Skip to comments.Supporters of red light cameras say project should be low-cost(Austin TX)
Posted on 07/26/2006 6:06:38 AM PDT by ziggy_dlo
Supporters of red light cameras say project should be low-cost
Austin City Council members who support red light cameras say they want to find a system that wont cost the city much money or effort. City Council Member Lee Leffingwell says the goal of a red light camera system would not be to boost the citys revenues, but he also wants to avoid draining city funds for a network of cameras at busy intersections. What I would be looking for in a proposal that comes back to us is one that has zero or minimal up-front costs to the city, and as much of the overhead and administrative process that can be done is actually handled by the company, Leffingwell said.
Some other cities with red light cameras work out arrangements with the private company supplying the gear so that the company is paid based on the number of citations the red light cameras generate.
The Council could ask the City Manager on Thursday to draft a plan for installing red light cameras at busy intersections. But actually purchasing the cameras and ordering them to be installed would require a separate vote
And these companies would purposely make the delay from yellow light to red light shorter so they could catch more runners. They gat paid a percentage of each runner. I personally hate this idea and I believe it infringes on my freedom rights. Any opinions?
What rights do you believe are being infringed?
I dunno, maybe the right to face your accuser? Right to a speedy trial? These tickets are not negotiable. You pay the fine or you swear an affidavit that your car was sold or stolen. There is no "Not Guilty" option.
Can't a person still take his case to court? Is it not possible to argue that the cameras are defective, timing incorrect, photo is blurred and doesn't clearly show the person's vehicle, etc? I have never read an article anywhere that said the results of a camera taking a picture of someone going through a red light were "not negotiable." Do you have a source for that?
I Charlotte, NC they are "not negotiable". Your ONLY two choices are pay the fine or prove you were not driving the car and give the name of the person that was. Malfunctioning cameras are not a defense.
Comming soon to a city near you...
Ity is still a violation of your constitutional rights.
That doesn't sound right to me -- you can always request a Jury Trial (6th Amendment) or appeal (1st Amendment). Can you link the applicable code?
I am not saying you are wrong -- the very EXISTANCE of a thing called an "infraction" is prima facie unconstitutional. I just want to see how bad the undermining of our rights has gotten.
They get around that by declaring it a breach of a civil ordance not a criminal offence. That is what they are doing here in TX.
Too bad there isn't someone with enough money and time to take this on.
As an aside, what is the penalty if you fail to pay? If they go after your Driver's License then this is a criminal offense.
After having been T-boned by an uninsured red-light runner (who lied about it in court), I would have been VERY happy to have an independent, unbiased source to back me up.
I recently read an extensive study of over 300 intersections that have red-light cameras installed. They compared the accidents for three years before and 2 to 3 years afterward. The cameras cause a slight increase in rear-end accidents, but a large reduction of T-bone accidents, which are usually much more serious (with more injuries, deaths, and more vehicle damage). They found the overall costs (counting both vehicle damage and medical costs, but not lost productivity) are much less for camera intersections than non-camera ones.
As far as the companies reducing the yellow-time, I have heard that charge by people who want to stop the cameras, but I have not seen that confirmed in an independent study. There is a fairly complicated formula that has been universally known and accepted for many years to calculate how much yellow time an intersection has. I would be surprised that anyone knowingly went less than that knowing that if ANYONE went to court, the City/company would have absolutely no defense. I did read about a case in California where there was a state law mandating a long yellow light, which was not applied to, but this is like most cases where politicians substitute their prejudices for engineering studies.
BTW, contrary to what I have read here, lengthening the yellow time does NOT increase safety. Studies that go back decades have shown that there is a short (3-6 months) increase in safety if the yellow is lengthened. Then people adjust and keep pushing the yellow until the number of accidents goes back to where it was before the yellow was changed.
Finally a good use for paintball guns?
I don't know about you, but the $86 ticket I recieved from DC for allegedly speeding, was a lot less than I can make in an hour. I never even saw a camera set up. They place them in plain cars along the side of the road, and do other devious things.
How many folk were moving right along with me? I am not sure, but if only a third of them got a ticket, they have a good revenue stream.
I'll bet their "drivers" don't get bothered too much! I see them flying low all the time! The pols sit in the back laughing and puffing a cigar!
