When The Money Disappears, So Do The Ticket Cameras

From The Daily World in Aberdeen, Washington on January 24, 2008:

“If you don’t want a ticket, don’t run a red light,” said Councilwoman Margo Shortt, who felt safety should trump everything else and the red light cameras would prevent accidents.

“We need to try this to see if it works,” said Councilman Bob McCullough. “The key issue in all this is traffic safety.”

From The Daily World in Aberdeen, Washington on February 16, 2008:

Mayor Bill Simpson will hold off on plans to put red light cameras in Aberdeen intersections in the wake of an initiative Tim Eyman is proposing to reduce traffic congestion.


Eyman has proposed an initiative that could take any revenue the city would receive from the tickets the cameras would generate and put it into a special account to help reduce traffic congestion statewide.

“That’s not really what we were expecting when we got into all of this,” Simpson said.


Eyman’s initiative aims to reduce congestion by opening up carpool lanes to all vehicles in non-peak hours, requires traffic signals to be synchronized and insists accidents be cleared from roadways quicker.

But remember, the key issue in all this is traffic safety.

Not an NMA Member yet?

Join today and get these great benefits!

Leave a Comment

47 Responses to “When The Money Disappears, So Do The Ticket Cameras”

  1. jesse says:

    we had – note had – those in charlotte.
    but for some reason the money wasnt going to the school system….
    go figure. so the now the program is idle with cameras off.

  2. xoc says:

    How do you know the objection wasn't to the partial end of carpool lanes?

  3. dustin says:

    I'm from Aberdeen (I've since moved to Seattle for school), and I can tell you that there are no carpool lanes within 100 miles of the town. Aberdeen is suffering a terrible economic situation as the logging and paper companies flee. It's clear from the article that the cameras were going to be installed mainly for revenue generation.

    Watching all the RVs and SUVs speeding through town on their way to the coast every weekend, I can definitely see how Mr Simpson and the city council would want to generate some revenue from that.

    By the way, there's all of about ten traffic lights in all of Aberdeen. This would not have been a very big deal.

  4. RICK GOLD says:




  5. Claire says:

    ewww. Eyman initiatives. I was born and raised in Seattle but later moved for work, and I'm glad to be away from the guy. Almost everything he puts forward is short-sighted, and some of it eventually gets overturned, costing more money later on. Sigh…

  6. This is one of the web’s most interesting stories on Mon 18th Feb 2008

    These are the web’s most talked about URLs on Mon 18th Feb 2008. The current winner is ..

  7. Matt Moore says:

    Whatever stuff Eyman's done in the past you disagree with, this proposal is right on. Any law enforcement action that generates revenue should be (preferably) abolished but, barring that, the revenue should be moved into a new and unrelated program.

  8. FPM says:

    I used to be a homeless rodeo clown but now I am a world class magician !

  9. Let's call a spade a spade — Eyman proposed a poison pill initiative designed to kill the cameras, not reduce traffic or increase safety.

    There's no way a municipality is going to invest in local policing, only to have any benefits from the program be dispersed throughout the state.

    Besides, the proposal is asinine: Eyman "insists" that accidents be cleared from the roadway quicker?

    Yeah, that's gonna work… without the traffic cams, the number of accidents will increase. And without the revenue the cameras generate, how does Eyman plan to pay for additional emergency personnel needed to do the job "quicker"?

    Just like the retarded logic that believes "I'm not speeding if there's no cop here to catch me," Eyman's proposal is grounded in pure fantasy.

    Finally, why shouldn't law enforcement generate revenue? Do these neo-libertarian "I CAN'T DRIVE 55" morons think stuff just magically gets paid for? The revenue has to come from somewhere — I'd prefer they penalize speeders and scofflaws (while accruing the benefit of additional safety) rather than raise taxes.

  10. kevin says:

    wish i still had the link to studies showing that stoplight cameras INCREASE accidents at intersections — no study that wasn't financed by a party with a clear conflict of interest has ever shown otherwise.

