The latest headlines from the world of photo enforcement. Updated almost daily...
New year could bring end to Ariz. speed camerasDec. 30, 2009 AZStarNet.com - Article
PHOENIX More than a year after Arizona became the first state in the country to deploy dozens of speed cameras on highways statewide, threats to the groundbreaking program abound.
Baytown, Texas Residents Demand Vote on Red Light CamerasDec. 30, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Baytown, Texas will be the next city where voters decide the fate of red light cameras. A total of 1324 residents, more than double the number required, signed a petition proposing an ordinance that would outlaw photo enforcement in Baytown. Resident Byron Schirmbeck yesterday handed the city clerk a stack of signature sheets, but he expects officials to resist placing the ordinance on the ballot.
Official: Speed cams ARE a scamDec. 29, 2009 The Sun (UK) - Article
FIXED speed cameras make no difference to road accident rates and are simply money-making machines, it was claimed last night.
The first council in the country to ban Gatsos revealed it has seen little change since making the move in the summer.
Chiefs in Swindon, Wilts, reckon the results have proved that the cameras didn't save lives - but were only there to make money.
Swindon Borough Council leader Rod Bluh said: "Figures vindicate the fact that cameras make no difference to fatal accidents or any accidents.
"We are confident we took the right action in getting rid of them."
North Royalton says no to installing camerasDec. 18, 2009 Cleveland.com - Article
NORTH ROYALTON -- Talk of installing traffic cameras that would track, and ultimately ticket, speeders is speedily coming to a halt.
Installing the cameras was recently mentioned in passing at a November Safety Committee meeting and the majority of resident response has been negative, said Mayor Robert Stefanik.
Analysis: Short Yellows Boost Revenue for Texas CitiesDec. 16, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
A number of Texas cities are exploiting short yellow timing at intersections, generating significant additional revenue, according to a review of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) data by TheNewspaper. The citation issuance rate at the nine intersections with the shortest yellow timing in the state was four times greater than the ticket issuance rate at locations that offered yellow times exceeding statewide averages.
For example, among photo enforced intersections in Texas with a posted speed limit of 55 MPH, the average yellow time was 4.9 seconds. The city of El Paso, however, allowed an Australian company to set up a traffic camera at the intersection of Gateway North Boulevard and Woodrow Bean where the yellow was shorter by 0.4 seconds. This seemingly minor difference resulted in a 132 percent increase in the number of citations issued for every 10,000 vehicles entering into the intersection compared to the locations with longer yellow durations.
East Ridge Man Begins Petition Against Speed CamerasDec. 15, 2009 WDEF - Article
Last week, the city council voted to install the cameras at main roads in the city.
Speeding fines from the traffic cameras would start at $50 and increase based on speed and location.
But now, East Ridge resident Kent Whitaker has launched a petition drive to repeal the ordinance.
Federal Agency Rules Traffic Camera Enforcement Lines IllegalDec. 14, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) last month issued an official ruling that found red light camera "violation lines" illegal. A number of jurisdictions across the country paint four-inch wide white lines on the pavement at what is known as the "prolongation" of the cross street's curb line in order to facilitate the use of automated ticketing machines. These are not the "stop bar" or crosswalk lines that most motorists expect, but a third set of lines that appear at the very edge of the intersection.
East Ridge Businesses say "No Thanks!" to Speed CamerasDec. 17, 2009 WDEF.com - Article
City council members voted last week to install the cameras in an effort to slow down speeders.
But local businesses say the cameras will do more harm than good.
Moreno Valley council prepared to remove red-light camerasDec. 15, 2009 PE.com - Article
MORENO VALLEY - Despite a staff report saying that red-light cameras have reduced accidents, the Moreno Valley City Council is prepared to suspend the program.
After hearing about the high fines for residents and little benefit to the city, council members decided at a study session Tuesday night to end the two-year pilot program on Jan. 31. The council will make it official in a vote at a regular meeting next month.
Loma Linda may remove red-light camerasDec. 15, 2009 PE.com - Article
Red-light cameras appear to be on the way out of Loma Linda, but how soon is yet to be determined.
The City Council informally agreed last week to ask Redflex Traffic Systems, the company that installed and maintains cameras at four Loma Linda intersections, whether it would agree to early termination of a contract that expires next year.
Mayor Orders Independent Study Of Traffic Cam ProgramDec. 11, 2009 KOAT.com - Article
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry will extend the city's traffic camera enforcement program for four more months in order to conduct a study of the program's effectiveness.
Loma Linda council majority wants to dump red-light camerasDec. 9, 2009 The Sun - Article
At Tuesday's council meeting, Councilman Robert Ziprick said he is not interested in renewing the city's contract with the company that installed the cameras five years ago. Councilman Rhodes Rigsby and Ovidiu Popescu previously stated their desire to get rid of the cameras.
Tennessee: Early Results Poor For Clarksville Traffic CamerasDec. 4, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
Sep. 3, 2009 WSMV.com - Article
After their first six months of use, the red light cameras in Clarksville, Tennessee have failed to produce any reduction in the number of accidents. The city's first three cameras were installed May 1, and a comparison of accidents at these locations from May to the end of October compared to the same period in 2007 and 2008 shows that the total number of collisions jumped 22 percent following the installation of cameras.
City removes lone red-light cameraDec. 4, 2009 Glendale Star - Article
The city's only red light camera at 59th and Peoria avenues has been removed following the completion of a two-year pilot project.
Big City ShakedownNov. 9, 2009 Times Publications - Article
Many drivers who receive photo-radar tickets disregard them, which many legal experts contend is the best way to have the citation ultimately dismissed. According to Arizona law, photo-radar tickets that are mailed are not considered valid, no matter how many notices are sent. For a photo-radar ticket to be enforced, an officer of the court, also known as a process server, has to actually serve the ticket to the suspected speeder in person. If that is not done successfully within 90 days, the statute of limitations runs out and the ticket is dismissed.
Tennessee: Camera Company Challenged on PI License IssueDec. 2, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
As members of the Tennessee General Assembly consider whether to impose new regulations on photo enforcement vendors in the state, a pending court challenge seeks the enforcement of existing regulatory statutes against the firms. The state House Transportation Committee yesterday held a hearing that examined how Lasercraft, a company based in Bridlington, England, operates red light cameras on behalf of the city of Knoxville. State Representative Ben West, Jr. (D-Hermitage) questioned why this company is not regulated by the state.
Road runner : Photo radar shoots a fake, cites owner of legit 'N JOY AZ' plateNov. 30, 2009 Arizona Daily Star - Article
Lucky guy he got the real deal. He designed the novelty plate for the Arizona Office of Tourism in 1991. Since he came up with the concept, he has the only one that's actually a registered license plate.
He turned out to be not so lucky, though, when one of the novelty plates went through photo radar on the front of a large, white, Dodge truck and garnered a citation, which was sent to Taylor as the registered owner of that license plate.
The first problem is that Taylor drives a red four-door Lexus sedan. The citation even says his vehicle is a Lexus, right above the photos of a white truck with the novelty plate on the front of the vehicle.
Photo Enforcement Illegal in South CarolinaNov. 30, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
Earlier this year the South Carolina General Assembly enacted a law that will make it even more difficult for red light camera and speed camera vendors to attempt to do business in the state. Under a provision that took effect on April 9, police are authorized to replace traditional handwritten citations with "electronic traffic tickets" designed to speed the roadside ticketing process. These electronic citations, however, cannot be used as part of a photo enforcement system.
Four months on and scrapping of speed cameras is defendedNov. 25, 2009 Swindon Advertiser - Article
FOUR months on from the scrapping of speed cameras in Swindon no increase in accidents has been reported on the roads affected
Asked at Mondays Scrutiny Committee meeting what impact there had been since the decision Coun Greenhalgh (Con, Freshbrook and Grange Park) said there had been no discernible effect on speed levels.
Arizona Legislative Memo: Traffic Camera Companies Need PI LicensesNov. 24, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
Traffic camera companies operating in Arizona may be committing a crime by operating without a private investigator's license, a newly released memorandum to the state legislature explained. The non-partisan Arizona Legislative Council, the legislature's official source for drafting and reviewing legislation, looked at the licensing question on behalf of state Representative Sam Crump (R-Anthem).
Texas: Accidents Increase at Controversial Red Light Camera IntersectionNov. 24, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
Accidents rose after the installation of a red light camera at one major intersection in Baytown, Texas. The private company American Traffic Solutions began issuing automated tickets at the intersection of Garth and Baker Roads on March 21, 2008. Since then, safety has not improved at the controversial camera location.
Photo radar tickets must be bilingualNov. 24, 2009 Winnipeg Free Press - Article
Residents of Winnipeg's francophone neighbourhoods are entitled to fully bilingual speeding tickets, the province's appeals court ruled Monday.
The Court of Appeal upheld a 2005 decision that effectively voided about 1,500 photo radar tickets after an appeal by six francophones. The six argued in court that the tickets violated their language rights because certain elements, such as the vehicle description and the fine payment deadline, weren't written in French as well as English. As residents in the Riel area of St. Norbert, St. Vital and St. Boniface, which has official bilingual status, the six francophones said they were entitled under the Charter to bilingual tickets.
Australian Audit Report: Safety Not Sole Concern in Speed Camera DeploymentNov. 20, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
A report by the Auditor General of Tasmania, Australia released yesterday called into question whether speed cameras were being deployed based on revenue concerns. A team of investigators interviewed police officials, examined documents and other records in order to analyze the state's photo ticketing program over the course of eight months. The final audit questioned why safety concerns did not appear to guide camera placement.
'Dangerous' speed camera rakes in 500,000 a yearNov. 14, 2009 Telegraph - Article
Crashes have risen by almost a quarter and casualties have almost doubled since the camera was installed on a busy stretch of the M11 in Essex, in 2000.
Now, details revealed under Freedom of Information legislation, show that the device results in up to 9,000 speeding tickets a year, enough to raise around 500,000 [pounds].
Photo-enforcement critic's cases raise issuesNov. 13, 2009 AZCentral.com - Article
But as Vontesmar's many alleged violations have entered the court system, his cases have demonstrated some issues related to the volume of violations that few predicted when the statewide photo-enforcement program hit Arizona: overwhelmed courts, violations that aren't served or are dismissed and hearings that are set many months after the citation arrives in the mail.
Photo-enforcement critic's cases raise issuesNov. 13, 2009 Arizona Republic - Article
For photo-enforcement critics, Dave Vontesmar became something of a hero after he was accused of speeding down Valley freeways with a monkey mask strapped to his head.
But as Vontesmar's many alleged violations have entered the court system, his cases have demonstrated some issues related to the volume of violations that few predicted when the statewide photo-enforcement program hit Arizona: overwhelmed courts, violations that aren't served or are dismissed and hearings that are set many months after the citation arrives in the mail.
Second Texas City Initiates Traffic Camera ReferendumNov. 13, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
Inspired by the success of the College Station, Texas initiative banning red light cameras, activists a hundred miles away in are collecting signatures to do the same in Baytown. Officials in the Gulf Coast city of 72,000 allowed American Traffic Solutions to set up the cameras in April 2008, but resident Byron Schirmbeck is circulating a petition in the hopes of giving voters the opportunity to take them back down.
Lawyer Says Red-Light Cams Need LicenseNov. 11, 2009 WSMV - Article
First, he called the cameras unconstitutional last month. Now, he says the company that operates them may be violating state law.
The Redflex cameras are like little private investigators, according to Clarksville attorney Greg Smith. And according to Tennessee code, private investigators need to have a license.
Attorney files class-action lawsuit against HeathNov. 11, 2009 Newark Advocate - Article
NEWARK A Pickerington attorney filed a class-action complaint against the city of Heath and Redflex Traffic Systems, seeking reimbursement of all citations doled out since April 6.
Unlike other camera-related actions filed against Heath, Tallan is seeking damages and full reimbursement of all "illegal funds" obtained from speeding tickets from April 6 to Thursday, according to the filing.
Do Cameras Make Intersections More Dangerous?Nov. 9, 2009 CBS2.com - Article
In Los Angeles the LAPD claims accidents are down after they installed cameras, but are they telling the whole truth or just trying to make money off motorists?
We looked at every accident at every red light camera intersection for six months of data before the cameras were installed and six months after.
The final figures? Twenty of the 32 intersections show accidents up after the cameras were installed! Three remained the same and only nine intersections showed accidents decreasing.
Florida: Early Data Suggest City Traffic Cameras IneffectiveNov. 7, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
An early look at the performance of the red light cameras in Temple Terrace, Florida shows that they have done nothing to improve safety. Instead of merely repeating city claims on the topic, investigative reporters for the Tampa station WFTS ordered accident reports and checked the data for themselves. Although the program has been operational for a year, police only released enough data to produce a limited snapshot of the effect on accidents.
Over the first five months of the program, accidents decreased citywide by 13 percent compared to the same period a year earlier without cameras. At intersections with cameras, however, the number of accidents more than doubled from six to fourteen. Contrary to claims that red light cameras decrease accident severity, the average police estimate of damage costs for each accident increased by twenty percent after cameras were installed.
German Court Questions Laser Speed Camera AccuracyNov. 8, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
A German court last month overturned a traffic citation after prosecutors failed to prove the accuracy of a new laser-based speed camera technology. The district court of Dillenburg heard testimony from four experts, each of whom cast doubt on the system. The Judge Matthias Gampe concluded that the motorist accused by a Poliscan automated ticketing machine of driving 96km/h (60 MPH) in a 40 (25 MPH) zone was not guilty.
About 100 of the devices were installed in Mannheim in 2007. Since then, 19,000 motorists have complained about erroneous readings. The expert witnesses testified that changing lanes or having a vehicle cross between your car and the camera could generate spurious readings. As the court found, there is no external means of verifying that the speed estimate generated is accurate because the system does not photograph vehicles at set distances like conventional systems.
INVESTIGATION: Are one community's red light cameras effective?Nov. 6, 2009 ABC Action News - Article
According to the Temple Terrace Police, the number of accidents at intersections with red light cameras from when they first went operational October 2008 through February of this year were up 133 percent compared to the previous year when there were no cameras.
American voters get rid of mayor along with speed camerasNov. 6, 2009 TimesOnline.co.UK - Article
It was American democracy in its purest form: three towns voting overwhelmingly to get their hated police speed cameras torn down and to eject from office a mayor who had opposed the move.
Petitioners: Put Speed Cam Ban On BallotNov. 5, 2009 KPHO - Article
PHOENIX -- The push is on to get rid of photo-enforcement cameras in Arizona. Volunteers with camerafraud.com and Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar stepped up their petition drive at the Arizona state fair Wednesday. They are trying to get enough signatures to put a photo-enforcement ban on the November 2010 ballot.
Supervisors add $20 fee on citations for speedingNov. 5, 2009 Arizona Republic - Article
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday unanimously approved an additional $20 fee on photo-enforcement cases generated from state highway speed cameras.
