Skip to comments.4 weeks, 10,000 traffic tickets (Red Light Cameras)
Posted on 08/01/2009 2:52:45 PM PDT by buccaneer81
4 weeks, 10,000 traffic tickets Heath officials say they didn't expect such a windfall Saturday, August 1, 2009 3:01 AM By Josh Jarman THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH HEATH, Ohio -- City officials say they were shocked by the number of violations recorded during the first month of traffic-camera enforcement and decided to make it cheaper to protest multiple tickets.
More than 10,000 violations had been recorded by Heath traffic cameras through Tuesday. At $100 apiece, that would net the city a little more than $830,000 after paying the vendor, Redflex, its share.
In four weeks, the cameras will have generated an amount equivalent to roughly 12 percent of the Licking County community's annual budget -- and a lot of anger.
Mayor Richard Waugh said the city's intention was not to saddle drivers with four, six or sometimes eight or more tickets. Citations were not mailed for almost three weeks, however, to give City Council members a chance to modify the program in response to the high number of violations.
That meant some drivers racked up several over a period of days without realizing it until a bundle of tickets arrived in the mail.
Waugh said he sympathizes with drivers facing multiple fines. "If someone was pulled over by police and given a ticket once, that would be enough to modify driving behavior."
Before yesterday, drivers who sought to have their tickets dismissed would have had to post a full $100 bond for each one. Now, they will have to post $100 on only the first ticket to fight all of them, Waugh said. The hearing officer has been instructed to be lenient in cases of similar violations, he said, adding that he hopes that could lead to dismissal of up to half the tickets sent in July.
Waugh said that would cut the city's take, but the cameras were never about money. He said no specific purpose has been identified for the fines, which will go into the city's roughly $7 million general fund.
The cameras have generated fewer tickets each week, and Waugh said the city had expected the number to level off at about 400 a month. He said the city anticipated generating an additional $100,000 from fines this year.
But opponents still call the cameras a cash-grab by the city, questioning their effectiveness as safety devices. Ten cameras watch over six intersections, looking for speeders, red-light runners and other violators. Signs at the intersections warn that the cameras are in use.
According to statistics compiled by the Ohio Department of Transportation, 16 of the 408 traffic crashes reported on Rt. 79 from Hopewell Drive to Irving Wick Drive between 2006 and 2008 were caused by someone running a red light. Six were attributed to cars traveling faster than the 35-mph speed limit. Following too closely was reported as the greatest contributing factor in most crashes, which overwhelmingly were rear-end collisions.
A similar report for Rt. 79 south of Irving Wick found that one of 38 crashes in the same period was caused by speeding. Two speed-enforcement cameras at Coffman Boulevard in that area accounted for more than half of all the tickets issued last month.
Heath Police Chief Tony Shepherd said ODOT's crash data does not tell the whole story. In most noninjury crashes, police do not have the time or manpower to conduct crash-reconstruction analysis, he said. The speeds listed on those crash reports are the speeds reported by the drivers.
Shepherd said officers typically write about 100 traffic tickets a month, mainly because his department is too short-staffed to devote significant time to enforcement.
Shepherd and Waugh disagree with those who say the speed limit at Coffman is artificially low. The four-lane road there travels through a less-congested area of some businesses and homes before opening up to fairly rural countryside south of the city.
Every day in summer, more than 1,500 children travel to the city water park, about a block north of the Coffman intersection near City Hall, Waugh said.
He said raising the speed limit along that stretch would put residents in danger, considering how many drivers already exceed it.
"The speed limit has been 35 there for 40 years," Waugh said, "and there are three signs telling you that before you get to Coffman."
That's all it is or ever was.
TEOs - tax enforcement officers
Liar liar pants on fire.
I also wonder if some of these lights might ought to be flashing yellow in the night hours - that used to be standard practice in Ohio years ago for lights at the entrance to shopping centers or sidestreets where traffic was not an issue at night. Such lights would flash yellow on the main road and flash red on the side street or driveway.
Running traffic lights is illegal, and people have gotten away with it so long that they expect no one to be ticketed—that is until one of their loved ones is killed.
Of course it is all about money. 80% of the fines are for right turns on red without stopping long enough, not for running the light.
It is a Scam to make a lot of money.
And it has been shown to “cause” accidents from people slamming on their brakes to prevent running an “orange” light.
That is right “orange” not red.
