Citizen Petitions Put Photo Enforcement Companies on the Defensive

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Petitions to place the fate of red light cameras and speed cameras in the hands of voters are circulating across the country. This November, photo enforcement bans are likely to be considered in three Ohio and two Texas cities. Every Arizona jurisdiction may have a chance to vote on a statewide ballot initiative in November 2010. So far, the efforts in Ohio are the most advanced. In April, the group Citizens Against Photo Enforcement succeeded in having an automated ticketing ban certified for the ballot in Chillicothe. We Demand a Vote this week secured more than the required number of signatures to qualify for the ballot in Heath. The group will continue to collect additional signatures before making a formal submission to election officials. A third petition in Toledo has secured half of the required number of signatures.


“The Coalition Against Spending and Taxes (COAST) and Americans for Prosperity are firmly committed to seeing it is done,” COAST spokesman Chris Finney told TheNewspaper. “We had a decent rally in Toledo on the 8th, after collecting 1200 signatures in less than ten days.”

Finney is confident the issue will be placed on the ballot and, once before the voters, red light cameras will be banned. Finney’s prediction is based on his experience helping to lead a coalition that ousted red light cameras from Cincinnati last year. In 2006, seventy-six percent of Steubenville voters rejected photo radar.

Efforts to ban cameras in Texas cities are also proceeding. Tomorrow, local activist Jim Ash will hold a rally during which he will present election officials with a petition to put a referendum on red light cameras in College Station on the next ballot. Ash had little difficulty in convincing the required number of residents to sign.

“The cities say it is a safety program,” Ash wrote on his website. “I have evidence that one city council member even expected to see rear end accidents increase and still went ahead with the program. I, along with many others, have concluded the red light camera program is more about the money than anything else.”

Former city councilman Paul Ford also continues his effort to line up signatures to ban red light cameras in Duncanville. Although the issue has never been placed directly on a Texas ballot, 64 percent of Arlington voters rejected a 2003 attempt to install “traffic management cameras” that opponents at the time said could be converted into ticketing cameras.

The most ambitious of all referendum efforts, however, is underway in Arizona. The group Camerafraud.com needs 153,364 verified signatures to give voters a say in whether automated ticketing machines should be allowed in the state. Camerafraud volunteer Shawn Dow told TheNewspaper that the petition has met with nearly universal support from the public.

“Photo radar is all people are talking about here,” Dow said. “The cameras are coming down.”

Already feeling the public backlash growing in the state, traffic cameras companies like Redflex Traffic Systems of Melbourne, Australia have begun taking steps to improve their local image. Redflex has begun sponsoring traffic reports on local radio stations like KTAR. Its Arizona-based competitor, American Traffic Solutions, recently gave sixty-five backpacks to school children.

History shows these companies will face an uphill battle at the ballot box. By a two-to-one margin, voters in Peoria, Arizona ordered speed cameras to come down in the mid-Nineties. Voters in Batavia, Illinois and Anchorage, Alaska have also rejected photo radar. So far this year, eighty-six percent of Sulphur, Louisiana rejected speed cameras. Photo enforcement has never survived a public vote. The state legislatures in Maine, Mississippi and Montana also enacted laws prohibiting automated ticketing machines in 2009.

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  • Chris Anderson Chris Anderson on Jul 15, 2009

    Minor quibble: Red-light cameras weren't ousted from Cincinnati. The vote last fall was in essence a preemptive strike, and kept them from being installed. The City never got as far as letting a contract. BTW, the vote only applied to the City of Cincinnati, but it seems to have had an effect on the suburbs as well. Not one suburban community has even discussed them seriously, so in that case, elected officials seem to realize what the public doesn't want.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Jul 15, 2009

    make_or_break Look, we all love seeing idiots get their due. Its a good thing I don't carry a hand gun most days! But I tried to explain THESE are NOT the ones getting the tickets. Its the right-turn-on-reds getting the tickets. AND the cameras don't tell the tale. For instance IF you stop, creep up for better vision...YOU get a ticket. And again another point is the first lie...it was to prevent accidents. It is proven with data it isn't happening AND the right turn violators, the 75 percent getting fined, do NOT cause the accidents. So let the sun shine on the bull and hopefully sterilize.

  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.
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