NMA’s Weekly ATE Racket Report for August 14, 2018

Compiled by NMA Foundation 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.  

This Week…

On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted this after reading about the Case Western University Study on Red-Light Cameras in Dallas and Houston:


More & more I think it’s time to do away with Red-Light cameras in Texas. Study Shows No Evidence Red-Light Cameras Lead To Improvements In Safety. #txlege 10:27 AM – Aug 10, 2018

Numerous articles continue to run in papers about the Case Western University study on Red-Light Cameras:

The Texas Legislature convenes in January and will be a great time to ban the cams!

Some good news coming out of Ohio. The small town of Oregon has rejected use of hand held speed cameras because town officials say they don’t really have a speeding problem.

Also, the Ohio Attorney General is defending the anti-speed camera laws in court.

On the MassPrivatel blog last week, our friend Joe Cadillic wrote about the in-truck Surveillance system called SmartDrive Systems or SDS. SDS records when a driver speeds, hard brakes, makes a U-Turn, takes a hard corner and seat belt usage. SDS will give each driver a safety score as part of his or her performance evaluation.

Wait and See…

In Florida, a Federal jury trial has been set for March 2019 concerning the extra fees motorists are required to pay with an automated traffic camera ticket.

Riverside, Illinois (another Chicago suburb) inches closer towards the red-light camera gravy train.

Nevada lawmakers will once again consider using cameras to catch red-light runners and speeders. The state already has over 20 federally funded traffic enforcement campaigns per year…how much more policing for profit can Nevada drivers endure?

The Long Island, New York County of Nassau is back in the news. A new red-light camera in East Norwich went up with little warning and drivers are angry with all the tickets without notification until weeks later. State lawmakers from the area are now questioning the safety of those cams (and rightly so!).

Bad News…

British Columbia (Vancouver) will now run its red-light cameras 24/7/365 instead of just 6 hours per day.

An Atlanta suburb hopes to solve its crime problems through the use of Automated License Plate Readers or ALPRs. Same thing has happened in Fort Mill, South Carolina and in Shenandoah, Texas.

Greenville, NC announced recently how much of the funds from red-light camera fines go towards Pitt County school technology. (Can anyone say taxation by citation?)

Leon Valley, Texas police officials have released the results of their red-light camera program.

The city council of Pasco, Washington will bring in red-light cameras. Fines begin at $125.

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 the nma@motorists.org for updating the list.

Jim Walker’s ATE Commentary of the Week

Having Texas Governor Abbott against the cameras might help camera opponents in the legislature have a better chance on a bill to ban them. Sometimes the problem in banning ticket cameras happens when the for-profit camera companies “buy” the votes of a few key legislators to prevent the bills from coming to the floor where they would likely pass. The bills get bottled up in committees.

The town of Oregon, Ohio likely has better posted limits than most Ohio towns if they do not “have a speeding problem”. “Speeding problems” are almost always the fault of under posted limits set well below the safest 85th percentile speed levels to arbitrarily define 50% or 70% or 90+% of the drivers as violators or criminals subject to for-profit enforcement in speed traps. Correct 85th percentile limits are almost always safer and they eliminate the “speeding problem” because few drivers will be much over the limits.

Ohio continues to have a lot of controversy over the cameras. The legislature would like to ban them entirely, but strong “home rule” laws prevent that solution. Chipping away at the profitability and the roads where they can be used are the best state officials can do at the moment.

Nassau County, NY has had strong opposition and controversy over the red-light cameras for many years. Tricks like new cameras with no warning help build the opposition – perhaps soon to the point officials will have to reconsider.

The cameras in Greenville are illegal under a strict reading of the state laws. Spending the proceeds of the red-light camera racket on good programs does NOT make the program either legal or moral.

We contacted the officials in Pasco, WA and Riverside, IL to urge them to reject the cameras. Some officials are against the cameras, but many are lured by the $$$$.

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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One Response to “NMA’s Weekly ATE Racket Report for August 14, 2018”

  1. Tom McCarey says:

    From a Whitehead essay on 8/14/18
    “It starts small, perhaps with a revenue-generating red light camera at an intersection.

    “When that is implemented without opposition, perhaps next will be surveillance cameras on public streets. License plate readers on police cruisers. More police officers on the beat. Free military equipment from the federal government. Free speech zones and zero tolerance policies and curfews. SWAT team raids. Drones flying overhead. City-wide lockdowns.

    “No matter how it starts, however, it always ends the same.”