By on April 26, 2017

red light traffic signal (Matthias Ripp/Flickr]

How far would you go in fighting a red light camera ticket? It’s possible that a few motorists who feel especially victimized might schedule an appearance at the courthouse to protest the photographic evidence, but surely no one would spend four years on the case.

Not Mats Järlström, a Beaverton, Oregon resident and man of principle.

Järlström, whose name sounds like a delicious, smoky cheese, made headlines in 2013 when he filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in protest of his wife’s red light camera ticket, arguing that the amber light cycle at the intersection wasn’t suitably lengthy. Now, the stubborn man has his name on another lawsuit — this one against the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying.

Mr. Järlström is not an engineer, the board claims. Not so fast, says the dogged litigant.

In late 2014, the original red light case was handily dismissed, despite Järlström revealing that the amber light cycle at that Beaverton intersection — and others so equipped — lasted 3.35 seconds. The light cycle should last 3.5 seconds, he argued, stating that too-short amber lights amount to a cash grab on the part of the municipality.

Splitting hairs? Maybe, but the federal judge wasn’t interested in fractions of a second. Oregon state law says that an amber light means you stop immediately, not that you stop only if it’s safe to do so. The $260 ticket remained.

In most cases, this would have served as the final chapter to a lengthy saga, but Järlström’s battles were only just beginning. In the lead-up to the court case, his extensive research on red light cameras earned him an appearance on 60 Minutes. The Institute of Transportation Engineers invited Järlström to its annual meeting.

When the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying heard about Järlström’s research, it threatened Järlström with a $500 fine for falsely passing himself off as an engineer. The red-light-distrusting resident had earlier appealed to the board, hoping to present his findings to its members. Even calling himself an engineer in his letter was a violation, it said.

According to Reason, the threat became real in January of this year. Into Järlström’s mailbox came a $500 fine. Suddenly, another legal battle was underway.

You see, Järlström is an engineer. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from Sweden, and worked on aircraft camera systems in the Swedish Air Force before coming to the U.S. to work in high tech. However, he hasn’t registered for the state license that would make his title official.

Still, Järlström argues that an individual doesn’t need an official title to perform basic math and present findings. He recently filed a lawsuit against the board on constitutional grounds. While he doesn’t want a cent of compensation, he does want the state board to curb its overreach. The lawsuit caught the eye of the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm that now stands behind Järlström 100 percent.

“No matter how technical the topic, the government cannot give state-licensed experts a monopoly on exchanging ideas,” the firm stated. “Mats isn’t claiming the right to single-handedly change traffic lights himself; he just wants to talk about them.”

The institute has noted other examples of the state board’s zealous behavior, including a $1,000 fine leveled at a local activist who protested a planned power plant as being too loud for nearby residents.

[Image: Matthias Ripp/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]

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75 Comments on “Oregon Red Light Ticket Objector, Clearly a Glutton for Punishment, Continues Fight...”


  • avatar
    Demon Something

    Oh this poor, naive, Swedish summer child. Don’t you know you can never fight the traffic court?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Yes, you CAN fight traffic tickets, just not in Oregon, which is loaded with officious government types. A lot of the most bull-headed people in government agencies are not elected, and don’t seem to be accountable to people who ARE elected.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I like this guy even though he sounds like a PITA!

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    Not sure about him winning the ticket case, but if he didn’t specifically claim to be a state licensed engineer or a member of that organization, I think he’s right. He IS an engineer by training, and might even be doing similar work in his current position, where licensing maybe isn’t required under Oregon law.

    My guess is that of he came over on a work visa, his employer sponsored it. Which they generally won’t do(because reasons of $$$)unless you have highly specialized sills or training.

