Update: Survey Rejects Red Light Cameras

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Plantation voters — at least the ones who answered the survey — don’t want red light cameras

The cameras were rejected by 63-27 percent, with the rest having no opinion.

That’s the results of a survey by Plantation Commissioner Pete Tingom as one of the opening shots of his re-election campaign in March.

The survey was mailed late last year to 7,000 voters with a history of participating in Plantation elections.  At was returned by 1,183,  – an amazing return rate of about 16 percent.

A return that large is even more surprising since about 90 percent of the voters paid their own postage. Approximately 10 percent answered online.

“People want to make themselves heard,” Tingom believes.

Maybe they want to especially be heard on red light cameras.

Despite their approval by local commissions, often after being hearing from industry lobbyists, red light cameras remain highly controversial.  Their merits continue to be debated.

They became popular for cities hard hit by financial difficulties as a way to raise money without raising taxes. Commissioners often deny their motive is revenue-driven and claim the cameras improve safety, although studies on this issue are inconclusive.

A Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles study released last week had something for supporters and opponents of the cameras.

Between July 2011 and June 2012, all types of accidents dropped in Florida.

Of the 73 law enforcement agencies that use cameras, 41 reported fewer accidents at those intersections, 11 reported more accidents and the rest saw no change or didn’t have enough information from the previous year to compare.

There was no information on how many accidents occurred at each intersection.

Critics immediately pointed out that the state that did the study receives $83 of every ticket handed out by the cameras.  Local governments receive $75.

Another consideration of the cameras is their constitutionality.

The Constitution says a defendant has the right to face his accuser, but how is that done with a camera?  It puts defendants in the position of proving their innocence rather than the state proving them guilty, which many believe is unfair.

Commissioners in cities like Pembroke Pines, Sunrise and Fort Lauderdale should be ashamed of this whittling away of the principal of being innocent until proven guilty. All the cities mentioned have commissioners with law degrees, which makes the instillation of the cameras more offensive because they should know better.  But all the cities mentioned have financial problems, which I believe is the real reason for red light cameras.

The Florida Supreme Court will take up the issue of the camera’s constitutionality this year.

The cameras also are due to be heard by the Florida House again this year, after  “Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, filed legislation Friday seeking to end the use of the cameras, saying they unfairly dole out tickets to people who can’t defend themselves, noting that malfunctioning cameras can’t be cross-examined,” according to the News Service of Florida.

The rest of the story can be seen here. 

I don’t expect much from the Legislature.  The red light camera industry has literally dozens of lobbyists supporting it and the state has grown used to the money the cameras provide.

Meanwhile, those who answered Tingom’s survey clearly told the Plantation commission how they felt.

Although the survey is clearly not scientific, it does represent the opinion of 1,183 Plantation voters.

So it is no surprise that Tingom said the survey would guide his future votes. After all, he is running for re-election.

 



54 Responses to “Update: Survey Rejects Red Light Cameras”

  1. Duke says:

    Wanna know all about red light cameras? Back in 2001, then congressional republican leader Dick Armey commissioned a study titled “The Red Light Running Crisis. Is It A Scam”? Anyone can Google it up and read the study. Yes, it’s a scam. You take a yellow light that should be 4 to 5 seconds long, and you cut it down to 2 seconds. It’s actually causing more accidents in many jurisdictions. The study showed that we can never completely eliminate red light running. But the way to significantly reduce it is to lengthen the time of the yellow light, not shorten it.

  2. Red Light Scam says:

    Red light cameras are a scam. When Commissioners like Angelo Castillo, Sheriff Israel’s new friend, denies their primary goal is to raise money he is lying.
    Red light cameras are a hidden tax. That’s all they are. The voters are wise about them and those who vote for them.

  3. Duke says:

    1 good idea to reduce red light running is to have uniformity from city to city on the time of the yellow light. Make all yellow lights at least 5 seconds long. Another idea is to have a countdown system on the yellow light to eliminate the guess work for drivers who squeeze the lemon.

  4. Duke says:

    Here’s another idea. nNxt time some guy from the red light company is pitching a local politician(s), tell the guy that you will be happy to install red light cameras, predicated on all yellow lights being 5 seconds long. The sit back and listen while the guy tries to explain how the only way it will work and the only way the city will make money is if you shorten the yellow time. It is a major scam.

  5. Seth Platt says:

    State Report just released says Crashes down at intersections with cameras
    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/state-report-crashes-down-intersections-cameras

  6. Duke says:

    Actually that’s not what the report says. That’s what the headline says, but not what the report says. It clearly says that accidents are up in 11 of 73 jurisdictions, including St. Pete… and no specific numbers were given on the increase or decrease in other cities. The congressional report cites jurisdictions all over America where accidents are up, and I think something like 19 states have already outlawed red light cameras.
    The people who farm-out this technology to municipalities highly discourage extending the time on the yellow light. The shorter the yellow light, the more $ ya make. We will never eliminate red light running completely. But lengthening the time on the yellow light is a good step in the right direction. It’s a much better public policy than shortening the time on yellow lights in order to generate revenue.

  7. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The report Seth Platt cites is unreliable…

    http://www.banthecams.org/Red-Light-Camera-News/rlc-towns-qhelpq-state-do-report-on-rlc-results-along-company-lines.html

  8. John Fusaro says:

    I was told most engineers are not in favor of extending yellow or red times. A few seconds added in between the changes will disrupt traffic flow. It took Broward county years and millions of dollars in there attempt to sync traffic lights to keep traffic flowing.

  9. Smart Move says:

    Let’s do this correctly or not at all.

    First, can you print a copy of the survey Buddy so we can see the question asked?

    Second, did the official seek the advice of some expert in terms of how this “survey” was performed to ensure the integrity of the results?

    Third, has the city’s auditor reviewed the effort to make sure it was fairly done? How far will you red light opponents go to try and press a point that cannot be denied?

    You have written many times about the limited value of push polls yet well before a “survey” is completed and with no examination of it whatsoever you leap to publish conclusions simply because of your own well known prejudice against camera programs.

    Red light cameras make road driving conditions safer. Period. Don’t go through the light and you have nothing to worry about.

    I know what it is like to lose a family member to a red light runner. May that never happen to any of you. I really hope it doesn’t come to that in order for you to arrive at your senses and change your tune. That pain never goes away. Stop defending the indefensible. Stop making excuses for irresponsible drivers who refuse to stop for red lights.

    FROM BUDDY:

    The survey was paid for by his campaign. I will publish the final results when they are ready.

    The studies on red light cameras are contradictory. Period.

