Robot Tickets Reflux

January 12, 2010

All Posts, News

As far-fetched as airport security has become, the worst excess of the post-modern police state is still probably robotic traffic law enforcement. Of course, alien overlord Janet Napolitano is a leading proponent of both. There seems to be nothing about freedom that Napolitano and her space alien friends do not hate.

Napolitano is the United States Secretary of Homeland Security who recently proclaimed that airline passengers must spend the final hour of their flights trapped in their seats with no television, blankets, pillows or bathroom breaks. America will lose unless that wild-eyed, third-world fanatic muttering Arabic prayers in seat 26E can be compelled to set off his crotch bomb no later than 61 minutes before landing. And the best way to accomplish that worthy goal is by giving stewardess the police powers they need to force your toddler to wet himself. But this is only the newest entry on Napolitano’s impressive resume.

Before President Spock named Napolitano national “security” shot-caller she was the 21st Governor, the third female Governor and the first space alien Governor of Arizona. And while ruling that state with an iron hand Napolitano decreed the deployment of 76 “Speeding Ticket Cameras” throughout the state.

Groundbreaking Innovation

Traffic control enforcement cameras are a racket run by a couple of soulless and demonic corporations named American Traffic Solutions, Inc. (ATS) and Redflex Holdings, Ltd. The “automated systems” are designed to catch three categories of law breakers. “Red Light Cameras” automatically ticket drivers who do not come to a full and complete stop at red lights. “Speeding Cameras” detect and photograph drivers who exceed the posted speed limit. Redflex’s “Noise Enforcement Camera System” is designed to catch motorcyclists whose exhausts exceed any locally mandated “noise pollution standard.”

Radar or sonic detectors in the systems sense the traffic infraction. High definition video recorders photograph the driver and the license plate and the ticket is then mailed to the address of the vehicle’s registered owner.

These robotic enforcement devices are spuriously promoted, like everything else in the police state, as “ensuring safety.” When red light cameras come to your city they are always accompanied by video press releases of high velocity red light runners tee-boning grandma. Usually it is grandma. Sometimes it is mommy and baby. Local television stations run these releases for days. The outcome is always the same. Grandma dies. That is why America needs Redflex red light cameras. Because without them grandma will die.

The actual fact is that about 95 percent of the time red light cameras ticket motorists who have made a rolling stop before turning right on red. That is who actually gets ticketed by these things: Grandmas and mommies in cars with automatic transmissions who are creeping forward as they look both ways before turning right.

In Los Angeles, the “fine” for turning right on red after a rolling stop is $440. The city splits the fine with Redflex. The whole procedure has practically nothing to do with public safety and practically everything to do with using police power to make money. At least 300 cities in 25 states now use these systems including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and the nation’s capitol.

Not So Fast

People in Arizona fought back.

In December 2008, for example, a good citizen named Travis Munroe Townsend attacked one of the cameras on the 101 Loop in Glendale, Arizona with a pickaxe. The camera was not harmed. Townsend was jailed and fined $3500. Many other citizens fought back more subtly with boxes, post-it notes and silly string. Most people used a legal peculiarity to fight back.

A loophole in the Arizona law that authorized the cameras specifically prohibited transmitting any records of those violations to the Arizona Department of Transportation. That loophole effectively prevented those automated tickets from being considered in decisions to suspend or revoke someone’s driver’s license. A group named Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar formed and advised people to just ignore the tickets when they came in the mail. And people did, by the hundreds of thousands.

Also under Arizona law, traffic tickets become invalid unless the state can prove that the violator was notified of the ticket within three months of the offense. Arizona just did not have enough process servers to keep up with all the scofflaws. So now the cameras are starting to come down.

Napolitano had promised the cameras would net the state $120 million a year. So far the systems have brought in $37 million and as people have figured out how to beat the system revenues have continued to drop. So far, Redflex claims to have lost $11 million on this profit making opportunity.

“I see all the cameras in Arizona completely coming down ” Shawn Dow, chairman of Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar, told the New York Times last week. “The citizens of Arizona took away the cash cow of Arizona by refusing to pay.”

But Wait

This is all fine for Arizona but now Redflex intends to recoup its losses on the other side of the Colorado River by fleecing “speeders” in California. Los Angeles seems to be particularly fertile ground for the scheme. The posted limit on Los Angeles freeways is 65 miles per hour. The “average” speed on the 105 freeway during non-rush hour periods, for example, exceeds 70.

The idea is to make money. This time, in cynical California, nobody is even bothering to pretend these things are about safety. All anybody is talking about is money.