    I’d love to see a follow up on this.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      yes, I’m curious as to how they initially concluded he wasn’t an engineer. Sounds like a knee-jerk conclusion, without weighing the possibilities.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        I found this story, and to me, as a non-lawyer citzen, this sounds like this board is WAY overreaching on their authority:

        http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/04/beaverton_man_claims_oregon_st.html

        Highlights (or I guess lowlights?):

        “In 2010, an activist told the city council in La Pine that a new power plant would be too loud for nearby neighbors. The board fined the activist $1,000 for “illegal, unlicensed practice of engineering,” according to board minutes.”

        “A board investigation was launched into Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen Alley based on a complaint that he misused the word “engineer” in one of his political ads. In the ad, he said he’d take a different approach, noting, “I’m an engineer and a problem solver.” He earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and worked as an engineer for Ford and Boeing and holds a string of engineering-related awards. But because he’s not an Oregon-registered professional engineer, the board launched an investigation that’s ongoing 10 months later.”

        They certainly have a case if someone was claiming they were a licensed professional engineer.

        But to simply say “I have a degree in engineering” (a true statement) or in the first ridiculous example “I think this will be too loud” and claim that it is the same as “practicing engineering without a license” (which of course, is bad and fraudulent) is insane, and in the case of the noise complaint, probably unconstitutional. A citizen should absolutely have the right to make any complaint to the government he or she chooses, whether rational or not.

        I think if a federal judge wants to hear this case, it would be fascinating. I think this board would lose, since its a civil rights case.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    This should be a nice, slow, underhand softball to Mr. Baruth. Too loud a protests? Spin, Jack spin.

  • avatar
    operagost

    The law should be changed. No reasonable person should argue that once a yellow light appears, you should immediately stomp on the brakes as hard as possible to ensure you don’t enter the intersection. Do we want more safety, or more ticket revenue? Somehow, I don’t think that more rear-endings and drivers losing control of their cars is conducive to safety.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed. If both red and yellow mean the same thing, then what’s the point of yellow?

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      3.35 seconds is plenty of time to come to a safe stop.

      The law should be changed to disallow camera based tickets. I’m very much against fining the owner of a vehicle for what the driver of the vehicle did.

      • 0 avatar

        Adequate length yellows depend on using the actual perception/reaction times and actual 85th percentile approach speeds to accommodate about 85% of the drivers. Camera cities usually use 1.0 seconds for PRT, but it takes 1.4 – and they usually use the posted limit for the approach speed but that is false at most camera intersections. Between the two scams, the yellows tend to be set 0.7 to 1.2 seconds too short – more than enough to turn the cameras from safety programs to money grab rackets.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          I’m not an engineer, though my Caltrans employment classification was “Transportation Engineer (civil)”. The standard in California is a formula that produces minimum times for the yellow light. That formula produces a standard yellow light interval of:

          25 MPH or less: 3.0 seconds.
          30 MPH: 3.1 seconds
          35 MPH: 3.6 seconds
          40 MPH: 3.9 seconds
          45 MPH: 4.3 seconds
          50 MPH: 4.7 seconds
          55 MPH: 5.0 seconds
          60 MPH: 5.4 seconds
          65 MPH: 5.8 seconds

          The formula is: T=t+V/2d

          T= yellow light interval time
          t= reaction time (1 sec.)
          V= approach speed (ft/sec)(posted)
          d= deceleration rate (10 ft/sec)

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Dude has *two* umlauted vowels in his name. His cause *must* be just and should have the support of all Christendom and devotees of orthopedically advanced footwear.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Very delicious; I’m totally with this guy.

    I’m an engineer, but I don’t have a P.E. license, and have never needed it in my line of work in 30 years. These arrogant bureaucrats need to be put in their place.

    On the technical details, I’d try to demonstrate a probability curve for yellow light delays (they’re certainly not all precisely 3.5 seconds), and try to correlate that with ticket revenue. This would take some research, but would yield very interesting results.

    If this guy started a gofundme for his campaign, I’d contribute.

    Here is an unrelated effort against red light cameras: https://www.gofundme.com/RedLightScam

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      SCE,

      Me too. As another engineer without a PE license I find this situation appallingly predatory. It is clear this particular bureaucracy has a history of harassing detractors for exercising their rights to free speech. If their law truly penalizes any work defined to be “engineering” without a license it must be stricken down. The IJ has a long track record of invalidating overreaching professional licensing laws and I hope they work their magic here.