Then why even have them?
A politicians dream program.
Get the money and still claim to cut taxes.
When do we repeat the actions related to 1776?
Let me know and I will be there.
Except now you have drivers slamming on their brakes when they see a yellow as they enter the intersection. And that's going to get people killed.
$100 a pop is cheap. In CA I think it’s $400-$500.
If politicians put these up at every intersection, we’d have the richest gov’t in the world. All, and I do mean all, of our budget woes would be gone and the pols couldn’t spend the revenue as fast as it came in.
It's NEVER about money and job security is it?
Me thinks we have crossed the line and are now working for the government instead of the government working for us.
Add ALL the government thievery and I bet even the most modest of producers are paying more than 50% of their labor to government.
“It’s all about the money.”
Yes, it is. States and municipalities are broker than broke. They’ve got to wring every last dime out of us ‘stupid turnips’ while they can...
‘The People’s Republik of Madistan’ who LOVES their bike trails and gay spandex boys, to the exclusion of all other citizens, has been ticketing bicyclists for ANY minor infraction they can find. Truly SHOCKING!
The cops got a federal GRANT to set up ‘stings’ for bikers on our local roads much like they do for drunk drivers. And they’ve been setting up more ‘stings’ than usual for speeders, drunks and those that don’t wear seatbelts.
You’re ratting out your neighbor with your tax dollars, whethere you even realize it or not.
(As a law-abider, I most likely won’t have to pay into the kitty, but I try to break one or two minor laws a day where I can; letting my lawn go until it’s close to ticket-height, putting a pop can into the trash versus the recycle bin, spitting on the sidewalk, dancing in public, etc. Try it. You’ll feel a WHOLE lot better, LOL!)
Drivers will modify their behavior and the number of violations will fall to almost nil. Then, the revenue necessary to carry the costs of the program will evaporate.
This is exactly what happened in Dallas after three months of the red-light camera program.
Great example umgud!
California is swimming in wealth because of their intake of earned labor aren't they?
Business idea: create an Internet data base that ties in with global positioning systems.
When a driver sees a red light camera, he/she presses a button on a device that sends the GPS location to a centralized data base. Then, whenever a driver who subscribes to the service approaches that location, their GPS device warns them that a red light camera is present.
To avoid abuse, e.g. by municipal officials who see this as a revenue source, registration and possibly a fee should be required to send camera locations to the system. This would prevent municipalities from flagging every location in sight (including the middle of Interstate highways) to interfere with its effective use. Also, perhaps require the same location to be flagged by a given number of separate users.
No one can complain that this would work against traffic safety because the warning would make people more likely to stop when the light turns red.
I'd be willing to be the red-light runners who are causing deadly accidents are running reds long after they've turned, when cross-traffic has actually had a chance to proceed through the intersection.
Here in the Albuquerque area, red light running is a common thing. Usually it's a long line of traffic and the last cars through don't want to wait for the next light. Rarely does the cross-traffic even have a chance to start up until the intersection is cleared.
The problem with red light cameras is that the yellow is often shortened to catch more drivers in the grey area of "should I maintain speed or should I stop"? Now, instead of side-impact crashes, you get rear-end versions as people slam on the brakes to avoid the camera. If the yellow is the proper length, most people stop easily for the red.
With this many tickets being recorded, they have to be scamming the system. In San Diego, they found that some of the equipment was not installed properly. Plus, the company operating it had shortened the yellow light time below the required minimums. In California, the state sets the minimum amount of yellow light time required, and that minimum time varies according to the speed limit on the street. The higher the limit, the longer the yellow time that is required.
State and city governments are out of control.
I got a speeding ticket 6 years ago and the municipal policeman who rightfully pulled me over apologized for doing so for he didn't want to give me a speeding ticket because the incursion was minor but he stated "Sorry but we have a directive from the city council to generate revenue...."
That says it all....
Many in-vehicle electronic devices (radar detectors and GPS) already have this feature. I know Escort make a detector that costs about $400 (I know, expensive at first, but in many areas cheaper than a ticket) that you can connect to the network via your computer and download the known red-light or speeding camera locations. Some of them even track speed traps.
Yep - I was just going to mention Trapster. I have it on my I-Phone and it was helpful when I drove up to Ohio a couple of weeks ago. It is really nice since you can send data on police locations to them while you drive - just a couple of taps on the screen and the location is in the database.