  11. Skip says:

    The Virginia DOT did a study which shows 8 times more front to back collisions with injuries than T bone collisions with injuries when cameras are installed…but said T-bone were more severe. IMHO getting manditory side impact airbags and safer cars would be the safest thing to do. There is an increase in injuries…so how can puting them in be safe. http://vtrc.virginiadot.org/PubDetails.aspx?PubNo

  12. Joe says:

    Traffic cams should be used for traffic management, not passive law enforcement and revenue generation. This "offender" tax is as offensive as having "Big Brother" in my bedroom. America, in my 50+ years of existence on earth, has become way to tied up in managing individual behavior instead of managing conditions that cause individual behavior. It's just plain unfriendly to live in fear of everybody and everything. As for Eyman's ideas, if cameras are approved and installed, keep the revenue money local, but restrict the spending to non-restrictive traffic enhancements … no additional policing or restrictive ideas, only those that move traffic better (better use and marking of roads, elevated cross-walks, bus turn-outs. that sort of thing).

  13. Stephen says:


    Check out these studies on The Newspaper.com http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/04/430.asp

    The NC one (also on the NMA site) was over 57 months with over 300 intersections in it at least. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/00/29.asp


  14. John says:

    Actually any revenue the city generates from traffic tickets is a conflict of interest. To make it really fair all money collected from tickets should be put in an interest bearing fund that is returned to all state residents in the form of a check or tax refund on the first of every year. That would help a lot.

  15. Jim Peel says:

    In about 1995, the city of Ft. Collins, CO decided they would put in traffic cams. They were charging $40 for every ticket issued. When confronted that this was merely a revenue enhancement scheme they loudly denied it. They claimed that the traffic cams were a safety issue.

    The stste passed a law that the fine for a traffic cam violation could not exceed $25 the city exclaimed that at that rate it would just break even.

    So they admitted finally that it was revenue enhancement after all. If it were truly a safety issue then breaking even should not have been a bad thing. In fact, breaking even would be the best of both worlds for the city and the drivers if safety were the true issue.

    It was, however, not.

  16. Eva Wild says:

    Several years back, I recall reading a blurb in the paper about traffic cameras in Mesa or Tempe, Arizona. Obvious though it seems when brought to our attention, I had never thought of this: the number of offenders can be adjusted by simply altering the length of the yellow! I know that I have NEVER in my 44 years of driving, intentionally RUN a red light. We all are making a decision when we approach an intersection. We are judging the point of no return, that point after which any attempts to stop will be ineffective. That point changes with speed and wet and our weight AND the length of the yellow. We have all judged it incorrectly, not do the instant mental chart correctly, and found ourselves glancing up at a freshly turned red, as we have yet to reach the far side of the intersection. OK, now officers are bot necessarily mindreaders, but I would rather take my chances with a human, one who may have decided, based upon his years of experience, that there was no INTENT to run a light. Unless an accident has resulted from the error, there should never be a ticket in the case where the officer has reason to believe there was no intent.

  17. P Williams says:

    Eyman's iniative is statewide. The local town doesn't "invest" anything. The company installs the cameras and gets a portion of the revenue. It IS a money making operation.

  18. Joe says:

    Eva Wild, yea have to remember, there's no reason for THEM to be concerned. Their on the winning end. What's the incentive to make the system fairer for the driving public. In fact the incentive is exactly in the opposite end. Practically everybody now knows economics drives these programs. It's not about safety or fairness. You'll have to come up with a better reason then fairness to get the program changed and good luck on getting fellow drivers to help.

  19. JusWondering says:

    Don't you people have anything better to do than sit here and rant about THIS?


  20. James Young says:

    Don’t you people have anything better to do than to allow the erosion of your civil liberties by those with evil intent?

    Just submit.

  21. Joe says:

    JusWondering, Go troll somewhere else.