      Given his training and likely professional engagement where the word “engineer” may of or may still be part of his job title how else is he to describe himself? I similarly call myself an engineer as that is part of my job title and I have a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering. I even passed the FE (EIT) exam before I graduated. Because none of my employers nor my general career requires professional licensure few of my coworkers have held PE licenses, and you generally have to work with/under a PE to be eligible for the exam. Protectionist BS.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Same here: BSME + EIT before graduation. MBA later, but I’m really an engineer.

        I’ve even worked on products that go into hazardous environments without a PE (perhaps a PE signed off somewhere), although the PE seems most applicable to safety-related work – transport, roads, bridges, piping, etc. That’s not my gig, but these clowns would say I’m unqualified to present basic math to them.

        It stinks to the sky of a corrupt money grab.

      • 0 avatar
        Jagboi

        Granted, I’m not familiar with US law, but how can you practice engineering without being a P. Eng.? In Canada anyway, “Engineer” and derivatives are protected titles, and you must be licensed by the provincial engineering society. There are fairly hefty penalties for calling yourself an engineer without being licensed.

        If you’re a full member then you can use the title “Professional Engineer”, and if you’ve graduated from university and still doing your apprenticeship then you’re an EIT – Engineer in Training and you work under the supervision of a P Eng and he takes professional responsibility for your work.

        • 0 avatar
          newenthusiast

          I think the question here isn’t whether SCE to AUX is a P.E., or the Swede in the the story is, or even of the man they fined at a town meeting is.

          The question is whether this organization can fine people merely for stating they have an engineering degree, or that a power plant is too loud, or that after doing some math and research, that yellow lights are too short.

          Because THAT’S what this organization is doing to people. They are trying to say that you can’t even think or talk about engineering related things without being a licensed engineer.

          The fellow said he is an engineer because he is an engineer (by training), the same as a doctor saying he/she is a doctor (either an MD, a DO, or a PhD). A consulting or teaching lawyer who holds a JD but does not practice in court is not the same as a licensed attorney. Stating such a title earned by a degree is NOT the same as representing your work as a legally licensed practice your jurisdiction. And even if a person describes himself as such for the purpose of demonstrating expertise relating to a topic of discussion, it still isn’t equivalent to actually engaging in a professional capacity for fees or in kind services.

          Bottom line, there is no way this is anything but the government penalizing public participation.

          Here is the link again for your reference:

          http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/04/beaverton_man_claims_oregon_st.html

        • 0 avatar
          cdotson

          Here in the free world we don’t look kindly upon having to obtain a permission slip from neighbors who extort their living via taxation in order to provide an honest living for ourselves and our families. We have the first amendment that allows us to call that by any name we want, and the second amendment for if you don’t like what we call it.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @Jagboi:

          Throughout my 30-year career in the US, I’ve only known or worked with a handful of licensed “Professional” engineers. Such a title permits one to sign off on officially-recognized documents, usually related to public safety. I think it also legitimizes one’s testimony in court, which is at the heart of this story.

          As a mechanical engineer, I’ve not worked in the public safety arena at all. My work has always been with business-to-business products, for which there is little public (government) regulation or licensing in the engineering realm. I’ve never once had dealings with the local, state, or federal governments related to my work.

          Back to the court testimony, however, I don’t think the court should automatically dismiss the word of an unlicensed engineer, just as it shouldn’t accept the word of licensed engineers without challenge.

          • 0 avatar
            Jagboi

            That must be the difference between the US and Canadian systems. Here, if you’re not licensed, you’re not allowed to call yourself an Engineeer. You might have an engineering degree, but if you’re not licensed by the responsible provincial body in the eyes of the law, you’re not an engineer. You’re just a guy with a degree.

