“Photo Enforcement” Becomes Toxic

August 24, 2010

What do you do when your industry approaches market saturation and increased public opposition?

This is the question the peddlers of automated ticketing will have to start asking themselves in the immediate future if they hope to survive in any form whatsoever.

Almost all large United States cities have been approached by either Redflex or American Traffic Solutions pitching the tired, debunked claims of improved traffic safety.

Unfortunately for these companies, voters and drivers have awakened to the scheme and are opposing new and existing systems worldwide over a variety of reasons, from civil liberties concerns to the proper role of government.

Smaller and smaller communities are being being swindled into signing contracts with these corporations, resulting in millions of dollars being extracted from local economies and sent directly to the profiteering vendors.

The blowback to such installations has ranged from expected opposition to cold-blooded murder. Last week, the confessed shooter of a Redflex photo radar van driver in Arizona was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Unclear is the liability the State of Arizona will face for their “romp in the bed” with corporatism in the form of photo enforcement. Redflex was contractually obligated to provide “public service announcements” to explain automated ticketing to the public when the statewide ticketing contract was signed with the Department of Public Safety.

DPS is now being sued by the surviving family, and rightfully so. It doesn’t take an overpaid government beancounter to figure out that placing an unarmed civilian in a vehicle falsely marked as law enforcement is a bad idea.

With an onslaught of bad publicity, automated ticketing vendors may remember 2010 as the year their business model went sour. Lawsuits demanding refunds plague Redflex in Minnesota to the tune of millions of dollars while increased legal challenges in Florida and California threaten the very existence of red light cameras and so-called speed enforcement.

The Cameras are Coming Down… but in the end it may be due to the fatally flawed business model based on greed and inconclusive results that ATS and Redflex have depended on for over a decade.


ATS Van Caught Speeding, Failing to Signal

August 16, 2010

American Traffic Solutions or Above The Statutes, Inc?

An American Traffic Solutions / City of Mesa “photo enforcement” vehicle was caught red handed early Saturday afternoon breaking various traffic laws.

The incident occurred early Saturday afternoon on westbound US-60 in Mesa, Arizona near exit 181. A CameraFRAUD volunteer witnessed and recorded the incident.

The white Chevrolet Uplander was observed exceeding the posted speed limit on the US-60 and failing to signal a right-hand turn onto north Stapley Dr.

CameraFRAUD Tyranny Response Unit issues "Notice of Violation" to American Traffic Solutions

CameraFRAUD has collected details about the “tali-van” scofflaw, and in a twist of roles, will issue a “Notice of Violation” to American Traffic Solutions on Monday.

Much like the millions of notices the Scottsdale-based company issues each year, the violator will be given the option of paying an arbitrary “fine” or attending a hearing.

An “Assessed Donation” in the amount of $5,000 made payable to the Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation by American Traffic Solutions is requested by CameraFRAUD to cure the violation and the flagrant disregard for the law exhibited by the photo radar van driver. (Disclosure: We are not affiliated with CCBF, nor are they a sponsor or part of our request).

Automated ticketing vendors have a long history of breaking various statutes and flaunting the law when it suites their needs. In September of 2008, a Redflex van driver was arrested for DUI while driving from Scottsdale to Tempe to set up the vehicle.

In September of 2009, another Redflex driver was caught on tape in north Phoenix driving recklessly in the fully-marked faux-DPS Ford Escape.

In addition, numerous high-ranking executives of both ATS and Redflex have ignored their own tickets in a blatant example of do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do.

ATS has never been shy invoking “the children” as a reason for the usage of automated ticketing. Now that they’ve been caught (again), it’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is and make a donation to a worthy, independent cause.

We eagerly await a response from American Traffic Solutions and will keep you posted with what happens.


Oh, (no) Snap! Red Light for Red Light Cams

August 11, 2010

Orlando, Florida is now potentially on the hook for over $4 million in refunds after a judge rules the ticketing scheme to be invalid.

LaserCraft was the initial vendor for Orlando, until American Traffic Solutions purchased the Georgia company in June of this year. ATS has automated ticketing operations throughout Central and South Florida, as well as a vested interest in tolling.

In a rare example of honor among thieves, Redflex has refused to operate cameras in the Sunshine State, calling such operations “illegal.” (Update: No such thing as honor among thieves; Redflex proceeded to bid on contracts in Homestead, FL despite their own securities statement acknowledging such schemes to be illegal.)

Video: MyFoxOrlando: Red light cameras violate law.


