Monday, October 05, 2009

California: Red light camera ripoff declared illegal

California: Another Appellate Court Strikes Down Cost Neutrality: "A second appellate ruling has struck down a California city's red light camera program as illegal. On September 22, the California Superior Court for the County of San Mateo, Appellate Department overturned motorist Al Bullock's $387 conviction for making a right turn on red. Presiding Judge Mark R. Forcum concisely found that San Mateo's cost neutral contract with an Australian company, Redflex Traffic Systems, was in direct violation of state law.

'Reversed,' Forcum wrote in a one-word decision.

California law explicitly bans local jurisdictions from rewarding red light camera companies with payments based on the number of citations issued or as a percentage of fines generated. At least fifty cities have attempted to skirt this requirement with a clever arrangement known as cost neutrality. These contract provisions allow a city to pay the contractor based on the number of citations issued up to a certain monthly amount. After this cap is reached, the city keeps all of the revenue generated. The provisions are designed to ensure that cities can only profit from photo ticketing and will never pay to operate the program."

Nice to see that some appellate courts are standing up to these grasping local governments.

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