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Improper Use of Florida Red Light Cameras for Profit.

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posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 07:06 AM
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While this may not apply to many people on this site, there is a large portion of ATS's population who are Florida Residents, and this applies to them. Florida cities have seen a recent increase in Red Light Cameras being added to intersections, which (to my knowledge) goes against present Florida Law:


Florida Attorney General Says No to Red Light Cameras
Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist issued a warning on Tuesday to the city of Pembroke Pines, saying it would be "unlawful" for it to issue red light camera tickets without the sanction of the state legislature.

A handful of cities in Florida have been lobbying for red light camera-enabling law in the state legislature, but these efforts have failed. In February, the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives said that legislation that would make photo enforcement legal in the state was, "dead on arrival." The president of the Florida Senate said of the cameras, "It's all about profits, under the guise of public safety."

Seeing the opposition of the legislature, Pembroke Pines sought a legal opinion of whether it could install the devices under its municipal authority. The attorney general said the cameras could be installed, but no ticket could be issued. Current law, according to Crist, requires "an officer enforcing the traffic law personally observe or have personal knowledge of the particular infraction that serves as the basis for issuing the citation."

These cameras are wrong, and a violation of our rights, yet they are currently in use. I am unsure how to begin fighting this, and so I am bringing it to the attention of ATS to see what type of advice my fellow ATS'ers have on the subject.

At present, a law enforcement officer is required to witness a misdemeanor traffic violation, in person, in order to write a ticket for the infraction. The cities here have found loopholes around this legislation, due to lobbyists from the camera companies who promise profits for both the cities, and of course themselves. These companies are therefore handing out these cameras to the cities free of charge, and the cities are enforcing them as ordinances rather then actual traffic laws:


Florida Cities Exploit Legal Loophole For Financial Gain
Armed with a loophole in state law that was first exploited by the tiny Panhandle town of Gulf Breeze, dozens of Florida cities and towns are rushing to adopt new local ordinances that will allow them to install cameras at intersections and snap images of license plates when vehicles run red lights.

A perfect storm has arisen for the camera vendors. The driving public is fed up with the chaos on today’s roads. Red-light running is rampant — and not just in South Florida.

The state, citing legitimate engineering, public safety and privacy concerns, refuses to adopt the cameras.

So the vendors, armed with well-connected experts and lobbyists, have turned to the cash-starved municipalities with a pitch that few elected officials can resist:

“We’ll give you the cameras for free! The city keeps the lion’s share of the revenue! And you’ll be a hero to your frustrated constituents!”

So the cities and towns dig deeper into the public’s collective pocket, the vendors skimming a percentage of the gross.

These cameras have even been shown to create more accidents then they curtail:


Red-light Cameras Increase Crashes, Florida Researchers Find
“The rigorous studies clearly show red-light cameras don’t work,” said lead author Barbara Langland-Orban, professor and chair of health policy and management at the USF College of Public Health.

“Instead, they increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections. If used in Florida, cameras could potentially create even worse outcomes due to the state’s high percent of elderly who are more likely to be injured or killed when a crash occurs.”

This does not even mention the bright strobe, which flashes, blinding anyone looking into the intersection at the time that the photo is taken.

Of course once something like this begins, so do its abuses. Now, many of you know that I tend to support law enforcement personnel on this site when “abuse of force" topics appear. However, this is not a law enforcement issue per say, its a machine that is being improperly used in disregard to current state law for the purpose of making a third party, private company rich. This would be the same as me installing a video camera in my car, following people on the road, having a law enforcement officer review the tape, and issuing a ticket to anyone on the film who breaks any traffic laws. This means that the more tickets that I can issue, whether Legal or not, the more money I in fact make, so does my off duty law enforcement agent who I pay to review the film.

This morning, I went out to get some breakfast, and passed one of these cameras while making a lawful right hand turn on red. As I approached the Line of Prolongation (the line that extends from intersection corner to intersection corner) a bright strobe light flashed. At first I thought that a power line was failing as it literally lit up the intersection like daylight. I pulled into a CVS at the corner, and got my breakfast there. While I was checking out I asked the attendant about the flash, and she informed me that its was the camera. She told me that it takes her picture every time she makes a right hand turn, so it is not just happening to me. Upon leaving I had to make a Left hand turn, and as I was waiting for the left hand turn light, it flashed and took my picture again.