  22. Steven D says:

    I live in the Dallas area and these red light cameras are popping up everywhere. It's a trap. Yellow lights are being shortened to generate revenue. The private companies managing these for the cities are making huge profits! It's not about safety.

    I recently read that the new speed cameras in Australia were wrongfully ticketing city buses and cars. After thousands of victims, Victoria Police decided to remove all red light and speed cameras.

    Until the municipalities see the flaws in these systems, we need to do something to protect ourselves. I’ve purchased a spray that blocks the cameras flash and it’s given me a sense of relief.

  23. Jim Peel says:

    Steven D,

    Wait for the biggie to start raising its ugly head. It has been demonstrated at every one of these cities which have installed these cameras that as the word gets out the number of rear end traffic accidents goes up.

    An article on DC RLCs. http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Arti

    A 2003 study by the Ontario, Canada government is availabe as a PDF file. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/02/288.asp

    Maryland RLCS. http://www.autoblog.com/2006/04/05/maryland-count

    A 2005 study by the Virginia DOT is availabe as a PDF file. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/01/117.asp

    I could go on but this has been a known hazard for many years and now opens the cities to litigation because they cannot say they did not know of this hazard.

  24. Tom McCarey says:

    To all Philly NMA members:

    Please write, email, fax, call, and visit City Councilmen, Representatives, Senators, talk-show hosts, radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers, and urge them to repeal the red light ticket camera program on Roosevelt Boulevard before someone gets killed, and before this traffic cancer spreads throughout Pennsylvania. Thanks.
    Tom McCarey

  25. FRESNO BOB says:

    HERE IN FRESNO, CA, a few years ago they installed red light cameras at a few problem intersections for "safety" reasons. a private contractor installed and owned the cameras, which were projected to bring in millions per yr. within a yr or two, they were gone, revenues had dropped. had "safety" dropped? what a joke.
    today they have a new and even more wonderful solution. apparently ,in the past, all traffic citation fines are process through county courts, and the funds go to county coffers. with actual crime going on, police rightfully didnt want to waste resources and manpower on "minor" traffic violations. so, an agreement was reached between the city and the county. now, traffic fine revenue are shared, and the police portion is supposedly
    only spent on traffic enforcement. ddoesnt sound too bad, right? problem is, these 70+ traffic cops unleashed on our streets are paying their own salaries with the tickets they write. if they dont write tickets, they are out of a job. what does this mean? it means they are going to write tickets no matter what. and they dont care what tickets they write. they would rather write a nuisance(seatbelt,turnsignal,5mi. over limit) ticket than 1 redlight ticket. they can write nuisance tickets nonstop all day long. more lucrative. so much for "safety". drive 1 to 10 miles in this town w/ no seatbelt, and you've got a ticket. guaranteed. but i have seen many redlight offenses go unnoticed while the cops write garbage tickets. THE COPS #1 PRIORITY IS SECURING THEIR FUNDING. SO MUCH FOR TRAFFIC "SAFETY". parasitic government. charging us to protect us from ourselves, and not delivering.

  26. Yates says:

    what about cities like downtown north little rock, ar which have used recent federal grants for intrusive surveillance measures? i.e., corner cams and remote helicopters w/ multiple cam attaches and crazy deep pockets? Don't forget to wave!

  27. steve says:

    Great News. Nestor, a maker of speed cameras, got delisted on the stock exchange today. Stock once worth $48 is now worth 21 cents. I am glad anybody who invested in Nestor lost money.

  28. Ken says:

    I'm suprised that someone hasn't invented a devise to circumvent the camera,maybe a laser beam or electronic signal to cancel out the electronics. Remember back in the C.B. radio craze people had outrageous high output linear "kickers" that just about blocked out all transmissions when they keyed the mic.

  29. Jim Peel says:

    "I’m suprised that someone hasn’t invented a devise to circumvent the camera …"

    They have.

    There is a spray and there are several overlay shields available.