Southland city removes red light cameras after 'rear end collisions have actually increased'Nov. 5, 2009 Examiner.com - Article
Two southland cities have terminated their contracts with red light camera vendors and removed the cameras in recent months, after internal reports acknowledged that the use of the cameras were neither effective nor fiscally responsible.
Photo Enforcement Defeated at the Ballot Box in Texas, OhioNov. 4, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
Voters in three cities sent a clear message to local lawmakers yesterday by adopting charter amendments that ban photo enforcement. In addition to kicking two camera supporters from the city council, 72 percent of those voting in Chillicothe, Ohio approved a total prohibition on the use of red light cameras and speed cameras. In College Station, Texas the vote was much closer, but at the end of the night 52 percent wanted the red light cameras to come down. In Heath, Ohio 51 percent voted against the cameras. A total of nine cities nationwide have used the initiative process to ban camera enforcement since 1991, with camera proponents never having won a public vote.
Maryland Cities Create School Zones for Speed Camera UseNov. 3, 2009 The Newspaper - Article| Alternate Article, ABC 2 News
Maryland cities will create brand new "school zones" in an attempt to issue speed camera tickets on roads that previously had no need of the designation. When the state legislature authorized speed cameras six months ago in response to a $690,506 lobbying campaign from photo ticketing and insurance companies, lawmakers mandated that the cameras could only be used within a half mile of a school zone. Baltimore is among the first to admit that it will bypass that restriction.
BIKER CLOCKED DOING '383MPH'Nov. 2, 2009 Daily Star - Article
A BIKER has appealed after losing his licence when speed cameras clocked him riding at an impossible 383 mph
Motorbike mad Paolo Turina of Cernusco Lombardone, Italy - who also copped a 200 fine - claims the speed camera was clearly so defective the charge should never have been brought.
Massachusetts: Red Light Cameras Proposed to Fight DeficitNov. 2, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) on Thursday outlined his plan to reduce the state's $600 million deficit and help struggling municipalities by, among several other revenue raising measures, installing red light cameras. The governor's proposed fiscal year 2010 budget amendments would eliminate an existing state law forcing police officers to issue traffic citations personally. Under the new legislation, any jurisdiction in the commonwealth could give private, for-profit companies the right to issue $100 traffic tickets.
Red-light camera company more than just a vendorNov. 1, 2009 Daily Herald - Article
Part cheerleader, part father figure and always the lobbyist, surveillance camera company RedSpeed Illinois is a vendor that likes to keep in touch with its clients. Constantly.
A review of e-mails between RedSpeed and municipalities that hired the red-light camera company reveals a vigilant campaign of self-promotion. That includes urging local leaders to pressure lawmakers to back pro-camera bills, bad-mouthing ex-client Schaumburg, providing media talking points, and inviting law enforcement to a "Police Chief Brew Fest" for charity.
Red light cameras: not enough greenOct. 31, 2009 The Sun - Article
In the last decade, red light cameras have sprouted at bustling intersections across the San Bernardino Valley in hopes of reducing traffic collisions and injecting additional revenue into cities.
Now some of those cities have either opted out of their contracts with Arizona-based Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. or are considering doing so, citing lack of revenue and a growing uncertainty of the cameras' effectiveness.
Utah DOT: No Downside to 80 MPH Speed Limit IncreaseOct. 26, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) announced last week that the experimental increase in the state's maximum speed limit to 80 MPH has been a success in terms of safety. UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras testified before the state Interim Committee on Transportation that that there has been no increase in accidents as a result of the higher number printed on the speed limit signs on certain stretches of Interstate 15.
Canada: Cameras Increased Accidents, City Wants MoreOct. 21, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
Accidents increased significantly at intersections equipped with red light cameras in Grande Prairie, Canada according to a city report completed last month. The review found that after a full year of use, cameras generated $1.2 million in revenue along with a 126 percent increase in injury collisions.
California Appellate Court Refuses to Publish Anti-Camera DecisionOct. 17, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
A California appellate court on Wednesday declined to publish a decision overturning a ticket issued by an unlawful red light camera operation (view ruling). California Superior Court, San Mateo County Appellate Judge Mark R. Forcum turned down attorney Frank Iwama's request that he explain his reasoning more fully in a published decision. Unpublished cases cannot be cited as precedent in California, and motorists interested in challenging citations will have to repeat from scratch all arguments about the program's illegality.
Citizens speak out in county fair surveyOct. 18, 2009 The Daily Record - Article
Photo enforcement of traffic laws received about 30 percent support, with nearly 54 percent opposing and 16 percent with mixed views. The question was, "Do you support the use of photo enforcement, such as red light cameras, for traffic law enforcement?"
City: Red-Light Cameras Not As Profitable As HopedOct. 14, 2009 KMBC.com - Article
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Problems are starting to emerge with Kansas City's red-light camera program.
KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that the problems may be severe enough that the program that was designed to make money for the city may end up costing money.
Redflex Photo Van Caught Violating State LawOct. 10, 2009 CameraFraud.com - Article
CameraFRAUD activists measured out the spacing of the signs to determine they were not in compliance with the law, which specifies the warning sign closest to the photo radar van be must be placed "approximately 300 feet" away..."
Tempe Police confirmed the sign was posted at 743ft, and the van was removed from operational status pending the investigation. In addition, both of the warning signs appeared to be placed deliberately behind trees and shrubs, preventing proper notification to oncoming traffic as required.
Arizona: Witnesses Blame Accident on Speed CameraOct. 9, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
The panicked reaction that some drivers have to the sight of a speed camera may in fact be a significant cause of accidents. The group CameraFraud.com yesterday released an Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) accident report that describes a July 25 incident in which a gray Chevy Camaro collided with a red 1994 Toyota 4Runner SUV on Interstate 17 in Yavapai County, sending two people to the hospital. Although DPS maintains that it hired an A ustralian company, Redflex Traffic Systems, to operate speed cameras to improve safety, the department's own report tells a far different story.
Speed cameras vandalised in South WalesOct. 9, 2009 WalesOnline.co.uk - Article
NEW figures reveal the shocking extent of vandalism attacks on speed cameras across South Wales.
There were 29 attacks on the fixed devices in the past three years, including arson attacks on cameras enforcing speed limits on roads outside schools.
San Bernardino pulls the plug on red-light cameraOct. 6, 2009 The Press-Enterprise - Article
Redlands Police Chief Jim Bueerman decided last week to get rid of the camera at University Street and Citrus Avenue because it wasn't proven to have reduced accidents and cost more to operate than it generated in revenue, the release stated.
Hawaii Supreme Court Questions Laser Speed Gun AccuracyOct. 5, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
The Hawaii Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned a speeding conviction because the state failed to prove that its laser speed guns were functioning properly. On September 5, 2007, Honolulu Police Officer Jeremy Franks stopped motorist Abiye Assaye, accusing him of driving 90 MPH on the H-1 freeway. Because the charge of driving 35 MPH over the limit carried the possibility of jail time, Assaye was represented by a public defender.
Ticket Mistake May Have Cost Woman JobOct. 3, 2009 KPHO.COM - Article
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Elizabeth Vaughan says she thought she had a much-needed job in the bag, but a mistake involving a photo-radar ticket from a decade ago spoiled her chances.
Louisiana and UK Speed Cameras BurnedOct. 4, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
Vigilantes set fire to a fixed speed camera in Bradford, England at around 2am on Monday, the Telegraph and Argus newspaper reported. The automated ticketing machine, located on A6177 Killinghall Road in Undercliffe, is thought to have escaped serious damage. Gasoline- soaked tires placed at the base of the camera pole were set on fire, but the flames did not reach high enough to destroy the photographic equipment. Police have no suspects.
Westwego speeding-ticket automation tool set on fireOct. 2, 2009 NOLA.com - Article
An automated vehicle that writes speeding tickets in Westwego was set on fire last week, the second act of vandalism against the vehicle in two months.
License suspended even though woman wasn't served ticketSep. 29, 2009 AZ Family - Article
"I got pulled over by Phoenix police and they told me I had a suspended license and they gave me a couple of tickets for suspended license and possession of suspended license," she said.
Parker says she had no idea why it was suspended.
"So I had to go down and figure out what it was and it was a ticket in Scottsdale," Parker said. "They gave me a photo radar ticket I wasn't aware of."
Parker says she never received a photo radar ticket in the mail informing her and, more importantly, no one ever officially served her.
UK Government Admits Traffic Accident Figures MiscountedSep. 28, 2009 The Newspaper - Article
For the past several years, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) has heralded the drop in the number of serious traffic accidents as evidence of the success of its speed camera policies. For the first time, the agency admitted last Thursday that injury numbers have dropped because its statistical method is incomplete. Although DfT reported 230,905 injury accidents took place in 2008, the agency now believes the true number of accidents is actually three times greater.
Speed Cameras Attacked in Italy, Germany, Kuwait, PolandSep. 27, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Speed cameras around the world faced a variety of attacks last week. In Kuwait City, Kuwait yesterday vigilantes shot and destroyed the automated ticketing machine on Al-Abdali Road, Al-Watan Daily reported.
Likewise in Fivizzano, Italy, vigilantes blasted a pair of speed cameras with a shotgun on Monday. The devices had issued tickets on Highway 62 in Villafranca, Il Tirreno reported. Since the devices are located away from an urban area, police have no idea who might be responsible.
Loma Linda considers removing red-light camerasSep. 26, 2009 ContraCostaTimes.com - Article
LOMA LINDA - The city's experiment with red-light cameras may be coming to an end.
Nearly four years after the cameras were put in at four intersections, the City Council is looking at the possibility of removing them.
The council has directed staff members to investigate its options for terminating its five-year contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, the Arizona-based company that operates the cameras. The contract expires in a little more than a year.
Councilman Rhodes Rigsby gave a presentation to his colleagues last week, challenging the view that the cameras have cut down on accidents caused by red-light runners.
"Most well-conducted studies show that red-light cameras increase overall accident rates," Rigsby said.
Speed cameras to snap drivers using mobile phonesSep. 20, 2009 Your Thanet News - Article
Motorists are being warned that speed cameras will soon be taking pictures of drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts.
They will also be taking pictures of drivers who are chatting on hand-held mobiles.
The Netherlands: Parked Truck Receives 45 Automated Speeding TicketsSep. 20, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Dutch lumber merchant Martin Robben no longer believes that the speed camera never lies. As reported by De Telegraaf, the man was falsely accused of speeding forty-five times on August 25 while his vehicle, a commercial truck, was parked on the side of the road in Oldeberkoop village.
Redflex Driver Crosses Gore, Runs Stop SignSep. 13, 2009 CameraFraud.com - Article
A driver for beleaguered Redflex Group found himself at the other end of the camera this past Thursday when a motorist videotaped him committing multiple moving violations on the Loop 101 westbound near 35th Avenue.
Redflex "Procedural Manual" ObtainedSep. 8, 2009 CameraFraud.com - Article
An internal document used as a reference guide by Redflex employees and obtained by CameraFRAUD provides new insights into the companys various automated ticketing schemes throughout Arizona.
Automated Enforcement Assaulted in Australia, France, Maryland, UKSep. 13, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Opponents of automated enforcement have become increasingly creative in efforts to thwart speed cameras, as demonstrated by recent events. In Devon, England last Monday, vigilantes sacrificed a blue Volvo 240 to incinerate a speed camera, the Plymouth Herald reported. At around 1am, the Volvo was parked under the camera on Outland Road in Peverell and set on fire. The ensuing blaze fully destroyed the camera. Devon and Cornwall Police have no idea who might be responsible.
Ohio, Arizona Special Interests Battle Anti-Camera InitiativesSep. 10, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Special interest groups continue to battle a pair of anti-photo enforcement ballot initiatives in Ohio and one in Arizona. In Chillicothe, Ohio, officials are so desperate to prevent the public from deciding whether or not to keep the cameras that the city's legal department moved to block a citizen-led ballot petition before the Ross County Board of Elections. Last week, the board rejected the city's demand outright.
Arizona Officials Mislead Public on Photo Radar Ticket ReviewSep. 9, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Redflex Traffic Systems, a stringent review process guarantees the accuracy of every citation issued under the statewide photo radar program introduced last year. Evidence obtained this week from a confidential Redflex ticket processing manual, however, suggests that the state police and its Australian contractor may be misleading the public with such claims.
Fewer paying speed-camera ticketsSep. 8, 2009 AZCentral.com - Article
When the system was just getting set up in October, 34 percent of drivers paid their tickets. By June, that statistic had dropped to 24 percent.
Valley Monkey Has 37 Unpaid Photo-Enforcement Tickets; Actually He's Just a Dude in a Mask Who Won't Pay the TicketsSep. 8, 2009 Phoenix New Times - Article
If you live in the Valley of the Sun, you probably have a trick or two to avoid getting busted by the speed cameras we all love so much. Some people just know exactly where they are, some buy devices to mask their license plates, and one man, police say, resorted to wearing a mask.
Fewer paying speed-camera ticketsSep. 9, 2009 AZCentral.com - Article
When the system was just getting set up in October, 34 percent of drivers paid their tickets. By June, that statistic had dropped to 24 percent.
But when state Department of Public Safety officers served 37 unpaid photo-enforcement tickets to Vontesmar recently, he wasn't fazed.
The photos all show the driver wearing a monkey mask.
"Not one of them there is a picture where you can identify the driver," Vontesmar said. "The ball's in their court. I sent back all these ones I got with a copy of my driver's license and said, 'It's not me. I'm not paying them.' "
Man Palm Coast cited joins lawsuit against red light camerasSep. 8, 2009 News-JournalOnline.com - Article
Mayfield, 55, is among a growing group of drivers across Florida fed up by prosecution by pixel. They are filing lawsuits claiming the cameras violate their rights by branding them with a presumption of guilt and focusing on the owner of the car, who may not have been the driver but gets slapped with a hefty, hard-to-fight fine just the same. In some other cities, cameras photograph the driver along with the tag. And in others, the cameras are used only to cite motorists for running red lights while going through intersections but not for improperly turning right on red.
Peoria officials question the value of red-light camerasAug. 31, 2009 AZCentral.com - Article
Whether they like photo enforcement, Peoria leaders seem to agree on one thing: it's not clear whether red light cameras are actually making the city's streets any safer.
According to numbers from the Police Department, collisions at the four intersections have doubled since a private company finished installing red light cameras in June 2008.
California: Costa Mesa Red Light Cameras Increased AccidentsSep. 3, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The total number of accidents increased at Costa Mesa, California intersections where red light cameras were installed, according to a city council report released on Tuesday. Since its inception in July 2003, the automated ticketing program has rewarded the city, county and state governments with millions in revenue. Nestor Traffic Systems (NTS), the bankrupt company in charge of the program, also shares in the bounty. Last year, for example, Nestor mailed $2,486,944 worth of the $436 traffic tickets.
Business Owners: Speed, Red-Light Cameras May Drive Away CustomersSep. 7, 2009 NBC4i - Article
HEATH, OhioTens of thousands of Central Ohioans have received tickets from red-light and speed cameras.
Now businesses are worried that drivers and potential customers will stay away from areas where the cameras are watching.
