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…
- Florida Supreme Court spikes the Red-Light Camera Challenge. The court decided that the use of for-profit contractors in running a city’s photo ticketing program (including who views the actual infraction) is consistent with the intent of state law.
- Our friends at TheNewspaper.com ran a piece on The Top Ten Photo Enforcement Felons!
- Suffolk County, New York officials released a study they had commissioned on the county’s 100 red-light cameras. In 2016, rear-end crashes rose by more than 35 percent while accidents with injuries declined by 1.5 percent. The cameras generated $30.9 million in revenue for the county.
Wait and See
- At last week’s city council meeting in Kingman, Arizona, citizens were in force to make sure that red-light cameras were taken off the meeting’s consent agenda and placed on a future agenda for further discussion and citizen input. That meeting has been scheduled for May 15th.
- The American Civil Liberties Union of California along with a number of civil rights organizations have announced support for SB 1186 which helps restore local level power when government surveillance proposals are under consideration.
- Ohio bill HB 410 is still in play (has passed the House and now in review by the Senate and still has till the end of the year to pass). If passed, HB 410 would reduce state funding from local governments that operate cameras by the amount they generate from automated ticketing. Dayton’s ABC TV station ran a report about the Miami Valley use of speed cams. Since November, the city of Dayton has made more than $705,000 on speed camera tickets which goes directly to the police department for additional public safety equipment.
- Pennsylvania’s SB172 has passed the Senate and was considered by the House Transportation Committee last week. The bill would establish a five-year pilot program to allow speed cameras in highway work zones.
- Elsewhere in Pennsylvania: Warminster in Montgomery County is considering red-light cameras based on the success of nearby Abington Township. If implemented, the $100 ticket revenue would go straight to the camera vendor and no revenue for the city itself.
- Rhode Island lawmakers want to loosen ticketing rules for Providence’s school speed zone cameras. The bill considered would require the use of yellow, flashing school speed zone signs near the speed cameras. Providence came under fire after issuing more than 12,000 $95 tickets during the first 33 days of the program which launched in January.
- A Virginia High Court has ruled that a lawsuit can go through that challenged a police department’s practice of keeping data from automated license plate readers for a year. The Virginia ACLU filed the case and a lower court judge declared that a license plate does not contain personal information. Reversing the ruling, the High Court wants the Circuit Court now to determine the how the record-keeping process provides law enforcement with a link to the vehicle’s owner.
- In Georgia, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office began using video images from school bus stop-arm cameras to identify and ticket motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses. The fine for a first offense is $300.
- The Iowa legislative session is now over which also means that so is the bill banning automated traffic cameras. In a last ditch effort of support for the bill, the Des Moines register posted this editorial. Legislators should regulate traffic cameras: Cities are using them as a money grab. It didn’t help that the Iowa Supreme Court recently ruled on speed cameras on freeways. The Governor was using the Iowa DOT as a way to eliminate speed cameras on freeways in three different Iowa cities. The Court was unanimous in finding that the state government cannot do this without lawmaker approval. Next session maybe…
- If you live in Medford, Oregon, motorists are in double trouble. The red-light cameras are also speed-on-green cameras and they are now open for business.
- Renton, Washington has placed three more red-light cameras in the city. Grace period ends at the end of May and after that $124 citations will then be issued. Renton started their enforcement program in 2008.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for updating the list.
Jim Walker’s ATE Racket Report Commentary of the Week
Two state Supreme Courts, in Iowa and Florida, voted to allow cities to keep the loot taken almost entirely from safe drivers for “the crime of actually driving safely, but within the looting areas where the traffic safety engineering parameters are deliberately done improperly to increase ticketing loot.” Even high courts often vote with the $$$$$$$, not with fairness, justice or the law. The only safe way to deal with red light and speed cameras is to ban them by law.
Note the results of the study in Suffolk County, NY where anti-camera activists finally applied enough pressure to get the study results paid for by the taxpayers released to the public. The 1.5% reduction in injury accidents (even if true) is unlikely to be statistically significant, rather than within the normal margin of fluctuation. The 35% increase in rear end crashes is certainly significant, as is the $30.9 million dollars taken almost entirely from safe drivers. Activists in the area often speak at public meetings, but it will take voting out some of the pro camera legislators to get rid of the rackets.
The NMA sent a lot of information to the Kingman, AZ officials to help them see all sides of the issue of red light cameras before they vote – NOT just the information from the for-profit company trying to get the lucrative contract.