IPVMU Certified | 12/30/13 05:17pm
Is it the public who have had enough, or is it operating entities deciding that the 'real' operating costs involve more than they expected?
Many cities in California have already disabled or removed them so I think at least here, 2013 was the first "year".
A number of factors have come into play in their shutoff and removal:
- Ticket revenues tended to decline rapidly as drivers learned camera locations and after complaints of too-short yellow signals either forced authorities to lengthen the yellow or as cases were dismissed because the yellow time didn't meet traffic flow standards.
- Many cases were also thrown out of court for various other reasons.
- Public outcry upon learning that the cameras' primary purpose was revenue.
- Increased "rear enders" at camera intersections caused primarliy by drivers braking short as soon as the light turned yellow.
So wars on false pretenses, mass spying on private citizens, and massive corruption in the financial system are all acceptable to the US people.... but not traffic cameras.
IPVMU Certified | 12/30/13 08:01pm
Wow, this script sounds really familiar... BC had a flirtation with speed cameras a dozen or more years ago... the left-wing government brought them in, defended them through five years of public outcry, and the program was promptly shut down by the successive right-leaning party.
The biggest issues then, too, were the reliability of the technology, and the vagueness of the laws. The program itself survived numerous court challanges, although as I recall some tickets were thrown out after their recipients took them all the way to Constitutional challenges (obviously something that only suits those with deep pockets and a need to prove a point).
In our case, the speed cameras weren't fixed positions; they were van-based systems that could be parked anywhere, ostensibly in particularly hazardous areas, but in reality seemed to appear more in "fishing holes".
We do still have red-light cameras here, and those seem to be far more accepted. Of course, you always get the anti-authoritarians who will be against them just on princple (they love to bring up the "increased rear enders" bit, something I've seen generally refuted by those with actual experience). But they also tend to be far more reliable - for example, the camera doesn't actually go active until two seconds after the light turns red, so if someone trips it, they were REALLY blowing the red.
Will 2014 be the year people rise up against...Hey, football is on!
No, they will not rise up. They are too lazy to stand.
FLIR Security | 12/31/13 12:17am
My disdain for red light cameras has been vehement and long-winded. Every time I hear a proponent make stupid, completely unscientificly proven statements about these cameras having anything to do with 'safety', a little bomb explodes in my brain.
I don't know what the specific laws are for speed cameras, but I've read many places that red light camera companies are not allowed by law to receive any 'percentage' of tickets. Instead, the municipality pays a flat yearly fee (with a standard contract of five years) for each camera installed.
Since these cameras are used at intersections, that means you need (at a minimum) 4 cameras to cover each approach.
As Carl noted, human nature and the laws of diminishing wallets dictates that people will shortly learn to come to complete stops and/or be more cautious approaching these intersections, and the ticket volume (along with collected revenue) will plummet accordingly.
But guess who's still on the hook for the remainder of the 5 year contract?
And nobody can say this is taxation without representation, as the locally elected are absolutely complicit. They drink the koolaid, become proponents, then only turn against these companies when their own positions become challenged/threatened.
I hadn't received a ticket in many years, but recently I received a DC ticket complete with photographic verification.
They appear to determine speed by radar or vascar, and provide photographs for verification. The photographs are taken 0.2 sec apart on a section of street that is marked with white cross bars every 5 feet. Not wanting to risk an accident in a busy thoroughfare, I take the five foot spacing on faith.
The ticket was for 49 mph in a 35 zone. Running the math from the photographic evidence yields 43 in a 35 zone. I find it interesting because:
1) 43 mph in a 35 zone is still speeding,
2) The price difference between 43 and 49 isn't worth hours in court
3) My calculations imply (on the basis of one data point from two photographs) a measurement bias
4) One wonders if the 5 foot cross-bar separation suffers bias. That would be too obvious, right?
This experience adds a data point for cocktail party chat, but in my humble estimation, I don't think that 2014 (or any year) will be the year that people expend a lot of effort to change this system. When we get the ticket in the mail, we internally acknowledge that we've been on the wrong side of the law, and if our time has any value, challenging a bias at the margin really isn't cost effective.
IPVMU Certified | 12/31/13 02:46pm
In the next county over, my girlfriend got a traffic camera ticket for rolling through a stop light. IT actually had a URL link to a video clip showing it.
She was given the option of paying something like $120 with points against her license assesed and $170 without points assesed.
Matt's acceptance of the legal and ethical grounds for photo enforcement illustrates a major difference between Canadians' view of the government as benevolent and Americans' inherent distrust of the government. Look up red light cameras in the U.S. and you'll find hundreds of websites devoted to arguments against them and ways to fight the tickets. Contrarily, look up red light cameras in BC and you'll find very few detractors.
It is interesting to see the differences in public attitudes toward government around the world. This was also reflected in the recent IPVM discussion Did Police Go Too Far With Surveillance In This Case? where gun ownership was also discussed.
Here in Norway we have had speed ticket cameras for a long time now. They are operated by the government and no percentage of the fines go to the police or contractors.
There was a lot of noise about them when they came. Now there is hardly anything.
We have two types of cameras, one that is just an automated radar control point.The other is a system that measures average speed over some kilometers.
For the ticket to be valid the authorities must have a picture of the driver that can clearly identify the driver. The cameras supervised sections of the road must also be clearly marked with signs. Our traffic police officers than also regularly conduct manual speed control in nearby section.
As the road authorities have good data on accidents on the roads, they can prove a significant reduction in accidents in the areas where the cameras are used. I would also say that at least most of them are placed in high risk areas. Roads with a lot of children crossing and turns where they historically know that accidents occur are typical locations.
Very interesting discussion. Here in North Idaho and throughout the country we often hear the word "Socialist" or "Socialism" used in a very derogatory way. I am a fan of the free market but also realize capitalism cannot do it all. This discussion is showing us how different countries deal with the same issue differently.
Often the free market means "free to rip off the citizens in many ways". I think the cameras will be with us forever but with much tweaking required to emphasize public safety and de-emphasize revenue to law enforcement who at one time were referred to as peace officers. These days law enforcement is trained, influenced and funded in part by "Homeland Security". Seems to be more like war now and always about more money extracted from citizens.
Final word, follow the rules. Set the cruise control and do not be in a hurry through intersections. Yup, I am an old guy(67).
In retail, we're experiencing this debate in context of tracking technologies. The hot topic is combining customer information (via CRM and POS systems), geo-location (through wi-fi and bluetooth features on smart phones), and in-store security cameras. While the technology is still very much work in progress, we're are getting close to the 1984 senarios.
Still, we give every app start-up access to every phone call and text message we send. Teengers cannot phantom life without facebook and detailing every aspect of their life. And yet...There were numous time in the last 5 years, I thought this is it, people will cry out, but nothing happens and privacy continues to be eroded. It seems to be the kind of debate that keeps chasing technology and just doesn't keep up.