    But there is no doubt that they provide a stream of revenue to governments that they never had before. If this is not the reason for installing them, maybe cities should donate their proceeds to the National Safety Council or Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

  10. Heme says:

    Question:
    If everydody stopped running red lights would there be any income from the camera use?

    FROM BUDDY:

    Good question.

    Before the cameras, it took an officer to ticket a driver running a red light. Officers cost money.

    Now, the money just flows without an officer.

  11. Smart Move says:

    Logic lesson according to Nevins: Red lights cameras create new fines. Therefore government wants new fine money. This has nothing to do with making roads safer. Oh no. It is a money grab.

    Therefore fines does not equal law enforcement. Fines equals desire for more money. Thus is the logic of Nevins.

    Nevins dismisses that traffic engineers and law enforcement officials agree that red light cameras make roads safer. He dismisses that residents grieve their dead sons and mothers because of reckless red light runners. He thinks that untrained bloggers and jaded journalists are better qualified to make that conclusion. He doesn’t see how illogical that is so let me go on to further prove the point.

    By extension therefore no fines that government collects can ever legitimately be associated with enforcing the law and keeping order. They must all money grabs.

    However, should the taxpayer be punished by being forced to hire more cops at 100 times the expense of a camera, then somehow the issuance of red light ticket fines is appropriate and legitimate.

    So it is all about the method of how government enforces. Camera enforcement is tied to desire to make money but having a cop there at 100 times the expense and still you don’t catch every red light runner, that approach is legitimate and honorable.

    What a crock of twisted logic; an empty and irrational argument to be precise, propped up by laughable logic, fueled by denial of scientific and experiential facts about how to make roads safer.

    Remain in your illogical, irrational world of denial if you wish. Prop up all the slanted dishonest “survey” efforts you wish. I remain thankful that there are ways to force reckless drivers to be more accountable.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Primarily I believe that red light cameras are wrong because they violate the long-held judicial doctrine of being innocent until the state proves one guilty. In the case of the camera, you are guilty and must prove your innocence which often takes a lot of time and money.

    However, I also dislike hypocrisy. Commissioners who say that raising revenue is not a primary reason, if not the primary reason for installing the cameras are spinning. It is no surprise this has caught on at the same time local governments are facing financial troubles.

  12. Just thinking says:

    Dedicated any profits to non profit use or park/library improvements will help the image of the cameras. There is the need to prevent the red light runners. It was getting out of hand in west pines and west miramar.

  13. Tamarac Talk says:

    Buddy,

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been writing about this on Tamarac Talk for a few months about our situation.

    Hats off to Plantation for surveying their residents.

    Tamarac occasionally keeps its citizens in the loop when it makes investments, but unfortunately, it did not with this one.

    No survey went out with this vote. Even though officials were pondering this for over two years with American Traffic Solutions.

    At our November Commission meeting, Commissioners insisted this was all based on safety, safety, safety. And that it would be “cost neutral” to our city.

    No stats were given as to the true amount of accidents or even deaths that were occurring at our intersections.

    Read more at http://tamaractalk.com/simple-traffic-timing-adjustment-would-alleviate-need-for-red-light-cameras-in-tamarac-9141

    http://tamaractalk.com/seeing-red-over-20-proposed-red-light-cameras-in-tamarac-8672

    20 new red light cameras will be coming soon to an intersection near you.

  14. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @10

    How about we just removed the red lights…

    No red lights… No red light runners…

    No running of the red lights… No need for cameras or tickets.

    I think red lights are just another way the government controls my life.

    - Signed
    Allen West

  15. Kevin says:

    This is NOT A RANDOM SAMPLE of voters. Therefore the results of the survey cannot be generalized beyond the actual people who returned them.

    Then again, he seems to have surveyed an ENTIRE POPULATION (i.e. “frequent” voters) so it still says something. Still, there would be two potentially fatal problems from a research perspective:

    (1) the definition of “frequent” voters implies that the councilman only represents frequent voters, and not the population, much less the citizens, much less the registered voters (this raises obvious public policy concerns about whom a politician answers to).

    (2) the potential bias in the systematic differences between those who received and returned the surveys and those who did not return them but received them. Not to mention, of course, the bias between those who got the surveys and those who did not covered in #1 above.

    In other words, this is not a scientific sample (at least from the information available) and therefore it is “representative” of only the people who returned it, much like those Internet “polls” we see all the time.

    You know, a waste of time and money….

    Kevin.

    FROM BUDDY:

    It’s not representative of the entire city, true. It is not a valid survey, true.

    But it is representative of those who will vote in the upcoming election because every one who bothered to put a stamp on the survey will show up at the polls. So if you were a commissioner, who would you listen to? Politicians always given more weight to those who care enough to vote. That wise political philosopher Eddie Cochran explained it all more than 50 years ago:

    I called my congressman
    And he said quote
    “I’d like to help you son
    But you’re too young to vote”

  16. Floridan says:

    “But it is representative of those who will vote in the upcoming election because every one who bothered to put a stamp on the survey will show up at the polls.”

    Not true. I think it is a logical assumption that those who oppose red light cameras would be more likely to respond than those who don’t have strong feelings. Moreover, unless we know how the question was worded it is difficult to determine its validity.

    I am amazed that there is such a constituency for red light running.

  17. Kevin says:

    Buddy,

    I have no doubt that the results, especially since there were so many surveys returned are POLITICALLY significant

    (and honestly, 16% is a HUGE return rate on a non-postage paid mail survey).

    However, these results in no way can be used to generalize about how the overall population of voters feels one way or the other about red light cameras.

    Therefore, if the point of the survey was political (i.e. gauge the feelings of voters on red light cameras, then campaign on what the majority wants), then it was useful to exactly one person.

    If, however, the point of the survey was to effect public policy, well……

  18. Ha Ha Ha says:

    1) Any supposed adverse effects on traffic flow associated with lengthening yellow lights by a few seconds would only arise if the yellow light extension applied only to the intersections with red light cameras, as opposed to all intersections. If yellow light times are extended by exactly the same amount at all intersections, then all traffic lights will remain exactly synchronized.

    2) In addition to lengthening the yellow light, add a “grace period” to the red light cameras themselves. The reaction time of drivers ranges between 1.5 seconds and three seconds. After a yellow light turns red, there is a period of time in which the intersection will remain empty because the driver(s) who just received a green light have not had enough time to react to it by entering the intersection. But because the red light camera reacts instantly, it fines drivers in that very first second of the red light, even though there is no practical possibility of a collision and therefore no actual harm. A one-second “grace period” shoud therefore be added to all of the red light cameras, in addition to the uniform lengthening of yellow light times.