California already faces a budget crisis. Steep cuts have already been made in educational funding and unless significant additional revenue can be generated cuts may have to be made to “vital services” such as police, prisons and the courts.

The plan is to install an additional 500 traffic law enforcement systems in California. The systems would generate an additional 2.4 million traffic tickets each year. The legal violations could earn as much as $780 million.

Of that amount about $58 million, or almost eight percent, would go to local governments. About $338 million, or about 43 percent according to the proposed state budget, would allow for a “general Fund reduction to the Trial Courts.”

The rest, about $384 million each year, would go to Redflex. It is already practically a done deal. You can buy a lot of politicians for $384 million.

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14 Responses to “Robot Tickets Reflux”

  1. c8652 Says:

    @ The Creep.




  2. Snow Says:

    TigGirl, next time your in the French Quarter look around. There are cameras on most intersections, usually mounted on lamp posts, the ones that work, which at any given time aren’t many, are monitored by the substation on Royal St. The city spent millions after Katrina to secure the tourist areas cause if NOLA has no tourists there is no money coming in. The rest of the city is pretty much safe from intrusion, Central City is a war zone with gunfire nightly, unless your looking for rock there is no good reason to be there, if your white the cops will pull you over if they see you in the area,2 killed in the area yesterday. Veterans Blvd in Metairie is also loaded with traffic cameras. Oh Downtown Mobile Al. is loaded with them too, if coming to Mardi-Gras keep this in mind.

  3. TigGirl Says:

    To Snow:
    Wow, I had no idea there were all those cameras in NOLA – I will definitely be looking for them next time. I am guessing the ones I went through didn’t work at the time or they don’t capture motorcycle travel ’cause I’ve never gotten a ticket in the mail…not that I would be going over the speed limit or running red lights…

  4. I.J Says:

    Here in the state of Victoria, Australia the Deputy Commissioner of Police was nabbed by a camera “speeding” through a country town. He was doing 10 Klm/hr or 6.2 MPH over the posted speed limit. He was caught in October last year but the Commissioner of Police thought it would be better to keep it under wraps until after the aggressive advertising campaign over Christmas about speeding drivers. Here was the Deputy Commissioner of Police night after night stating in the TV ads….. “If you speed, we’re going to get you”. You bloody HYPOCRITE KEN LAY…..
    KEN LAY the HYPOCRITE deputy police commissioner was on TV last night to explain everything to the good people of Victoria, Australia.
    His explaination? He said he wasn’t consentrating and he was so fatigued that he doesn’t even remember driving through the town! If you were that fucken tired KEN LAY what the fuck were you doing behind the wheel of a car?
    Don’t do as I do…. do as I say! Same old story all over this planet.
    Hand your badge in you hypocrite fuckhead……

  5. Dante Says:

    I haven’t had any personal experiences with them here… I have to say they seemed like a decent idea to me at first.

    Studies have shown they will cut down drastically on people running red lights, which can clearly save lives.

    But then it becomes all about the revenue, and it all goes downhill from there, as people’s rights are violated.

    The MN Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional, here is the gist of it:

    The Minnesota Supreme Court today delivered the highest-level court rebuke to photo enforcement to date with a unanimous decision against the Minneapolis red light camera program. The high court upheld last September’s Court of Appeals decision that found the city’s program had violated state law.

    The supreme court found that Minneapolis had disregarded a state law imposing uniformity of traffic laws across the state. The city’s photo ticket program offered the accused fewer due process protections than available to motorists prosecuted for the same offense in the conventional way after having been pulled over by a policeman. The court argued that Minneapolis had, in effect, created a new type of crime: “owner liability for red-light violations where the owner neither required nor knowingly permitted the violation.”

    “We emphasized in Duffy that a driver must be able to travel throughout the state without the risk of violating an ordinance with which he is not familiar,” the court wrote. “The same concerns apply to owners. But taking the state’s argument to its logical conclusion, a city could extend liability to owners for any number of traffic offenses as to which the Act places liability only on drivers. Allowing each municipality to impose different liabilities would render the Act’s uniformity requirement meaningless. Such a result demonstrates that [the Minneapolis ordinance] conflicts with state law.”

    The court also struck down the “rebutable presumption” doctrine that lies at the heart of every civil photo enforcement ordinance across the country.

    “The problem with the presumption that the owner was the driver is that it eliminates the presumption of innocence and shifts the burden of proof from that required by the rules of criminal procedure,” the court concluded. “Therefore the ordinance provides less procedural protection to a person charged with an ordinance violation than is provided to a person charged with a violation of the Act. Accordingly, the ordinance conflicts with the Act and is invalid.”