ATS Accuses Woman, 84 of Motorcycle Speeding

August 3, 2010

American Traffic Solutions scameras in Bluff City, TN accused an 84-year old woman from Lexington of speeding at midnight on a motorcycle late last month:

“I thought maybe I ought to send them the money and not worry about it, and that’s the last thing you should do.“

The victim thought upon receipt of the “notice of violation” that the ticket was a scam (and rightfully so) and got the matter resolved only after involving the local media.

Other ATS and Redflex FAILs this week include:

Changes bring DeLand red-light cameras to rolling stop
Officials will have to re-evaluate whether to pursue the use of red-light cameras now that… a new state law would take a big chunk of local ticket revenue.

Firm doubles Palm Coast’s fees
Here’s something to make Palm Coast officials see red: The company that runs its traffic light camera system is asking to more than double what it currently charges the city.

Seeing red over camera contract
A CITIZENS’ revolt against red light cameras in New Orleans has led to claims a Victorian company agreed to pay a share of the fines to a former city councillor if it won a contract.

Red light photo enforcement is no longer active in Yucaipa
“The program was not very productive in terms of paying for itself,” Hemsley said. The city anticipated a revenue of approximately $140,000, but has only collected $27,500. Since it is the court collection system that has resulted in lack of revenue, Hemsley said the Redflex and the city could not find a good solution or alternative to canceling the contract. “After negotiations with Redflex, we agreed to pay the balance due of $198,000 and terminate the agreement.”

Town’s Automated Traffic Enforcement Approaches One Ticket Per Citizen
Tennessee town of 17,000 has issued over 7,300 traffic tickets in half year since adopting system


CameraFRAUD’s “Worst Person In the World”

June 23, 2010

What do you call people who talk tough when it comes to a boycott over Arizona’s SB1070 but can’t seem to get enough of the stolen money they procure through automated ticketing?

The entire Los Angeles City Council.

Today we shamelessly borrow from MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann “Worst Persons” segment in nominating Councilman Richard Alarcon as the “Worst of the Worst” for his comments regarding the city’s contract with beseiged scam provider American Traffic Solutions:

Councilman Tom LaBonge strongly backed the LAPD, citing a report that there have been no deaths from red-light-running accidents at affected intersections since cameras were installed. Councilman Richard Alarcon warned that if the cameras were shutdown and someone was killed at one of those intersections, “the media would have a field day.

Of course, lets not let statistical fact get in the way of Alarcon waving the “safety” flag. From the same article:

The LAPD’s statistics show that about half of the 32 photo-enforced intersections have either had no change in accidents or an increase, said Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

Being as bold to make up a meaningless uncorrelated statistic such as “no deaths at red light camera intersections” while ignoring the data of their own police department showing that red light cameras have actually had a negative effect on safety is classic intellectual dishonesty.

7th District LA Councilman Richard Alarcon: You are today’s Worst Person in the World!

[Bonus! Send Alarcon a message using his online web form here]


ATS Leaves Building Unlocked, Open

March 21, 2010

A corporate security breach at American Traffic Solutions was uncovered by CameraFRAUD volunteers Saturday night. The photo radar ticket processing facility, located in the Phoenix-suburb of Ahwatukee, was left unlocked and unattended.

Numerous bundles of network cables were spotted throughout the building, potentially allowing anyone with a laptop to access internal systems containing vital “chain of evidence” data. A dozen trashcans full of unshredded documents were spotted, possibly containing  sensitive data on their “customers:” so-called “violators” who are accused of triggering the automated ticketing machines.

In addition, a strange childlike drawing was left on one wall, apparently detailing the flow of money involving notices of violation, Hertz rent-a-car (an ATS partner in toll road technology), and local police departments. While the crudely-drawn stick figures don’t mention safety, it’s clear the corporate hieroglyphics were used to emphasize revenue and money.

ATS has a history of leaving important things unlocked. A year ago in March 2009, CameraFRAUD discovered automated ticketing boxes at intersections left unlocked and open. ATS responded by installing cameras to —yes— watch the cameras at certain locations in Mesa.

In case you’re wondering why it looks like they’re leaving the building, ATS is downsizing to a smaller processing center on nearby Southern Avenue. Industry sources report plummeting toll road revenue, as well as a sharp increase in resistance to the company’s products and services. Litigation, class-action lawsuits, and canceled contracts nationwide are just the beginning.


Sinking Ship: Redflex Stock Tumbles

March 19, 2010

Down 6.7% over the last five days… 24% over past month… 34% over past three months… 44% over past year… Down a staggering 63% over the past five years.

Scottsdale-based rival American Traffic Solutions “not faring much better,” says one internal source. The privately-owned firm is burning through a Goldman Sachs cash infusion; may be faced with “meaningful” layoff prospects soon as larger contracts begin to stall nationwide and “healthy” toll revenues continue to decline…

Developing…


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