            The main reason we do it that way is to protect the public. Engineering is a self regulating profession (like law and medicine) so if you hold yourself out to be an engineer, then the public should be able to trust that you are qualified and competent. The licensing process ensures that, and also has a discipline process to remove those not competent.

            So to my frame of reference, the guy getting fined for calling himself an engineer, but his qualifications not being recognized makes perfect sense to me.

            That being said, we also define what “practising Engineering” is, so measuring the length of time a light is yellow and complaining about it isn’t practising engineering.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “Back to the court testimony, however, I don’t think the court should automatically dismiss the word of an unlicensed engineer, just as it shouldn’t accept the word of licensed engineers without challenge.”

            That I do agree 100%.
            I was in court as a “professional” witness and the lawyer for the crown and for the defense spent at least 30 minutes reviewing my professional status and experience.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    With a name like Not Mats Järlström, I may have to summon him to my papal palace for a drink.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Not Mats Järlström” – A name like that might not go over well with a cranky cop at a road side check.

      Is this your licence and registration?

      Jahhh!

      Not Mats Järlström”

      Are you making fun of me boy?

      Not Mats Järlström”

      Get out of the car!

      Not Mats Järlström”

      This is going to get ugly………..

  • avatar
    Duaney

    The government exists to serve the public and provide for the safety of the public. Mr. Jarlstrom is a great citizen sending a malfunctioning government a vital message.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Years ago, I happened to be driving by a corner in Dallas, where the signal controller box was open, and a guy was working on it (a city of Dallas signals engineer). So naturally, I found a place to park, and went over to pick the guy’s brain about how signals are programmed.

    He told me that their signals were programmed so that yellow lights were to last one second per 10 mph of speed – for example, given a 45 mph speed limit, the yellow should last 4.5 seconds. Also, when a light turned red, the signal for the cross street stayed red for one second, to allow for last second crossers, and allow things to settle.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      That’s right and it’s assumed you’ll by doing the speed limit, no less. You could be doing 30 in a 45, and thanks to road/weather conditions or heavy traffic, you enter the intersection (or point-of-no-return), but still not carry enough speed to beat the red.

      Cops have been right behind me, watch me “technically” run the red, but do nothing since they can *see* I didn’t do it intentionally. A camera can not. But I’ve been burned the other way, with a cop only witnessing the end result, not behind me but at a right angle, stopped waiting for the green.

      When it’s simply “the letter of the law”, no if/ands/or…, it’s a cash grab.

    • 0 avatar
      Nedmundo

      In theory, it’s a good idea to keep the cross street red to “allow things to settle,” but in practice I’m not so sure. In Philly, the cross street stays red for awhile — seems like longer than one second — and everybody knows this, so they run red lights constantly, thinking the others don’t have green yet, but of course sometimes they do. It’s incredibly dangerous.

      In Manhattan, the cross street goes green almost immediately, and I don’t see nearly as much red light running. It seems much safer to me.

  • avatar

    This email went to that Board and a couple of its executives.
    To All the OSBEELS Executives:

    The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying is desperately trying to protect the ability of their engineers to deliberately set too-short of yellow intervals on traffic lights so the cities that employ those engineers can rob safe drivers with red light camera fines that are very profitable. If Mr. Järlström can get a discussion of why the yellows are often set too short into the official records, then the money grab racketeering with too-short of yellow intervals might have to be shut down in Oregon.

    In reality, any engineer that sets too-short of yellow intervals on the lights at camera intersections should lose their license to practice.

    Putting camera revenue above safety is criminally wrong.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    I just drive the limit and treat yellows as sort of orangey; best to stop.

  • avatar
    EAF

    For me, retribution would be a battery op. sawzall armed with a couple of 12″ steel blades. Appearing in front of a judge & presenting evidence could never be as satisfying as chopping one of these cameras in half.

    • 0 avatar
      4drSedan

      Cool Hand Luke…got thrown in the hoosegow for cutting the heads off parking meters with a pipe cutter, but probably just ’cause he was drunk.

