Red-light camera tickets

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by ShakyDave, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. ShakyDave

    ShakyDave ShakyDave

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    Lots of cities are installing red-light cameras to snap pictures of cars in the intersection during a red light. The technology is that when the light turns red, the camera is activated and snaps a picture of the vehicle's front or rear while it's in the intersection. The resulting photo shows the vehicle clearly in the intersection with a red light in front of it, but the glass of the windows is black.

    The city then sends a picture-postcard to the record owner, or owners, of the vehicle, informing them that they have X days to pay a fine (usually 50 - 100) or appear in court to contest the charge. They are also informed that there will be no charge against them if they will give an affidavit identifying the driver (usually their kid). The city ordinance enacted to prohibit driving through a red light is passed as a civil matter - like trash on the sidewalk - so paying the fine doesn't result in points against the owner's license. On the other hand, the cities contend that the civil nature of the offense allows them to fine the owner(s) and not the unidentified driver, and that the car owners have zero due process rights.

    In my city, and I believe in others, too, the company that makes the camera gear has a deal where they drafted the ordinance for the city, they provide and install the equipment, and they get half the take on the fines.

    Also, in my city, the policy is that if somebody actually shows up to contest the ticket and demands a trial, the city dismisses the case. Also, if the car owner just blows the matter off, the city doesn't follow through on the threat of criminal prosecution, so the only people who have to pay are the ones who aren't prepared to fight back in the legal system.

    The icing on the cake is that these cameras aren't installed in high-accident intersections, they're installed in high VOLUME intersections. And the yellow lights are shortened by anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds to throw off the drivers' timing.

    On the other hand, pushing yellow is a dangerous practice and can result in some really nasty wrecks.

    So the question is: Do you think intersection cameras should be installed? Or not?
     
  2. Lonestar 48

    Lonestar 48 Silver Member

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    My son has picked up two of these tickets, both in my truck, and both times, he ran the light. In our area, you can go to the website listed on the notification and see the video or a series of photos. Just showing up to contest the ticket doesn't get you off here; there has to be some evidence that was not clear to the reviewing officer. Our high volume intersections are typically the same as the high accident rate intersections; just makes sense that would be where the cameras go. And, our yellow lights aren't 10 seconds to begin with, so I'm pretty sure they haven't been shortened.

    So, to answer your question; yes and no. If you see them as purely a revenue maker, then sure, put them everywhere. Too many people are running red lights around here, and maybe the cameras will make them stop. Also helps with our dwindling tax revenue. But, if I get caught and have to pay, well they should take the one that got me out!
     

  3. S.McGaven

    S.McGaven

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    If anyone ever has to fight one, take it to court, when. Rep from the company doesn't show up, and there's no officer that witnessed the infraction. Ask the judge how it could be proved, then ask for it to be dismissed
     
  4. Adams454

    Adams454

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    I got caught by one in Marietta, GA. I paid the fine and learned my lesson.

    While I agree that redlight enforcement is a good use of tax dollars, I don't think they should be doing it with cameras. If they want money from the people, they should have to put an officer out there to get it.
     
  5. Mrs. Tink

    Mrs. Tink Semper Fidelis

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    Exactly. What happened to "confronting your accuser?" The accuser is an inanimate object.

    I frankly think they're unconstitutional, and have been ruled as such in some states and localities.
     
  6. coastal4974

    coastal4974

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    The only part I have a problem with is reducing the time for the yellow light.
     
  7. Adjuster

    Adjuster

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    I have no problems with the cameras. If you run the red light why does it matter how your caught? In fact it is probably better to be caught by camera. You cant argue a photo of your car in the middle of a red light intersection. Also being caught on film must be infinitely safer for everyone than the alternative of a police car chasing you down in traffic getting you to the side of the road and then the cop standing there waiting for the next idiot to come by and run him over or smash into the back of your car.
     
  8. Adjuster

    Adjuster

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    "I frankly think they're unconstitutional, and have been ruled as such in some states and localities."


    I have heard of a few cities where it has gone to court but I have not heard of a single successful ruling against the cameras. Can you give any examples?
     
  9. S.McGaven

    S.McGaven

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    If anyone ever has to fight one, take it to court, when. Rep from the company doesn't show up, and there's no officer that witnessed the infraction. Ask the judge how it could be proved, then ask for it to be dismissed
     
  10. Reswob

    Reswob

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    In most states, if not all, it is illegal to issue a speeding ticket via an electronic device (red light cameras record your speed, but even if you're doing 100 through the intersection you can only be charged with running a red light), so why is running a red light any different? Also, there has been issues with the installation companies (who get some of the revenue from the cameras) programming the yellow lights to be ridiculously short, or to start taking "red light" pictures while still yellow. These cities have had to take down all the cameras.
     
