NMA’s Weekly ATE Racket Report for August 28, 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…

Our friends at TheNewspaper.com came out with two scathing reports this week—Read both!

Scientific American reported on the Case Western University study that Red-Light cameras may indeed not make intersections safer.

Wait and See…

Encinitas, CA City Council voted to extend its RLC contract for only 18 months. They want to study what to do next but of course still want the revenue of the cams in the meantime.

Red light or green light for automated traffic enforcement in New Orleans? The mayor campaigned on getting rid of the things but…they sure help balance the city budget.

The newest Greenville, NC lawsuit against Red-Light Cameras has now been moved to Wake County Court.

New York City council members along with the mayor and the governor are up to some shenanigans with regards to turning the school zone speed cameras back on.  A flurry of activity has been going on since they were turned off a month ago after the state legislature did not renew the pilot project. Now, officials think they can do a runaround and expect them to be turned on by next week.  A wait and see…

Ohio Lawmakers have introduced a new bill that will take money from cities that use automated traffic enforcement. The reasoning—if the programs are indeed about safety and the cities make additional money off of motorists then they don’t need as much cash from the state.

Bad News…

Carlsbad, CA votes to expand its ALPR program. The city already has 51 and now wants to add 35 more.  Ripon also is proud of its 19 ALPRs.

Some Idaho school buses are now equipped with stop arm cameras. Undoubtedly a few more of these cams are now on school buses in the guise of safety around the country.

In Bethesda, Maryland, more than 32,000 cars were ticketed with school bus stop arm cameras last year. That sure is a chunk of change!

Perrysburg Township, OH police will buy two dragon cams to add to their speed enforcement arsenal. Dragon cams are handheld automated speed cameras.

That Texas School Bus Camera Fraud Scandal that brought down the Dallas Independent School District has links now to the San Antonio School Bus Camera Program. Austin drivers received over 17,000 tickets last year from automated school bus stop arm cams. Indeed a chunk of change!

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 primary reason that many cities and states do not fully and/or honestly report the data on photo enforcement is that most legitimate unbiased studies like the one from Case Western Reserve University show virtually NO safety results from photo enforcement. At least two of the annual reports in Florida on red-light cameras show increased crashes at camera intersections.

We and others are working to refine the numbers of photo enforcement programs actually operating in the USA and those numbers will be a LOT lower than the false IIHS reports.

The NMA and some like-minded groups in California failed to get Encinitas to drop their cameras, but at least we succeeded in getting them to go for only another 18 months, rather than 8 more full years. We passed on a lot of data to Pasco, WA officials in an attempt to persuade them to not adopt red-light cameras, and got a chance for a second round of arguments when one official sent some questions.

If New Orleans operates only their school zone speed cameras for limited hours on school days, the total camera loot will drop from $25 million to about $4 million. The Mayor campaigned on dropping the cameras, but it remains to be seen just what will happen. Will campaign promises or $$$$ win out?

There is an effort to turn speed cameras back on in NY with what is likely an illegal executive order. Whether it happens or not – or is challenged in court if it does – remains to be seen. Enough state legislators understand that ticket cameras are for-profit rackets that they do not endorse.

Dragon Cams, the Lidar speed cameras often operated from freeway overpasses in speed traps, continue to gain cities in Ohio that want in on these rackets. Ohio’s bill to take away state support from cities in the amount of camera loot continues to move ahead, but has a way to go to become law.

Stop Arm Cameras are a strong emotional draw, even though more than two-thirds of the under-age-19 pedestrians killed in School Transportation Related Crashes in NHTSA data from 1999 through 2016 are killed by the bus drivers, not passing car drivers. The for-profit camera companies are desperately trying to sell stop arm camera rackets to replace revenues lost from closed speed and red-light cam 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.

If you are fighting automated traffic enforcement in your city, drop us a line and let us know what you are doing. Currently, there is no clearing house to oppose ATE and the NMA wants to help remedy that situation. Email us at nma@motorists.org today.

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