  19. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Buddy,

    I have three points to make in regard to this discussion which I thank you for bringing forward because it involves an issue that should be important to all of us; safety on our roads.

    Vehicles are an important part of our lives. However, the same safe tool in the hands of careful that we use daily for transportation becomes a lethal projectile capable of explosive force in the hands of the reckless. Citizens must be protected against the improper use of such force and obviously that’s why we have traffic laws.

    Now, how enforcement of our traffic laws is undertaken should raise no concerns so long as those means are reliable and meet the requirements of the law. Red light camera enforcement is a legal and highly reliable means for enforcing signal violations. To dispute either statement when both are so well established is to engage in denial which, as you know, is a form of hypocrisy.

    Here’s how I see this matter.

    First, you mention opposing camera enforcement of a perceived “guilty until proven innocent” dynamic. This is untrue. A citation is issued in accordance with state statute. A series of pictures of the vehicle going through a standing red light replaces a cop observing the same infraction. Many camera programs offer video of the event as well which can be viewed on line for the convenience of residents.

    Infractions are not issued for yellow light violations. You have to cross the threshold during a standing red light to be cited. Police offers review each infraction visually before it is authorized that a citation be sent.

    Now, the person cited has several options which are not unusual under Florida law. They can pay the citation or they can take it to court. Due process is offered and the presumption is no different in that instance than any other involving an officer observed traffic violation. Objections to that procedure on due process grounds are legally without merit.

    Second, you claim that hypocrisy accounts for the statements of public officials who say that safety is their driving motivation not money. I don’t know what facts entitle you to that opinion but can say for sure that one size doesn’t fit all in that regard.

    Nobody knows my heart and mind better than me and as I have said before, I do not care whether the red light camera program makes money or loses money in my city.

    My care is about the safety of the residents who drive or walk on our streets.

    Sure, it would be nice if the program paid for itself, and yes, residents to pay less tax if it made money. But if it didn’t make roads safer, none of that would matter at all to me.

    I would support the program even if it cost the city money, so long as it saved lives. So long as it made our community safer. That is the position stated by our city commission and the vast majority of our residents and businesses agree.

    You may find that hard to believe. That’s easy to fix. Ask them. In Pembroke Pines we have seen improvement both measurable and perceptible citywide in terms of road and traffic safety and the difference is entirely due to the red light camera enforcement program. There is no disputing this and even those who dislike having to need the program (like me) will tell you so.

    So, far from hypocrisy or spin on the part of city officials, one might view your take on the situation as cynical, jaded and self-serving given your stance against camera enforcement. However, I will refrain from name calling. I will refrain from trying to guess about the motives of others.

    I will say this on my own behalf which I have said before. Having objectively listened very carefully to the various objections raised against the program, I remain concluded that nothing I have heard so far outweighs the public policy benefits of having this program in my home city.

    I respect that other cities might choose not to have the program. That is their right. Only don’t complain later if your intersection related accidents continue to rise as they have steadily in this county over the years. Because this is the clear solution to it that (a) punishes the guilty without (b) causing everyone to pay much more in tax than necessary to confront a simple problem.

    Which brings me to my third point.

    Just today, the Sun Sentinel wrote a front page article about rising deaths relating to road accidents which coincided with the Herald’s editorial, link below, in which the newspaper’s editorial board finally arrives at a conclusion that most jurisdictions nationally reached decades ago.

    Red light camera programs save lives. Te editorial explains why in easy to understand terms. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/07/3168071/safety-in-the-drivers-seat.html

    I don’t always agree with my friends in the media. You can call it hypocrisy if you wish but I agree with the Herald on this issue and hope (though I admit spending very little time worrying about it) that the Sun Sentinel and others will also come around.

    Last, I continue to find it lamentable that some who go through or fear being caught going through standing red lights might find this program and the fines that go along with it inconvenient. However the proper role for government to play with respect to law enforcement is to be less worried about the feelings of the perpetrator and more concerned about protecting the innocent, especially when it comes to protecting health, safety and welfare.

    You can call all this spin if you wish but I did my homework on this program years ago and concluded on the merits that it was a life saver.

    I couldn’t care less if it makes money or costs some. Money in connection with this program was never a motivating factor in my review of it. This program is about saving lives and to cheapen such a topic with unverified hunches is pretty low commentary.

    At least in my city, saving lives is what the red light camera enforcement program is all about and if I did not see safer roads coming out of the program I would be the first to ask for it to be discontinued. That has not been the experience in my city. We have seen reductions in accidents and citations. We have a clear perspective of safer roads citywide as a result.

    So best wishes to you all for a Happy New Year and please drive carefully.

    Peace.

    Angelo

  20. Duke says:

    Dear Commissioner:

    When you sit down with these scammers who want to maneuver the time on yellow lights in order to make red light cameras more profitable, do you ever once suggest a longer yellow light? You should try that sometime. Then see what the reaction is on the part of the people who you allow to rob your constituents under the guise of safety. Get a clue sir. Please.

  21. Ha Ha Ha says:

    In the twisted mind of Angelo Castillo, all the surveillance cameras are there for your own good, to discipline you for the slightest human error regardless of whether or not anyone is ever harmed by it. It’s the Castillo doctrine – it’s necessary to destroy the quality of human life in order to save it!!

    But why stop there? After all, there are jaywalkers everywhere in South Florida, including main arteries like University Blvd.

    So Castillo’s plan for re-election should be very simple – all he needs to do is show everyone how they can descend even deeper into the metallic embrace of robotic discipline. Whenever any pedestrian’s foot strays outside the lines of the crosswalk, a surveillance camera could be there to take a picture and rob them of $300! After all, they ARE breaking THE LAW, even if nobody is actually harmed by it. And best of all, there’s no need to rely on imperfect cops who might not be able to detect fleeting violations of THE LAW – the Castillo Camera can detect whether or not you are over the line by 1 millimeter, even if it’s only for 1/5 of a second, and then it can HELP YOU with a $300 fine in order to save you from your own lawbreaking self!

    Surely all the voters will love Castillo’s promise to sweep the streets clean of jaywalkers, thus “saving lives” and as always giving Angelo Castillo ever more money to spend on cockamamie lawsuits in the next City budget!!

  22. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Duke,

    You raise a question about longer yellow lights that I myself raised years ago, and again recently to the state FDOT officials who set the standards for signalization statewide. The county in most parts of Broward then signalizes (or they are supposed to…) in accordance with those standards.

    Here is the consistent answer I get to the question of longer yellow lights.

    No.

    In fact, they say hell no. And here’s why.