DPS ignored this stranded motoristSep. 7, 2009 Arizona Daily Sun - Article
Thirty miles outside Flagstaff on Interstate 40, our RV broke down while we were traveling across the country this summer. We desperately tried to contact our towing company, but due to limited cell service we could not reach them. We were able to get 911, who said they would call towing for us. They also informed us that since it was Sunday, we'd have to wait for some time. That was the last we ever spoke to the police...
What we did see frequently as we traveled your roads were police cruisers taking pictures of people speeding. What about people who have the misfortune of breaking down on your highways -- are there no police available to lend a hand because they are out there taking pictures? This is reprehensible!
Speed-van warnings: Should sign code apply?Sep. 7, 2009 Arizona Daily Star - Article
The city uses portable A-frame signs to warn drivers that its mobile photo radar van is ahead, snapping pictures of speeders.
You see, while they fully comply with city standards for traffic-control devices, they don't comply with the city sign code.
Man: License Taken Years After [Photo] TicketSep. 5, 2009 KPHO.com - Article
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The MVD notified a Scottsdale man that his license was suspended eight years after a photo-radar camera captured him speeding.
DC Camera Ticket Overturned on Accuracy DoubtsSep. 5, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Doubt over the accuracy of the speed camera equipment led to the dismissal of a Washington, DC photo radar ticket last month. On May 7, a 34-year-old engineer from Alexandria, Virginia had been driving on Interstate 295/395 near 9th Street on a sunny morning when a mobile speed camera operated by American Traffic Solutions snapped a photo of the engineer's car. The camera claimed that the Audi was traveling at 51 MPH, 11 MPH over the District's 40 MPH interstate speed limit.
City pulls plug on red light camerasSep. 4, 2009 Roseville Press Tribune - Article
After four years of troubles with the system, the Roseville Police Department earlier this summer quietly ended plans to bring back photo red-light enforcement to Roseville intersections, officials said.
Vandals take toll on speed camerasSep. 6, 2009 Washington Times - Article - Alternate Article
Montgomery County police arrived at the Germantown crime scene near the intersection of Wisteria Drive and Misty Meadow Terrace to find a mess of green and yellow spray paint. Underneath it all, one of the department's 60-some speed cameras was temporarily blinded.
The strong feelings elicited by the cameras, which have taken the form of vandalism in more than two dozen cases in Montgomery County, are something other jurisdictions will likely face in coming weeks as they decide whether to place cameras on their own roadsides.
Speed cameras mean dj vu to some driversSep. 2, 2009 Gazette.Net - Article
When Scott Rufolo received a citation after getting nabbed by a speed camera March 3, he paid the $40 fine right away because he knew he'd been doing 51 mph in a 30-mph zone. But when he received another citation for a violation Aug. 3, he was angry.
The citation listed him as going through the same Connecticut Avenue and East Melrose Street intersection in Chevy Chase on a day when he was home in Greenbrook, N.J.
Chevy Chase Village Police Chief Roy A. Gordon said a human error by an officer had transposed the "3/8" date to "8/3," causing the speed camera to save the images until Aug. 3 and send out a new batch of citations for the earlier offense.
Rufolo's August citation and 40 others were voided after the error was discovered, Gordon said. Nine motorists who paid their fines will receive refunds.
Illinois City Forgets Lesson of 1992 Photo Enforcement ReferendumAug. 31, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Despite the clear message sent by voters in 1992, the city of Batavia, Illinois is busy pursuing a return to the use of photo enforcement. Police Chief Gary J. Schira made a sales pitch to the city council last month on behalf of the private companies that operate red light camera systems, hoping to add the lucrative program to his budget.
Italy: Private Photo Enforcement Contracts BannedAug. 25, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
In a desperate attempt to save lucrative photo enforcement programs in the face of widespread scandal, the Italy's Ministry of Interior on Friday announced significant reforms to the way speed cameras and red light cameras are operated in the country. The move followed explosive allegations of corruption involving over one hundred public officials and a number of executives from the photo enforcement industry. The investigation is ongoing with police forces having conducted raids and arrests earlier this month, in June and in January. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni set out the new regulations in a directive issued to local authorities.
Public Opposition Drives Down Redflex Profit MarginAug. 26, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The largest provider of red light camera and speed camera services in the US admitted yesterday that public opposition has begun to affect the bottom line. In an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Melbourne-based Redflex Traffic Systems reported a nine percent drop in net profit for the year ended June 30, 2009. This has come about in part as motorists increasingly refuse to pay automated fines and use public pressure to force cities to eliminate photo enforcement programs.
Speed Cameras Attacked in France, Ireland, Poland, The Netherlands and UKAug. 30, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Arizona, Poland, UK Resist Speed CamerasAug. 23, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
On August 11, vigilantes climbed a ten-foot pole in the town of Zamosc, Poland to render a speed camera incapable of issuing citations, according to Kronika Tygodnia. The camera housing was bent so that the lens focused on the ground, locks securing the device's inner workings were broken and the lens was covered in red paint. Local officials, who have no idea who might be responsible, claim the machine is beyond repair.
A pair of speed cameras in Dorset, England were set on fire within the past few weeks.
In Gilbert, Arizona a man knocked out a process server who, as an employee of AAA Photo Safety, had been attempting to deliver a photo radar ticket to his wife. The man was sentenced to community service and a $500 fine for the attack, KNXV-TV reported.
College Station, Texas Tries to Undermine Anti-Camera ReferendumAug. 17, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The success of citizen initiative petitions to stop photo enforcement have forced local officials to react swiftly. In Heath, Ohio the mayor has begun forgiving recipients of multiple speed camera tickets in a desperate attempt to paint a friendlier face on the program after formal acceptance of the petition that will put the future of the program up for a public vote in November. A similar petition also succeeded in College Station, Texas, but officials are turning to far more hostile tactics. Local resident Jim Ash, who led the charge to gather signatures, now says city officials will attempt to sabotage the ballot initiative later today.
Arizona: Independent Test Shows Speed Cameras Do Not Slow DriversAug. 12, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The state of Arizona began deploying speed cameras on freeways last year for the stated purpose of slowing drivers. Scottsdale was the first jurisdiction in the state to use such cameras and issued $17 million worth of automated freeway tickets before the state took over the program. The city paid a local professor $75,000 to create a study to show that drivers had slowed. An expert in radar technology produced a report last month insisting that is not the case.
Speed cameras catching cops, tooAug. 12, 2009 AZStarNet.com - Article
Pima County speed cameras can't tell if a motorist zipping by is a sheriff's deputy responding to an emergency. Therefore, the department has received 181 notices of violation by people driving Sheriff's Department vehicles, said Internal Affairs Lt. Lisa Sacco.
CAPE vows to fight city protestAug. 18, 2009 Chillicothe Gazette - Article
CAPE President Rebekah Valentich has vowed her organization plans to hire an attorney to keep a ballot measure that would ban red-light cameras and speed enforcement in the city.
Manitoba wants $400M lawsuit tossed outAug. 18, 2009 Canada.com - Article
WINNIPEG - The Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg will be in court Thursday to ask a judge to toss out a massive lawsuit against them: a $400-million claim filed a month ago that slams photo radar and says the cameras should be yanked.
Camera Attacks in Tennessee, Australia, Italy, Latvia, Spain, UKAug. 16, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Speed cameras are shot, rammed, burned and smashed in Tennessee and throughout Europe this week.
Spain: Officials Refund 800 Speed Camera TicketsAug. 15, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Officials in Spain were forced to refund 800 speed camera citations after three local mayors openly criticized a favorite ticketing location as nothing more than an unfair trap. Servei Catala de Transit (SCT) had ordered the installation of a photo radar device last May on the N-240 between Montblanc and Espluga. The machine was positioned so that motorists who enter the road from Espluga do not see a speed limit sign. The device was also stationed at the end of an acceleration lane, further confusing drivers. Three city mayors demanded that SCT issue refunds.
California Judge Declares Red Light Camera Program Illegal and VoidAug. 11, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
A California judge last week began throwing out red light camera citations issued in Santa Ana. Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Kenneth Schwartz declared the city's program void because it had ignored several provisions of state law. Local attorneys Mark D. Sutherland and R. Allen Baylis had challenged the city for its failure to provide the required thirty-day warning period before beginning the program and its use of a prohibited per-ticket "cost neutral" compensation scheme.
Red-light camera company open to two-tiered ticketingAug. 10, 2009 WGN TV - Article
As a backlash against red light cameras starts to gain steam, a traffic camera firm serving Chicago and several suburbs says it is willing to explore charging a reduced fine to drivers caught making illegal rolling right turns on red.
Lawsuit filed against city's red-light camera programAug. 7, 2009 Tampa Bay Online - Article
TEMPLE TERRACE - A recently filed lawsuit contends the city's red-light camera ordinance violates vehicle owners' rights.
Lawyer Jack Townsend filed the suit on behalf of five complainants against the city and American Traffic Solutions, which installed and monitors the automated photo traffic enforcement program.
Heath (Ohio) speed cameras issuing false triggers on motorcyclesAug. 6, 2009 NewarkAdvocate.com - Article
It turns out, he's not the only one; apparently, motorcycles have been tripping the light fantastically often in the last few weeks, and nobody seems to know exactly why.
Redflex hasn't been able to explain why motorcycles are getting triggered, but it doesn't happen every time, Shepherd said.
Georgia: Benefit of Increased Yellow ContinuesAug. 7, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The benefits of a mandated increase in yellow light timing at photo enforced intersections in Georgia have not diminished after six months. In response, the city of Norcross is dumping red light cameras while Duluth is keeping them. The Norcross City Council made its final decision Monday based on the continued low number of violations following the timing change. The city of Duluth, on the other hand, voted last week to keep cameras even though the number of potential tickets has not increased.
Italian Authorities Conduct Third Speed Camera RaidAug. 6, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
This is the third major investigation into photo enforcement fraud so far this year. In June, the Guardia di Finanza raided a speed camera maker in Brescia over the issue of cloned serial numbers. In January, the carabinieri arrested red light camera maker Stefano Arrighetti and seized automated ticketing machines from 54 municipalities that used the "T-Red" brand of intersection camera on charges of contract irregularities and the shortening of yellow light timing at intersections.
Arizona Failed to Learn Lesson of Hawaii Photo Radar ExperimentAug. 4, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Arizona's Department of Public Safety frequently issues press releases with the boast that is is running the "first ever" freeway speed camera program in the United States. This, of course, is not true as the state of Illinois began allowing a private company to deploy speed camera vans on freeways in May 2006. The true claim to the title, however, goes to the state of Hawaii whose speed camera program lasted five months before intense public pressure sent the camera vans packing.
Redflex Camera Attacked on AZ-51Aug. 4, 2009 CameraFraud.com - Article
The Redflex device, located on the AZ-51, appears to have been covered with black paint in a photo submitted to us by a reader.
Speed Cameras Blinded... For NowAug. 4, 2009 NBC Washington - Article
Vandals have struck two sets of speed enforcement cameras in the Cabin John area of Montgomery County, Md. The vandals spray-painted over the camera's lenses, rendering them temporarily inoperable.
Town council punts on photo radarJul. 28, 2009 ZonieReport.com - Article
WICKENBURG - The idea of adopting photo radar systems for this growing town just northwest of Phoenix was tabled until 2010 by the Town Council, although the majority of its members seemed to be against using the high-tech tool altogether.
UK Statistics Authority Blasts Bogus Speed Camera DataJul. 28, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
An independent statistics watchdog agency that reports directly to the UK parliament issued a report yesterday criticizing a key element of the government's road casualty figures. The UK Statistics Authority praised the general credibility of numbers generated by the Department for Transport (DfT), but the agency threatened to withhold the designation of "national statistics" from DfT reports if the department failed by November to reform the system of serious injury data collection known as STATS19.
Arizona Photo-Enforcement Loophole: Out-of-State Residents Face No Consequences for Unpaid Freeway-Camera TicketsJul. 27, 2009 Phoenix New Times - Article
We had been barking up the wrong camera housing, it turns out, by asking a Redflex official whether process servers from other states deliver the tickets outside of Arizona. It doesn't matter if those tickets are served -- failing to pay does not result in any action taken with the Motor Vehicles Department, says MVD spokeswoman Cydney DeModica.
There is a consequence to failing to pay: You won't be able to register a vehicle in Arizona until you pay the fine and other fees.
But if you never plan on registering a car in Arizona -- then who cares?
Traffic cameras put dent in side-impact crashes, Rear end crashes up 24 percentJul. 21, 2009 DNJ.com - Article
Crash data collected from the monitored intersections during the first 12 months of operation indicate that side impact crashes decreased by only 8 overall. Seventy-one crashes occurred during the 2007-2008 study period, while 63 occurred in the 2008-2009 study period.
The number of rear end crashes at red light camera-equipped intersections actually increased by approximately 24 percent. One-hundred-two rear end crashes occurred during the 2007-2008 study period, while 126 occurred in the 2008-2009 study period.
Side crashes down 11%, rear end crashes up 24%. --admin
Speed cameras under siege in North WalesJul. 21, 2009 Daily Post (UK) - Article
Fixed and mobile cameras across North Wales have been covered in glue, driven into by motorists, smeared with paint, damaged, burnt and tagged with graffiti.
Despite there being just 14 fixed camera sites in the region, there have been 27 attacks in the last five years. All but one of the cameras - in Towyn - are in north east Wales.
Road Safety Group Argues for Return of Rational Speed LimitsJul. 20, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
In a speech last week before the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), a road safety expert argued that speed limits should be based on engineering, not political considerations. Chad Dornsife, executive director of the Best Highway Safety Practices Institute made his case to an ITE annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.
"The solution is to properly engineer our roadways to facilitate the optimum flow of traffic, a prescription that would reduce our total vehicular carbon footprint and improve roadway safety," Dornsife said. "The future is in educating motorists to drive safely via safety campaigns that promote keep right except to pass, yielding, courtesy, and safety practices that are based in fact. Programs that create jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, pollution, and improve the safety and efficiency of our infrastructure.
Speed Cameras Under Assault in Arizona, Australia and UAEJul. 19, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Vigilantes this week pelted speed camera vehicles in Arizona and Australia with rocks while a speed camera operator in the United Arab Emirates was shot. In South Australia, motorists routinely hurl rocks at manned speed camera vehicles. On Wednesday, South Australian police officials announced that they would use this as an excuse to remove signs that give warning to motorists in advance of speed trap locations. The Public Service Association (PSA) union had even threatened to strike over the issue of signs, potentially depriving the state of revenue from the 24,000 tickets issued each month. PSA Industrial Officer Ted Szarek met with state officials on July 3.
In Dubai, a traffic camera operator was shot in the left leg last Monday at 4am. Nasser Nour Abdullah, 32, had been setting up an automated speed trap on Al Ittihad Road, near Sahara Mall. Sharjah Police told The National newspaper that they were operating on the assumption that the shooting was intentional. Abdullah was treated at Al Qassimi Hospital.