  11. Adjuster

    Adjuster

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    Any confirmed examples, news articles or quoted ordinances/laws? I'll take anything!
     
  12. Bill Keith

    Bill Keith

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    Arizona has done away with them per a recent article I read in Car & Driver. They are on the ballot here in the Houston area next month. I suspect they will be voted out. I detest the scofflaws that run red lights. They cause accidents because most folks are not vigilant when they drive and look before crossing intersections, especially busy ones. I DON'T like red light cameras because they are just another step toward the MAN monitoring us all by camera, much like the streets are monitored in Great Britain. Society needs to be inculcated with a respect for decency, obeying just laws because they are commonly agreed to be in the best interests of the majority and protect the common good.
     
  13. gigab1te

    gigab1te

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    Here in AZ, we have speed cameras all over the place in addition to red light cameras. Although I know I'm in the minority, and will probably be flamed for saying this, I support them. They slow down traffic, reduce the number and severity of collisions at intersections, free up officers to patrol other areas, and help the city/county/state generate needed revenue from people who are not me (i.e. people who speed or run red lights). If I was king for a day, there would be alot more of them installed.
     
  14. PBCounty

    PBCounty

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    I just heard on the news today that my local township will decide today if they are going to keep the cameras or not. Smart money says the answer is no. They were installed a year ago and much hell has been raised by the local populace.
     
  15. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo Millennium Member

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    A civil citation (traffic ticket) has to be served in person. The letter that comes in the mail is not a legal serving of record.

    The place where the infraction occurred might send a human being to your door to serve you, but if it is a long way away, probably not.

    It is VERY important to understand YOUR STATE'S definition of "Intersection." This varies widely from state to state and is the basis of an ignoring traffic signal violation.

    Also, it is very important to understand your state, or municipality's minimum time limit for the Yellow light. This, also, varies from place to place.

    Those red light cameras have totally screwed up the intersections where they've been placed in our community. People never understood the laws surrounding left turns in the first place, now all the clowns are even more tentative about going through an intersection.

    The intersections where these cameras have been placed used to get 8-10 cars through on a left turn. Now, it's more typical to get three, or four through.

    I always thought mandatory drivers' education was a good thing. Still do.
     
  16. Mrs. Tink

    Mrs. Tink Semper Fidelis

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    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/feb/22/judge-red-light-cameras-unconstitutional-aventura/

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/16/1688.asp

    http://suealtmeyer.typepad.com/cleveland_law_library_web/2006/07/trumbull_county.html

    An interesting site about California red light tickets: http://www.highwayrobbery.net/

    There is obviously much disagreement even within the courts. People are saying, even in this thread, that it's a good idea to submit to fines and driving violations because of a mechanical inanimate object's output. I have seen numerous situations with my own eyes where the photo taken by the camera does not actually show a violation. The bottom line is that the camera has no judgment to be able to discern whether traffic laws or ordinances were broken.
     
  17. PBCounty

    PBCounty

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    My biggest problem with these things is that the slope can get awfully slippery in a few short years. Look at what has happened to our friends across the pond.....they've graduated from traffic cameras and have moved towards installed government monitored cameras into private businesses. It had to start somewhere.
     
  18. Mushinto

    Mushinto Master Member

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    In general, I have no problem with the system. It enhances public safety without any cost to the taxpayer.

    Both of these actions would be wrong and are mostly urban legend.

    Every system I have seen has a sworn police officer viewing the recorded offense and certifying that the citation be issued.
     
  19. Batesmotel

    Batesmotel

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    There were considered for use here and IIRC the "alternate timing" of the lights some cities have supposedly used was one reason we did not go with them.
     
  20. Y-NotG23

    Y-NotG23

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    One of the three vehicles I have, have been tagged at those type of traffic lights in the past.

    And yes, it's worth it to take it to court.

    I simply told the court that my wife and I both drive those vehicles and I do not know which one of us was driving at the time.

    Dismissed.


    I suspect that the red light intersections are just a means of picking up some extra $$ from the unknowing sheep.

    Without proof of who was driving, how can you fine the owner?
    They can not expect a vehicle to cough up the $$.