      • 0 avatar
        Salzigtal

        If you ever get a chance to see: ”Saturday Night Live” Strother Martin/The Specials, 19 April 1980 (Season 5, Episode 17) It’s the icing on the cake for Cool Hand Luke (1967). At Camp Beau Soleil, a French language immersion camp, “Cool Hand” Luc (Bill Murray) tries to rebell against the curriculum provided by Le Capitan (Strother Martin).

  • avatar
    barryfaetheus

    Oregon has some strange traffic laws. In most states, you may perform a u-turn at an intersection, unless explicitly prohibited from doing so. Not in Oregon.

    I got pulled over and given a $120 ticket, no warning, nothing. When I apologized to the officer and explained that I was unfamiliar with this rule, having just moved there, his response was simply “Yeah. There are no u-turns in the State of Oregon. Period”. I was kinda left wondering how the hell one can turn around in Oregon when there is no possibility of going round the block.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      There are no u-turns in Ohio, either, unless explicitly permitted.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I’m an Ohioan.

        I find this really weird. Know why? Because I have a hard time believing ANY municipality would permit Uturns. that sounds so dangerous.

        Now I know I’m biased, and this specifically is because of my bias, but I’m intrigued by the bias. Because I grew up here and learned to drive here, it seems like the “right way”. Allowing Uturns sounds so dangerous… how would people know your Uturning and not slam into you if they were, for example, right turning on red? Or what if the intersection has a green right turn arrow?

        Now clearly other states that permit it don’t have that issue, but IF people live in a state where its illegal, you turn right on red with disregard to traffic coming from the opposing direction because there’s no chance of those people uturning. Who gets the right of way on a Uturn by the way… the uturner or the turn-right-on-redder? And how does the uturner know if there’s a green arrow or not?

        I’ve lived in other states and always just assumed Uturning was illegal everywhere. I’m currently wowwed that such a basic activity (which I’ve done despite its lack of legality) differs so much between states.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          U-turns are not done at right on reds, they’re done at LEFT on reds (green arrows). So you get the green arrow allowing a left turn, you can either make a left turn or a U-turn. Anyone with functioning eyes and brain can see if there is a car waiting at the cross street to go right, etc that may interfere with your U-turn, and act accordingly. And in IL (and anywhere else I drive) I assume they are legal unless there is a sign prohibiting them.

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            I would turn right on red in a heartbeat if the car turning left had a great arrow (Assume in the diagram below that I am the asterisk (*) and you are the at (@). If you were Uturning there, I would turn right on red because I have right-of-way

            ____|* |______

            ___@____________

            But it sounds like in other states… like Illinois… the @ car would have the right of way.

            Thats where it gets a little convoluted. If you were in Ohio and tried to Uturn, I’d also go. If we collided YOU’D get a ticket.

            In Illinois if we collided, I’D get a ticket.

            That may sound hypothetical, but this happens all the time… any time I illegally U-turn, I have to WAIT for the right-turn-on-Red people go all go, and if there is a car that MIGHT turn right on red if the chance opens up, I cannot U-turn, leading me to often left turn, turn around in a parking lot, then come back out. On the contrary, if I was turning right on red I would go and not even notice the @ individual.

            Once again, You have a green arrow, AND I have a Right turn at red at the same intersection. If you do a Uturn AND I turn right on red, we would collide, and anyone in Ohio for example would Turn right on red even if an individual was sitting where the @ sign is.

            I understand that if everyone is slow, cautious, and yields to everyone else, an accident won’t happen, but in Ohio, you’d never even look or think if a car could Uturn because its illegal.. Therefore you don’t, you just go!

            Its interesting to say the least. I learned something new today, and I’ll be more careful when traveling in other states.