So are state and federal governments but nobody seems to care......yet.
Why are these people surprised. Thats what they placed them there for. To make money.
Duncanville, Tx, population of about 38,500 issued some 45,000 citations in 2008 at four red light camera intersections. About 13% were issued to city residents. The fee for the infaction is $75 which is a good cash generator to a small town.
The Washington Times has run a couple of pieces about this. IIRC, there is an 80% drop in red light citations for each additional second of yellow light.
Long yellows save lives with or without cameras. Short yellows increase revenues if there are cameras. Municipalities choice revenue over public safety. It's that simple.
The Minnesota court turned it down when they tried to use cameras in Minnesota for giving tickets.
I guess even a stopped clock is right twice a day. ; )
Biggest lie since "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."
Municipalities choice > Municipalities choose
I remember one of the suckup newspaper's articles pimping for the all Democrat city council One of these clown princes said the city would work hard to get us through town quicker. Then they put in cameras and speedtraps and closed our only freeway for three years.
And there's no recourse. They divided the city into wards with at large votes. The crappy areas of town get to vote for my councilman. Hence, all Dems. All cons.
I’m sure the streets are much safer now. The city officials must be very proud of themselves. Another successful fleecing of the people they work for.
“Waugh said that would cut the city’s take, but the cameras were never about money.”
How can you tell when a politician is lying?
With 10,000 opportunities here for civil disobedience, they should refuse to pay the tickets. Then demand the cameras be taken down and begin a movement to fire all those city government a-holes.
I don’t like the idea of Big Brother cameras on every street corner but I do wish that law enforcement would do something to curb red light runners where I live.
It has gotten way out of hand and is getting worse every day.
Everyone in my family has had multiple close calls and my wife almost got broadsided last week by a driver running a solid red at about 50 MPH.
The only thing that saved her is the fact we are all gun shy at intersections and drive defensively, watching both opposing lanes as we enter an intersection. She caught a glimpse of the car flying into the cross street just in time to hit the gas and turn out of his path.
These are good and bad at the same time. I live just outside Columbus, and these cameras have popped up in the ‘burgs surrounding Columbus, including where I live as well. We do have a huge problem with red-light runners. My wife and I have lost 2 cars to such persons in the past 5 years. But it is also easy to see how the system can be manipulated to generate big $$$, especially in recession-riden cities like Columbus, which is pitching an emergency election for a city tax increase.... Its getting quite ugly around here...
After they find you guilty, the pigs will still collect $100 for each one PLUS court costs!
A successful government program screws the taxpayer.
This story is an example of that. The cash for clunkers scheme is another example, and was so successful we just had to spend another 2 billion dollars of taxpayer money. When they win... we lose.
It helps the purpose of revenue generation if the yellow light is about 1 second. Now motorists will be slamming on the brakes as soon as it turns yellow, causing more rear-enders. But then the City gets more revenue, as they can give a ticket to the driver at fault. Its win, win and win for the city.
I have been T-boned by red-light runner....even if I hadn't been I'd still have absolutely no problem with this technology.
I did the T-boning once. The other guy ran the light and a semi hit me from behind. Had I been breaking, I would have been crushed.
Same here. Two cars in the last ten years at the same intersection, Hilliard-Rome and Renner.
Anymore out here, you don’t dare start moving when the light turns green, because you’ll be t-boned by four or five cars that regularly run every single light cycle at just about every intersection in town.
The people who bitch about red light cameras are usually one of the offenders who is mad about being caught by one. Pay the fine and stop running the red light.
It is getting to the point where you have to come to a complete stop at these red-light intersection, even if the light is green, then procede only after the next time the light turns green. Hopefully, you can make it through the intersection before the camera catches you?
Also, flip down your visor to hide your face, wear sunglasses, and register your vehicle in your spouse's name. Do not check your mailed ticket on-line (you admit to receiving it).
“the cameras were never about money”???????? They were never about anything BUT money.
They can’t be about reducing accidents, when the cameras are said to cause more rear-enders at yellow lights, now can they?
And when the revenues fall from people becoming more wary, at least in my small city, they worry about how they’re going to pay the big monthly fees to the camera providers. What do you suppose this leads to? Shortened yellow lights. Then the people notice that and start complaining. Only to be told “we tested them and you are wrong”. I wonder what comes next.
Careful in Columbus