A Brief History
On October 20, 2016, former Redflex Traffic Systems CEO Karen L. Finley was sentenced to 14 months in Federal prison for her part in attempting to bribe Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio municipal officials into contracting with her company that installs and administers red light and photo radar traffic cameras. Another Redflex official, lobbyist John Raphael started his own 15 month stretch in prison this August. This criminal action is the result of an 8 year Federal probe. Too bad it took so long!
As we have told you before, red light and photo radar traffic cameras are an evil, “Big Brother” attempt to squeeze money out of the public. The camera company is allowed to shorten the time of the yellow caution light in order to gain more citations, which actually causes more accidents than the cameras prevent. This proves the scheme is a money maker and not a public safety issue, as it is falsely portrayed. When a citation is mailed to the “offender” there is a whopping fine demanded, one much higher than a normal traffic ticket, inflated so that the camera company gets their share of the loot. The hapless driver is left with an unrealistic process to fight the citation, a process so long and cumbersome that in time and money it would cost several times the price of the citation/fine to fight the fine. Since the “offense” is considered a civil rather than criminal offense (a regular cop issued ticket is a criminal offense) the government agency sponsoring the camera does not have to follow normal criminal proceedings.
Illustrating our point about the dangers of allowing such dystopian measures as these traffic cameras, the Chicago Tribune ran an expose in 2015 about the cameras being rigged to grab more “offenders.” Judges found that often the camera photos did not even depict a violation the driver was cited for! Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel ended up firing Redflex from the Chicago contract in 2015. The 380 traffic cams in Chicago had milked $500 million from Chicagoans since 2003.
The voters in numerous states and municipalities have voted to stop politicians in their tracks and banned traffic cameras in their localities, sometimes outright and sometimes by requiring a police officer be present and actually issue the citation, making the whole camera thing too cumbersome to work. On the other hand, courts such as the Ohio Supreme Court have ruled the traffic camera operation is legal. (Talk about detached from reality!) I suspect they would rule differently if they were the recipient of an unfair traffic cam fine!
Normally we invite readers to make up their own minds about historical and news topics, but in this case we strongly take the partisan stance that traffic cameras are a bad thing and should be banned. Question for students (and subscribers): Even if you disagree, let us know what you think about the subject in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Kemp, Alex. Fight Back & Win! – How to Beat Your RED LIGHT CAMERA TICKET Even If You Don’t Know the Law. Niche Edition, 2011.
Shaw, Scott L. Red Light Rip-Off:Red Light Cameras actually increase traffic accidents by placing sudden stops in front of habitual tailgaters while collecting millions in fraudulent fines. Scott L. Shaw, P.E., 2015.