          • 0 avatar
            barryfaetheus

            I think generally (where allowed), the car doing the u-turn with a green arrow would have priority over the car making a right on red from the perpendicular street. Because in order to legally make a right on red, one has to come to a complete stop first and check that traffic and crosswalk is clear from all directions. The same is not true when making a protected u-turn.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    I will argue this to my grave and if you are honest with yourself, you know it is true: If you are really against red light cameras, it is because you run red lights. I’ve seen enough red light running accidents in my town to wish we HAD red light cameras to punish the d-bags that should have left for work 5 minutes earlier. Sounds like this guy is a Swedish d-bag…The too short yellow light argument is a lame excuse…

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      While I doubt you can know anyone else’s deepest convictions and I find the “You know I’m right.” tactic repellent, I happen to wholeheartedly agree with you about red light cameras.

      Wish we had them locally.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      Ten years ago a red light camera was installed on a busy set of lights on an old commute of mine in downtown Calgary, Alberta. It wasn’t a surprise, as it was in the news for a while, but the abbreviated yellow light certainly was. Their mistake was shortening it far too much: it would only get to full illumination before the red light turned on. The city got thousands of dollars from that intersection in mere days, which was bad enough, but the crux was that a large percentage of the fines paid to the city went to the owner and installer of the camera system: a company in Austin, Texas, if I remember correctly. The uproar was palpable and the yellow light duration was soon lengthened. The best bit was seeing people on the sidewalk at that intersection timing the yellow light duration with the stopwatches on their phones, then comparing times.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Fact is many municipalities have been found to shorten the yellow light below the standards on intersections with cameras to increase revenue.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        Agreed but this was far too short a duration, laughably so, especially to someone who drove through that intersection every day and had done so for years. It was a one-way downtown street that intersected another one-way. Drivers were also getting tickets for turning on a red light – which is perfectly legal in that circumstance – because the camera saw a vehicle advance on a red light.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Yup, it’s a racket, to shorten the yellow light to increase revenue.

        But if you drive too slow because you’re cautious, they’ll pull you over for “obstructing the normal flow of traffic.”

        Happened to my father-in-law in 2013, because he drove just under the speed limit in the left lane, passing eighteen-wheelers struggling to get up an incline.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      Bullsh*t, klossfam. It’s all about filling government coffers with that sweet, sweet money.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      I used to think that, until I got a letter in the mail with me turning left from a one way street to another one way street (a legal maneuver), with a fine and summons for traffic court.

      While I could not prove that I actually entered the intersection while it was yellow (although I thought the fact that the first picture got the side of the vehicle and not my windshield and face should have been enough), I surely thought that once I explained this particular intersection to the judge, it would be fine. Its an auto camera, so it can’t get details like this. I didn’t run a red, and even if I went through a red, a safe turn as I described was legal in the state.

      The judge basically said “no”, and tacked on a ‘failure to stop at a red light’ infraction, since my ‘testimony’ about the left turn ‘proved that I didn’t stop to check for traffic’.

      Why would I stop since I was already in the intersection when it turned red???????? And even if it was red, the camera wouldn’t have fired until after I entered the intersection, therefore it can’t document if a driver stops and looks to see if its safe before making the turn.

      My fine was almost double what it would have been if I just sent in the check.

      Now, is this the norm? I don’t know.

      But don’t tell me it will increase safety and then blatantly turn around and use it as a revenue generating tool on such a grossly corrupt way.

      And don’t tell me that only people who run reds are distrustful of these things.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Thank you newenthusiast. I don’t run red lignts, and if cameras did their job without the sleezy underhanded cash grab bit, I’d be all for them. I HATE it when my light finally turns green, and there are at least two vehicles still making left turns in front of me. Their light had to have been red for a while if they were still early in their turn when *my* light turned green.

        Reminds me of some bigot on Autoblog comments a few years ago saying “you know its true, if someone is gay, they HAD to have been molested as a child” umm, I’m here to tell ya, bud, wasn’t molested. Still gay. What a disgusting and horribly ignorant thing to say.

        I believe when the Bible talked about unnatural acts and such, that it is actually referring to pedophilia (which was common back in Roman times, etc), or perhaps rape of any kind, incest, bestiality, that sort of thing. I can’t help but believe the true meaning/sentiment was lost (intentionally or accidently, who can say) through the years/translations.