    They (the traffic engineering experts of our state) say the formula they use is tried and true, has existed for a very long time and is safe. Yellow lights are timed on the basis of capacity of a road and speed limit among other factors.

    FDOT says that if yellow lights are prolonged, more people will speed to get through them resulting in additional crashes that are also more dangerous. I did not just take their word for it and leave it at that. I contacted the local traffic engineers I know that practice in Broward. Each of them concurs with the FDOT standard and the added risk that prolonging yellow lights would pose.

    Additionally, during rush hour, the extrapolated impact of longer yellow lights would back up traffic significantly given the thousands of cars on any number of Broward roads during morning and evening rushes.

    I myself would have no difficulty with the concept of longer yellow lights if it made roads safer. But the professional engineers who decide these things at the state say hell no. And cities have no authority to go against those standards.

    Don’t believe me? Ask them yourself. You’ll see. In fact, let’s settle that issue once and for all. I invite anybody at all to contact FDOT and get them to change their view or answer to this question. Give me the name of any FDOT official that disagrees with the accuracy of the above statement and I will immediately go back to them.

    Short of that, I’m forced to consider that question resolved. Hope this responds to your question.

    Regards,

    Angelo

  23. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Ha,

    If you point an ounce of effort into stopping for red lights, instead of the ton you put into your elaborate discussion of why law enforcement should be blamed for your failure to follow the simple step of stopping for a red light, we’d all be better off and you would have much less stress.

    The only robot I’m interested in avoiding is the one doctors hopefully will never install into your lungs to pump air into your otherwise destroyed body because some jerk was too busy texting or whatever else to stop for a red light.

    This is life safety here and your approach to this is indefensible.

    Stop for the damned light when it turns red and you have nothing to worry about. Because it’s not just your life that is at risk. It’s everybody else’s that you put at risk for not trying harder to drive responsibly. That’s why South Florida auto insurance rates are the highest in the nation. Because too many like you just don’t get it.

    Drive safely,

    Angelo

  24. Thanks Angelo says:

    Thanks Angelo,

    No one is better suited than you to point the finger at someone for not being responsible for their actions.

    Take a dose of your own medicine and tell the truth that you ignored and had no issue with an alleged child molester succeeding you at Broward House as reported in the Herald.

  25. Steve Smit says:

    Angelo. The question isn’t the yellow lights. The question is why don’t you give a .4 second grace period, even .2 second.

    Clearly this would let go technical violators and wouldn’t increase risk to public safety. Nobody should be jumping the gun anyway, unless they were illegal street racing.

    Your best buds at ATS would say the same: HELL NO
    Because their revenue model is based on catching technical violators.

    They went bezerk when the legislature cut down on right turns, and many cities were forced to take them out because 90% of the violations were for not stopping before the line, or other assorted BS.

    And I’m not stone cold, but damn strait that’s the stone cold truth.

  26. Duke says:

    Dear Commissioner:
    Thank you for your response. The answer(s) you got is the standard line that all those aforementioned folks are use to giving. If I were you, I would not accept what they say as gospel. Try and find a yellow light anywhere in Broward County more than 4 seconds long. You won’t. Many are just under 4 seconds. Use the stopwatch application on your cell phone. Just drive around different parts of the county and see the difference in the yellow time from city to city or intersection to intersection. Then go to Palm Beach county, where many municipalities operate under the rationale of “Stop Browardization” and notice how long the yellow lights are. Especially once you get north of Glades on 441. I live in Wellington and work in Plantation. Yellow times are longer in Palm Beach County. There is no uniformity whatsoever from city to city or county to county. How long that yellow light is depends on where you are. It could be 5 seconds long, it could be 2 seconds long. Good luck with guessing. Better to be safe and just throw on the brakes. That’s causing an increase in rear-end collisions in many jurisdictions. By the way, state statutes do not say that you stop on yellow. It says you proceed with caution. Additionally, the Feds recommend increasing yellow times, as indicated in the congressional report of 2001. No wonder so many states are outlawing these cameras. It’s nothing short of a scam.

  27. Floridan says:

    “The question is why don’t you give a .4 second grace period, even .2 second.”

    Isn’t the yellow light itself a grace period, following the green light?

  28. Duke says:

    Just a couple of more quick points. I have never gotten a red light ticket. I just don’t like government scamming taxpayers. The internet has a ton of research and studies showing what a crock these cameras are. I don’t mean bloggers. I mean reputable researchers. If you Google the phrase “Length of yellow caution traffic lights could prevent accidents” you will find a very recent study done by The Virginia Tech Traffic Institute. In a nutshell, yellow lights should be at least 4.2 seconds long. The findings were published in Science Daily. Another good phrase to Google is “Cities shortening yellow traffic lights for deadly profit.”

  29. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @28 Duke – Everything you said is exactly correct, and I echo your post 100%.

    No red light tickets on MY driving record whatsoever, Angelo, but like Duke (and unlike you), I have the ability to find and correctly evaluate the relevant evidence.

  30. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @26 Duke – Here are some good links to reinforce your excellent comments:
    —–
    http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/armey/finalreport.pdf

    The Red Light Running Crisis
    Is it Intentional?
    Office of the Majority Leader
    U.S. House of Representatives
    May 2001

    [...] why have so many people become wanton red light runners all of a sudden? The answer seems to be that changes made to accommodate camera enforcement have produced yellow light times that, in many cases, are shortened to the point that they are inadequate. And when people come upon an intersection with inadequate yellow time, they are faced with the choice either of stopping abruptly on yellow (risking a rear end accident) or accelerating. The options for those confronting such circumstances are limited and unsafe. But each time a driver faces this dilemma, government increases its odds for hitting the jackpot.

    This report suggests there is something that can be done to address this hazard. It cites examples of problem intersections where yellow times have been raised by about 30 percent and the number of people entering on red fell dramatically. It cites, in addition, controlled scientific studies that confirm the hypothesis that longer yellows are better. [...] Today’s formula for calculating yellow times yields yellow times that can in some cases be about 30 percent shorter than the older formula. [...]

    And one should ask the question, if there’s a problem with an intersection, why don’t safety engineers in the field just go out and fix the timing?

    In fact, before red light cameras arrived in the United States, that’s exactly what our regulations instructed them to do. If too many people enter on red at an intersection, engineers were supposed to lengthen its yellow time. But in the year that red light cameras first started collecting millions in revenue on our shores, those entrusted with developing our traffic safety regulations dropped the requirement to fix signal timing, instructing engineers to “use enforcement” instead. [...]

