By on January 12, 2012

Cities around the country have begun dropping the use of red light cameras,which were once touted as the best way to stop drivers from “blowing through” red lights. Disappointed municipal officials invariably point to the systems’ failure to generate the promised amount of revenue as the reason for the change. To keep from losing more clients, the red light camera industry’s latest move has been to ticket drivers who stop at red lights to boost the number of potential violations.

Several years ago the industry significantly increased its yield by transitioning away from ticketing vehicles for running red lights. Instead, camera focused on right-hand turn lanes so they could mail citations to the owners of vehicles that make slow, rolling right turns on red. In some jurisdictions, right-turn tickets account for 90 percent of all tickets issued — even though national and local data suggest the maneuver is not dangerous. In some cases, however, right-turn tickets failed to be profitable when the public refused to pay citations — as happened in Los Angeles, California — or because of legislative restrictions on right-turn citations — as happened in Florida.

Last April, the city of Denver became the first jurisdiction in Colorado to allow a private company, Affiliated Computer Services, to issue red light camera tickets to stationary vehicles. Issuing tickets to stopped drivers only required a simple software change, but it boosted the city’s profit fourfold.

Newark, California is one of the cities where ninety percent of the $480 tickets issued by Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia go to the owners of vehicles photographed turning right on red. Through December 2011, the change has contributed significantly to the grand total of 41,575 tickets Redflex has been issued, worth $19,956,000.

One of those ticket recipients, who asked not to be identified, drove his Toyota Prius on August 27 at the intersection of Newark Boulevard and Jarvis Avenue. He pulled up to the intersection at a speed of 16 MPH with his turn signal activated. He came to a full stop and waited for several seconds for traffic to clear before proceeding. His front tire crossed the first line of the crosswalk, which Newark and Redflex contend is a serious violation of the law. At 9:42pm, there were no pedestrians visible anywhere near the intersection. Though the Prius driver was outraged at receiving the ticket, he decided to plead guilty before a judge known for reducing turning tickets to $110 rather than risk losing the full $480.

Story courtesy of The Newspaper

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

29 Comments on “Red Light Cameras Ticketing Drivers Who Stop at Lights...”


  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    For the love of dog, this is ridiculous. The problem I have with automated anything, at least when it comes to stuff like this, is that there is no room for a judgment call. My understanding of the story is that he stopped then moved forward to get a better view of traffic. How is this a violation? At least a real police officer would probably me able to see what he was doing rather than, “oh your tire hit the line, have a ticket” that the camera would be doing.

    ‘Scuse while I grr.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Just because a part of the process doesn’t mean the entirety is.

      While the RLCs in Houston here were in operation, a cop had to review the photos for accuracy before a citation was issued. Also, as reported on this site, a person was incorrectly ticketed in another town in TX, and when he took it to court, it was dismissed.

  • avatar
    jmatt

    It’s just more government theft. You have to pay endless fines so that cops can retire at 50 years old with fat pensions and benefits you can only dream of.

    • 0 avatar
      photog02

      Go check what the life expectancy of a retired law enforcement officer is, then look at your argument’s logic.

      • 0 avatar
        Zammy

        Retired law enforcement live as long or longer than the population at large.

        He sent us a copy of an April 2010 study by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which covers 1.6 million public employees. It compared life expectancies for male police officers with male workers and retirees who were not in the public safety field.

        Whether a person was age 50, 55, 60 or 65, the life expectancies of the police officers were slightly higher than for other workers. For example, men age 60 who had taken regular retirement were projected to live to age 82.7, versus age 81.9 for workers who were not in the public safety field. (Firefighter rates were close to those for police officers.)

      • 0 avatar
        photog02

        Outside of that one study by the California retirement system, the numbers suggest 10.6 years survival after retirement.

        http://www.badgeoflife.com/faqs.php

        Unfortunately, there are no actuarial tables tracking this, so there is not a definitive source. But it appears that there is a problem here.

        That being said, I am not supporting the system that we have. It doesn’t work. Tickets are too-often used as a tax source. But don’t claim that officers are the sole beneficiary of this taxation.

      • 0 avatar
        ott

        This really has nothing to do with police officer retirement. This has to do with greedy Denver city officials that should be fired on the spot, and then charged with theft. Or on the other hand, a rail, some hot tar and feathers could also work…

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        If tickets weren’t meant for revenue, they wouldn’t have a price attached to them.

      • 0 avatar
        Zammy

        There has been no credible study that says retired law enforcement officers have significantly shorter lifespans than the population at large.

        It isn’t just “one study by the California retirement system”. There is ample data from Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, and more.

        Here are some references:
        http://oregonpers.info/Library/Download.aspx?docid=488
        https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/pr/109485.pdf

  • avatar
    tonycd

    In this case, I think it’s more a simple matter of public officials who 1) don’t have the guts to face their voters with a tax increase to make up for a money shortfall, and 2) like receiving bribes.