        • 0 avatar
          Salzigtal

          Exodus 21:7 “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.” WTF?

          Leviticus 11:12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

          Same severity of abomination applies to sucking sauce out of a shrimp cocktail as …?

          I’m still looking for the “Thou shall not rape” clause.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Only someone that lives somewhere they are not could make an argument for the cameras. The short yellows to increase profits, and poor calibrations cause all sorts of incorrect tickets. I’ve seen them go off for people legally turning right on red, and people making left turns. I former coworker of mine was driving a friend’s Mercedes 240D. He set off when the light turned green, and didn’t make it through the intersection in time before it turned red. Red light ticket for his friend. Once they are installed in your area, I’ll give it a few months before you change your tune. Most people don’t have a problem with the cameras in theory. It’s in practice where the issues come from. I’d like to see you avoid a ticket at some of the comically short yellows these municipalities create.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      klossfam, red light cameras always seem to be installed at poorly designed intersections and most of the revenue comes from people trying to turn, not people trying to beat the light. For example, intersections where the stop bar and crosswalks are set so far back that everyone has to cross the paint to see to safely turn right on red. I also see the left turn yellow programmed to go red a fraction of a second before the straight through yellow. Red light camera companies don’t bother to install cameras on normal right-angle intersections with unobstructed views and an occasional straight through red light violations. It’s all about revenue from right turns and left turns.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      I have never knowingly run a red light and I whole heartedly disagree. When they shorten the yellow ONLY on those intersections with a camera it is all about the cash they generate. It doesn’t stop those that run red lights either.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I don’t run red lights ever.

      I am wholly against red light cameras.

      Therefore you are wrong and a jerk, because you explicitly state as fact that which is not.

      I am against non-manned police and military tactics and automated law application.

    • 0 avatar
      Von

      BS Kloss. I don’t run red lights, and was rear ended by some dude without insurance because I stopped at one of these camera intersections with a shortened yellow.

      It does not improve safety when they purposely shorten the yellow light duration. They do it for money, plain and simple.

  • avatar

    As somebody who knows a thing or two about traffic signal controllers, I’m very curious how the City of Beaverton timed a yellow light at 3.35 seconds. I have a bonafide traffic signal controller running my collection of signals in the garage and it will let me time the yellow at 3.3. It will let me time the yellow at 3.4. But there is no way for me to set it to 3.35. I’m guessing that Mr. Järlström’s timing was off by enough that it was either 3.3 or 3.4. The range for yellow times on my controller can be set anywhere between 3 and 10 seconds in increments of tenths of a second.

    You’ll also be interested to know that, by disabling a feature that prevents yellows from being any shorter than 3 seconds, I can actually disable the yellow phase entirely or make it short enough to be absurd. This is not an hard thing to do, either. Anyone with any signal controller experience would be able to figure it out.

  • avatar
    Pete Skimmel

    I happen to live in the city of Beaverton where this story is based. Oddly enough, my next door neighbor was, until his retirement a few weeks ago, the factory rep of the company that contracts with the city to provide and maintain the red light equipment. It is one of several companies providing red light and photo radar systems. When this company’s system flags a violation and a citation is sent to the vehicle owner, the owner is directed to a web site where he can view actual video of his vehicle entering and passing through the intersection. The video includes a close up view of the signal lights. I was very impressed when I checked it out. I will also say that at the intersections that I often travel through in this city where these systems are now installed I frequently had near misses with very obvious violators in the past. My observation is that these incidents have been greatly reduced since installation of the systems. Love ’em or hate ’em, I think the red light camera systems in our city are pretty effective in reducing bad behavior at intersections.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    I hope he wins. Government has run amuck for too long in the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” Government has run amuck for too long in the USA.”

      Yup. A lot of people feel that way.