Group's lawsuit targets photo traffic enforcementJul. 18, 2009 Winnipeg Sun - Article
An organization known as the Road Safety Awareness Group filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking a court judgment ruling that photo traffic enforcement is illegal and that all money collected be returned to ticketed drivers.
"Nothing else seems to be taken seriously," executive-director Nancy Thomas said of the lawsuit. "We have notified and provided evidence to all kinds of officials and nobody seems to want to do anything."
Australia: Deaths Go Up After Speed Limits ImposedJul. 17, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Up until 2007, rural roads in the Northern Territory, Australia had no speed limit. Claiming that speed limits were essential to saving lives, the state government imposed a 130km/h (80 MPH) limit on the Stuart, Arnhem, Victoria and Barkly highways and a 110km/h (68 MPH) speed limit on all other roads, unless otherwise marked lower. Despite the best of intentions, however, the number of road deaths actually increased 70 percent after the change -- despite worldwide drop in traffic levels.
The Australian motorist rights group compiled the latest road fatality data provided by the Northern Territory Police. In 2006, the last year without rural highway speed limits, the road toll was 44. Last year, with speed limits on all roads, the death toll grew to 75 (view data, 400k PDF). The proliferation of speed cameras throughout the country has also increased the level of hazard faced by motorists.
UK Police Caught Forging Speed Camera DocumentsJul. 16, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
A UK court threw out a pair of speed camera citations yesterday after a retired veteran police officer admitted on the stand that he falsified official documents used as proof that the tickets were mailed within statutory deadlines. The Southampton Crown Court concluded that it was an abuse of process for a Hampshire and Isle of Wight speed camera partnership employee to backdate documents. The employee said he was acting on direct orders from his superiors.
Harahan speed camera idea stalls outJul. 16, 2009 NOLA.com - Article
With no support from Harahan residents, the City Council decided Thursday night to table a proposal that would have installed cameras to target speeders in the city.
Council members and the mayor said they were inundated with anti-camera sentiments from residents.
"Not a single person called up in favor of these machines," Johnston said.
Speed camera staff pelted with rocksJul. 15, 2009 The Australian - Article
Speed Camera operators, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have started industrial action after rocks as large as bricks were thrown through their car windows.
Complaints about ongoing verbal abuse and vehicle damage have not been taken seriously by police, a PSA spokesman said.
"They are vulnerable because they operate by themselves," the spokesman said today.
Maywood, California Dumps Red Light CamerasJul. 7, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The Maywood, California City Council on Wednesday dumped the Australian company in charge of the city's red light camera program. Since 2004, Redflex Traffic Systems has had the right to issue tickets at the intersection of Slauson and Alamo. The council voted 3-2 not to renew the five-year agreement, against the wishes of city staff who proposed new "cost neutral" contract terms.
Are Speed Cameras Effective?Jul. 8, 2009 AZ Daily Star - Article
Over a period of weeks this spring I conducted traffic surveys near speed vans and fixed cameras in several locations around the metropolitan Phoenix area... Interestingly, the numbers from every site were nearly identical. In this composite chart of representative results from four of the freeway locations, it can be seen that far from slowing traffic, the cameras had no effect on freeway speeds. In fact, at some locations average speeds were higher after the cameras.
Tucson man arrested in radar van vandalismJul. 7, 2009 AZ Daily Star - Article
A Tucson man was arrested on suspicion of damaging a photo-radar vehicle in Northern Arizona on Sunday.
The deputies said that as they pulled up behind the vehicle, they saw Sanchez, 27, get out of the driver's-side door. They also noticed that the door had been smashed with a rock, the Sheriff's Office said.
The interior of the vehicle, including computer equipment, sustained significant damage.
Fewer drivers paying photo radar ticketsJul. 8, 2009 KVOA.com - Article
In Tucson last year, from Jan. to May, 80 percent of people paid their ticket. This year that number has dropped more than 20 percent.
Speed Cameras Disabled in Arizona, FranceJul. 8, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Vigilantes in Arizona have declared their independence from speed cameras. Over the past two weeks, Post-It Notes have been placed on mobile speed camera vans operated on Phoenix-area freeways by Redflex Traffic Systems, an Australian company. As a result of the notes, photographs taken by the unmanned Ford SUVs are unusable for ticketing purposes.
Texas City Caught Trapping Drivers with Short YellowsJul. 4, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
A Texas motorist caught the city of Baytown using short yellows to trap motorists at a photo enforced intersection and of failing to protect sensitive private information. At a press conference yesterday, Byron Schirmbeck and his attorney, Randall Kallinen, announced that the city had agreed to drop a $75 ticket issued on April 12 for making a right-hand turn just 0.2 seconds after the light had turned red at the intersection of West Baker and Garth Roads. The yellow time at this intersection was set at just 3.1 seconds, even though state guidelines indicate that the yellow should have lasted no less than 4 seconds.
Louisiana Parish Revolts Against Speed CamerasJul. 2, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Neither the churches nor law enforcement in Livingston Parish, Louisiana want anything to do with photo radar. In a statement yesterday, the parish sheriff's office explained that it has become fed up with Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian company that uses a Ford Escape SUV to issue automated tickets worth between $100 and $464 each within the parish.
"Due to a recent series of events regarding Redflex and its representatives, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office is discontinuing its participation in the parish's photo enforcement program commonly referred to as 'the speeder van,'" the statement explained.
Traffic enforcement device gets the red lightJul. 2, 2009 YourHub.com - Article
Officials in Thornton scrapped plans for a photo red light system at one of the city's busiest intersections after a deal couldn't be reached with a vendor.
City council, however, decided at a June 30 study session not to pursue the enforcement devices after negotiations with two companies fell through. The decision to end discussions with American Traffic Solutions, Inc. and Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. largely came down to issues surrounding costs and profits.
Red-light camera loses backerJun. 29, 2009 Chicago Sun Times - Article
Bucking a national trend of putting in cameras to catch red-light runners, northwest suburban Schaumburg may get rid of its only red- light camera system because it doesn't do enough to prevent accidents.
"I think the camera should go," said Schaumburg Village President.
"We're trying to be a town that's attractive to shoppers and tourists, and harassing them with red-light cameras when there's no justification from a public-safety standpoint just doesn't make sense," Larson said.
Washington Ticket Cameras Under Legal SiegeJun. 26, 2009 TheNewspaper - Article
A trio of powerhouse lawfirms are taking on nearly all the cities in Washington state that employ red light cameras and speed cameras. The firm Williamson and Williams struck first by filing a proposed class action suit on Tuesday against nineteen cities. The firm's primary claim is that the $124 fines imposed on clients violated a state law specifying that automated tickets "shall not exceed the amount of a fine issued for other parking infractions within the jurisdiction." General parking fines are between $25 and $50 in each jurisdiction.
20M Pounds in speeding fines may be repaid after police errorJun. 25, 2009 Daily Mail - Article
A police force faces paying back 20million pounds in speeding fines after a blunder meant tickets were issued illegally.
Hundreds of thousands of drivers could receive refunds and have points taken off their licences as a result.
They may even be entitled to compensation if penalty points cost them their jobs or if they took time off work to attend speed awareness courses.
The error involves part of the 1988 Road Traffic Offenders Act that says any civilian worker sending out penalty letters must have signed legal authority from the chief constable.
California: Grand Jury Slams City for Short YellowsJun. 25, 2009 TheNewspaper - Article
The Ventura County, California Grand Jury on Monday slammed the city of Ventura for using short yellows to trap motorists at an intersection where a red light camera snaps $1.5 million worth of tickets each year. Of the city's eighteen automated ticketing machines, only the one located at the intersection of California Street and Thompson Boulevard consistently tops the charts.
Suit claims drivers charged excessive traffic camera finesJun. 24, 2009 NWCN.com - Article
SEATTLE - A class action lawsuit has been filed against 19 Washington cities, saying fines doled out to drivers caught on a utomatic red light and speed cameras are higher than the law allows.
Attorneys are basing the suit on a state law that was passed by the State Legislature in 2005. The law states "the amount of the fine issued for an infraction generated through the use of an automated traffic safety camera shall not exceed the amount of a fine issued for other parking infractions within the jurisdiction."
UK Cancels 24,889 Invalid Speed Camera TicketsJun. 20, 2009 TheNewspaper - Article
Official in West Dorset, England will refund a total of 24,889 speed camera tickets worth 1,493,340 pounds (US $2.5 million) that were improperly issued over the course of a decade. The Dorset Speed Camera Partnership yesterday gave up its four-year battle to hold onto the 60 pounds (US $100) tickets issued at a location where the speed limit had been unlawfully lowered.
City, facts collide: Red-light cam intersection crashes higher than claimedJun. 10, 2009 Winnipeg Sun - Article
The City of Winnipeg says collisions at red-light camera intersections have fallen dramatically since the photo enforcement program began in 2003.
But collision data obtained by the Winnipeg Sun from Manitoba Public Insurance shows the number of crashes at the intersections is substantially higher than what the city is reporting.
Bye bye, camera's eyeJun 3, 2009 LimaOhio.com - Article
LIMA - Amid mounting criticism and concerns about the finances of a company it contracted with, the city ended its foray into camera traffic enforcement faster than a speeder through a school zone.
On Tuesday, mayoral candidate Dan Beck had called for the council to pull back legislation authorizing the program and put the cameras to a citywide vote. Beck said people raising their concerns with government worked.
"It was one of the most poorly thought out programs ever put in the community and it was the right thing to do to shut it down," Beck said.
Maine Bans Photo EnforcementJun 3, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Maine last week became the fourteenth state to ban the use of red light cameras and speed cameras. Governor John Baldacci (D) signed into law a bill introduced by Representative Richard Cebra (R-Naples) that prohibits the use of a "traffic surveillance camera to prove or enforce a violation" of traffic laws. Cebra's measure sailed through the legislative process with almost no opposition at any stage of the process.
Italy: Police Raid Speed Camera Company Caught in Fraud ScandalJun 2, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Italian police yesterday raided the Brescia headquarters of a speed camera manufacturer accused of fraud involving seventy municipalities throughout the country. Officers from the Guardia di Finanza, the law enforcement arm of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, seized computers, machine components and fifty speed cameras as evidence.
Salerno prosecutor Amato Barile ordered the raid after discovering evidence that Velomatic 512 photo radar units bearing the same individual serial number were being used by different municipalities located hundreds of miles apart. Under Italian regulations, each camera used for issuing citations must be properly calibrated and approved. By cloning serial numbers, the company avoided testing requirements. Prosecutors also believe that some of these cameras were calibrated in such a way that motorists adhering to the speed limit would receive citations.
Close to two-thirds of photos taken by speed cameras tossedMay 15, 2009 AZCentral.com - Article
Motorists activated photo-enforcement cameras on Arizona highways more than 471,000 times from December through February - more than 5,200 times each day - but on average, only about one-third of those drivers received tickets from the state Department of Public Safety.
An Arizona Republic analysis of three months of records shows Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. and the DPS threw out more than 65 percent of the photos captured.
SAN MARCOS: City unlikely to install red-light camerasMay. 30, 2009 NorthCountyTimes.com - Article
SAN MARCOS ---- Red-light cameras probably aren't coming to San Marcos anytime soon.
City staffers and Traffic Safety commissioners concluded this month that there's no reason for the city to install them.
"You've got to have a high degree of broadside accidents from people running red lights to really warrant a camera," city spokeswoman Jenny Peterson said last week. "And San Marcos just doesn't have that."
If only other cities would take an objective look at the issue like San Marcos did, no cities would have cameras.
New Jersey: Pedestrian Fatalities Not Caused by Right TurnsMay. 23, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Nearly two dozen cities throughout the state of New Jersey are preparing to install red light cameras to ticket motorists. In order to "save pedestrian lives" these programs, like others throughout the country, will issue up to ninety-five percent of citations not to straight-through red light runners but to the owners of vehicles that make rolling right-hand turns on a red. This type of turn rarely causes accidents in the Garden State.
The Bergen, New Jersey Record newspaper obtained accident records from the state transportation department and found that no pedestrians were killed anywhere in New Jersey by drivers making right-hand turns in either 2006 or 2007. In fact, during the same period, nearly a quarter of all pedestrian fatalities could be attributed to drunks stumbling into traffic. The Record's findings match those of a US Department of Transportation report that showed right-turn on red collisions were rare.
Speed Cameras: For Safety Or Revenue?May 19, 2009 Stuff - Article
"I thought it wasn't fair. I got two tickets for the same violation," she said.
Burgess said she got two speeding tickets just four minutes part in March as she traveled north on Georgia Avenue near Olney. She said she didn't even realize she was speeding and found out only after a pair of $40 violations showed up in her mailbox.
Some are calling it an intrusive money grab. "I think speed cameras are just another mechanism for the government to collect revenue from its citizens through this Big Brother man versus machine," said opponent Daniel Zubairi.
EXCLUSIVE: HOW SPEED CAMERAS HAVE COST 'UP TO 10,000 LIVES'May. 13, 2009 Sunday Express - Article
A study claimed that 10,000 men, women and children killed in motoring accidents might still be alive if speed traps had been scrapped in favour of more traffic police.
Figures reveal the rate at which deaths have fallen has slowed significantly since 1995 when the controversial speed cameras came in.
Cameras record incorrect speedsMay 13, 2009 Stuff - Article
Police have been forced to waive speeding tickets - losing thousands of dollars in revenue - because their new digital speed cameras are clocking motorists at twice their actual speeds.
Texas: Study Finds Slim Justification for Camera InstallationMay. 12, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
An independent engineering survey found red light cameras would be inappropriate at all but two intersection approaches in Abilene, Texas, results which disappointed city leaders. Last Wednesday, Lee Engineering presented a detailed report to the Red Light Camera Citizen Advisory Committee which had formed in compliance with a 2007 law designed to force officials to think twice before rushing to activate cameras during a budget crunch. The study suggested that engineering improvements might even make cameras unnecessary at those two locations.
"Based on crash and violation data," the study stated, "the report identifies only two approaches that would warrant consideration of photo enforcement in the event that implementation of physical and signal timing changes are unsuccessful at reducing red light running."
Texas House Votes to Sunset Red Light CamerasMay. 11, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The Texas House of Representatives voted on Friday to bring an end to the use of red light cameras in the state. During consideration of a bill to reauthorize the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), members debated over 180 amendments to the underlying legislation. Amendment Number 102 added a sunset clause to state approval for the use of automated ticketing machines. This provision passed by a vote of 107-36 and the underlying TxDOT reauthorization measure was adopted on a voice vote.
Tennessee Protests Speed Cameras, UK Burns and Poland Grabs ThemMay. 10, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Drivers around the world chose different methods of expressing displeasure with photo enforcement this week. Students from East Tennessee State University gathered yesterday to protest speed cameras and red light cameras in the town of Jonesborough. The group Students of American Liberty organized the all-day rally at the town hall to gather signatures for a petition asking the mayor and aldermen to remove the automated ticketing machines operated by Redflex, an Australian company.
"We are going to send an strong and clear message to the Town of Jonesborough that we do not want these scameras in our town," Joanna Simmons explained on the group's Facebook page.
