Skip to comments.EDITORIAL: One traffic-ticket camera kickback scheme hits a red light
Posted on 05/19/2014 7:27:37 AM PDT by cuttyEdited on 05/19/2014 8:20:30 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
Those big, ugly early birds began circling over the corporate headquarters of the revenue-camera industry last week when federal prosecutors announced that felony corruption charges had been filed against the Chicago city official in charge of one of the world’s largest red-light camera operations. More dominoes are expected to fall as FBI agents take the investigation to other cities.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
Chicago, eh? What, didn’t Rahm get his cut?
Every level of government is robbing the people of money their families could use. Then they wonder why the economy stinks. Slash government by 50%, reduces taxes by half and see the surge in economic health.
I know of an impeccable source who is a power player in a Rust Belt city.
Whenever the mayor and city council resist one of his (re)development plans, he reminds them that he has a petition to remove red-light cameras always at the ready for circulation and, eventually, a place on the ballot.
The council members contemplate the loss of $15 million annually and quickly dance to his tune.
The ‘safety’ argument has been undermined dozens of times by the very people putting the argument forth. It is thoroughly discredited except among the gullible.
This is what traffic cops are for.
I never realized that Redflex was an Australian company. I thought it was just a bunch of greedy, Chicago thugs ripping off Americans.
These things should be outlawed....all one gets for evidence is a picture of his cars rear end!!! Get behind a truck and can’t see the light....tough....pay up!!!
Cuts one type of accident, increases another.
Granted, for risk of personal injury, t-bones could be worse. Thanks to modern head bolsters and airbags, rear enders are mostly property damage claims.
But ultimately there ought to be a traffic cop there in person. The cop can see the bigger picture.
A hard nose would say it’s up to you to allow enough room in front to see if your light has not yet turned red. And that’s very true. But how do they know what might be rushing up behind you?
It’s already been said, Chicago. But I especially like the line about how Chicago could set an example for all other cities by .....getting rid of the corruption (taking down the cameras). That is hilarious.
They will re-brand, reset and re-contract the service so new players can belly up to the KBT (kick Back Table).
Expand your paradigm. They can be both. :o)
Used ethically, a camera can well be kept to its stated purpose. But that would require them to be used even at a loss. Longer yellows, a little discretion.
And don’t forget that even a cop can be told to generate more revenue.
Rear view camera.
Why don’t more people come up behind the camera and spray paint it over the lens? That would stop a lot.
You could carry your own. I’ve seen 360 degree self auto camera systems for sale recently. If something “curious” goes down with your car, you might have a record of it that way.
I agree with you to a point. If a big truck is moving very slowly through an intersection, you can't quite hang back far enough to see a light in time to avoid entering the intersection and getting through it while its yellow. This has happened to me. I got pulled over for "running a red light" at about 7 MPH in a 40 MPH zone (lots of traffic). The officer gave me a warning because 1) I was polite in explaining what happened and 2) He noticed how slow the truck in front of me (and I) were moving. When I started into the very large intersection, it JUST turned yellow. Before I was through it, it was definitely red.
As I approach a green light at traffic speed, I always check to see where the car is behind me just to get an idea of what the affects of stopping quickly might be, especially on stale green lights. I might tap the brakes way in advance if a driver is too close as we approach the intersection. But if they are close and the light turns yellow late, I will not brake hard to avoid running the light. I'd rather get a ticket than have and idiot plow into me.
I’ve followed what’s going on with these cameras for some time. They talk about them preventing those t-bone accidents when people run red lights, yet in just one intersection in Chicago, EVERY SINGLE RED LIGHT CAMERA TICKET was for someone not coming to a complete (and I mean COMPLETE) stop before taking a free right turn.
Even if it was in the middle of the night and there was not another car within a mile of the intersection...
There is also an intersection there where people will take a right to return rental cars at the airport. Looks like a normal intersection with normal visibility, but it has a camera and there is “no right turn on red”.
Then I was in Tacoma WA a few months ago and I went through the shortest yellow light I’ve seen as far as I can remember. In fact, it was so short that I came back to it to see if it was a camera enforced light. Yep.
I got hit with one of those in the East Texas city I’m from. In order to enhance my calm, I told myself my fine was going to make the roads better. (WRONG!) When filling out the forms, I noticed the check went to Ohio. The thing that bothers me the most is that there were some people I shared this with that did not want to accept my explanation that the “fine” was just a kick-back to the company making the equipment.
Am I off base here? What else could that “fine” be for?