When I returned home, I called the local police department to inform them of what happened, and that I suspected the camera was malfunctioning. I was informed that it took my picture because I had crossed the white line, even though I did not run the light! When I asked her about it being a misdemeanor not witnessed by a law enforcement officer in person, she said that the photo would be review by a law enforcement officer, and that it was up to his discretion. I stated that I had not crossed the line of prolongation, and she told me that I would have to appear in court at my expense (of course more money for the state, win or lose), to fight it if I received a ticket in the mail. I was also told that I could call the chief of police on Monday morning.

Its bad enough that they are breaking the law in allowing these cameras, but now they are using them to write unlawful tickets based on being too far forward in the intersection, while not having technically run the light. Besides this, the strobe light is so bright that it will eventually cause an accident by blinding on-coming traffic, and thus it presents a traffic hazard. This morning I plan to call the local news, as the town in which this occurred is well known for making money on speed traps and such, but I don't know how much good it will do. I would appreciate any other advice on how to go about fighting this unfair practice without running up the national dept in legal costs.

And to anyone in Tampa or Temple Terrace, who drives on Bush/Gunn/Bullard/56th, don't make a lawful right hand turn on red, or your on candid camera for crossing the white line.


[edit on 10/18/2008 by defcon5]




posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 07:35 AM
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I'll forward this to my friend,who,when she was 11,was run over when some w**ker ran through a red light. Left her in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. He was never brought to justice.

allthough,I'm not sure who's side she'll be on.......



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 07:51 AM
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We have red-light cameras (and photo radar too) at a number of the intersections where I live. They have had them here for about 10 years or more now. People here had the very same concerns as you mention when they were first implemented, and to be honest, there no doubt were a few accidents because of people's fear to not run the red light and get a ticket, so they slam on the brakes at an innoppurtune time for the person tailgating behind...

It doesn't happen anymore. I don't know if they increased the yellow light on-time, or if people just got used to slowing down and stopping when it turns yellow, instead of flooring it to get through before it hits red for too long. Either way, I believe in the long run it makes that intersection safer, even if the only reason for that is that the local residents know the camera is there, and consciously slow down and stop when it turns yellow-red now, instead of rushing through and getting a $275.00 fine in the mail.

It only educates people on that intersection though, as far as not running reds. Many will still run red lights at non camera intersections but not run the red at the camera-ed intersection to avoid the hefty fine, so...

To be honest, if it makes an intersection safer (and I don't know for sure if it does, I just believe it does having seeing the long term affect on a major intersection where I live), then I would not be against having them on every major intersection in town. Some do get mad and call it a cash cow for the City, and maybe there is a half-assed valid arguement for that, but so what?

Think of it as a luxury tax for people who want to endanger the lives of themselves and others. Or for people who absolutely have to be first in line at the next red light a block ahead. For a mere 275 bones, you can be first in line at the next red light.

Think of the income a City could generate if there was a camera on every major intersection in town. Surely that would be the end of property tax increases year after year? The City could be out of debt in no time if you ask me, could increase municipal services, and potentially lower property taxes in the future, which would only attract more people, commercial and industry to move to town...

Same with photo radar... they should be all over town. Every school zone and even playground zones should have photo radar on them. With the hefty fines they mail to speeders, it is simply a luxury tax for utilizing your will to endanger the lives of others.

Its everyone's choice to speed and run red lights, but did the victim or their families have any say in the matter? Maybe the the cash cow collections of a major city having red light cameras on every intersection (1000's of cameras) could pay for the medical and death insurance of others who were hit by speeders and lightrunners?

Regarding your right hand turn incident... Did you actually stop completely before the line, then proceed around the corner, or did you "run the red light" by coming to a "rolling-stop" before you continued to drive around the corner at 2 mph? Because that makes a difference...



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 07:58 AM
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reply to post by Acidtastic
 


I am sorry to hear that, but it changes nothing. It is improper to use Red Light Cameras to give out tickets as misdemeanor traffic infractions have to be witnessed by law enforcement in person. A camera would not have stopped the accident in any way, it only would have filmed it. This is the beginning of a bad trend in law enforcement because it not only allows a third party company to enforce laws that only a duly sworn officer can otherwise enforce, but it behooves that company to issue as many citations as possible, whether justified or not, because it creates more money for them and the cities.

