NMA’s Weekly ATE Racket Report for May 29, 2018

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.

This past week…

No surprise here—Chicago has the won the dubious distinction of the most corrupt city award due in no small part to its red-light camera program.

Denton, Texas officials announced last week news concerning their experiment in April with increasing the yellow lights at one red-light camera intersection. The results a 62 percent reduction in red-light camera tickets. Unfortunately after the hearing the news at last week’s the city council meeting, the council deferred the vote closer to the end of the contract (early July). The city currently has 11 cameras and if the city were to add one second to red-light camera intersections, they would stand to lose a potential annual profit of $1,567,608.

Wait and See

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for license plate records. The ACLU and other privacy advocates want to know how the data from two databases that ICE purchased access to will be stored and used for civil immigration enforcement.

Aurora city council may soon decide whether or not to put the issue of red-light cameras on the November ballot. There are currently cameras at 14 spots and violations are down at 11 of those locations. In 2017, 46,612 violations were issues.

The Dayton, Ohio NAACP unit held a town hall recently to discuss the pros and cons of red-light cameras. Conclusion: The group voted unanimously to put the issue on the November ballot and will begin collection signatures immediately.

Bad News

Orlando, Florida police have begun testing Amazons real-time facial recognition.

West Dundee, Illinois (suburb of Chicago) city council has declared they will continue their red-light camera program.

A key New York City State Senator Marty Golden has come out in support of putting in more school zone speed cameras in the city. He changed his mind when the bill sponsor took the number of cameras down from 700 to 290. Golden though 700 would make the entire city a speed trap.  We think 290 does too!  The New York Times also wrote about the story and used the NMA as the sole critic.

What a mess! The Rhode Island legislature recently got involved in the speed camera mess in Providence. City officials are hoping to make some changes to what the lawmakers have proposed. The Providence Journal wrote an editorial over the weekend asking for everyone to apply reason to speed cameras. How about banning them all together?

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

Remember, Chicago issued 77,000 red-light camera tickets with illegally-short 2.9 second yellows shown on the tickets and refused to refund the stolen money.

Some Denton officials “get it” that the program is a scam, but others are desperately trying to keep the for-profit racket going. The NMA and others have sent the officials the truths, but it remains to be seen whether truth or dollars win out.

If Aurora puts the issue on the ballot, history says there is a 90% chance voters will end the program.

There may be hope in Dayton, one of the most predatory of the Ohio cities with camera rackets. If the issue gets on the ballot, the cameras will almost certainly be voted out. The NAACP is likely to push this issue and is a powerful ally in this fight.

The more that grass roots local groups aided by groups like the ACLU and the NAACP get into the fight, the more of these for-profit rackets will be ended.

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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