  30. Officer Josh says:


    How are "corner cams" intrusive? There openly in the public and therefore not intrusive. I've been to little rock and in N. little rock they really do need them. We have them here in Baltimore there easy to see cuz they have a bright flashing blue light on top of them. Just last year they have solved 30% more murders, robberies and assults because of those cameras. If its in public it is not intrusive, if its in your home, it is.

  31. jimpeel says:

    "Just last year they have solved 30% more murders, robberies and assults because of those cameras." — Officer Josh

    When cities first started installing the traffic cameras they were challenged that this was nothing more than their spying on the public. The authorities stated that the cameras were strictly for traffic control and would never be used as a crime fighting tool or to spy on the unsuspecting public.

    The truth will always out. All it takes is some time.

    Look at the cameras in Britain where a citizen is never out of range of a camera. They are under constant surveillance. They have even been told that large headgear is frowned upon if it shields the face of the common citizen.

    Read these articles and see what those there go through.

    Observation: http://www.thefreesociety.org/Issues/Surveillance

    Opinion: http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2005/03/why

  32. Officer Josh says:


    I'm still not understanding what your "actual" concern is here? What do you care if there is a camera outside in the park while your walking around? Are you committing crimes? Is that why you want them gone? I can understand traffic or "red light" cameras, there garbage and easily beat in court, but street camera's? What about the camera in the store when you go to 7/11 to get some food? Are you against those? I just dont see the problem, this isnt England and we dont rely on the camera's we just have them to help.

  33. jimpeel says:

    Officer Josh,

    So how about this. I'm sure DPP chief Sir Ken Macdonald is not "committing crimes" yet he has concerns about surveillance technology.

    From the story:

    (begin)The Director of Public Prosecutions has given a warning of the dangers of plans for a massive expansion of “Big Brother” state surveillance and of the growth of a “security state”.

    Sir Ken Macdonald, who heads the Crown Prosecution Service, said that the “enormous powers of access to information” that technology had given the state should be used with great care.

    He told an audience in London last night: “We need to take very great care not to fall into a way of life in which freedom’s back is broken by the relentless pressure of a security state.”


  34. Officer Josh says:

    Jim peel,

    I read the article you provided and I absolutely agree that a system such as "big brother" needs to be closely monitored and controlled. However I dont see the real problem with it. Also, England has very different laws and the judicial system works differently too. When Baltimore City installed camera's in troubled blocks around the city, the citizens of the area embraced them. They are still lobbying for more camera's in other area's because they have worked so well.

  35. jimpeel says:

    Officer Josh,

    The problem is creeping escalation in the use of the cameras, which were supposedly placed for nothing more than traffic control, and which would "never be used as a crime control measure". Recently, there was a picture of two men in a stolen car on the front page of the local newspaper. The picture was taken by — drumroll please — a red light camera. With increased use comes increased abuse as those in Britain have found out.

    The biggest problem with the red light cameras at intersections is the inherent increase in rear-end accidents which accompany them. I have posted numerous articles and sources here on that fact. In many cities, they have taken them down as a safety factor.

    Then there are those cities, such as Fort Collins, CO, which I also cited, which claimed early on that the cameras were for safety reasons, not revenue enhancement. Then the state set the maximum fine for red light camera citations to $25 and the city cried "Foul". It seems that they were concerned that they would barely break even on the cameras. It seems that the $15 they lost (they were charging $40 fines) was for, you guessed it, revenue enhancement.

    The cameras are simply another hidden tax on the people of the cities in which they are installed. Most people will simply pay the fine, sent to them by mail from a faceless bureaucrat, alleging that they were spotted, by an entity they cannot interrogate at trial, committing some offense. No matter what they do, pay or fight, they keep those bureaucrats in their jobs doing what they do best — screwing their fellow citizens and living the lie.

  36. Officer Josh says:


    I absolutely agree that red light camera's are a bad idea. I'm talking about city camera's not on red lights but on city blocks in problem area's. They drastically have been proven in baltimore city to raise crime solving.

