~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Traffic Camera Fraud

There's a new web site up and working now in Arizona, CameraFraud.com, and it deals with the injustices of the new speed camera system being implemented in Arizona. The State of Arizona has decided to roll out it's biggest stealth money confiscation scheme so far. It's hard to imagine there is anything more phony than car and motorcycle dealers charging "doc fees" but speed and red light cameras fall into that category and are worse as far as I'm concerned.

Some research will show anyone that cares to confront the truth that automatic traffic ticket camera systems are far from fool proof and in fact have been shown to increase traffic incidents contrary to what the State Department of Transportation proclaims on it's web page.
A 2008 University of South Florida report found:
"Comprehensive studies conclude cameras actually increase crashes and injuries, providing a safety argument not to install them.... public policy should avoid conflicts of interest that enhance revenues for government and private interests at the risk of public safety."

You can find reference information here and here.

Many city and state governments are lured by easy money under the guise of "road safety" but no one is fooled by this bit of political slight of hand. The issue is money, not safety. That was well proven by the State of Arizona's FY09 budget summary which stated "Prompt enactment and implementation of the new highway photo enforcement legislation would provide revenue needed for responding to growing needs."

I object in principal to photo enforcement systems as not only as another step towards "Big Brother" government but also as an abdication by the government to properly police our streets using a police officer who is far more able than a machine to judge the complexities of a traffic situation.

The usual response by officials is "don't speed and you have nothing to worry about." To that I pile of sanctimonious equine fecal matter I say that no one needs a questionable ticket issued by a robot just so the State can raise money when they don't have the courage to raise taxes or cut services. "Just don't break the law" is the sort of government-speak one expects from fascists, communists, and others devoted to the growth and expansion of the government who employs them.

Perhaps you are thinking that I am angry because I am one who recently received a citation via an automatic ticket system somewhere. You would be incorrect in thinking that. I have not received such a ticket in Arizona or anywhere else. I have no axe to grind here except to object to the government pursuing additional revenues in an inappropriate and unjust way. The times in my four plus decades of driving that I have been cited by a traffic officer were straight forward (perhaps with one exception), the officers were polite, professional, and I paid the fine without complaint. Sometimes I like to head out on some country road and ride fast and if I get popped, so be it. You play, you pay. My concern is with a fallible camera system set to maximize profits for the government and it's contractor or photos reviewed by blind people before the citation is mailed.

No one is perfect which is why camera systems are bound to err and safe drivers are likely to get a citation when they miss a light by as little as 1/100th of second. By the way, the Arizona State speed cameras are supposed to be set to trip at 11 mph over the posted limit. I've been told that the State highway patrol wanted them set to trip at 6 mph over. That shows you how much the police leadership wants to nitpick in pursuit of control and money.

Watch your speedometer; how often do you find yourself more than 5 mph over a posted speed limit if only for a moment? What about 11 mph over? 25 mph zones on side streets or 35 mph zones on wide, lightly traveled city streets should prove lucrative hunting grounds for our ravenous government unless every one of us drives prefect. Roads where the speed limit changes from 45 mph to 55 mph and back again in a matter of a mile or two will provide and ideal speed trap location because you see the speed limit changes at the sign, not 10 feet beyond it. Expect the State to exploit this. The money potential will be too good to resist.

In the desperation to raise money some governments even involve enforcement trickery. Given time and after traffic cameras take root more than they have already you can be sure that police departments will resort to gimmicks in their effort to make you a perfect driver. That is the goal, isn't it? For all of us to drive perfectly and never make an error?

You government officials were elected to govern honestly, not to backdoor citizens rights and pocketbooks. An honest government should not need to use some Orwellian electronic device supplied by a foreign company to do the financial heavy lifting for them.
If the government needs more money it can cut costs or raise taxes and fees honestly. Traffic cameras are a fraud and a shame and the State of Arizona and every city who uses them ought to be ashamed of their actions.

[Note: I am not affiliated in anyway with the web sites www.thenewspaper.com or www.CameraFraud.com]


Mr. Motorcycle said...

I'll keep my coment short and simple.

I think radar, or red light running, or any other ticket given that are based on the sole use of a video generated, or photo generaed divice is absolute crap!

FLHX_Dave said...

Yeah. They tried the photo ticket deal here in the bay area. So many were being thrown out of court that I don't think they even use them anymore.

Hmmmm...I think that this sort of falls in line with the plan that "Darth Vader" had for the galaxy...and few other ambitious leaders I can think of in history. "The protection you have asked for is now mandatory!"

Interesting studies. Thanks for the info.

Jac Brown said...

Two comments on speed cameras.

I was out working in west valley Phoenix when the first Scottsdale cameras went into operation on the 101 loop. You may recall that lots of people intentionally were speeding during the "grace" period of just notification tickets. The strangest thing happened when they started issuing actual "dollars and points" tickets, people went even faster. As I recall, the highest recorded speed for a camera ticket in the first 2 weeks was something like 168 mph. The guy was asked about it and he felt it was like his 15 minutes of fame.

Second story is about the city of Pasadena trying out speed cameras in the early 90's. A city councilman was one of the first victims and, unfortunately, the camera was good enough to recognize the front seat passengers in the car. The ticket went to the councilman's home where his wife opened it and found a picture ticket of her husband, the councilman, and another women. Divorce followed. City council decided to abandon the speed cameras. Hmnn.

Joe said...

I agree fully. Its just another way to raise revenue without raising taxes. Its a scam all the way around. Grrrrrr.

Anonymous said...

I wonder just how much they are really making from the cameras on the highways. I rarely in my daily 62 mile 1 way commute see them flash.

Doug Klassen said...


"It’s corrupting law enforcement for us to be partnered with a private entity that creates revenue—clearly that’s their interest.” Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu speaking on photo enforcement.


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