    Every study claiming red light cameras increase safety is written by the same man. Before joining the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), he was a top transportation official in New York City at the time the city began looking into becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to install red light cameras. In other words, the father of the red light camera in America is the same individual offering the “objective” testimony that they are effective.

    A similar conflict of interest affects those entrusted with writing safety regulations for our traffic lights. The Institute of Transportation Engineers is actively involved in lobbying for, and even drafting legislation to implement, red light cameras. They are closely tied to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which in turn is funded by companies that stand to profit handsomely any time points are assessed to a driver’s license.

    In short, the only documented benefit to red light cameras is to the pocketbook of local governments who use the devices to collect millions in revenue.

    We traded away our privacy for this. We gave up our constitutional protections for this. In return, we are less safe. That is the red light camera scam, and it has gone on for far too long. [...]
    ——
    http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-40/chapter-14/article-3/40-14-22/

    2010 Georgia Code
    TITLE 40 – MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC
    CHAPTER 14 – USE OF SPEED DETECTION AND TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNAL MONITORING DEVICES
    ARTICLE 3 – TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNAL MONITORING DEVICES
    § 40-14-22 – Timing of traffic-control signals

    The timing of any traffic-control signal which is being monitored by a traffic-control signal monitoring device shall conform to regulations promulgated by the Department of Transportation pursuant to Code Section 32-6-50. The duration of the yellow or red light of any traffic-control device at which a traffic-control signal monitoring device is installed shall not be decreased prior to the installation of a device or during the time for which the device is operated. The Department of Transportation shall establish minimal yellow light change interval times for traffic-control devices at intersections where a traffic-control signal monitoring device is utilized. The minimal yellow light change interval time shall be established in accordance with nationally recognized engineering standards, and any such established time shall not be less than the recognized national standard plus one additional second. Each governing authority using a traffic-control signal monitoring device shall at its own expense test the device for accuracy at regular intervals and record and maintain the results of each test. Such test results shall be public records subject to inspection as provided by Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50. Each such test shall be made in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended procedure. Any such device not meeting the manufacturer’s minimum accuracy requirements shall be removed from service and thereafter shall not be used by the governing authority, nor shall any charges for violations based on evidence from such device be made by a law enforcement agency, until such device has been serviced and calibrated at the expense of the governing authority by a qualified technician.

  31. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57551652/safety-or-scam-red-light-cameras-under-scrutiny/

    November 19, 2012 8:56 AM
    Safety or scam? Red light cameras under scrutiny

    (CBS News) Cameras that catch drivers running red lights are supposedly installed for safety purposes, but critics are now raising their voices — calling them highway robbery. [...]

    Brothers Michael and Paul Kubosh led a successful rebellion against red light cameras in Houston. The city took the cameras down more than a year ago. The brothers say the only reason cities install the cameras in is to make money. [...]

    The question is, do they make people safer? A Federal Highway Administration study gave a mixed answer. At 132 intersections using red light cameras, right-angle crashes — what are commonly known as broadsides — dropped 25 percent. But rear-end crashes went up 15 percent.

    Dr. John Large, a public health researcher at the University of South Florida, said red light cameras are “not helping drivers drive more safely.”

    Large said he thinks there’s a better way to address red light running: make yellow lights longer. He said, “Increasing yellow light times have shown that red light-running incidences have dropped near or around 80 percent.”

    New York City firefighter Tom Buttaro knows all about it. He received a ticket after a camera caught his wife going through a red light. Buttaro said, “The light was timed at 3.9 seconds. When my wife Angela went through the intersection, I did some research and found out the proper timing of the light is 5.4 seconds, a whole second and a half shorter than it is supposed to be.”

    On a road with a 55 mph speed limit, that didn’t give her enough time to stop. [...]

  32. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Friends,

    There is a one second delay between a light turning red on one end of an intersection and it turning green on the other. This is standard in our area. Plus, in terms of yellow light duration, the standard in place, for example, on Pines Boulevard is four seconds.

    If you — any of you — see any yellow light on Pines Boulevard that does not last exactly four seconds, call me and I will demand that it be looked at.

    If you cannot stop for a light on Pines Boulevard in time, that means you are going too fast and need to slow down. The physics and math of this has been studied and double checked by professional traffic engineers, I have pressed them on these details and they insist that this is the right scientific engineering answer. Argue your point with them if you wish. My job is to listen to professional advice.

    Nobody is looking to cheat people. This is about life safety and enforcing the rules honestly.

    As to the rest, look. This is a blog. That makes it a combination of news and entertainment. I can’t take comments made very seriously here. But I do offer my own in a serious way for your benefit.

    Angelo

  33. Dear Angelo says:

    Israel is really missing out not naming you head of public relations the way your bullshit people you would be perfect for the job.

  34. Christine says:

    @#33

    I was thinking the same thing….

  35. Duke says:

    Mr. Commissioner.
    Sir, with all due respect. read the congressional report. As far back as 2001 many folks had the heads-up on this scam. As of today, 19 states have outlawed red light cameras, and your friends at ATS won’t install them anywhere that yellow times are not decreased. Additionally, take a very close look at yellow arrow times for left hand turns in the Pines. In most municipalities, the yellow arrow for left turns is even less than the solid yellow when proceeding straight ahead.

  36. Duke says:

    The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has a traffic signal timing manual that cities are encouraged to follow. Chapter 5 deals with yellow times. They recommend the following minimum yellow time depending on the following speeds. 25MPH = 3.0 seconds. 30 MPH = 3.2 seconds. 35MPH = 3.6 seconds. 40 MPH = 3.9 seconds. 45 MPH = 4.3 seconds. 50 MPH = 4.7 seconds. 55 MPH = 5.0 seconds. 60 MPH + 5.4 seconds.I don’t know what the speed limit is on Pines Boulevard these days. I do know that back in 2010 it was 50 MPH in places, which would dictate a 4.7 second long yellow light. So when the commissioner says that all yellow lights on Pines Boulevard are now at 4.0 seconds long, I assume that the speed limit does not exceed 40 MPH at any point. Otherwise, the city would not be in uniformity with the feds. And one would have to seriously wonder why.

  37. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.dot.state.fl.us/trafficoperations/Operations/Studies/TEM/FDOT_Traffic_Engineering_Manual_revised_November_2012.pdf

    Section 316.075(1)(a),F.S. requires “Vehicular traffic facing a circular green signal may proceed cautiously straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place
    prohibits either such turn. But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left,
    shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the
    intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.”

    Approach speed used in this section is the posted speed or the 85th percentile approach
    speed for the lanes being analyzed. Yellow change and all-red clearance intervals specified herein are minimums, and should be increased as necessary
    , based on professional engineering judgment, to fit site conditions at any particular intersection.