  37. jimpeel says:

    Officer Josh,

    "They drastically have been proven in baltimore city to raise crime solving."

    Have they actually solved any crimes; or are crimes down in those areas because the criminal element simply moved to where there are no cameras? This is what happened in Britain.

    It also happened in Los angeles but not due to cameras. Real police work started cracking down on the Crips and Bloods there and crime fell drastically. However, crime escalated in Omaha because that is where they migrated to avoid the L.A. crackdown.

    Crime never goes away. It merely moves around.

  38. Ironman says:

    Well what I have done since the camera lights, is simply change my driving habits, I have not got a camera light ticket yet, my son has and that's when I changed my habits.
    I now drive as close to the posted speed limit as I can, I'll slam my breaks to stop on a yellow light, camera light or not, it took a little getting use to and it mostly annoys other drivers but who cares, I try to shop in areas where I don't have to pass by a camera light. So change your driving habits because the police have been letting everything go like speeding, reckless driving and many others. In my state there are billboards stating slow down drive the speed limit or you will be ticketed. In these hard times the city's will be looking for more ways to get money,
    Change your habits and hope for the best and always stop on yellow even if it kills you.

    • jimpeel says:

      It very well may kill you. This thread is rife with examples of how rear-end accidents escalate after the implementation of red light cameras. I hope you don't drive a Pinto.

  39. Annet says:

    By means of http://avilib.com/ I have found another study with some news in it. According to is, nothing is going to change for the better for ordinary drivers…

  40. j says:

    ** "… to help reduce traffic congestion statewide." Yep…that's what they told the people in England too. Then they started using the "License Plate Recognition" software and Vwalla! Instant Nanny State. You've got cameras with loudspeakers on them and the cops yell at you when you get to close to the sides of a crosswalk. They peak in your windows at all hours of the day and night, so you draw the curtains. You walk down the street and they have facial recognition software and keep records of all your friends; where you go, what you buy, how long you stay in the shops, who you meet, etc. ***So when they say it's simply for Traffic Congestion or Safety, you tell them you don't want it. And if they put it up anyway, give it back to them. Everytime they drain the canal they can have it back. Don't trust a damned word they say. Their track record for telling the truth, for the lack of a better word…..SUCKS!! Have a great day America :-)

  41. j says:

    Crime is like Energy; you can't get ride of it. It simply changes form. And sometimes, those who are doing the crimewatching are the criminals themselves. It all depends which laws are being broken and who's paying enough attention to it all. I really don't think cameras in the streets were put there to keep crime down at all. It think it's just more of the same "Keep an eye on them" type mentality that's taking over America. I believe that if all the people were to go out into the streets and rip the ugly bastards down and drag them and drop them infront of their nearest police station and walk away, they would not put them back up. We paid for them right? Well, tell them to recycle them into Badges and put the Beat Cop back on The Beat where he belongs. Sorry…. sometimes the truth just jumps up and bites you on the gouche. It sucks…get over it. Have a great day America :-)

  42. j says:

    **They are still lobbying for more camera’s in other area’s because they have worked so well.** Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it. If you want to see what happens when "Big Brother" gets done … Youtube "Cameras in England". You'll wish you never allowed the bastards in your street or neighborhood. Like I said, Be careful what you wish for.

  43. […] with more and more poor ticket camera results becoming public, most people have figured out the true purpose of the cameras by now […]

  44. John Hagland Jr. says:

    You want to make money?
    Intersection with the red light camera for the lelf turn, are fine. What about the Intersection with the sings that says "No turn on red" and people still making the right turns on red, Well take there picture and send them ticket too.

  45. Richard Fleer says:

    In Chicago, I see the left turn arrow purposefully shortened to make money off of people turning left on a light that will turn red in about 10 seconds from when it was green. According to the rules of the road you need to wait untill all traffic going straight and turning right clears the intersection. So the left turn arrow runs only two seconds. We have to turn left by reacting to it like we're Don Prudhomme.