      Hence the election results of Nov 8, 2016. Maybe things will change now, for the better.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    This is a perfect example of an out of touch, abusive, provincial state agency running amok. I deal with this sort of crap occasionally in my line of work, and nothing is more frustrating than dealing with rent-seeking ‘public servants’ using the veil of ‘public safety’ to do nothing more than launch a naked attempt at extortion. Fortunately, this is few and far between.

    My money is on a court slapping this group of power-hungry bureaucrats down and the Governor firing everyone involved.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    PE licensing is an odd duck indeed. When it comes to civil engineering structures, facilities open to the public and public works in general, I’m all in favor. The PE’s knowledge and use of the prescriptive design techniques in building and related codes is a reasonable way to assure buildings won’t collapse and bridges won’t fall down. HVAC and building wiring – those guys should be registered as well.

    But last I checked, about 90% of people with an engineering degree, doing tasks that would commonly be called engineering, do not have a PE. Your car has not been signed and sealed by a PE. Neither has the plane you last flew on. None of your consumer white goods and minor appliances are likely to carry a PE stamp either. A lot of these consumer items have to meet different certifications – e.g., you can find one or more electrical cert ‘bugs’ on even small and cheap appliances – but these don’t require a PE. In the US, for better or worse, problems that arise for these products are sorted out by the legal system.

    Most state boards of professional licensing understand the distinction between public works in the largest sense of the term and everything else. The Oregon board needs to be brought up short on this.

  • avatar
    Von

    “Oregon state law says that an amber light means you stop immediately, not that you stop only if it’s safe to do so. The $260 ticket remained.”

    Why is that not an outrage? The whole purpose of having traffic lights is to improve safety and lessen personal injury and property damage.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Von, so an Amber light in Oregon is the same as a Red light? You stop!

      I’ll be driving through Oregon in late June, on my way to Vancouver, BC, Canada.

      Good to know. I thought Amber meant “Caution.”

  • avatar
    4drSedan

    In South Tampa the city installed red light cameras at a couple of the major intersections. They mostly busted people not stopping before turning right on red (who knew?). Within a month everybody stopped before turning right on red. Everyone seems used to it now and expects it. From what I understand revenue dropped substantially. Now I stop when turning to Stick It To The Man!

  • avatar
    don1967

    Here in Ontario, Canada I actually cheered when they removed photo radar (which protects nobody) and implemented red light-cameras.

    Red-light running had become an epidemic up here, and we’re not talking about innocent people being tricked by short amber light cycles. We’re talking about very long amber light cycles, followed by an all-red cycle, followed by a green light, followed by 3 or 4 idiots blowing through the intersection against the red because they’ve learned how to time it.

    I’ve been flashed going through a red light once, at low speed in a heavy downpour. Never got a ticket. Seems that whoever reviews the photos up here isn’t quite as trigger-happy as they are in the U.S.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      don1967 – I haven’t heard of Intersection Camera’s being abused in BC.
      I’m all for them if it prevents serious accidents. Statistically the best option would put traffic circles in place of traffic controlled intersections.

      Photo Radar was a joke in BC and was subsequently cancelled.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I wonder: On cars with bumper-mounted license plates (admittedly not many these days), would a trailer hitch ball, with a cover, be an effective deterrent to red-light and speed cameras?

  • avatar
    Salzigtal

    Ignore the red light camera distraction. The man is being fined for exercising his freedom of speech. He hasn’t charged any clients for his engineering services. He hasn’t hung up a shingle and opened a structural engineering office. He bought stopwatch and took notes.

  • avatar
    Salzigtal

    Now this woman could fight a speeding ticket: http://smalltownjustice.com (Un)fortunately, it appears she finally listened one of her lawyers and un-posted 99.9999% of her site. (100’s of pages of anecdotes, appeals, briefs, and tirades). Any retired CHP out there remember her name? Here’s hoping she’s happier now than during and after the trials. Her fears & story sounded plausible, but NO, the correct response to red lights in the mirror is NEVER >1µsec of the gas pedal.


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