    The Florida yellow change intervals shown in Table 3.6-1, are computed using the ITE formula (Formula 3.6-1, found in ITE’s Traffic Engineering Handbook). These intervals are the required minimums. If necessary and due to equipment limitations, round computed values up to the next 0.5 second.

    Table 3.6-1. Florida Yellow Change Interval (0.0 % Grade)*
    APPROACH SPEED(MPH) YELLOW INTERVAL (SECONDS)
    25 3.0
    30 3.2
    35 3.6
    40 4.0
    45 4.3
    50 4.7
    55 5.0
    60 5.4
    65 5.8

    * For approach grades other than 0%, Use ITE Formula.

    Formula 3.6-1
    Y = t + (1.47v / 2(a + Gg) )
    Where:
    Y = length of yellow interval, sec.
    t = perception-reaction time, (Use 1 sec.).
    v = speed of approaching vehicles, in mph.
    a = deceleration rate in response to the onset of a yellow indication.
    (Use 10 ft/sec2)
    g = acceleration due to gravity. (Use 32.2 ft/sec2)
    G= grade, with uphill positive and downhill negative. (percent grade /100)

    An all-red clearance interval must be used. Providing adequate all-red clearance intervals can significantly impact intersection safety by reducing the probability of occurrence of right angle crashes, even if drivers run the red signal indication. [...] The minimum all-red clearance interval shall be 1 second and the maximum all-red clearance interval should normally not exceed 3 seconds. Longer all-red intervals can be used at the engineer’s discretion where sight distance, complex intersections, and any unique conditions exist that may warrant longer all-red times. The determination shall be based on engineering judgment. The all-red clearance interval in any case should normally not exceed 6 seconds. [...]

  38. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Reply to Duke 36.:

    Let me review this with you one last time because it’s getting tiresome to repeat myself.

    (1) Broward Cities DO NOT have any direct involvement in the management of traffic signals. Since 1983, those responsibilities fall on Broward County.

    (2) Pines Boulevard is a state road. FDOT has jurisdiction over that road, not Pembroke Pines.

    (3) Whatever DOT manuals may say, FDOT is the applicable standard in Florida. I raised the issue of yellow light duration with them. They have a different view of what standards apply and confirmed — even when pressed — that the yellow lights in my city were timed correctly.

    (4) As I have said before, I leave the issue of yellow light timing to the traffic engineering authorities responsible for that matter. If you want change to those standards, take it to them. We in cities do not have that authority.

    Hope that clarification helps.

    Angelo

    PS — I see the Sun Sentinel finally came to their senses and issued an editorial yesterday agreeing that red light camera programs save lives. However, by all means, keep fighting for what you think is right. Nobody loves a cynic more than me. Everybody is entitled to a point of view, but nobody is entitled to their own facts.

  39. Duke says:

    Dear Commissioner:
    Who gets the revenue from the cameras? The city or the county? How does a city get money from a red light camera system that only the county sets the standard on? How much money is your city kicking back to the county after Pembroke Pines and ATS get their cut? Sir, what you and your fellow elected officials are doing is a crime. You are scamming the people who drive in your city then putting the blame for shortened yellow times on the county. As far as the sun-sentinel endorsing red light cameras, they also endorsed Romney.Isn’t about time you stopped taking what the folks at ATS say as gospel and find some other legitimate way to raise revenue? Please remember Mr. Commissioner.. you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. 19 states are hip to the red light camera scam and have outlawed them.More are going to follow. South Florida will no doubt be one of the last places to put the brakes on this scam. I see class action lawsuits on the horizon. When the ship hits the sand and your city ends up being liable and paying back all this money and attorney’s fees, just remember that you were one of the people defending ATS and their crooked methodology.

  40. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/compromise-traffic-camera-bill-advances-legislature

    A ‘compromise’ bill that would make it harder for cities and counties to enforce red light violations caught by traffic intersection cameras scored a major victory Thursday, as it passed a House committee on a 12-4 vote. [...]

    HB 1061 would change the existing law – in place since 2010 – in several respects:

    – removing all authority to enforce right-on-red violations through red light cameras; [...]

    – lengthening the amount of time a traffic light stays on yellow before switching to red; several intersections that have had cameras installed in them have decreased the yellow light duration, catching many drivers (and alleged violators) by surprise.

    According to a committee staff analysis, the bill might require traffic engineers to attend hearings to testify, if an alleged violator claims the government is not complying with the yellow light provisions. [...]

  41. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.barefootmailman.org/heres-how-a-somewhat-obscure-law-blows-a-big-fat-hole-in-floridas-red-light-camera-law/

    Today, I beat a red light ticket. And I beat it with a foolproof defense. Every single person who gets a red light ticket should use it. [...] my battle with the court system began when I got a $190 ticket in the mail [...] The ticket explained that Florida’s red light camera law specifies that if you weren’t driving your car when it ran a red light, you have to fill out an affidavit stating who was. But I had a rock-solid defense, so I requested a court hearing, which came this morning.

    When it was my turn, the only people left in the courtroom were a couple lawyers, a half dozen cops there to testify, and a handful of court clerks. The judge began by asking a Fort Lauderdale Police Department officer to play the tape of my car cruising through a red light.

    He turned to me with eyebrows raised skeptically and asked, “What’s your defense?”

    The speech I read was an impassioned plea the wife, a law school professor, helped prepare (the full speech is copied below, and if it applies to you, you should damn well use it in court too). I gave the judge copies of the Florida Statute I cited and offered him copies of Florida Supreme Court rulings that were applicable.

    The judge was reluctant at first. “If you weren’t driving the car, you need to tell me who was,” he said.

    “You can’t ask me that, your honor,” I replied, and immediately I regretted the answer.

    “I can ask you anything I want,” he said, and I knew he was right.

    “Sorry, your honor, what I meant to say was that Florida law allows me to decline to answer that question.”

    There was some more back and forth, and he spent a couple minutes studying the statute. [...] Finally, the judge asked, “So, were you driving the car?”

    “No, your honor.”

    “Okay, case dismissed.”

    The clerks handed me a form indicating that the charge had been dropped, and I walked out a free man. Okay, I would’ve been free even if I had been found guilty. But I also would’ve been perhaps $600 lighter. And now anyone whose spouse was actually driving when their car went through a red light has a rock-solid defense.
    ~~~~~
    The red light camera spousal privilege defense:

    Good morning, your honor. As the owner of the vehicle, the local ordinance requires that I sign an affidavit indicating who was driving, if it wasn’t me. However, in this instance, a Florida statute forbids this.

