Ticket Cam Alerts are Alive and Well in the Time of COVID-19

By Shelia Dunn, NMA Communications Director

The Ticket Cam Alert is a weekly feature of the NMA blog. Please feel free to comment below the post.

Ticket Cam Alerts are Alive and Well in the Time of COVID-19

You would think that during a time of a pandemic when everyone should be at home that automated ticket cameras would not be working overtime. But that does not seem to be the case. Here are five stories that caught my attention in the past two weeks.

More than 141,000-speed camera tickets have been issued to Edmonton, Canada drivers. This is an increase of 17 percent from 2019—this includes some of that time during the lockdown. Now, Police Chief Dale McFee and Mayor Don Iveson are calling on the province government to allow police officers to impound vehicles traveling at excessive speeds.

In Sydney, Australia, newly installed distracted driving cams (checking for drivers using mobile phones) have netted the government $7 million (11,790 fines) in two months. That’s a 1500 percent increase in fines over last year, and part of the period this year has been during the COVID-19 crisis shutdown. Fines for using phones while driving nets the NSW government $344 ($457 in school zones) with five demerit points out of 12. Yikes!

City councils have been busy too. The Encinitas, California City Council had to decide on its red-light camera program because the vendor contract was up earlier this May. The city council voted against the cams, and now Encinitas will move forward as a cam-free city joining more than 60 other California jurisdictions that have gotten rid of RLCs. Another program bites the dust!

Judges have been working as well. A Florida judge called for a review of the law that allows “absurd” traffic stops over automated license plate readers. Fourth District Court of Appeal Judge Melanie May wrote in her ruling, “I believe it is time for the legislature to once again review this statute so that it properly serves the purpose for which it was intended.”

Earlier this month, the editorial board of Newsday came out against red-light cameras, sorta. Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island have been administering additional fees on top of the $50 RLC fine. Suffolk County charges an additional $35 administrative fee, and Nassau charges violators a $55 public safety fee and a $45 responsibility fee bringing the entire fine/fee to $150.00. The New York State Supreme Court recently ruled that Suffolk’s $35 add-on was forbidden by the state RLC law but did not immediately suspend the fee due to “the financial ramifications to the county.

The Newsday editorial stated this, though, “Suffolk’s fee should be suspended, and ended, as should Nassau’s. Both are unreasonable, both serve to raise revenue for counties too timid to tax, and both build tremendous anger at a program that is saving lives, leading to constant demands for residents and some officials to end the red-light camera program.”

Even better would be to get rid of red-light cameras all together because, as indicated even by the state court, RLCs are not about safety and all about the extra cash – a “Taxation by Citation” scheme.

Here are the other Top Ticket Cam Alert USA stories or editorials from the past two weeks:

NMA Resources to fight against Ticket Cams and other Street and In-Car Surveillance

NMA Issue Pages:

Check out the NMA Facebook Page called the Ticket Cam Alert USA

We are currently building a closed Facebook Group called the Ticket Cam Alert USA Discussion Group for local and state activists to have a space to discuss best practices and ask questions.

Also, here are some NMA blog posts that might be of interest!

If you would like to keep track of the many issues currently involved in automated ticket cameras and street surveillance, take a daily peek at the NMA’s Driving News Feed or subscribe to Driving News Daily, a five times per week email.

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