A Red-Light Camera Ban Is Back in Tallahassee

Categories: Politicks

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Last year, two Miami reps pushed a bill banning red light cameras through a committee with some loud public support (thanks in part to a Tampa TV station's investigation showing Florida had helped shorten yellow light times to collect more ticket revenue). But that bill eventually flopped in the full House.

We're still six months out from a new session starting up in Tallahassee, but a Tampa-area senator has already taken up the fight, filing a new bill this week seeking to outlaw the traffic cameras.

See also: Freedom fighter Richard Masone takes on red-light cameras in South Florida

"This program was originally sold as being about safety," Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jeff Brandes tells the Herald. "I have come to believe that it's now about revenue."

Brandes, who is a Republican, points out some of the stats that have led burned drivers to argue the cameras are about cash revenue and not driver safety: the cameras ginned up more than $62 million for the state last year.

Last year's House bill failed in part because one of its sponsors had some serious ethical issues. Daphne Campbell was an easy target, between a six-figure IRS tax lien, accusations of Medicare fraud by her company, and conflict-of-interest accusations when it turned out her husband had racked up five red light tickets on their minivan.

Brandes, presumably, won't have those kind of PR problems. But he will face down the legion of lobbyists hired by American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona firm banking big off the cameras.

They've already got 24 lobbyists on the payroll, the Herald reports, armed with the firm's own data that red-light runners have dropped at intersections where the cameras have been installed.

Florida will have to wait until spring's session to find out who wins this round; in the meantime, watch out for those quick yellows.

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5 comments
Paul_Henry
Paul_Henry

This scheme needs to be put to rest. The corruption alone is terrible. According to the DHSMV, over $81 million of red light scheme tickets were issued and NOT dismissed. The Dept. of revenue only reported taking in $51 million during the same time (FY 2012). Where's the $30 million? Or maybe the local agencies falsified their data to make the program look like it really worked?

After 25 years of police work in Florida, I can say the bottom line is no camera on a pole will awaken or make sober an inattentive or impaired driver. These are the people running lights 2+ seconds into the red and hurting or killing others. Local agencies & the state know this and this is why they refuse to release or try to hide this crash data. Fatal red light violation crashes went up from 53 in 2010 to 72 in the first full year of use of this scheme in 2011.

dregstudios1
dregstudios1

Traffic cameras are just another form of Policing for Profit as Capitalism distorts our Justice System.  These companies are bottom-feeders and take a 40% cut of the tickets while creating MORE dangerous intersections by fixing the lengths of yellow lights to entrap drivers.   You can read about how private companies and crooked politicians have turned our Police forces on their ear in every attempt to squeeze money out of the general public at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-privatized-police-state.html

jcwconsult
jcwconsult

It is time for the money-grab scam of red light cameras to end.  

Most straight through violations are split second ones of under one second caused by yellow intervals deliberately and maliciously set too short for the actual approach speeds of 85% of the vehicles. This deliberate mis-engineering of the lights was authorized in July 2011 by the Florida Department of Transportation to cause more tickets to get more $83 ticket commissions for the state. These tickets are entirely about money, not safety.

Federal research shows that only 0.06% of all crashes with an injury or fatality involve a right on red turn and only 0.4% of crashes at signalized intersections involve a right on red turn. Thus almost all right on red tickets are about money, not safety.

If you have had enough of the multi-million dollar scam of red light cameras, contact your state Representatives and Senators to insist that the new SB144 pass WITHOUT AMENDMENTS.  Then cities will lose the financial incentives to mis-engineer their lights for ticket profits at the expense of lower safety.


James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

donaldson1
donaldson1

COMPLETE ARTICLE ON ATS RIGGING DATA IN ONE CA TOWN!

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/40/4078.asp

California: Firm Rigs Data In Bid To Keep Red Light Cameras
Analyst debunks claim that red light running increased in Murrieta, California when red light cameras were turned off.

Ever since November when voters in Murrieta, California rejected red light cameras at the ballot box, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) has been on a campaign to turn them back on. The strategy has been two-fold: use the courts to overturn the public's decision, then convince the city council to reactivate the devices in the name of public safety. Anti-camera activists say they have caught the photo ticketing company manipulating data to achieve these ends.

On April 5, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia signed a writ of mandate prohibiting Murrieta from implementing the anti-camera ballot measure. Ottolia is the same judge who attempted to block the public vote on August 3 (view ruling), only to be shot down by the Court of Appeal. To prevent the case from returning to the appellate judges, an ATS front group filed a separate suit against the city of Murrieta, which supports cameras, demanding the referendum be set aside. Despite the lack of an actual controversy between the parties, Ottolia issued his ruling accomplishing the goals of both ATS and the city.

Now it is up to the Murrieta City Council to decide whether to take the politically risky move of re-activating the red light cameras, which are no longer under contract. To sway council members, ATS issued a press release on Thursday with the bold claim that Murrieta's red light cameras recorded "nearly double the number" of "red light running events" after the cameras were turned off in comparison to the number of incidents when the cameras were active. According to ATS, there were 201 incidents in January 2012 compared to 506 a year later. In February, 251 incidents with cameras increased to 514 without cameras. In March, 397 with cameras rose to 730 without cameras.