In the medical field a doctor is not allowed to self refer a patient under the Stark Law, as they then can become motivated to do unnecessary work as it adds to their own pocket book:

Stark Law
Physician self-referral is the practice of a physician referring a patient to a medical facility in which he has a financial interest, be it ownership, investment, or a structured compensation arrangement. Critics of the practice allege an inherent conflict of interest, given the physician's position to benefit from the referral.

That is exactly what is happening here, these third party companies are motivated to issue tickets whether fair or not to increase profits.

So how is it fair that I am going to receive a ticket when I did not run the red light, but rather was simply making a legal right hand turn on red, but had to cross the white line to do it?

From the State Attorney General himself:

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist issued a warning on Tuesday to the city of Pembroke Pines, saying it would be "unlawful" for it to issue red light camera tickets without the sanction of the state legislature.

A handful of cities in Florida have been lobbying for red light camera-enabling law in the state legislature, but these efforts have failed. In February, the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives said that legislation that would make photo enforcement legal in the state was, "dead on arrival." The president of the Florida Senate said of the cameras, "It's all about profits, under the guise of public safety."


This is the true beginning of Police State Tactics that everyone is so worried about. Third party law enforcement for profit!



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 08:03 AM
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yeah,sorry,I was being a tad feseacious (I know I spelt that wrong
)Playing devils advocate. I know that they're all slags,bending rules left right and centre just to make our lives even more hellish. And I do understand why you're pissed at them for it,cos i am too.

(I'm in a silly mood today)



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 08:04 AM
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When it means "profits" for private companies it means that "profits" they careless about any victims or families, as the city taxes will stay the same or will be increased and the the only ones "Reaping the benefits" will still be the "fat rats' running the nation and its government.

Does anybody has learned anything after our own corporate government bail out?


Incredible.

Tax payer will still be paying for the profits of those that benefit from scamming, injuring and killing the citizens.

Deny ignorance.



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 08:17 AM
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Originally posted by IronDogg
It doesn't happen anymore. I don't know if they increased the yellow light on-time, or if people just got used to slowing down and stopping when it turns yellow, instead of flooring it to get through before it hits red for too long. Either way, I believe in the long run it makes that intersection safer, even if the only reason for that is that the local residents know the camera is there, and consciously slow down and stop when it turns yellow-red now, instead of rushing through and getting a $275.00 fine in the mail.


But if you read my post, this is not taking pictures of me running the light, as I did not run the light either time. Rather its taking a picture of me because I was a couple of feet to far forward of the white line while waiting for the light to change, and because I made right hand turn on red (which is legal).


Originally posted by IronDogg
To be honest, if it makes an intersection safer (and I don't know for sure if it does, I just believe it does having seeing the long term affect on a major intersection where I live).


How is the intersection safer by charging me for making a lawful right hand turn on red, or because I am one foot in front of the white line. By law, in order to run the red light I have to cross the “Line of Prolongation”, which is an imaginary line that runs from curb to curb, not the white line that they paint in front of the cross walk. BTW this happened at 05:00 an I was the only person in the intersection both times.


Originally posted by IronDogg
Think of the income a City could generate if there was a camera on every major intersection in town. Surely that would be the end of property tax increases year after year?

I already pay more taxes then most for services I do not use, why should I have to pay one dime more.


Originally posted by IronDogg
Same with photo radar... they should be all over town. Every school zone and even playground zones should have photo radar on them. With the hefty fines they mail to speeders, it is simply a luxury tax for utilizing your will to endanger the lives of others.

The problem is that it takes a snapshot, it does not include other circumstances that can cause the person to violate the law. This is law enforcement by machine, and it takes the judgment of a person to know if there are extenuating circumstances.

Let me give you an example. Lets say I am sitting at a red light and an emergency vehicle pulls up behind me with its sirens going. I have to pull through the intersection, by law, to allow them to pass, however the camera is going to issue me a ticket for doing so.


Originally posted by IronDogg
Its everyone's choice to speed and run red lights, but did the victim or their families have any say in the matter? Maybe the the cash cow collections of a major city having red light cameras on every intersection (1000's of cameras) could pay for the medical and death insurance of others who were hit by speeders and lightrunners?