The DC government has become a nickel and dime city. A little here, an extra fee there. The red light cameras are part of it.
My problem is not whether they are effective, but that in 20 years of really watching, I never saw someone pulled over for running a red light outside of good cops using it as an excuse to find drugs. And often succeeding. And DC has lots of red light runners.
There is a didactic value to seeing police enforce the laws. Automating law enforcement loses that.
How does it infringe? You don't even have a "right" to drive, much less run yellow lights. Don't run yellow lights - or run 'em real fast.
I kinda like 'em, except that they sent my wife a ticket - and the picture didn't even show her car!!!!!
These things create a powerful disincentive to make dangerous intersections safer (by extending yellows, improving signal visibility, etc.)
But the poster stated that a person does not have the right of appeal at all. Your response does show that a person has the right of appeal. It may be expensive, but you can appeal it. It is not different than appealing a parking ticket or a speeding ticket. The person may decide that it is not worth the trouble of appealing but he can still appeal.
If what you say is correct, then a ticket coming from a red light camera is the only criminal process in America that does not have the right of appeal. Do you have a source?
These devices contravene the underlying principle of law that everyone accused has the right to confront his accuser.
You don't even have a "right" to drive
Before the camera authorization expired here in VA, there were two types, the state-controlled red-light cameras and the city-controlled ones (e.g. City of Fairfax). The state lights were set by state engineers and had normal yellows. The cities did whatever they felt like. One city light in Fairfax City (Fairfax Circle) was changed from a staggered light to clear through traffic to a simultaneous, shortened yellow. You better believe VA legislators heard from people like me and now there are no more red light cameras, mainly because they were abused for revenue generation purposes.
Sorry, but you are wrong about that.
I heard on WTOP that DC speed camera revenues have gone up even as "aggressive speeding" (not further defined by the reporter) as a percentage of drivers has gone down (from 30-something to 2%). In any event, you are part of their amazing revenue stream long after the law enforcement value has ceased.
The biggest problem the Austin metro area has with traffic signals being run, is timing. There are two bad intersections in Cedar Park, 183 at Cypress Creek and 183 at 1431. There are two or three cars running the light after we see a green signal every day.
Cedar Park and TXDOT had all the signals in perfect timing several years ago. You could leave the first signal and make every signal from one end to the other without stopping. Now, you have to stop at every third or fourth light.
People don't like to sit at the intersection for 2 or 3 minutes. What happened to the $2.5 million Austin wanted to spend to get the lights in time on many of the major streets a few years ago?
Gee, I wonder who funded the "studies" that show all the wonderful benefits of red light cameras?
What a bunch of hokum. This is a blatant money raising scheme and nothing but.
"And these companies would purposely make the delay from yellow light to red light shorter so they could catch more runners."
And some techie they tagged will start timing them, take the bastards to court and win. The city will have to pay back a ton of loot and the councilmen will be pointing fingers at each other.
The DC All federal, state, and local government(s) has become a nickel and dime city rape of the producers.
Actually, the big one I mentioned was from an professional engineering organization. All large engineering groups do a lot of studies before making recommendations of what policy should be adopted. God help us all of the politicians decide engineering matters. The politicians may have grabbed onto this as a way to make money, but there are real benefits independent of that, whenther you believe it or not.
I have no doubt that if you and the Internet were around when the first traffic signals were introduced, you would have said exactly the same thing about them. If you have ever tried to get through a busy intersection when the power is out, you should understand why they are needed. You may not understand red-light cameras, but they are no different. The goal is to pass the maximum number of vehicles through an intersection with a minimum number of accidents.
Extending the yellow has NOT been proved to improve safety. I have seen that said here a lot, but many studies do NOT back that claim up.
> a simultaneous, shortened yellow....
I thought that would trip the conflict monitor and start flashing red in all directions?
Numerous studies to the contrary here:
Here is what I know...
1) NC had to pass a law to make it legal to have traffic cameras (we have both speeding and intersection)
2) It is not a criminal offense it is a civil fine (like walking on the grass)
3) The local radio guys joke that it is a speeding tax since there is no way to fight it
I did a quick search for any links, but I could not find any...sorry.
Unfortunately, no. I live here in the democrat bastion of Charlotte, NC and all I know is what the officials have said. If a picture is taken and it was not you, then you have to turn that person in. The person that the car is registered to is liable. I also know that before we got them, the state had to pass a law to even make them legal.