"With cameras operational, drivers changed their behavior," ATS spokesman Charles Territo said in the statement. "This data shows just how much of a red-light running deterrent they were for drivers in Murrieta."

Safer Streets LA Executive Director Jay Beeber says the company is trying to pull a fast one. Beeber pulled the actual data from the city which showed ATS was taking its 2012 figures from a category called "Violations Citable." This does not represent the raw number of incidents. Rather, it is the number submitted to the city after an ATS employee has gone through and discarded images that are unclear and that otherwise cannot be turned into a citation. In February 2012, 263 such tickets were thrown out, meaning there were a total of 514 "Violations Recorded" in 2012 -- exactly the same number as recorded without the cameras in 2013.

Territo told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Monday that the photographic element of the camera system is shut down and the "violations" number comes solely from sensors. No employee has reviewed any images. Had ATS used the equivalent comparison of "Violations Recorded" in 2012 to 2013, the numbers work out to essentially a wash.

"One month was higher, one was lower, and one was exactly the same," Beeber explained. "The small differences could easily be due to random fluctuations or differences in traffic volume."

Anti-camera activists hope the company's effort to influence the city council with questionable numbers backfires.

"It is only through blatant deception that ATS is able to come up with their fraudulent 86.9 percent increase," Beeber said. "Make no mistake, this is not some accounting error on the part of ATS. It is obviously a deliberate attempt to deceive and we need to let the press know exactly what ATS is doing or they will take their bogus numbers and print the story without any fact checking."

donaldson1
donaldson1

RLC will be ban in one way or another in many locations as time goes on.

But realize that most of the "violations" RLC cite are right turns on red, stopping on or over the stop line, and split second mistakes.

In the Meantime the "safety" claims of supporters are HIGHLY SUSPECT!

Do you realize that the "FL Report" you hear the RLC side harp on is really a SURVEY of what the towns wanted to "report"??? http://retiredpublicsafety.com/documents/rlc/DHSMV_2012_RLC_Analysis.pdf  or
http://www.banthecams.org/articles/read-light-camera/3732-paul-henry-an-analysis-of-the-2012-dhsmv-red-light-camera-program-analysis

Quote: "Executive Summary

The DHSMV analysis report has been widely reported in the media as to documenting the effectiveness of red light cameras in Florida. However, a review of the report shows it is in fact just a survey with no supporting data, and numerous issues:

• Local governments in violation of Florida law for reporting requirements;
• No data for red light violation crashes either before the use of automated for-profit enforcement devices or afterward;
• A ticket dismissal rate nearly twice that of officer-issued tickets;
• 44% of the agencies not using crash data as the primary means for device placement;
• 20% to 30% of the agencies failing to submit crash data;
• No numerical data and no means for an independent review of presented data;
• Unqualified persons issuing both notices of violations (NOV) and uniform traffic citations (UTC);
• Inconsistent agency practices on who issues and reviews NOV and UTC;
• Inconsistent ticketing of the less-hazardous right hand turns;
• Over 77% of the agencies lacking an agency policy to define the circumstances for right hand turn enforcement;
• No report data for activation errors; and
• No report data as to compliance with minimum yellow light timing.


In summary, the omission of key data, the lack of a means to independently verify the claims, as well as the failure of 20% to 30% of the agencies to submit crash data invalidates this report."

On top of that even towns like St. Pete WERE BUSTED claiming less crashes when they HAD MORE! http://www.banthecams.org/articles/read-light-camera/3646-joe-qisuzuq-of-st-pete-qapologizesq-for-not-providing-rlc-crash-data-showing-increase-in-wrecks  and http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/st-petersburg-staffers-apologize-for-not-telling-city-council-about-crash/1266015 

HECK ATS ITSELF WAS BUSTED RIGGING DATA IN ONE TOWN AFTER THE VOTERS BANNED THE RLC! http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/40/4078.asp 

Quote: "Territo told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Monday that the photographic element of the camera system is shut down and the "violations" number comes solely from sensors. No employee has reviewed any images. Had ATS used the equivalent comparison of "Violations Recorded" in 2012 to 2013, the numbers work out to essentially a wash.

"One month was higher, one was lower, and one was exactly the same," Beeber explained. "The small differences could easily be due to random fluctuations or differences in traffic volume."

Anti-camera activists hope the company's effort to influence the city council with questionable numbers backfires.

"It is only through blatant deception that ATS is able to come up with their fraudulent 86.9 percent increase," Beeber said. "Make no mistake, this is not some accounting error on the part of ATS. It is obviously a deliberate attempt to deceive and we need to let the press know exactly what ATS is doing or they will take their bogus numbers and print the story without any fact checking."

FIGHT THE RLC FRAUD!

BAN THE RLC!

www.motorists.org
www.banthecams.org
camerafraud on Facebook

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