out or record their travels. Vehicle plate numbers that do not “get a hit” should be automatically deleted from the records after a short period of time, no more than a week.