When Denver CO installed their red light cameras some years ago, not even one was installed at any of the top 100 most dangerous intersections.
Does anyone know what other states/localities are among the 14 in which this guy claims to have bribed government officials?
I’m thinking there’s a good chance Washington, DC is among them...
My new home of three years (KY) doesn’t have the cameras. Our yellows are longer and there is a delay between the yellow going red and the red going green. Solves the problem nicely.
But when I am in a rental car in Chicago or Seattle (the places I visit most), when that light turns yellow at a camera intersection I SLAM ON THE BRAKES just enough to not bark the tires. I’ve not been rear-ended yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
It has happened.
Typically, a municipality will address vandalism of their red-light cameras by installing surveillance cameras to monitor the red-light cameras.
The cameras in the seattle area are on relatively flimsy hollow aluminum poles. A guy with an 8 lb maul and some nylon rope could easily crimp the bottom in a single swing an lasso the top and yank them down.
Or those paint ball guns could be fun.
Mind you, you wouldn’t want to drive to the thing, but still. I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with them out here. It’s actually one of the tangible reasons I moved here (KY).
On youtube, check out “fraud” or Crash fraud. In Russia a lot of people have dash cams. The attempted insurance fraud caught is not only amazing, but quite comical.
John Bills, 52, a retired Chicago official who managed one of the nation's largest red-light camera programs
I will not brake hard to avoid running the light. I’d rather get a ticket than have and idiot plow into me.
BTW, my understanding is that as long as the intersection is red when you cross into it, you are not breaking any laws.
a retired Chicago official who managed one of the nation’s largest red-light camera programs, accusing him of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, an Arizona condominium and other gifts to steer $124 million in city contracts to Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems Inc.
After allegedly fixing a key commission vote to secure an initial $25 million deal, John Bills, now 52, attended a celebratory dinner and made clear it was time for him to be paid by Redflex for delivering the contract, a 28-page complaint says.
Chicago awarded that contract to Redflex in 2003 and signed others later for the city’s first red-light enforcement program, which uses cameras to automatically record and ticket drivers who run red lights. After 32 years with the city, Bills retired in 2011 as managing deputy commissioner of the transportation department.
The complaint portrays Bills as walking his contact through how the payoffs could be made. The unnamed contact who made a salary, bonuses and commissions from Redflex withdrew around $650,000 between 2006 and 2011. The withdrawals corresponded to pricey purchases by Bills, including for a Mercedes-Benz, the complaint says.
A former sales executive of Redflex who was fired by the company said in a court filing as part of a lawsuit in Phoenix that the company gave bribes and gifts to government officials in dozens of municipalities in 13 states: California, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia.
For a LONG time, roughly 400 cameras in the UK are destroyed by various means, the most popular being throwing an old tire around it, filling the bottom with diesel and igniting it. It cooks it to a golden brown.
For a LONG time, roughly 400 cameras in the UK - Each year...
I’m hoping St. Louis is on that list. It’s also run by corrupt Dems and I hate those cameras!
“EVERY SINGLE RED LIGHT CAMERA TICKET was for someone not coming to a complete (and I mean COMPLETE) stop before taking a free right turn.
Even if it was in the middle of the night and there was not another car within a mile of the intersection...
I got popped in Sugarland Texas doing this. It was Sunday late afternoon and I didnt see anotehr car around. I came to a complete stop to right turn on red BUT I stopped with the front of my car about 1.5 past the white line on the ground. Got busted for stopping “in the intersection” even though the front of my car as another 2 feet before I was in the lane of traffic.
“Slash government by 50%, reduces taxes by half and see the surge in economic health.”
But, but, then all those poor government employees will be without the overpaid jobs with great benefits and lax work standards they have become accustomed to.
Don’t you think your statement is rather selfish?/s
The one at 36th and Quebec looks like the strobes in a disco club at times.
“I never realized that Redflex was an Australian company. I thought it was just a bunch of greedy, Chicago thugs ripping off Americans.”
Actually, the US arm of Redflex is headquartered in Arizona as I recall. But they’ve been crooks from the get go.
“For a LONG time, roughly 400 cameras in the UK are destroyed by various means, the most popular being throwing an old tire around it, filling the bottom with diesel and igniting it. It cooks it to a golden brown.”
Only they call them TYRES, not TIRES!
My bad. ;-)
He looks mad as hell, like VA Secretary Shinseki...Mad as hell because he got caught...
Does he go to big boy prison, or the one without walls and guard towers???
There is a website that details how people’s ire is vented on these cameras. Some are rather creative.
I am unable to locate at this time.