Sunday, July 12, 2009

Red-light cameras raking in cash -- chicagotribune.com

Red-light cameras raking in cash -- chicagotribune.com: "Do red-light cameras truly make roads safer, as many towns claim? Or are they merely a high-tech variation on the old moneymaking speed trap?"
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Thanks to Dennis James of Quantum Pork for this link. The data show that this is all about money. The intersections where these camera have been installed have hardly any t-bone collisions, which is the only kind of accident they are supposedly designed to prevent. The fact that the tickets are issued to the vehicle owner rather than the driver is obviously outrageous.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

In Texas, a bill was authored by HOA kingpin Sen Carona to legitimize automated red light cameras. Just like his HOA legislation, the legislation is designed to benefit the vendors rather than the supposed class of people the legislation was pretexted upon protecting.

As in Illinois the citation is issued against the owner, not the driver of the vehicle. To prop up the money machine the citation is considered a "civil ordinance infraction" as opposed to a criminal offense. This means that residents also lose the constitutional protections afforded criminal defendants. The evidentiary obligations and the burden of proof are shifted to favor the vendor of this equipment.

The accused is not entitled to a jury trial. There is no obligation for the prosecution to reveal evidence that would tend to exonerate the accused nor does the prosecution have to respond to a “Brady request” for evidence in a civil matter. The prosecution does not have to prove "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt". Instead, the prosecution only needs to prove liability by a preponderance of the evidence. Worse, the owner is burdened with a statutory presumption of liability. The hearing is an administrative farce designed to wear down or intimidate the accused. The owner can only get a meaningful hearing by appealing the decision of the hearing officer to a judge for a bench trial. Even there the “defendant” is treated as a criminal defendant because of the historical treatment of this type of offense as a criminal rather than a civil offense. The judge is a city employee deciding a case that serves primarily to generate revenue for the city and its vendors. The owner is denied both substantive and procedural "due process" in this governmental fa├žade that has prostituted fundamental governmental duties to third party, private vendors for mutual profit.

The state's evidence can be based on affidavits per the statute. The accused has no opportunity to confront, question, or challenge the veracity of statements set forth in the affidavits. At least one notary employee of the Australian vendor has had their license revoked by the Arizona Secretary of State for falsifying such affidavits. The Australian company profited from the accusations made as "agent" of the municipality. This is very much like HOA management companies that collect a percentage of the fine or a separate collection fee or both when the management company accuses the homeowner of being "noncompliant".

I can't wait until the first time that a husband/wife team challenges a ticket issued to them as joint owners. They clearly can't both be driving simultaneously and it would offend other public policies for one to have to declare the other as the driver. To avoid liability by affidavit an owner has to identify a driver other than himself.

Many cities are actually decreasing the amber light time at these intersections in order to increase revenues from accusations. The whole system is pretensed on the theory of protecting the public (kind of like HOAs allegedly preserving property values) except that the ability to tilt the system to generate more money for the vendor and the city is too tempting. Under the pretense of public safety, the vendor and the cities deliberately tinkering with the amber light timing which jeopardizes lives to generate more revenues (just like HOA management companies adopting policies to deliberately create “noncompliance” for homeowners).

Anonymous said...

So why do all the yellow bellies in the Legislature go along with this commie pissant Carona?

Evan McKenzie said...

Thanks for the most detailed explanatory comment I have seen in a long time. It seems that the trend is toward cities acting like HOAs. These vendors approach HOAs and cities and offer foolproof schemes for raising money. They provide the rationale--safety, solvency, whatever--the means, and the technology. All they need is the legal authority.

Fred Pilot said...

There's also another local government fee scheme getting some ink this year: billing auto insurers of out of town drivers involved in traffic accidents for so-called accident response fees when there's a fire department truck roll.