Vigilantes in Lancashire, England took a more direct approach. A speed camera on Woodplumpton Road in Preston was burned at 3am this morning, according to the Lancashire Evening Post. The gasoline-filled tire attack succeeded in completely destroying the device.
Officials in Poland insist that speed cameras prevent accidents, but a brand new automated ticketing machine in Bialystok was not even able to protect itself from collision (see photo). A car rammed the speed camera at 9am yesterday preventing it from issuing any tickets, TVN24 reported. A more deliberate attack took place on May 2 as someone busted open a speed camera in Bobolice and grabbed the film, Dziennik reported. Local police claim that they caught the man responsible, identified only as a thirty-four-year-old named Piotr W. The damage was estimated at 17,000 Zlotych (US $5200).
ourner's photo-radar fine should give pauseMay. 9, 2009 Therecord.com - Article
Joani Loos came into town from Dundalk last month to help bury her sister's husband. It was a bad day. Then it was made worse.
She's had to pay a $180 ticket, after a camera snapped her going through a red light at Erb and Regina streets in Waterloo.
Loos was in a long funeral procession on Erb that went through the red, while the cross-traffic on Regina waited respectfully. She thinks getting fined is pretty low.
Road safety 'made worse by speed cameras'May. 8, 2009 UK Daily Mail - Article
An over-reliance on speed cameras is today blamed for Britain's road safety record lagging well behind other countries.
Comparisons with 23 other developed nations found that the UK ranks 17th for child pedestrian deaths and 11th for pedestrian deaths overall.
The figures, published by the National Audit Office, show that 646 pedestrians and 136 cyclists were killed in 2007 - most on roads with a speed limit of less than 40mph.
Province Sets New Photo Radar Rules / Class Action Lawsuit LaunchedMay. 8, 2009 CJOB.com - Article
Meanwhile, the gloves have come off on the photo radar issue. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the Manitoba government for speeding tickets in construction zones. Lawyer Norman Rosenbaum is behind the action. He already has an outstanding suit against the City of Winnipeg for the same thing. Rosenbaum says the city and province have "unjustly enriched themselves" with revenue from the fines. He says the money was received without justification.
List of Thirteen States Where Automated Ticketing is BannedMay. 7, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
When Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) signed a bill banning red light cameras on Tuesday, Montana became thirteenth on a growing list of states that prohibit photo enforcement. The following list includes links to the full text of each statute or legal decision prohibiting the use of photo radar or red light cameras.
Click the article link to see the list of states.
French, UK Vigilantes Grow Tired of Speed CamerasMay. 3, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
In Paris last week, vigilantes disabled the most notorious speed camera in the French capital, Radio Europe 1 reported. Activists took about two dozen of the bright orange stickers that are used to identify freshly manufactured Continental tires and plastered them on the face of the automated ticketing machine located in front of the Ministry of Finance building. Officials there are likely to be dismayed at the loss of revenue from 430 tickets each day the device is out of service. The speed camera issued a total of 157,000 citations last year.
Chattanooga, Tennessee Traffic Cameras Fail to Reduce AccidentsApr. 28, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Since their installation in December 2007, red light cameras in Chattanooga, Tennessee have failed to decrease the number of collisions at the locations where they are used. The UK-owned firm LaserCraft operates automated ticketing machines at six city intersections, splitting the revenue generated with the city.
Instead of a decrease, the total number of accidents at these locations increased six percent from 143 to 152, according to the city's own data. At most of the locations, there was little or no change in accident frequency following the installation of cameras. The only significant change was seen at Fourth Avenue and East 23rd Street where ten accidents in 2007 jumped sixty percent to sixteen in 2008.
Livingston Parish dismisses nearly 2,500 tickets from speed vanMar. 19, 2009 BusinessReport.com - Article
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office has ordered the contractor that operates the parish's speed van to dismiss 2,488 speeding tickets issued to drivers on Interstate 12, says Perry Rushing, chief operations officer for the sheriff's office.
All of the tickets were issued in late January and early February near mile marker 15, Rushing said, where the speed limit drops from 70 mph to 60 mph. After receiving several complaints from ticketed drivers, the sheriff's office reviewed all of the tickets issued during the first nine days the van was in service and determined the van operator had set up too close to the speed-zone change.
Washington Deploys Work Zone Cams Despite No Worker FatalitiesApr. 27, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
"The men and women who work on our state and local highways are often working in and near traffic, and we want everyone to go home to their loved ones at the end of their work day," WSDOT Secretary Paula Hammond said in a statement.
According to WSDOT's own statistics, however, they do go home safely each night. Ninety-nine percent of "work zone" accidents in the state only affect drivers and their passengers, not workers. Washington's findings mirror those of national statistics that show automobiles pose far less of a danger to highway workers and that the latter are most frequently killed while operating their own equipment. Even so, no highway worker has died on the job in Washington in the past seven years.
"Pedestrians, flaggers and roadway workers account for only one percent of these injuries or fatalities," the WSDOT website admits. "Most deaths and injuries in work zones are caused by rear-end collisions."
Minnesota Attorney General Slams Illinois Over Bogus Photo TicketsApr. 25, 2009 TheNewspaper - Article
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson (DFL) is fed up with the state of Illinois for issuing toll road photo tickets and collection notices to innocent drivers in her state. Swanson yesterday fired off a 75-page complaint to the Illinois Tollway, the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D). Swanson enumerated the problems Minnesotans described by those calling her office for help:
In light of the issuance of so many tickets to people who did not own the vehicle alleged to have committed violation, Swanson called on Illinois officials to stop sending photo tickets to Minnesota residents until Illinois can certify that its vehicle registration database contains up-to-date, accurate information. She also insisted that Illinois call off the collection agencies threatening Minnesota motorists with license suspensions for failure to pay the bogus citations.
Montana: Red Light Camera Ban Heads to GovernorApr. 22, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
A veto-proof majority of the Montana Legislature decided yesterday to drive red light cameras out of the state. By a 33-17 vote in the Senate and a 75-25 vote in the House, lawmakers approved a measure introduced by state Representative Bill Nooney (R-Missoula) to prohibit the use of "automated enforcement systems," including systems already installed in the city of Bozeman.
Lawsuit targets photo radar's FCC statusApr. 21, 2009 East Valley Tribune - Article
When speed-enforcement units first began monitoring Arizona's roads and highways, the radar units were not yet officially certified by the federal government. The company providing the equipment to the state admitted as much.
With that admission in hand, a Phoenix man is suing the company - and the potential results of this legal action may carry wide-reaching ramifications.
Oral arguments will be heard Thursday morning in James G. Tavernetti's lawsuit against Redflex Traffic Systems and the town of Paradise Valley.
Attorney Tom Moring said the suit would be perfect for class-action status, meaning it could cover anyone in Arizona who has been snapped by a Redflex unit while speeding.
Britain the speed camera capital of EuropeApr. 16, 2009 Telegraph (UK) - Article
The number of speed cameras in Britain has trebled in six years, turning the country into the speed trap capital of Europe. The data, released by Transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick, shows that in 2007 there were 4,309 cameras, compared to only 1,571 in 2001.
But the Government has admitted exceeding the speed limit is a contributory factor in only six per cent of accidents and 13 percent of fatal crashes.
Montana City Rushes Camera Ordinance, Plans to Shorten YellowsApr. 15, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) in a 2004 study documented the effect of reducing the amount of warning given to motorists before an intersection signal changes from green to red (view study). Cutting one second from the yellow time formula endorsed by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) in 1989 boosts violation income by 110 percent. Adding one extra second to the 1989 ITE formula slashed violations by 53 percent. Lawmakers in the state of Georgia recognized the value of longer yellows with a law mandating one extra second. Since it took effect in January, violations plunged 80 percent and profit dropped to a level that has forced seven cities to cancel their photo enforcement contracts. Lawmakers in the state of Georgia recognized the value of longer yellows with a law mandating one extra second. Since it took effect in January, violations plunged 80 percent and profit dropped to a level that has forced seven cities to cancel their photo enforcement contracts.
Corpus Christi, Texas Red Light Cameras Increase AccidentsApr. 10, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The total number of accidents in Corpus Christi increased 14 percent, from 310 incidents to 353, at nine locations where automated ticketing machines were stationed. Contrary to the claim that red light cameras reduce the severity of collisions, the number of accidents involving injuries increased 28 percent from 140 to 179. Rear end collisions also increased by nearly a third from 160 to 208.
Expansion of speed cameras put on iceApr. 7, 2009 Arizona Republic - Article
The state Department of Public Safety has suspended expansion of the statewide photo-enforcement program. Administrators made the decision in mid-January as a backlash from motorists manifested into legislation to alter or suspend the program.
Plans originally called for DPS to place 100 cameras around the state, with 60 in permanent locations and 40 in mobile vans.
Crews installed 36 fixed cameras and set up 42 mobile units before the suspension.
Dalton, Georgia Dumps Red Light CamerasApr. 7, 2009 TheNewspaper - Article
Another Georgia red light camera program has fallen thanks to a state-mandated extension in the duration of the yellow warning period at monitored intersections. Members of the Dalton City Council yesterday voted unanimously to cancel its contract with the UK-owned photo ticketing firm LaserCraft Inc. which has been operating the traffic cameras on a month-to-month basis since May.
Louisiana: Public Slams Traffic Cameras in ReferendumApr. 5, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
In a special election yesterday, a Southern Louisiana city of 22,000 overwhelmingly rejected photo enforcement. Asked, "Shall Ordinance No. 873, M-C Series adopting automated speed enforcement for the City of Sulphur, Louisiana, be repealed?" eighty-six percent of voters said "Yes."
In a March 17 press release, for example, ATS insisted that camera opponents were the minority... "By a remarkable 66 percent to 30 percent margin, voters [in the survey] supported red light cameras."
Chillicothe, Ohio Anti-Camera Petition SucceedsApr. 4, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
A third city in Ohio is poised to ban the use of photo enforcement. The Chillicothe group Citizens Against Photo Enforcement (CAPE) announced Thursday that it had submitted more than double the number of signatures required to give voters in November the choice of banning both speed cameras and red light cameras.
Another example of propaganda by the camera vendors. --admin
French Legislators Question Accuracy of Speed CamerasApr. 3, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The accuracy of the 2327 speed cameras blanketing French roads came under fire in the National Assembly Tuesday. At issue is the practice of allowing the private, for-profit company responsible for the ticketing programs to self-certify its own hardware as accurate.
Winnipeg, Canada Caught Trapping Drivers with Short YellowsApr. 2, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
The city of Winnipeg, Canada has shortened the duration of the yellow warning at intersections equipped with red light cameras. The length of the yellow is the single most important factor in determining the financial success of a photo enforcement program, according to documents obtained from a red light camera vendor in 2001. Winnipeg's shortening has yielded positive financial results.
Georgia: Proposal Would Investigate Cities Ignoring Yellow Time LawMar. 30, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
A Georgia state lawmaker wants to know the best way to force local jurisdictions to obey a new law governing photo enforcement systems... This legal provision, which took effect January 1, mandates a one-second extension of the duration of the yellow warning phase at red light camera intersections.
Italian High Court Overturns Red Light Camera TicketsMar. 28, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Tickets issued by unmanned red light cameras violate the fundamental legal rights of Italian motorists, according to a ruling handed down yesterday by Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation. The high court sided with motorist Lorenzo S. who had received a ticket in the mail from a private company operating on behalf of the city of Modena six years ago.
"The lack of agents working in that location precludes the possibility of an immediate challenge in cases where this is possible, circumventing legal obligation in this respect," Second Civil Division ruling Number 7388 stated. "It also makes it impossible to verify the concrete circumstances in which the automatic detection unit operates, allowing possible misunderstandings, no resolutions with certainty, because of the very absence of agents on the spot."
The court overturned the decision of an appellate court in Modena and canceled the fine issued against Lorenzo. The consumer watchdog group Codacons celebrated the ruling as the end of automated ticketing machines in Italy.
"This is an important decision because it recognizes the fundamental right of motorists to immediately contest a fine," Codacons President Carlo Rienzi said in a statement. "The result now is that all those who have received a high fine from a machine without the presence of a policeman can request and obtain cancellation of the penalty."
The ruling came in the wake of the January arrest of red light camera makers on the charge that they defrauded the government and conspired with over one hundred mayors and local police officials to shorten yellow times to generate profit both for municipal coffers and, in some cases, for the officials themselves.
This week, representatives from the Ministry of Transport confirmed to investigators in Verona that the red light camera model delivered for certification by Stefano Arrighetti, CEO of Kria Inc, differed significantly from the device actually used in the field by more than sixty jurisdictions. The relay component that transmits data between the camera and the microprocessor that determines guilt had never been sent to the ministry for official certification. The evidence provided by the ministry is considered a key element in the case against Arrighetti as the investigation continues.
Photo Enforcement Banned in MississippiMar. 25, 2009 ClarionLedger.com - Article
This follows a statewide ban on traffic cameras signed into law last week by the governor.
"We have essentially stopped collection and enforcement at this point" of tickets issued from traffic cameras, Robert Walker, Jackson's chief administrative officer, said Tuesday.
Gov. Haley Barbour signed House Bill 1568 into law Friday. Jackson and Columbus were the only Mississippi cities operating the cameras, although Tupelo, Natchez, Southaven and McComb had been considering them.
Georgia: Some Cities Ignore Extended Yellow LawMar. 18, 2009 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Some cities are refusing to comply with a new Georgia law mandating a one-second increase in the duration of the yellow warning period at intersections equipped with red light cameras. At least seven cities that made the required timing increase in January experienced an immediate 80 percent decrease in the number of violations. Of these, Duluth, Lilburn, Norcross, Snellville and Suwanee put the brakes on their red light camera programs after the data made it clear that the programs would no longer make money. Rome is now leaning toward dropping its program as well.
Red-Light Cameras Could Be CanceledMar. 17, 2009 RomeNewsWire.com - Article
Due to a new state law that went into effect in May of 2008, the number of citations issued at the city's camera-monitored intersections has dropped dramatically, reducing the amount of revenue generated by those services.
The law increased the yellow time at traffic signals by one second, but that one second has caused a drop in violations and citations issued at the camera-monitored intersection of Turner McCall Boulevard and Hicks Drive. Data from Rome's other camera- monitored intersection at Martha Berry Highway and the By-Pass is too new for full analysis review.
Early last year, citations at the Hicks Drive location averaged between 240 and 280 per month, but starting in May 2008, those citations have averaged between 60 and 100 per month.
With a monthly vendor contract of close to $23,000 per month, it appears the cameras are no longer proving viable or profitable.
"We cannot sustain our cost of services with the number of citations issued," said Rome City Manager John Bennett.
Traffic Commission members agreed to send the contract vendor a letter stating that, unless contracts can be re-negotiated at close to a 50% cost reduction, the contracts will need to be cancelled.
If cancelled, a heavier police presence will be viewable at the camera locations.
The camera-generated revenue pays for vendor services and also supplements the city's general fund for certain safety-related functions.