    I remain puzzled at these people who seem so eager to blame all our troubles on the supposedly evil schemers of the working class. Sounds like the campaign to distract our attention from the 1% onto each other — in the person of minorities, Muslims, married gays, union members, and heaven knows who else — is still working.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    “Disappointed municipal officials invariably point to the systems’ failure to generate the promised amount of revenue as the reason for the change.”

    Um, I thought they were instituted as a means to increase *safety*? Doesn’t that mean they are doing their job and should stay at all costs?

    /snark

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Paintball gun should solve this problem. Don’t use the sugar stuff, get the real paint used on trees.

  • avatar
    Jesse

    “One of those ticket recipients, who asked not to be identified, drove his Toyota Prius on August 27 at the intersection of Newark Boulevard and Jarvis Avenue. He pulled up to the intersection at a speed of 16 MPH with his turn signal activated. He came to a full stop and waited for several seconds for traffic to clear before proceeding. His front tire crossed the first line of the crosswalk, which Newark and Redflex contend is a serious violation of the law. At 9:42pm, there were no pedestrians visible anywhere near the intersection. Though the Prius driver was outraged at receiving the ticket, he decided to plead guilty before a judge known for reducing turning tickets to $110 rather than risk losing the full $480.”

    The article doesn’t mention whether or not it was a “No Turn on Red” zone, in which case, he would deserve a ticket.

  • avatar
    dvdlgh

    Any and all government officials who have signed on to the these “red light cops” should have their jobs stripped from them including any future benefits and pensions.

  • avatar
    Jerith

    I’m thinking someone could copy the Saudi video of a guy pushing another guy in a shopping cart. They blow the red on a left hand turn and the flash goes off. The intersection was also video monitored to catch vandals of the system.

    That should work with a rolling right shopping cart. A different way to protest the cameras. Not effective but there is the -stick it to the man- reward for the experience.

    I do not condone the running of left turns on red unless it is two one way streets with no signage restricting the turn.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    Wait. Do I understand this correctly? He came up to the light, stopped behind the line, and THEN turned right on red after the traffic was clear? And there was no posted interdiction against doing so? He didn’t break the law, did he? If so, how? And why on earth would he plead guilty to this?

    As an aside, it mystifies me that some of the commenters here seem to be saying that if the system tickets you, you should pay, and that if you disagree with this notion, you’re a classist liberal who represents all that is wrong with this country. Srsly, guys. If the system tickets you for not breaking the law, and if available research indicates that the system doesn’t make you any safer, anyway, then this system is present not to make you safe, but to make you pay. I’m not saying that the municipality in question has no right to revenue, just that it should be transparent and ethical about getting it. And for this Prius driver to be the one funding the city because he turned right, without breaking the law, is neither transparent nor ethical.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      The phrase you’re groping for here is “protection racket”. The Prius driver coughed up $110 in the face of a credible threat that $480 would be extorted from him if he resisted paying.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    And this, my dear friends, is exactly why I am against these cameras! I have this exact same setup about a mile from my house (fortunately coming down next month since our city council wisely decided not to renew the 1-year trial period contract with ATS, after voluminous public outcry). Many of my neighbors got $124 tickets (all of them right turn violations), and they were none too happy about it.

    And the problem is, if you actually do come to a complete stop behind the “stop line” (which is a couple of feet back from the crosswalk), in 99% of the cases, you can’t see past the drivers stopped to the left of you, so you have to pull forward . . . and stop again? Or will rolling forward trigger the camera? Who knows? That’s the problem – it’s not clear what constitutes an infraction to the automated system at this point.

    In my city, ATS REQUIRED the city to install the right-turn violation-catching equipment in their contract, as they KNOW that without it, the intersection won’t produce enough revenue to provide any profits for them. Monthly violation breakdown data that was presented to the city council over the past year has backed this up (something like 90% of the violations were for rolling right turns).

    I really don’t have any issue with the straight-through red light cameras, with the caveat being that there are still going to be a few cases (such as icy roads, or large semis esp. the ones with a second trailer, or large trucks/semis on icy roads that can’t stop in time) where being in the intersection on red cannot be avoided and shouldn’t be ticketed.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Where I live the right on red take is 29%. You know, if these damn things were used to nail those who blow through red lights at full road speed I could see their worth. But that would never generate enough revenue. So the bastards at ATS and Redflex have gamed the system to their benefit and all of us stupid sheep pay up, myself included…

  • avatar
    Les

    “His front tire crossed the first line of the crosswalk, which Newark and Redflex contend is a serious violation of the law.”

    Oh FFS!!!!

    People! The alternative to Rule of Law is not Anarchy, the alternative is Rule of Some Bastard With Power and the Desire to Use Said Power to Abuse You and Yours for Fun and Profit.

    So… I guess we’ve already crossed the ‘we don’t have rule of law anymore’ threshold.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India