Smile: You’re on

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words— (or, in Scott$dale’s case, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year) turned the tables this past Thursday in Scottsdale by bringing along a high-powered camera of our own. To the right is your typical ATS scam-van: illegally parked, engine running (wasting resources), and recording data about all passing vehicles.

On the left, you will see ATS van operator and alleged fraud co-conspirator Daniel P. Coon… at least according to his open Dell laptop.

Also pictured on-screen: the van’s location, vehicle count, measured 85th percentile, as well as system software’s ironically-appropriate name: Axsis (click picture to enlarge).

For some strange reason, Mr. Coon didn’t invite us into the van for afternoon tea and biscuits.

Instead, he tried to bundle himself up in the van by putting reflective material in the windows (pictured, right), and immediately got on his cell phone—presumably to call his supervisor at the Death Star to get new instructions.

If only there were some sort of law preventing high-powered cameras from taking photographs of unsuspecting people inside their vehicles… Oh, wait.

12 Responses to Smile: You’re on

  1. Glyph Hunter says:

    Look closely on the top of the right rear tire. Is that a cigarette? Didn’t the state just seize a large stockpile of tires because it posed a fire risk? Clearly, Mr. Coon (or whoever left that cigarette) has no regard for roadside safety, fire safety, or the environment in general.

  2. Curious George says:

    What makes you say that the van is illegally parked? Can’t tell from the picture. And what makes you think that the guy inside it is recording data about all passing vehicles? What sort of data was he collecting? The accompanying text seems to suggest that the guy is doing a traffic count/speed zone survey – if that’s the case then this is a simple, routine traffic engineering exercise that’s been done long before the advent of speed cameras.

    Speed zone surveys are a traditional method of obtaining a sample of traffic speeds during non-peak traffic periods – the idea is that 85% of the population drives at speeds that are safe and prudent (the other 15% are the lunatic fringe that are responsible for our high insurance rates), so the 85th percentile is the traditional method of assigning speed limits.

    Does capturing speed info and traffic counts constitute fraud?

    How would you people determine speed limits?

  3. RPr says:

    based on the photo he is obviously guilty LOL

  4. Glyph Hunter says:

    Well, I’m no expert on these matters, but to address Curious George’s suggestion that the driver might be doing a speed zone survey, I can only suggest that you look at the back of the van in the first photo, specifically at the sign that says “Photo Radar Enforced.”

    Also, I would think that such surveys would be carried out by civil engineers and not the police dept.

  5. camerafraud says:

    I’m sure the thousands of members of various civil traffic engineering associations would just love to know that their jobs are being replaced by a kid in a van making $12 an hour, Curious George.

    The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) was written by engineers who actually get a degree to make safety decisions regarding our roads and highways, and to somehow equate this dude on a Dell would be laughable if it wasn’t so insulting to the real engineers.


  6. Curious George says:

    Okay, so nobody ‘splained how the van was parked illegally. And if its speed enforcement, what info could the dude possibly be collecting? That Joe Smatz drove down the street at 3pm? Ho hum….

  7. Jerry S says:

    I’m a registered Civil Engineer and have worked on speed zone surveys and curious is exactly right that most people (85th precentile) drive a safe and prudent speed. However, after doing several of these, the speed limits are typically set much lower than this speed. That’s the problem with most speed limits, they were set back when cars didn’t handle as well (now we have anti-lock breaks, traction control, etc.) and the speed limits once upon a time may have been set appropriately but have not been changed or updated in years and why would anyone want to, can’t let the cash cow go.

  8. Ron says:

    Did anyone get a model release form signed by Daniel P. Coon (as you’ve identified him) before publishing his photo in the public domain? Come to think of it, have any members of Camera Fraud researched the legal & civil details pertaining to the use of said legal documents? That seems doubtful for some reason.

    I applaud you folks for taking an active role in dealing with public issues but please, PLEASE be very careful where you step; the hideously complex legal system could make your lives difficult fairly quick.

  9. Curious George says:

    Jerry, you’re right about the artifically set speed limits. I successfully fought a speeding ticket in Sunnyvale, California some years ago because I was able to demonstrate in court that the posted speed limit did not justify the use of radar for speed in enforcement. In California, speed limits can be set arbitrarily low, but radar cannot be used if the speed limit is not supported by a current speed zone survey – otherise it is a speed trap…

    In Arizona, no such laws seem to exist…

  10. jgunn says:

    So that gives me a good idea. During the next protest you guys have, blow up these pics and his name and attach them to the picket signs. Hopefully this guy will be all over the news and be shamed into quitting his 12$ an hour job. Rinse and repeat with all the other drivers of these scamvans.

  11. Wendy jenkins says:

    Serves the bastard right. He is just as guilty of fraud as the company is. The city of Scottsdale is in on this fraud as well. They are in contract with them. Someone needs to file suit against all these assholes.

  12. Joe says:

    Wait a minunte here. Wasn’t a man just arrested for occupying a fake police vehicle in a freeway contruction zone recently in western AZ? DPS had a contract dispute with the freeway construction company and took their officers off the project, so the company put police lights/stickers on their own vehicle to “fool” the public into slowing down in the highway construction zone.

    DPS got pissed so they went and arrested the poor schlub that was sitting inside the car on company orders.

    So, how is it legal for a private, non-sworn, citizen to sit inside a “Police” vehicle and essentially act as a police officer? Could we not call the police and charge these people with impersonating police officers?

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