    I would refer you to Florida Statute Section 90.504, also known as the spousal privilege. This statute says that a spouse is not required to testify against the other spouse, and so in this case, I am not required to testify against the person who may have been driving the car that night.

    The spousal privilege has long been recognized in Common Law and in Florida law. The Florida Supreme Court decided Henderson v. Chaires in 1889. The citation is Volume 6 of the Southern Reporter, page 164 (1889). The court in Henderson compared it to the attorney client privilege. It said, on page 166: “No rule of law is better established than that which forbids disclosures by husband or wife as witnesses of matters or conversations occurring between them ….”

    As I noted earlier, the Florida Legislature codified the spousal privilege in Florida Statute Section 90.504. And it has been recognized time and time again in the courts, including recently in the Florida Supreme Court case of Kaczmar v. State in 2012. The citation is Volume 104 of the Southern Third Reporter, page 990. The Florida Supreme Court held that communications between a husband and wife were privileged because the husband “had a reasonable expectation of privacy while speaking privately with his wife,” and the court held that admitting the testimony at the trial court “was error.”

    So I would ask that this ticket be dismissed.

  42. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2013/03/how-i-used-physics-to-beat-a-speed-camera-ticket.html

    How I Used Math to Beat a Speed Camera Ticket

    [...] The citation said I was traveling 30 mph in a 20 mph zone, and for that, I received a whopping $189 fine. But there was a big problem with the photos they provided as “evidence”: They didn’t really prove their case.

    The first thing I noticed were the timestamps. The first photo was marked 04:14:19.7 PM, and the second photo 04:14:20.2 PM. That means it took 0.5 seconds for the camera to take two successive pictures of my car. In order for me to verify if the speed camera was accurate, I needed to know the distance my car traveled in that time period. But, that information wasn’t provided in the citation.

    The second thing I noticed was the poor quality of the photos. The angle and the lighting make it very difficult to determine how far my car traveled. Based on a landmark (a parked car), it appears as if I traveled about one car-length in 0.5 seconds. The type of car I drive is typically about 15 feet long, so that means, based solely on the crude photographic evidence, that I was traveling 30 feet per second. Crunching the numbers, that converts to 20 mph. In other words, the photographic evidence didn’t support their case that I was speeding.

    Obviously, the burden of proof is on the city. I didn’t need to prove that I wasn’t speeding; all I needed to show was that the city couldn’t prove that I was. Therefore, I subpoenaed the officer who issued the citation, and armed with an ability to do basic math, I headed to court.

    Much to my surprise, the officer actually showed up. The city attorney’s office examined him first, and he verified that the camera calculates speed based upon distance divided by time. (I’m glad to know that Seattle uses that standard, since I don’t think there’s any other way to calculate speed.) Then I got my opportunity to cross-examine him:

    “You said the device calculates speed by dividing distance by time. Do you know how far my car traveled?”

    “No,” he responded.

    “Do you know the margin of error for the device?”

    “No.”

    0 for 2. That’s good for me. The city attorney then submitted documentation showing that the speed camera was certified to work accurately. The judge noted, however, that the documentation didn’t actually provide much detail, and she also wasn’t familiar with the certification process described. I made sure to hammer that point home: “While it’s nice that the camera has been shown to work, the relevant point of how far my car traveled and the margin of error of the device hasn’t been provided.”

    I felt the tide turning my way. Then came the coup de grace. The city attorney, presumably not intentionally trying to undermine her own case, asked if the officer was certified to use the device that took a photo of my car.

    “No.”

    Ouch! She probably should have asked that one before the trial.

    After I gave my closing remarks, I nervously awaited the judge’s ruling. She voiced her concern that the cameras haven’t been rigorously verified to work properly. Then, I heard the most glorious words that will forever echo in my heart: “Infraction not committed.” [...]

  43. voter says:

    Ha Ha Ha and Buddy -
    Priceless! Thank you.

  44. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130514/17551823088/floridas-redlight-program-designed-to-make-driving-more-dangerous-shortening-yellow-lights.shtml

    Florida’s Redlight Program Designed To Make Driving More Dangerous By Shortening Yellow Lights

    [...] Even worse: while FDOT is claiming that it changed its regulations to clean up some wording, and not because of potential revenue, the report from WTSP, also found emails from FDOT engineers telling local government officials to lower their yellow light intervals to the absolute minimums allowed. That is, they weren’t even saying it was just an option, they were being told to decrease the timing to make the intersection less safe, but more profitable.

    And, while FDOT defended the whole thing claiming that they changed the policies to “match federal guidelines,” the report explains that federal guidelines actually recommend longer yellow light times, just as we discussed above.

    A USDOT/Federal Highway Administration (FHA) report said cities should not use speed limit in the yellow interval equation because it results “in more red light violations and higher crash rates.” And if drivers’ average speeds cannot be calculated, it’s recommended engineers use the “speed limit plus 10 mph” variable to producing more conservative, and safer, yellow intervals.

    Another report stresses the importance of using 85th percentile speed to calculate yellow intervals, while slide 28 on this report indicates when yellow light times are lengthened, severe crashes drop. 

    USDOT also recommends an extra half-second of yellow time at intersections with lots of trucks or elderly drivers to allow them to react safely. And despite the fact that Greater Tampa Bay is home to five of the nation’s 12 oldest counties (by median age), it’s also home to some of the shortest yellow lights. [...]

  45. Duke says:

    Red light cameras are a scam. It’s been documented in a congressional report as far back as 2001. The only way they are profitable is by reducing the yellow time.

  46. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Iowa City to ban red-light cameras, drones, and license plate readers too
    June 4 2013, 7:45pm

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/06/iowa-city-to-ban-not-only-red-light-cameras-but-drones-license-plate-readers-too/

  47. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/41/4167.asp

    DC, Maryland: Speed Camera Firms Move To Hide Evidence
    Afraid of refunds, Washington, DC and Salisbury, Maryland conceal evidence that could reveal camera inaccuracy.

    The firms operating red light cameras and speed cameras in the District of Columbia and Maryland are working to suppress evidence that could be used to prove the innocence of a photo enforcement ticket recipient. In Washington, the Arizona-based vendor American Traffic Solutions has repositioned cameras and cropped photos so that it is impossible to determine whether another object or vehicle happens to be within the radar unit’s field of view.

    The change is important since DC hearing adjudicators have been throwing out citations whenever another vehicle was visible, creating the possibility of a spurious radar reading (view ruling). The cropping also makes it extremely difficult to use pavement lines to perform a secondary check of the speed estimate provided by the radar. Lines painted on the road for this purpose are visible in one photo, but not the other (view first photo, view second photo). No video is provided to the vehicle owner.