Again, I did not run a red light, I was a foot or so to far forward beyond the white line. I had NOT crossed into the intersection!

Please read the initial post in its entirety!


Originally posted by IronDogg
Regarding your right hand turn incident... Did you actually stop completely before the line, then proceed around the corner, or did you "run the red light" by coming to a "rolling-stop" before you continued to drive around the corner at 2 mph? Because that makes a difference...


I stopped at the line of prolongation, as per proper procedure, the intersection does not begin at the white line, but at the curb corner under my states law. This has been verified by friends I have in Florida State Law Enforcement.



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 09:39 AM
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reply to post by IronDogg
 


Sure...why not have a computer installed in all cars that
reports all infractions of that vehicle to the state. It could
include things like speed, crossing the line, drunk driving,
etc. Then we could link the state to our bank accounts and
have the fines withdrawn automatically! Sweeet!



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 09:47 AM
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Here, let me use my marginal paint skills to try and better explain what I am stating.
The red line in the picture is an imaginary line called the “Line of Prolongation”, and is used by police officers to judge when someone has entered the intersection proper (ie... Running a Red Light).

I was like the car in the picture is, inches over the white line.


I know A LOT of police officers, and I don't know a single one who would pull over or ticket someone for that. These machines on the other hand lack the discrimination to tell a proper infraction from something that is complete BS. Its hard to fight it too, as its judged by someone based on a single snapshot, then mailed out to the person who owns the vehicle. So you better be careful who you loan your cars out to, because these things ticket the car owner, not the car driver. I am not sure what happenes if you refuse to pay them, but it may be treated as a parking ticket where you will eventually have a criminal warrant out for your arrest.

Complete an utter abuse of our legal system for profit!

I just came across this product, I have to check the laws regarding this of course, but it looks good so far...

Photoblocker



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 09:51 AM
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From what ive seen and read they pretty much do this all over the world everyday.
Use camera's and the criminal justice system to make profits.
And the fact is its been proven to not lower road deaths.
One huge scam.Massive scam.



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by Interestinggg
 


It did start with the UK, but it is not legal under US law in most states. What is happening is that the company became successful and they are now targeting cities in the US, showing that they can make a profit as most people don't bother to fight the ticket. The cost of fighting the ticket can in fact cost more in effort, and inconvenience then just paying the couple of hundred dollars. As long as they keep getting away with it, and its profitable, they will keep using them. Generally they may not seem to be a bad idea, but they should allow a lot of gray area in favor of the driver. Certainly its not OK to let a machine rule on instances that are so marginal that even a police officer in person would not fight them in court. Its doubly not OK to leave this up to a private company that gains profit off generating as many tickets as possible.

It also opens up a whole can of other worms. What is to prevent me from starting a company that follows someone around all the time with a camera so I can film any infractions they may have? That is basically what we are allowing to happen here.

I am not just championing this because I got my photo snapped today either, I have been upset about these for some time, but never enough to say anything about it. I don't post many threads on ATS, and I was not even sure I should share this on here. For that matter, I do not even know for a fact that I will be issued a ticket, but I suspect I will be. Obviously if the camera trigger is set up that far back from the intersection, and is that sensitive, they intend to ticket anyone who passes that white line, regardless of whether or not they entered the intersection proper.



posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 10:25 AM
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I have been pulled over by cops for speeding.
And even they agree that cameras are wrong.
They believe in the fair and square bust you theory not taking photo's.



posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 09:07 PM
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reply to post by defcon5
 


I also just got a ticket from this very traffic camera for making a right hand turn. This is truly a scam an a profit maker for the city of Temple Terrace. Hell even the address to mail the payment to is in Cincinnati, OH and it was sent from Scottsdale, AZ. WTF is that all about?!?!?!?

And you are 100% correct about how bright the flash is. I could easily see it causing an accident especially at night. It's against the law to have flashing signs in your windows by a road for exactly this reason and here we have the City doing it themselves with a high powered flash.

You can go to www.violationinfo.com to view the pictures and the video of you getting the ticket as well. The funny thing is not only am I making a right hand turn, but the car next to me stopped in the middle of the white line and the guy next to him actually ran the red light. So, was the picture taken of me the guy next to me, or the guy next to him?

I plan on fighting this as it is total BS.



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