By on January 18, 2011

The residents of six cities with a combined population of over 2.7 million voted last year to outlaw the use of automated ticketing machines on their streets. The photo enforcement industry is now working overtime to make up for lost ground by expanding operations into states where neither red light cameras nor speed cameras have been well received. Lobbyists are hopeful that Indiana could be the next state to reconsider.

Powerful members of the General Assembly earlier this month introduced legislation to authorize the use of traffic cameras. House Majority Leader William C. Friend (R-Elkhart) introduced House Bill 1199 authorizing the widespread use of speed cameras. Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Jim Merrit (R-Marion County) authored a companion measure, Senate Bill 527, legalizing red light cameras. Photo ticketing vendor Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) has given lawmakers $51,650 with most of the funds directed to the House and Senate Republican campaign committees and Republican Governor Mitch Daniels. Democrats have also gotten in on the action. In October, Arizona-based camera company American Traffic Solutions gave state Representative Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) $1000. State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh (D-Lake County) cosponsored the speed camera bill.

This legislation allows the state highway department to lower the speed limit on a freeway or a locality to designate a “work zone” where a photo radar device would be set up to issue tickets worth $300 for a first offense to $1000 for a third. The systems could also be used in school zones during times when class is in session. Tickets would be mailed within six business days of the alleged violation and notice must be sent by certified mail.

The Senate red light camera bill gives the private company up to sixty days to drop the $150 ticket into a regular mail box. The state government would take a thirty percent share of the net profit from citations issued by municipalities and would suspend the registration of any vehicle owner that did not receive or respond to a ticket. The measure also repeals the definition of “official traffic control devices” under Indiana law, allowing private corporations to regulate traffic instead of the “authority of a public body.”

If adopted, the laws would take effect in July 2011. A copy of SB 527 is available in a 350k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Senate Bill 527 (Indiana General Assembly, 1/6/2011)


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9 Comments on “Traffic Camera Companies Renew Push in Indiana...”

  • avatar

    I-65 will never be the same if this passes.  It’s easily my favorite highway in the Midwest for the flow of traffic.  I do wonder how efficient these systems are; the E-470 toll road around Denver closed all their toll booths (and probably fired all the very friendly people that operated them) and tracks out-of-towners by their license plate.  The company running it usually doesn’t figure out who I am or send a bill for two months, assuming my license plate wasn’t covered in snow and unreadable.

  • avatar

    Notice how they are looking to employ the 80/20 rule and use emotional appeals to maximize the monetary take rate.
    The cameras in school zones are ‘for the children’ and those in work zones are for ‘hard working workers’ thus justifying higher ticket costs in these zones to net more money per citation.
    Next will be ‘dynamic speed ratings’ where electronic speed signs and tandem cameras will alter traffic rules to maximize tickets based on algorithms designed by ATS and Redflex’s behavioral manipulation/extraction unit.
    They already do this crudely by shortening yellow light duration…imagine if they could do that and more on the fly.

  • avatar

    I live in Indianapolis, and I have not seen one whisper of this covered in my local press/media.  It looks like the speed camera folks have figured out that you need to grease the palms of both parties, so that everyone is in favor and there is nobody to scream about the dirty scoundrels on the other side of the aisle.

    • 0 avatar

      You think national politics is bad?  Local is as open to abuse, less transparent, and affects you a lot more.  And the trend to national news and the demise of local media like newspapers are not helping when it comes to being informed about these doings.

  • avatar

    Oooh, I can’t see this standing up in court.  Especially the part of the law where they allow a private company to make a profit off public property.  I guess it worked in Illinois though, the tolls there are all privately operated

  • avatar

    Hoosiers: Take a minute to call, write, or email your state senator (about SB 527) and your state representative (about HB 1199) urging them to oppose these bills. Surprisingly, I’ve found many local politicians to be reasonable people.
    I also have seen zero coverage of this story in the corrupt local media.

  • avatar

    RedFlex and Automated Traffic Systems (ATS), the major two traffic camera companies, send grifters into towns promising riches beyond the wildest imagination just for the taking. Dazzled by the camera company’s briefcases full of Powerpoints, City Leaders drink the Kool Aid and approve signing a commitment for hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars of City money to the carpet baggers.

    With gleeful back-slapping and handshakes all around, the City leaders began proclaiming “It’s all about safety!” and “It’s for the kids!”.

    Keeping the red light cameras out is a simple matter of mandating any yellow light calculation less than 3.99 seconds be rounded up to 4.0 seconds and adding 0.50 seconds to any calculated or mandated value to account for traffic signal system delays. This is equally effective at the city or state level.  At 4.5 seconds or more, the cameras are gone or are never installed in the first place.

    Ending Speed entrapment is a more difficult. You can develop a broad set of winning strategies but they must be executed on a location-by-location basis. You hammer on the fact there is no problem for which the camera is the preferred solution. For school zones, challenge the perimeter of the zone and how can no non-reckless speeding incidents as investigated by 10 years of school, police, and newspaper archives, be reduced from zero? How is zero a safety problem?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think anyone believes it’s a safety issue; it was always about money and it was tolerated because until now it was a game of chance.  If the PA Turnpike calculated your speed with a simple chart looking at entry location and time back in the days of 55, the booth attendant could have handed you a ticket with your receipt when you got off the road.  If you got stopped for speeding you could blame yourself for not seeing the cop hiding under the bridge in the median.
      Cameras are taking the chance out of our acceptance of these rules.  The motivation for revenue hasn’t changed, it’s the increased consistency of enforcement that hopefully will make people realize just how low and flawed our speed limits and red light timings are.  Or maybe they won’t do anything, pay more and feel an increasing anger that is searching for a cause or outlet. I’m sure some media outlet, internet blog or political movement will try to harness it for their own ends.

  • avatar

    Something like this must be going on behind the scenes in Connecticut right now.,0,2180956.story

    Our local rag says only that “The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities”, a “group of legislators”, and “Town Officials” are working towards passing an enabling statute.

    No direct mention of riches being promised by vendors, but there is a note that current state law sends most of each traffic fine directly to the state’s coffers, something that “would have to change because the technology would have to pay for itself” says a local police chief.

    I wonder for whom he intends to work after retiring from the force?

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