    The District has also recently been installing next-generation speed cameras that use infrared light instead of a visible flash when photographing vehicles. This means drivers will have no way of knowing whether they will receive a ticket until weeks after the alleged violation. [...]

  48. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130806/14054824083/speed-cam-contractor-responds-to-challenged-tickets-cropping-photos-moving-cameras.shtml

    Speed Cam Contractor Responds To Challenged Tickets By Cropping Photos, Moving Cameras

    [...] While the discussion over whether red light and speed cameras are helping or hurting continues, there’s no denying they’re very profitable. In most communities, the beneficiaries of the additional income are extremely reluctant to unplug the cash cow (if you will…). The beneficiary least likely to welcome any dip in income are the companies supplying the camera systems.

    American Traffic Solutions is one of two major traffic cam contractors. Its DC-Maryland camera system has recently run into a few snags in the money-making department due to challenged tickets. In one documented case, a driver had his ticket thrown out because the photographic “evidence” showed two vehicles in frame — and in radar range. (This leads one to speculate whether ATS simply decided to issue two tickets…)

    Rather than simply toss out any questionable photos, ATS has decided it would be simpler (read: more profitable) to do a little creative work to alter the output. [...]

    Even though the cameras are also video-capable, no corroborating video evidence is provided to ticketed drivers. The efforts being undertaken to ensure ATS can “write” as many tickets as possible are questionable at best. As The Newspaper notes, they bear every resemblance to suppression of evidence. Cropping a second vehicle out of frame in order to push a ticket through unchallenged is legally dubious. Ethically, it’s just plain wrong.

    This isn’t ATS’ only experience in the ethically/legally dubious arena. Its system in Florida now sports one of the shortest yellow lights in the country, just a shade above the absolute minimum. Decreasing a yellow light by a half-second can result in double the amount of tickets issued. Of course, it also increases the number of accidents, but that’s hardly of concern to the red light cam contractor. (It would seem to be a problem for the complicit DOTs, but the ultra-cheap source of revenue is apparently too good to pass up — or even use responsibly.) [...]

  49. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=326383

    Red Light Cameras Investigated: Florida’s right turn trap
    9:51 AM, Jul 26, 2013
    by 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky

    [...] the Mark Wandall Act, which standardized the use of RLC across Florida in 2010, specifies officers should not ticket drivers who make rolling right turns in a “careful and prudent” manner. However, every agency has its own interpretation of “careful and prudent.” It’s allowed some agencies to write half of their RLC citations to drivers making rolling right turns. [...] A recent Florida Highway Patrol survey found 78% of Florida’s 70+ agencies that issue RLC citations don’t have a clear definition of what “careful and prudent” means. [...]

    Low-risk maneuver; high-profit violation

    A 1995 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report concluded, “less than 0.2 percent of all fatalities involved a right-turning vehicle maneuver at an intersection where RTOR is permitted.” And a recent analysis of Florida crash data indicated only 0.4% of crashes were a result of right turns. Yet in the City of Tampa, “rolling right” violations accounted for 20% of all RLC tickets in the first half of 2013. And in St. Petersburg, where a city analysis also showed only 0.4% of crashes were caused by rights-on-red, nearly 40% of all citations in 2011 were for right turns. [...]

    Misleading speed detection

    The 10 News Investigators reviewed hundreds of RLC violations and took dozens of measurements at local intersections. Seldom would the speed on the citations match the speed vehicles were actually traveling when they entered the intersection. That’s because the camera companies record a vehicle’s speed not at the intersection, but at an intersection’s approach – often before vehicles brake as they make safe, rolling right turns.

    Each law enforcement agency sets a threshold to receive right turn violations, and in Pinellas County, a judge ruled any right turn under 12 miles per hour should be considered “careful and prudent.” [...] Sometimes, the machines malfunction as well, providing readings such as this supposed 96 mph right turn, which would seem to be an impossible maneuver. [...]

  50. Plain Language says:

    I do not see how the presumption established in the statute that the owner did go through a standing red light can be undone by Ha Ha’s suggested legal defense.

    Seems laughable to suggest that a statute gives you the opportunity to release yourself of a responsibility established by law, yet you claim a right to not provide that information as justified under another statute, therefore the original violation should not apply.

  51. Plain Language says:

    It is the owner not the driver who is cited. If the owner is issued a violation it is presumed to be appropriately issued unless that owner shows proof that another driver was involved, then the court can assign the fine to that driver. But to do that the owner must identify the driver. And they cannot rely upon any law that does not require them to identify a spouse as that driver.

    The law does not require a spouse to identify another spouse but it does not forbid it either.

  52. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @50/51 – The owner in this case defeats the presumption by stating in court that he (or she, as applicable) was not driving, and then asserting the spousal privilege. Due to spousal privilege, the “identify the driver” part cannot then be legally applied to the owner. It’s like being required to testify and then invoking your 5th Amendment rights in order to defeat that requirement.

  53. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://blog.trafficticketteam.com/blog/bid/277416/Red-Light-Camera-Traffic-Tickets-in-Florida-Fines-Are-Going-Up-408

    [...] One positive change is that the 30 reply to contest a red light camera ticket is now 60 days. But that seemingly fair change is overshadowed by the craziness of the rest of the changes. If a Notice of Violation is dropped in the mail, it is considered proper notice even if the camera company mails it to the wrong address. Oh, it gets worse. Instead of having judges hear these cases, cities can now set up there own quasi hearings run by city staff  to determine the validity of the tickets. Oh and just to make sure nobody can really challenge the red light tickets anymore, they have done away with the rules of evidence. If you challenge a ticket and the government worker who gets paid from the city budget decides you are guilty, they can add $250 to the $158 ticket. Oh, but if you decide to challenge the ticket, then change your mind, they will only add $50 to the $158 ticket. 

    This is my favorite violation of due process in the new law. If you don’t pay the red light ticket, they will automatically prevent you from renewing your registration. If you first learn of the red light ticket when you go to renew your license, you are forbidden from challenging the ticket. That’s right, if the for profit camera company mails the ticket to the wrong address and you only find out about it when you renew your tag, you can’t fight the ticket. If this sounds un-American to you, you’re not alone. [...]

  54. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2013/12/los_angeles_parking_tickets_protest.php

    L.A.’s Over-the-Top Parking Tickets Spark Revolt
    ——-
    http://www.laweekly.com/2011-06-16/news/jay-beeber-folk-hero-stops-l-a-s-red-light-cameras/full/

    Folk Hero Stops L.A.’s Red Light Cameras

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