In other business, several new speed limits have been approved for the city.
Riverside Parkway's speed limit has increased from 35 mph to 45 mph.
Technology Parkway has gone from having no speed limit posted to a posted speed limit of 45 mph.
Also, Garden Lakes Parkway's speed limit is now enforceable through the city police department.
The Rome City Police Department also announced that February DUI arrests were slightly up compared to February of 2008, with 37 compared to 31. Accidents increased slightly, but injuries decreased.
Also, once again, no fatalities were reported for the month.
City officials said a new traffic signal being installed at Armuchee Village across from the Georgia State Patrol barracks has a unique feature - a back-up battery system that will allow it to operate for up to four hours without power in case of power failure in the area.
Also at Tuesday's meetings, Rome's Transit Committee reported that the city will add five new buses to its fleet by the end of April. Two buses were purchased at the end of 2008 and will arrive soon, and three additional buses should be delivered by the end of April.
Speed van attacked; company surprisedMar 10, 2009 2theadvocate.com - Article
LAFAYETTE - Lafayette Police arrested a 42-year-old Scott man Monday after he allegedly attacked a Redflex Speed van by ramming it with his vehicle several times Friday night.
Douglas A. Begnaud, 42, of Scott, faces charges of simple criminal damage to property over $500 and simple battery.
Cpl. Paul Mouton, spokesman for the Lafayette Police Department, said the incident occurred about 10:30 p.m. in the 4200 block of Ambassador Caffery Parkway.
Begnaud allegedly parked his 2008 GMC pickup truck in front of the van and approached the van yelling at its operator, Mouton said.
When the operator opened the van's door, Begnaud allegedly grabbed the operator.
The operator ran from the van and flagged down a vehicle for assistance.
Begnaud then allegedly rammed his truck into the van multiple times, pushing the van into a ditch, according to a department news release.
The collision resulted in minor damage to the front. The van's operator was not injured.
Traffic investigators arrested Begnaud after he surrendered at the Police Department about 9 a.m. Monday.
Mouton said he's not sure why Begnaud allegedly attacked the van.
Attempts to find out whether Begnaud had any Redflex citations were unsuccessful Monday.
Shoba Vaitheeswaran, director of communications for Redflex Traffic Systems, wrote in an e-mail that the company did not have any formal comment "apart from the fact that we are relieved that no individual was hurt in this surprising incident."
Maricopa County JP: Photo-enforcement is unconstitutionalFeb. 2, 2009 AZFamily.com - Article
Police in Houston, Texas put pressure on a Rice University professor to alter negative data compiled while studying Houston's red light camera program, according to documents released in a lawsuit against the city. Houston Mayor Bill White had selected Urban Politics Professor Robert Stein to create a report on the engineering safety performance of the first fifty automated ticketing machines installed (view study released in December). Stein represented an ideal choice because his wife, Marty, is employed by the city of Houston as a top aide to the mayor. In a November 2007 email, White emphasized his personal interest in the subject at the beginning of the project.
"Let's just make sure that we study things that really matter for decision-making," White wrote to Stein. "Our funds for public policy research are scarce.... I am not suggesting that somebody alter one's conclusions and I am not trying to influence the conclusions. What I am trying to do is give some helpful advice from a decision- maker concerning how to avoid analytical overkill."
The point was not lost on Stein whose employer received $50,000 for the red light camera study. At the same time he was conducting the camera research, Stein also depended on the city for funding of several other projects. By the beginning of 2008, Stein worried that the data he compiled were not favorable to the city. He let officials know that this should be expected.
"Recall our own findings match what is reported in [this Tampa Tribune] article and in the public health study cited in the article," Stein wrote in a March 14 email to Houston Police Sergeant Michael Muench. "Tim and I have reviewed ten year's worth of studies on red light camera programs and the tentative evidence that those studies using the weakest designs are most likely to report a reduction in side impact collisions after the installation of red light cameras. More rigorous and appropriate research designs (like the one we use for the Houston program) fail to detect this reduction after the installation of red light cameras."
In light of this, Houston police began to push Stein to weaken his design to match techniques used in studies conducted by insurance industry researchers and others with an interest in promoting the use of photo enforcement. In an April 29 meeting with police, Stein agreed to reconsider his results.
"Dr. Stein's analysis of the original 20 intersections from Sept - Dec 2006 found 169 accidents," Houston Police Lieutenant Jonathan Zera wrote. "However, HPD countered that the findings were flawed because: 1. All accidents within 500' of the intersection were being counted. 2. All accidents within the intersection were being counted even if neither vehicle's approach to the intersection was regulated by a red light camera. As such, Dr. Stein will re-analyze the 169 accidents."
Realizing that an early copy of Stein's work would be critical in understanding the truth about Houston's red light camera program, a pair of attorneys made a request for a copy of the report's first draft. When the city rejected the request, Randall L. Kallinen and Paul Kubosh filed a lawsuit forcing disclosure of the correspondence between Stein and the city. After reviewing the documents, Kallinen gave Professor Stein partial credit for his work.
"While Stein at first seemed to have leaned toward the police he rejected most of their attempts to change his report," Kallinen told TheNewspaper. "He did however mislead the public through the report and to the press when he said accidents were increasing citywide when he knew for a fact they were decreasing citywide."
Stein's published report on the Houston program documented an increase in accidents at intersections that had red light cameras, but the greatest increase happened in the directions where the camera was not looking. Stein offered to explain this anomaly by creating the hypothesis that these "non-monitored" approaches were equivalent to intersection locations that had no red light cameras at all. This hypothesis -- despite the negative data -- allowed Stein to conclude that the cameras proved useful in reversing a general trend toward increased accidents throughout the city.
"Why have accidents at non-monitored approaches increased so dramatically in the past year?" Stein asked in his December report. "As suggested above, these results could be evidence of an increase in collisions across the city... Using this methodology, the new analysis could reveal if, if, in fact, the red light cameras mitigated a general increase in accidents citywide. This observation, if found, would both confirm the public safety benefit of the red light cameras in Houston as well as advocate the expansion of the program."
The problem with this theory was that there was no increase in collisions across the city -- and Stein knew it before his report was published. Houston police documents show that accidents steadily dropped each year from 2004 to 2008. There were 81,238 accidents in 2004 and 67,405 in 2007 -- a 17 percent decrease.
"Wow, this is perfect, thanks so much," Stein wrote in response to a November 13 email from a Houston officer containing a complete set of declining accident figures.
Several local media at the time painted a positive image for the red light camera program by widely reporting Stein's citywide accident theory. Excerpts from documents obtained by Kallinen and Kubosh are available in a 1.4mb PDF file at the source link below.
Maricopa Cty JP: Photo-enforcement is unconstitutionalJan. 28, 2009 AZFamily.com - Article
PHOENIX -- A Maricopa County justice of the peace says Arizona's new photo-enforcement law is unconstitutional.
According to Judge John Keegan, the law violates the U.S. Constitution because it denies equal protection under the law.
He says it also crosses a clause on equal privileges and immunities in Arizona's state Constitution.
Keegan issued a court order to that effect on Dec. 9. He said that since then, he's thrown out as many as 400 photo-enforcement tickets.
He said as soon as a government agency picks up the challenge, it will make its way through the court system.
Keegan's jurisdiction covers Peoria, Sun City and north Glendale, so most of the tickets that turn up in his court, which is located in Surprise, were snapped on Loop 101.
UK Parliament Slams Bogus Speed Camera StatisticsDec. 27, 2008 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Over the past several years, officials with the UK Department for Transport and Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have testified that "good progress" has been made on national goals to improve road safety. According to government statistics, the number of people killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads continues to fall substantially, a fact used to justify the continued deployment of 7000 speed cameras throughout the country. In a report issued in November, the House of Commons Transport Committee called into question the reliability of these claims.
"Up to this point we have accepted the assurances of the government that its casualty data were robust and that good progress was being made on bringing down the number of people killed or seriously injured," the committee's report stated. "Given the significant yet unexplained divergence in the trends for deaths and serious injuries, and given the growing body of evidence of changes in the reporting rates, we can no longer conclude that good progress is being made on casualty reduction. Indeed, we are worried that ministers are not challenging their officials sufficiently and that policy-makers and practitioners are being lulled into a false sense of security."
In 2006, the British Medical Journal exposed the inconsistency between the number of injuries reported by police and the number of hospital patients admitted because of injuries sustained from traffic collisions (view report). Although some have charged that officials have been deliberately skewing the data to improve the image of speed cameras, ACPO Chief Constable Steve Green strongly denied the claim.
"One thing I would say absolutely categorically is there is no organized conspiracy to under-record," Green said.
Because it is much less likely for a road fatality to go unreported or miscategorized, the parliamentary report considered the number of motorists killed on the roads to be a more reliable measure of road safety.
"Whereas we have reservations about the accuracy of the serious injury data, there seems to be agreement that few, if any, deaths go unrecorded," the report stated. "These give a less controversial account of the government's success with reducing casualties. The reviews of 2004 and 2007 noted the disappointing progress in reducing deaths."
In the six years prior to the installation of speed cameras, the number of road fatalities dropped by an average of forty each year. In the past six years of heavy traffic camera ticketing, the average reduction remained forty. This lack of improvement came despite substantial advances in vehicle safety from antilock brakes to traction control and crumple zones. The report also pointed to a drop in fatalities in the US as a result of reduced driving because of high fuel prices.
The report recommended the creation of a British Road Safety Survey that would allow an independent body to measure the effectiveness of traffic safety programs using hospital data and not just police-generated data.
Despite the skepticism regarding official road safety data, committee members remained generally supportive of photo enforcement. Labour Member of Parliament Clive Efford, for example, wondered how much more the government might do to ticket drivers.
"Is the public ready to accept radical measures that may involve restrictions on personal freedoms that they have enjoyed up to now?" Efford asked.
Belgium: Hundreds of Speed Cameras DestroyedDec. 22, 2008 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Nearly one-third of the speed cameras deployed in Belgium have been taken out of service since 2004. The De Zondag newspaper reports that of the country's 1015 speed cameras and 248 red light cameras, a total of 412 have been knocked out of commission either through accidents or acts of sabotage. In Antwerp, 118 cameras have been damaged; in Flemish Brabant, 97; in Limburg, 81; in East Flanders, 67; and in West Flanders, 49 no longer work.
Officials estimate that vigilantes were responsible for at least half of the destruction -- including cameras that were stolen, set on fire and knocked over. Occasionally, the destruction has been unintentional. Some of the cameras have been rammed by drunk drivers while others suffered electrical failure on their own.
Despite the unfavorable public reception for the ticketing devices, the Belgian government will install 56 new freeway speed cameras and 25 red light cameras during the current fiscal year.
US DOT Report Confirms Speed Not Major Accident CauseDec. 15, 2008 TheNewspaper.com - Article
US Department of Transportation study finds only five percent of crashes caused by excessive speed.
Accident sceneAs lawmakers around the country continue to consider speed limit enforcement as the primary traffic safety measure, the most comprehensive examination of accident causation in thirty years suggests this focus on speed may be misplaced.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated 5,471 injury crashes that took place across the country between July 3, 2005 and December 31, 2007. Unlike previous studies automatically generated from computerized data found in police reports, researchers in this effort were dispatched to accident scenes before they were cleared. This allowed a first-hand comparison of physical evidence with direct interviews of witnesses and others involved in the incident. NHTSA evaluated the data to determine the factors most responsible for the collision.
"The critical reason is determined by a thorough evaluation of all the potential problems related to errors attributable to the driver, the condition of the vehicle, failure of vehicle systems, adverse environmental conditions, and roadway design," the report explained. "The critical pre-crash event refers to the action or the event that puts a vehicle on the course that makes the collision unavoidable, given reasonable driving skills and vehicle handling of the driver."
Overall, vehicles "traveling too fast for conditions" accounted for only five percent of the critical pre-crash events (page 23). More significant factors included 22 percent driving off the edge of a road, or 11 percent who drifted over the center dividing line.
When driver error was the primary cause of a crash, researchers went further to identify the "critical reason" behind that error. Distraction and not paying attention to the road accounted for 41 percent of the errors. Ten percent of errors were attributed to drivers lacking proper driving skills and either freezing up or overcompensating behind the wheel. Eight percent were asleep, having a heart attack or otherwise incapacitated. A similar eight percent of errors were attributed to driving too fast for conditions and five percent driving too fast for a curve (page 25).
The NHTSA findings are mirrored in accident statistics provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. The agency's most recent report lists "speed too fast" as the driver error that caused 2.9 percent of crashes in 2007 (view chart, see page 19). More accidents -- 3.8 percent -- were caused in Virginia by drivers falling asleep or becoming ill behind the wheel. Another 14.6 percent were caused by bad weather such as fog, rain and snow. "Speed too fast" was a more significant factor -- 13.7 percent -- in fatal accidents, as compared to 18 percent of fatal accidents involving alcohol and 9.6 percent caused by sleepiness and fatigue (PDF File view full Virginia report in 1.9mb PDF format).
In the NHTSA and Virginia reports, "too fast for conditions" does not mean exceeding the posted speed limit. A vehicle driving 10 MPH on an iced-over road with a 45 MPH limit would be traveling too fast for the conditions if it lost control, but it would not have exceeded the speed limit. The UK Department for Transport isolated cases where only the posted limit was exceeded and found that, "Exceeding speed limit was attributed to 3 percent of cars involved in accidents" (view UK report).
"Four of the six most frequently reported contributory factors involved driver or rider error or reaction," the Road Casualties Great Britain 2007 report stated. "For fatal accidents the most frequently reported contributory factor was loss of control, which was involved in 35 per cent of fatal accidents."
A full copy of the NHTSA report is available in a 400k PDF file here.
Your Red Light Ticket Could Be Null And Void Soonby Carol Cavazos - Nov. 26, 2008 CBS 11 TV - Article Video
DALLAS (CBS 11 News) -- A judge recently ruled against one of the largest red light camera companies operating in Texas. The ruling could mean recent red light tickets could be thrown out. Those who paid for their tickets already might be able to get their money back.
Red light cameras have captured drivers in Dallas since December of 2006.
"You get this cute little picture of the back of your car with the license plate with a notice that you owe the City of Dallas money," said Attorney Lloyd Ward.
When Ward received a ticket from the city four months into the "Safe Light" program, it made him "extremely irritated."
But Ward is an attorney, so he contested and refused to pay the $75 fine. Then ACS - the company who took the picture - said it would report him to the credit bureau.
Ward looked into the city's agreement with ACS and discovered ACS had their own violations.
"You can not illegally obtain evidence for use in prosecution in any government body," he said.
Through city documents, Ward discovered ACS had a business license, but not an occupational license.
ACS collects pictures and information for prosecution. That falls under the category of private investigator. A license is needed for that kind of work.
Ward certainly knows about licenses; he has nine for his law practice. He thinks ACS should have had one for their private investigations. So he took the case before a state district judge.
"Judge Smith, in the 192nd, issued a ruling that they were in violation of the Texas Occupation Code for operating without a license," Ward said.