    The complete article including the findings of the court are here:

  6. Snow Says:

    Chainsaw, there are cameras all over the French Quarter, gotta protect the tourists you know, crime in the city is at an all time high and for N.O. that’s saying a lot, more gunfire than Iraq on Sat. nights. The traffic cameras were an under the table deal of the Mayor several years ago, seems the city pays for maintenance of the cameras but no one repairs them, at any given time 70% is broken. The police state is out of control, take the cameras down and make the fucking Barney Fifes get out of the Crispy Creams and do their jobs…

  7. chainsaw Says:

    Here is what is next:

    Visting New Orleans and was returning to friend’s apartment after partying in the French Quarter and while going through a green light the camera flash strobes start popping. I think “that’s bullshit, this light is green”.

    3 weeks later in the mail I get several full color pictures of my truck and a ticket for $140. WTF? The lights are clearly green in the damn picture. Then in the corner I see “3:40 AM, going 54 in a 35 mph zone. A fucking radar camera gave me a speeding ticket.

  8. Grumbler Says:

    No red light cameras here in Boise, ID. I think the fine is $75 for running a red light. That’s what a speeding ticket costs for going 1-15mph over the speed limit ($140 for 16mph or more). Then again, have been pulled over 4x in past 3 years, and only got verbal warnings after I forgot to flip ’em off.

  9. The Creep Says:

    This one time I was trying to get back home from a regretful night at some chick’s house. Problem was, I only knew how to get back via the toll-road and I gone done forgot my dollars on her coffee table. As I sat and stared at the laundry hamper they want you to throw your coins in, I devised a plan. I had no front license plate on the car, so I just had the back to worry about. I did what any reasonable human being would do in such a situation, I dumped the clutch and stood on the brakes with a heavy dose of the go-pedal. The following cloud of smoke was enough to succesfully cover my license plate from view and as I rolled past the camera, I felt compelled to yell “You like them spinnin’ tires?!?!”

  10. Goldsboro Williams Says:

    In our town they installed the Red Light cameras, and told everyone that the city was doing it for safety reasons, and not for money. They advertised the fact that the company actually kept the majority of the money. What they did not publicize was the fact that the lease of the cameras was on a sliding temporal scale. Now, almost all the money goes to the city. What started out as a couple of Red Light cameras has now expanded to almost 30 of them, and the city is getting ready to put out fixed and mobile “speed” cameras.

    Our fine is just over $100.00, and it is a civil fine, not a traffic fine. If you don’t pay it, the city will simply have their lawyer get a judgment for the fine and the court costs, and then take the money right out of your paycheck in the form of a garnishment.

    Personally, I think it is the perfect example of government being out of control. I would bet money that by the time our grandchildren are grown there will be cameras and monitors everywhere, and you will simply pay fines for every little misstep that they determine that you have made in your life. This will probably include when the cameras catch you using too much salt on your food.

    Then again, maybe the people will rise up and hang the politicians. there is always hope…

  11. VFFV Says:

    And most of the pathetic citizens will stand by and take it up the ass,just like the B.S.Fee’s DMV raised again this year, But…what about all those illegals that dont drive registered cars with the right address and info, yep thats right,we will be rewarded with higher fines,im born and raised in Ca. Fuck this place and the revenue collectors hiding behind the badge…or camera. Goin to go put paper dealer plates on all my scoots and trucks…[email protected]

  12. c8652 Says:


    Top (5) quotes that begin with ” Let us ..”

    number 5 ” Let us and tomato with that?”
    number 4 ” Let us give thanks”
    number 3 ” Let us pray”
    number 2 “Let us think about this for a moment’
    and my personal favorite
    number 1 ” Let us not pretend”

  13. DirtyBruin Says:

    As much as I hate automatic transmissions, red-light cameras are going way too far in terms of discouraging their use….

  14. Killem all Says:

    That’s why folks like my self hate any type of LE. The only good cop is a ………..well u no. I live in central ca an about 4 years ago I got shit face drunk at a bar an these fucken pussies that thought they were the coolest thing since ice cream were talkin shit in the bar so when we left I pushed there bikes over. Long story short they gave me six months. Well while going to court there was a porterville ca pig goin to court for leaving his loade gun were his kid could get it , well his kid end up shooting the nieghbors little girl (I think both kids were 5 yrs ) an killing the little girl.the fucking punk ass judge gives him 90 days yea that’s right 90 fucking days for being responsible for the little girls murder. Fuck the police an all LE

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