I should have been clearer, the intersection has two separate lights in a row. They used to stagger the yellows to clear out the middle of the island (about 50-60 feet long). When they added the camera (at the second light) they removed the staggering so you would have to run the red or stop inside the island. They also shortened both yellows.
There is red light running and then there's red light running.
Treating a red light as a stop sign at 2:00 in the morning when you can plainly see there isn't another car for blocks is entirely harmless.
Pushing - or misjudging - the yellow and entering the intersection in the first second or two of red only leads to a collision if an approaching driver timed the light and didn't slow down, or if someone waiting floors it at the first wink of green.
Ignoring the light and flying through the intersection when cross traffic has had a chance to get moving again is where the t-bone accidents and fatalities come in to play..
Red light cameras make no distinction between these scenarios. The people pushing these programs use the scapegoat of the third scenario to rake in the dough from the first two harmless behaviors.
That's where the problem started, the idea of infractions, which are unconstitutional. Still, the process of the cameras is all mechanical, and I, for the life of me, don't understand why more people are not exorcised over being stopped for absolutely no reason in the middle of the night at a roadblock and asked questions regarding an actual crime, for which there was absolutely no reason to believe, prior to the stop, that they had committed. I watched a crippled man peform stunts for over fifteen minutes before being released, a few months ago, at one such roadblock. He had had his car driven to the side by officers, then forced to dance like a monkey, all because he had the unfortunate luck of being crippled.
And BTW, in my business, they send people 100 fines and assume everyone is guilty unless you prove yourself innocent and there is no due process at all!
What business are you in?
I did a google search on "Charlotte NC Red light Cameras" and found numerous articles. Several of the articles spell out the process for challenging the camera to prove that the person receiving the ticket was not the driver. Also, there was a case before the NC Court of Appeals that questioned the entire issue of red light cameras. So someone is appealing.
How is that any different than any other type of appeal to any other crime? The original poster stated that the photos taken from red light cameras could not be appealed. I questioned that assertion and from what I have found, and from your post, that the photos can be appealed. If an individual does not wish to make an appeal, or cannot, that still doesn't negate the fact that an appeal can be made.
A "Journal of the Politics of Driving" is NOT an independent study. Every one I have seen that say that (like this one) are untrained people who have an axe to grind -- just like you.
Sounds like an idiot did the timing there. It reminds me of the saying "Don't attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence." Setting up timing for a single intersection is a stretch for a lot of "engineers". Setting up several related (or interconnected ones) is a stretch for all but a few (just my opinion).
Let me know where I can find those studies.
There are independent studies at the link.
I tried to link directly to the page, but they evidently want you to go through their home page first.
1/3 of the way down, on the right is a box called "Popular Studies". Click on "Red Light Camera Roundup". There are dozens of independent studies in PDF format.
My understanding of that case was that the yellow light time was set up according to accepted engineering standards (read the MUTCD for more information about the ITE formula). The politicians passed a law that was NOT based on anything other than what they felt like at the time. The two conflicted. That does not make the state law right.
I have read the Burkey-Obeng Red Light study and don't find it as "independent" as the people here claim. How many times have people around railed at studies by ivory-tower pin-heads that confirm their own prejudices. Unless it was done by an professional engineering group (like ASCE) and has been peer reviewed and accepted, I am not going to get too worked up about it.
> Let me know where I can find those studies.
Be glad to. Get an engineering degree. Join the engineering organizations in your field. Subscribe to their usual publications. Go to their seminars and conventions each year. Read the lastest studies, listen to the people doing the studies when they make their presentation, offer constructive criticism, see the updated studies in following years with the criticisms answered. When the study is accepted by your peers, it will be worked into standards that EVERYONE uses, like the MUTCD.
And no, I don't have a couple of webpages that you can glance at. Most of this information is available only to members until it is adopted.
I looked through the "studies" and "commentary" listed on the website and still don't see any independent engineering studies there. Everyone there has their own axe to grind.
If it is NOT from a national engineering group (like the ASCE) and has been peer reviewed and accepted by the people actually working in the field, it is suspect. There may be some ivory-tower, pin-heads out there who are actually doing good work, but that has to be proved, not just accepted.
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