He also found two other red light camera companies operating without occupational licenses: ATS, which operates cameras in Arlington, and Redflex, which operates in Plano and Duncanville. Both are headquartered in Arizona.
"Since they want to live on the technicalities, they get to die on the technicalities," Ward said.
Ward continued his fight, filing federal class action lawsuits against the two Arizona companies.
"The money they have been kind enough to remove from the pockets of the citizens of this state, I think they should bring it back into this state and put it back into our coffers," said Ward.
Those lawsuits could put the breaks on red light cameras across the state.
A jury will decide damages against ACS. Officials there had no comment.
Glendale man arrested in ax attack on speed cameraby Meghan Moravcik Walbert - Dec. 4, 2008 5:20 PM The Arizona Republic - Article
A Glendale man has been arrested and accused of vandalizing a photo enforcement camera with a pickax.
Authorities say a state Department of Public Safety motorcycle officer witnessed a man wielding a large ax Wednesday night, striking the metal and glass housing that protects a photo enforcement camera off 59th Avenue and Loop 101.
Travis Munroe Townsend, 26, was arrested and charged with criminal damage, interference with a traffic control device and criminal trespass.
DPS officials said the vandalism did not affect the integrity of the camera's operations, but a new protective housing had to be installed, costing several thousand dollars.
The camera was fully operational by 11 a.m. Thursday, officials said.
"Any type of tampering with a photo enforcement site can result in extremely serious, life-changing charges being filed against a person," DPS Director Roger Vanderpool said. "DPS officers will continue to be vigilant at all hours of the day and night and stand ready to respond quickly to reports or first-hand observances of persons tampering with or vandalizing photo enforcement sites in any manner."
While we admire the initiative of this man, it was probably not a good idea to perform so much damage. Refer to our protest page for ideas on things you can do that will disable the cameras effectively without causing permaent damage. Remember, property damage under $250 is only a misdemeanor. The criminal tresspass charges probably will not stick, as it was a public roadway, and the traffic control device allegations are also bogus as the cameras are not a control device (they aren't even mentioned in the state driver's manual). This is merely a scare tactic to disuade others from taking similar actions. --admin
Phoenix halts traffic-camera expansionby Sadie Jo Smokey - Oct. 8, 2008 12:00 AM The Arizona Republic - Article
Phoenix won't be expanding its red-light camera photo-enforcement program - at least not for now.
A summer pilot speed program, which focused on higher speeds on arterial streets outside of school zones, and right turns on red lights, had mixed results.
The Speed Van Pilot Program didn't produce significant numbers of violations to support changing the contract with vendor American Traffic Solutions,according to staff reports.
And while the Right Turn on Red Program resulted in an increase of more than 2,300 citations from June 23 to Aug. 22, staff recommended not modifying the current program.
Sandra Hunter, assistant city attorney, suggested the Public Safety and Veterans Subcommittee direct staff to prepare a request for proposal for the Photo Enforcement Program. The contract with ATS expires in February.
Hunter said the city could ask vendors to submit proposals that:
- Offer different payment systems, such as a per citation rate, instead of a flat fee rate.
- Share or cover the cost of manpower to review images of violations. For every 10 additional cameras, the police department estimates two new police officer positions to approve or disapprove photo violations.
- Share or cover the cost of infrastructure. Additional cameras would also require additional office space and equipment to review photo violations.
- Provide flexibility to expand or modify camera locations. The city has 12 intersections with cameras and two vans for school zones.
- Create a contract that is cost neutral. By activating the cameras to record right-hand or left-hand turn violations, the city could issue more citations and collect more fines. The city loses approximately $395,000 a year running the program.
- Greg Stanton, a member of the subcommittee, said the goal of the Photo Enforcement Program is public safety.
"What we're trying to do here is maximize safety," Stanton said.
Third Largest California City May Reject Red Light CamerasOct. 8, 2008 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Police in San Jose, California urge the city council to drop plans for red light cameras over safety and manpower concerns.
Police in San Jose, California want nothing to do with red light cameras. Department officials made their views known at a city council transportation committee meeting on Monday where members were urged to drop plans to install traffic cameras in the heart of California's Silicon Valley because of the potentially negative impact on public safety.
"Studies reveal an awful lot of ambiguity and dissonance," Deputy Chief Donald Anders explained. "Some jurisdictions have noted a reduction in their traffic accident rate. Other jurisdictions have noted an actual increase in their traffic accident rate. The reason for that increase primarily seems to be rear end accidents. As people become more aware of a red light running program, a more vigilant attempt to try to ensure compliance with the law has actually resulted in an increase in vehicle accidents."
A number of independent studies have come to a similar conclusion (view studies). The department, moreover, is no stranger to photo enforcement. It worked with Australia's Redflex to issue photo radar tickets between 1996 and 2007, continuing efforts despite a 2000 state law that had outlawed the practice. After a successful Santa Clara County Court challenge to the program's legality, the city council finally dropped it.
To determine whether red light cameras might be beneficial, San Jose police conducted a special 39-week evaluation of traditional enforcement efforts. A total of forty-one officers were divided into zones containing areas with the highest accident rates and were directed to conduct a highly visible intersection ticketing blitz. The rate of accidents attributed to red light running during working hours -- when ticketing patrols were active -- was found to be 0.6 crashes per week. On evenings and weekends the rate was 0.3 crashes per week, consistent with lower traffic volumes.
"By national standards, our injury crash rate is approximately fifty-percent of the rest of the country -- an indication that with the limited staff we have in traffic enforcement that we're actually being quite effective and efficient with our efforts as they stand," Anders said. "Certainly (there is) always an opportunity to do better."
Police Chief Robert L. Davis filed a written report to emphasize that implementing a red light camera program would require diverting officers away from crime-fighting duties into a laborious vendor selection effort with all of the contracting paperwork needed to document the process. Once such a program was operational, Davis indicated he would have no choice but to divert Special Enforcement Team officers away from duties such as conducting DUI roadblocks to spend on the citation review process.
The deputy chief said Monday that he would rather have more human resources placed in public safety roles beyond just traffic enforcement. He also noted that the traffic division has already been doing its part to meet the city council's goals, increasing the total number of traffic citations issued by a third to 36,651 last year. Money could be better spent buying more of the new electronic citation-writing equipment that had dramatically boosted productivity, Anders said. The force also expects to add three more officers to ticket-writing duties by January 2009.
Despite the three-year decline in the city's traffic accident rates and the boost in ticketing, Councilman Sam Liccardo was not ready to give up on what he called the potential for "cost savings" from red light cameras. He asked the department to conduct another report, this time focusing on the experience of nearby cities with active red light camera programs. The committee will discuss the report at the next meeting following the report's completion.
Driver of photo-radar van arrested for DUIby Erin Norris - Sept. 9, 2008 12:35 PM The Arizona Republic - Article
SCOTTSDALE - Police arrested the driver of a Redflex photo radar van on suspicion of DUI.
Roderick M. Ruffin, 53, had a blood alcohol content over 0.15 on Saturday while he was driving to Tempe to set up the van, police and company officials said. The legal limit is 0.08, and Ruffin's blood alcohol level is considered an extreme DUI.
The motorist, who claimed to be a retired police officer, told dispatchers he saw the van hit the curb twice and almost collide with the vehicle in front of it, police said.
The motorist, in a tape of a 911 call, described the van to a dispatcher.
"On the back of it, it says photo enforcement vehicle on the back and the guy is deuced," the caller said.
An officer stopped the van near Second Street and Scottsdale Road after he witnessed the van weaving from lane to lane, police said. The officer was able to smell alcohol on Ruffin's breath. Ruffin was asked to perform field sobriety tests, which he failed, police said. Ruffin was then arrested.
Ruffin was driving the van to Tempe at the time, where he would have put it into operation, said Redflex spokeswoman Shoba Vaitheeswaran.
"We stand by our mission to help improve safety on the roads and we have a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving," Vaitheeswaran said.
She also said Ruffin, who had been with the company for one year with no issues, has been terminated.
"Redflex performs background checks on all of its prospective hires and strives to employ only those members of our community who take public safety and public trust seriously," Vaitheeswaran said in a statement. "The company deeply regrets and apologizes to the community for the incident, and expresses its gratitude to the Scottsdale Police for making the arrest and removing the offending driver from the road."
Scottsdale contracts with Redflex rival American Traffic Solutions for photo-enforcement services. Both firms are based in Scottsdale.
Man arrested in speed-camera incidentby Erin Norris - Aug. 28, 2008 05:52 PM The Arizona Republic - Article
SCOTTSDALE - A Scottsdale man arrested Wednesday night was accused of disrupting the operation of a photo radar van parked in the 6800 block of East Shea Boulevard, police said.
Jason Shelton, 35, was holding protest signs and blocking the van's cameras, Officer Dave Pubins said.
Scottsdale police said they arrested Shelton for refusing to give officers his real name and obstructing government operations.
Police later learned that Shelton and two other individuals were protesting at two other photo radar van sites earlier that evening, Pubins said.
They are investigating whether the other two individuals were obstructing the photo radar as well. Scottsdale has used photo enforcement to catch speeders and red-light runners since 1996.
Last Friday, a grass-roots group called CameraFraud.com gathered at Scottsdale and Thomas roads to protest the use of photo- enforcement cameras. The group's efforts reportedly started in part because the Arizona Department of Public Safety is preparing to add up to 100 fixed and mobile speed-enforcement cameras to the state's freeways.
Meet Silver Spring's Would-Be 'Speed Demons'by Robert Thomson - Aug 17, 2008 Washington Post - Article
Alittle after 4 p.m. June 25, Terence and Helga Brennan turned their sensible subcompact onto Wayne Avenue, heading for home in Silver Spring. Driving up the avenue, they passed a Montgomery County speed enforcement camera, which is supposed to capture images of drivers going more than 10 mph over the 30 mph speed limit. It took their picture.
Terence, 68, and Helga, 76, paid the $40 fine promptly after receiving the citation in the mail. Like many people, they felt it wasn't worth the hassle of contesting the ticket in district court. Like very few, they also thought the county needed the money.
But the Brennans had some questions about their encounter with high-tech law enforcement.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Do you know of any technical problems that might cause a speed camera to register the wrong speed? We were supposedly clocked at 100 mph in a 30 mph zone during rush hour on Wayne Avenue between Sligo Creek Parkway and Dale Drive.
The road is winding there, and the traffic light at Wayne and Dale, where we turn left, is just a short way ahead of the cameras. We and our neighbors, who know well that even 40 mph would be dangerous at this stretch, wonder how the camera could come up with such a reading.
This speed would be impossible on the Beltway at the best of times, and we have never in our life driven at this speed. An inquiry to the Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit in Rockville has not been answered.
You read that right. According to an official Montgomery County document, Terence Conway Brennan chose 4:12:45 p.m. on June 25 to pilot his tiny Toyota Echo past a well-known speed camera like he was Kyle Busch approaching the checkered flag in No. 18.
Any machine can break. But before the camera citation was mailed to the Brennans, it was reviewed, certified and signed by a technician with Montgomery's Safe Speed Photo Radar program, just like thousands of other citations sent out since the state-approved pilot program began last year.
So who could say? Maybe if we had a video, rather than a snapshot, we would watch Mr. Brennan, with his bride of 40 years at his side, spin the slicks when the light turned green at Sligo Creek, aim his four-cylinder tin can up the grade, wind around the two big curves in time to hit the century mark after three-tenths of a mile, then, after a tenth more, decelerate in time to make the 90- degree turn at Dale Drive.
"Well, the last thing I remember, doc, I started to swerve . . ." No, as Jan and Dean warned us, you won't come back from Dead Man's Curve.
The notorious Brennans have been the talk of the neighborhood. "We're the Speed Demons," Helga said, with an impish smile.
But she added more firmly: "We don't speed."
Last month, these rebels with a cause mailed a letter to the county's Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit:
"This speed violation left us speechless," they wrote. "A hundred miles per hour during rush hour on Wayne? It never happened. Cannot have happened. Please check if your equipment malfunctioned and other people received similar notices for that day."
They received no reply.
"We fell down on this one," said Lt. Paul Starks, spokesman for the county police. When I asked police to look at the citation, the traffic unit quickly realized what had happened. The Brennans will get their $40 back. But here's the part the couple really cares about:
The traffic unit has checked the Wayne Avenue setup to make sure it's working correctly. And all citations issued there June 25 were reviewed. The Brennans' citation was the only mistake that slipped through, police concluded.
The error was human, Starks said. The reviewers failed to spot the red flag built into the system that is supposed to alert them to such problems.
The speed camera system is designed to catch its own mistakes. When a glitch occurs, the device warns the reviewers by citing a weird speed to get their attention, such as 0 mph or 100 mph. The Brennan's speed should have been the tip-off to toss the ticket, but it got through the review.
Capt. John Damskey, head of the traffic division, will figure out how to improve supervision so this doesn't recur. And police will review their mail procedures to make sure letters such as the Brennans' get answered.
DPS: Dispute to delay use of photo radar on speedersby Howard Fischer - Sep. 14, 2008 The Arizona Daily Star - Article
PHOENIX - Arizonans who have a tendency to speed are going to get a bit of a reprieve from being caught on cameras.
The legal spat over a contract for 100 new photo-radar units means there is no way the state can meet its goal of getting the first 50 on the road by the end of the year, Department of Public Safety Lt. James Warriner said Friday.
Warriner said that's because the state Department of Administration has barred the DPS from awarding the contract while it hears complaints from an unsuccessful bidder.
And Warriner said that if that dispute is not resolved soon, the other 50 cameras that are supposed to be up and running by February also will not be deployed.
The chances of that happening are good.
Josh Weiss, a spokesman for American Traffic Solutions, the unsuccessful bidder, said Friday that if the Department of Administration does not void the $20 million contract award to Redflex Traffic Systems, a lawsuit is "on the table."
Weiss said that if litigation results, his firm would ask a judge to delay awarding the contract until a final ruling. And that could take months - if not more.
The fallout from the dispute affects more than motorists who do not have to keep an eye out for the fixed and mobile cameras. It also undermines predictions by Gov. Janet Napolitano that the new cameras will generate $90 million in revenue by June 30.
The question is whether Redflex was legally qualified to bid on the statewide system the Legislature authorized in June as part of the state budget.
Napolitano proposed the statewide photo-radar system in January as part of her effort to balance the budget.
Lawsuit Challenges Photo Radar CitationsSep. 5, 2008 KPHO Phoenix - Article
PHOENIX -- A lawsuit could impact thousands of Arizona motorists who have received photo radar tickets.
If successful, motorists who were cited might be able to ignore the tickets, while those who already paid might be able to get their money back, according to a report in the East Valley Tribune.
Legal papers contend the citations issued by Redflex Traffic Systems before the first week in August are illegal, the newspaper reported.
The lawsuit, filed late last month in Maricopa County Superior Court, alleges the company was using radar guns that had not been cleared for use, according to the East Valley Tribune.
Attorney Thomas Moring said his client should be allowed to refuse to pay the photo radar ticket issued by the Town of Paradise Valley in June, the paper said. He was clocked as speeding by a mobile photo radar unit operated for the town by Redflex, the newspaper reported.
Moring said the lawsuit also seeks to block any other state or local government that has issued similar citations from enforcing them, the East Valley Tribune reported.
It encompasses the cities of Paradise Valley, Chandler, Prescott Valley, Tempe and Pinal County and the Department of Public Safety, the paper reported.
6 Cities That Were Caught Shortening Yellow Light Times For ProfitMar. 26, 2008 National Motorists Association - Article
Short yellow light times at intersections have been shown to increase the number of traffic violations and accidents. Conversely, increasing the yellow light duration can dramatically reduce red-light violations at an intersection.
Some local governments have ignored the safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits instead.
Napolitano defends state photo-radar planby Howard Fischer - Feb. 14, 2008 The Arizona Daily Star - Article
PHOENIX Gov. Janet Napolitano is defending her plan for statewide photo radar, saying it's just a happy coincidence that it will help her with the state budget deficit.
The governor on Wednesday said she ordered the Department of Public Safety to contract for fixed and mobile speed-enforcement cameras a year ago, before the state's current budget crunch. She said that was based on findings from a Scottsdale experiment that showed it promoted safer roads.
The citations the system will produce this year will generate an estimated $90 million in net revenues to help erase a $1.7 billion or larger budget deficit anticipated next year.
She said the revenues from the tickets would have been part of her budget proposal "if we were in a surplus."
But it was not until last month - a year after ordering statewide deployment of photo radar - that Napolitano said she wanted to change the formula of who gets the money.
Under current law, the fines go to the cities or counties where the citation is issued. The governor, however, wants the statutes changed so penalties from photo-radar citations issued on state roads all go to the state general fund.
Pressed on the issue, Napolitano said it makes sense to generate funds from photo radar.
"Look, you can either have a budget that protects speeders or you can have a budget that protects education, that allows us to keep adding DPS (Department of Public Safety) officers and CPS (Child Protective Services) case managers," she said. "These are all choices that have to be made."
Nor did she think it's unfair to balance the budget on the backs of lead-footed motorists.
"Nobody likes getting a ticket," she said. "But that's the price you pay when you speed. If you don't want to pay, don't speed."
Napolitano did confess that she got at least one speeding ticket in her life. But she insisted she doesn't remember how fast she was going.
The governor's defense came a day after the Senate Transportation Committee voted to ban the use of photo radar on state roads. And anticipating a veto, the same panel also agreed to put an identical measure before voters in November.
Nearly 600 Scottsdale photo tickets tossed due to glitchJan. 29, 2008 ABC 15 - Article
Scottsdale has thrown out nearly 600 photo enforcement speeding citations after learning they were triggered by a faulty sensor.
The affected motorists were all traveling between Dec. 7 and Jan. 4 in the eastbound curb lane on Shea Boulevard at 120th Street, which is one of the mid-block surface street speed camera locations.
The city received complaints from motorists about the camera flashing when they were traveling below the activation limit.
The cameras are activated at 11 mph above the speed limit.
A police investigation showed that vendor American Traffic Solutions was issuing 75 percent above the normal number of citations during December from the camera location, Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said.
"Clearly there was an anomaly and we notified ATS," Clark said.
As a result, the city dismissed 589 citations already mailed by Scottsdale City Court, reimbursed 35 motorists who had already paid fines or driver school fees, as well as corrected driving records, city spokesman Pat Dodds wrote in an internal e-mail Monday obtained by the Tribune.
The affected drivers are receiving notices that their citations were voided, Dodds wrote. Recorded speeding violations from the curb lane that had not yet been processed into citations were also dismissed.
"All were going over the speed limit, but we couldn't verify the exact speed they were going," ATS spokesman Josh Weiss said.
Weiss said ATS learned of the problem Jan. 4 and shut down the camera site for repair until Jan. 16.
Weiss added that the company has since verified that all of the surface street and Loop 101 freeway cameras in Scottsdale are functioning properly.
"These sensors are used on thousands of cameras and it's extremely rare for something like this to happen," Weiss said.
ATS operates both the surface street and freeway cameras in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale-based company, which operates in more than 100 cities including Mesa and Phoenix, took over from previous vendor Redflex Traffic Systems last year.
Dodds said a number of years ago, Scottsdale refunded fines after realizing speeding citations issued by a mobile speed van were done using the wrong speed limit.
Tennessee: Refunds for Photo Tickets on Short YellowMar. 13, 2008 theNewspaper.com - Article
Chattanooga, Tennessee Judge refunds 176 red light camera tickets issued at illegally short yellow light.
The city of Chattanooga, Tennessee will refund $8800 in red light cameras tickets issued to motorists trapped by an illegally short yellow time. Municipal Court Judge Russell Bean on Monday dismissed charges against 176 vehicle owners cited by an automated ticketing machine located at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Pine Street.
Last month, a motorist challenged his citation by insisting that the yellow light was too short and only remained lit for 3.0 seconds before changing to red and activating the camera. LaserCraft, the private vendor that runs the camera program in return for a cut of the profits, provided the judge with a computer database that asserted the yellow was 3.8 seconds at that location. Bean gave the motorist the benefit of the doubt and watched the video of the alleged violation while counting how long the light stayed yellow.
"It didn't seem to me that it was at four (seconds) because it would change right at three," Bean told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Bean then personally checked the intersection in question was timed at three seconds while other nearby locations had about four seconds of yellow warning. City traffic engineer John Van Winkle told Bean that "a mix up with the turn arrow" was responsible and that the bare minimum for the light should be 3.9 seconds. Judge Bean ordered 176 of the tickets issued within the first 0.9 seconds after the light turned red canceled.
Short yellow times are vital to ensuring the steady flow of traffic citations for vendors like LaserCraft. Confidential documents obtained in a 2001 court trial proved that the city of San Diego, California and its red light camera vendor, now ACS, only installed red light cameras at intersections with high volumes and "Amber (yellow) phase less than 4 seconds."
Short yellows trap drivers in what is known as a "dilemma zone" where there is neither time to stop safely -- without slamming the brakes and risking a rear-end collision -- nor to proceed through the intersection before it changes to red. Red light cameras capitalize on this, with four out of every five tickets issued before the light has been red for a full second, according to a report by the California State Auditor. This suggests that most citations are issued to those surprised by a quick-changing signal light.
In 2002, a Baltimore, Maryland judge caught the city trapping motorists at signals with illegally short yellow lights. (Read court memo)
City's photo-radar system keeps speeders in checkby Trevor Hughes - Aug. 26, 2007 Coloradoan.com - Article
One driver was recorded traveling at 132 mph in a 30 mph zone on April 25, 2007. The owner of the vehicle said there's no way the GMC pickup he uses for landscaping could travel that fast. Municipal court officials said the ticket was never issued, which traffic Sgt. Mike Trombley said probably happened because the speed was so high. He said that while the radar cameras are calibrated at the start and end of each shift, it's likely the 132-mph reading was incorrect. He declined to discuss potential error rates for the system.
Arizona: Police Arrest Man for Driving Impossible SpeedJune 2, 2006 EastValleyTribune.com - Article
Scottsdale, Arizona police have arrested Lawrence Pargo, 26, for speeding based solely on the evidence of its photo radar machines that registered his vehicle traveling at an impossibly high speed of 147 MPH. Scottsdale police maintain that Pargo's rented silver Sonata drove between 102 and 147 MPH past four speed cameras on May 21 at around six in the morning. Pargo's Hyundai, according to the manufacturer, has a drag-limited top speed of 137 MPH.
"This is a rental vehicle so it is doubtful that it could attain even this maximum speed," said Eric Skrum, spokesman for the National Motorists Association. "At a bare minimum, this is a ten-mph discrepancy and obviously an invalid ticket. I would suggest that rather than investigate this individual, the police should be checking their own equipment. This needs to be a top priority as there is no telling how many other drivers have received unjustified tickets."
Automotive reviewer Robert Farago wrote of the car, "only an Impala driver would mistake the Sonata LX for a high-performance sedan."
Australia: Unreliable Speed Cameras Secretly DisconnectedApr 22, 2008 TheNewspaper.com - Article
Officials in Victoria, Australia quietly turned off unreliable West Gate Freeway speed cameras in 2006.
A set of speed cameras in Victoria, Australia were quietly turned off nearly two years ago because of police concerns about their reliability. In September 2005 the state government spent A$2 million to install the automated ticketing machines on the West Gate Bridge, a busy 1.6 mile route across the Yarra River in Melbourne. Police officials today confirmed that they had secretly disabled the cameras in September 2006 after the devices had issued 4243 citations.
"They were turned off, I've been advised, for technical issues," Assistant Police Commissioner for Traffic Ken Lay told Melbourne's 3AW radio. "So the decision was made that if we can't be absolutely sure let's not infringe. Motorists shouldn't be dobbed and if we do start doing that it undermines the system, it undermines road safety."
Lay insisted he was "happy" with the accuracy of the devices and that it was only the clarity of the photographic images that moved him to turn off the cameras. Some suspect more is involved.
In July 2003, a Victoria speed camera accused motorist Vanessa Bridges' 1975 Datsun 120Y of driving at 98 MPH, setting off a chain reaction of events that ultimately cost the state government A$26 million in refunds. Even after the thirty-year-old Datsun was tested and found to be capable of reaching speeds no greater than 73 MPH, police dug in their heels and insisted the photo enforcement system was accurate and that Bridges' fine would stand. Intense publicity arising out of her case, however, forced an investigation into the cameras on the Western Ring Road. Independent testing showed faulty in-ground sensors and electromagnetic interference had been responsible for generating bogus speed readings. The government had no choice but to cancel 165,000 camera tickets.
Today, Lay insisted safety was the only factor driving the 2006 decision by Victoria Police to keep the West Gate Bridge problems quiet.
"There was a decision made by us not to put it out there that they weren't operating," Lay added. "Some will criticize us for doing that, I understand that. But the decision was made to keep people alive."
Hunt Highway crash figures double those reportedby David Biscobing - Jun 2, 2008 East Valley Tribute - Article
The Pinal County Sheriff's Office sent out a press release in December with positive news about Hunt Highway crashes: They were cut in half after the photo radar program began.
Unfortunately, that wasn't true. Not even close.
Crashes actually increased on the road, updated statistics show. And the number of collisions was more than double the figure previously cited by the sheriff's office.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Vanessa White said they released the news with preliminary data based on the number of reports in the system at the time.
That information was missing dozens of crashes.
Hunt Highway is a two-lane artery that serves nearly 50,000 people in the Santan area. The highway, which runs from Queen Creek to Florence, has become a perilous stretch of road in the past few years.
In 2007, there were 203 crashes - more than a 650 percent increase since 2003.
County officials have worked to improve safety by making road improvements and adjusting speed limits. But the results have been spotty. And the sheriff's office hoped to get a handle on the problem by implementing a photo radar program.
On July 9, two radar vans were placed on Hunt Highway. They began issuing citations a month later.
Sheriff's officials quickly touted the vans as a success, attributing to them a 53 percent decrease in crashes months after their inception.
But there was no decrease, and the drop the sheriff's office cited did not account for 55 crashes.
White said there was a delay in adding those reports into records, adding that the sheriff's office is reformatting its records system to provide more timely and accurate data.
The news release said there were only 40 crashes from July 9 to the end of November, compared with 82 during the same period in 2006.
There were actually 95.
There have been fewer crashes so far in 2008 compared with 2007, records show. But the decrease isn't significant, only 14 fewer c rashes through May 21. The number of injury crashes has remained the same.
It isn't clear if the downward trend will continue as some months see more than 20 crashes and the summer months have been some of the worst in the past.
Cpl. Paul Compton, who oversees photo radar for the sheriff's office, didn't return a phone call and message seeking comment.
When crashes occur on Hunt Highway, the road is shut down for hours as there are virtually no routes in and out of the area when it is closed.
A deadly crash shut down the highway for 12 hours on May 7, leaving thousands of commuters cut off from schools, businesses and jobs.
That crash occurred near Thompson Road, which falls into the most heavily traveled part of the highway - a five-mile section from Ellsworth to Bella Vista roads where more than 100 crashes occurred in 2007.
Gotcha!Feb. 8, 2007 Phoenix New Times - Article
Corporations and governments can legally ignore photo tickets in the Valley, while the rest of us are expected to pay up -- or else
You see, vehicles registered to a corporation, limited liability corporation (also known as an LLC), limited partnership, or family trust are immune to photo tickets. So are public entities like city governments (though some do occasionally pay tickets received from other jurisdictions).
Here's why: The police and courts may send process servers to visit the home of someone who blew off a mailed ticket. But they don't do the same thing for businesses.
Lawyers say Arizona civil traffic violations can only be issued to a real, live person. Since the corporation can't be held liable, there's no reason to serve it the ticket.
Most cities don't send real citations to corporations. They send weakly worded notices that can be safely thrown in the trash. Unlike the grim tone of a citation, which orders the motorist to pay a fine or appear in court on a certain date, the violation notices let the company know up front: "This is not a Summons to Appear. There is no fine associated with this Notice."
The notices sent to businesses gently ask them to identify the driver and mail the form back so a new ticket can be reissued in the driver's name. No law forces anyone to do that, however.
Scottsdale's been mailing such notices for years; Mesa and Phoenix started sending them last year. Tempe sends businesses a letter instead of a citation.
Police do nothing when the notices are disregarded. Granted, police could choose to investigate repeat offenders like Wolf & Associates - but they've never done so.
The process is slightly different in Chandler and Paradise Valley, which sends all violators, regardless of the name of the registered owner, a citation. The result is the same, though. Corporations, trusts and government entities that blow off the notices are not held accountable.
Officer Jed Gunter, Chandler's photo-enforcement manager, receives a daily list of violators who ignored their mailed tickets. He asks the court to sic process servers on most of them. But not all.
"If there are any corporations, I just go ahead and X them out, because you can't serve a corporation," he says.
Asked why Chandler never tries to catch repeat corporate offenders, Gunter replies, "I've never thought about it."
Mailing the businesses toothless notices, rather than citations, saves work for police and courts. The reason is, citations, unlike notices, are filed with the court just before being mailed.
If a business ignores a citation, it must be dismissed after four months, like other ignored citations. And if the business identifies the driver, the original corporate citation still must be dismissed from the court. Therefore, court employees have fewer cases to deal with when corporate citations are never filed with the court at all.
After New Times told Elsa Lynch, Paradise Valley's court administrator and part-time judge, how most cities handle corporate violators, Lynch took steps to change the town's photo-enforcement system.
By separating people who could be prosecuted for camera violations from businesses that can't, the court will save time and money, she says.
"I think this is a fantastic idea," says Lynch.
For businesses, trusts and governments, everything about photo enforcement is voluntary.
No surprise, then, that most don't respond to the mailings.
On Your Side: Photo Radar TicketsOct. 23, 2007 WJLA ABC 7 News - Article
Fighting an erroneous ticket - You have to get the TV station involved to fight your ticket.