The Italian Job

These guys were amatuers compared to the real Italian Job: crooked photo radar companies.

These guys were amatuers compared to the real Italian Job: crooked photo radar companies.

In an interview with AOL News last week, an automated ticketing PR flack was asked if a nationwide system of “freeway speed cameras” was likely.

According to the article, Cristine Weeks of Redflex offered a “cryptic response:”

“I think, you know, take a look at western Europe, which is 10 to 15 years ahead of U.S. applications.”

Western Europe is far ahead indeed. In fact, lets take a look at some recent news from Italy:

Speed Camera Company Caught in Fraud Scandal
Italian police find 81,555 speed camera tickets worth $16 million were fraudulently issued.

Police…  raided the Brescia headquarters of a speed camera manufacturer accused of fraud involving seventy municipalities throughout the country… Salerno prosecutor Amato Barile ordered the raid after discovering evidence that Velomatic 512 photo radar units bearing the same individual serial number were being used by different municipalities located hundreds of miles apart.

Under Italian regulations, each camera used for issuing citations must be properly calibrated and approved. By cloning serial numbers, the company avoided testing requirements.

Prosecutors also believe that some of these cameras were calibrated in such a way that motorists adhering to the speed limit would receive citations.

I can see why Redflex (and American Traffic Solutions) would want to emulate the “progress” of western Europe: think of all the money to be made from a nationwide U.S. system of speed cameras calibrated to sting even those obeying the law!

In Arizona, businesses can’t operate a gas pump or grocery store scale without oversight from the Weights and Measurements department, but a foreign company with a vested interest in returning significant profits to its shareholders is allowed to issue an unlimited number of “violation notices” with no independent verification of accuracy.

As a result of a criminal conspiracy, 81,555 tickets worth 11.3 million euros (US $16 million) fraudulently issued between 2007 and 2009 have been canceled, refunds will be given and license points will be removed… In January, the makers of the T-Red brand of red light cameras were similarly arrested for fraud after prosecutors found motorists were being trapped at intersections with short yellows and improperly certified equipment.

Any city or town official that continues to proceed forward with these automated ticketing rackets better not be surprised when the whole scam comes tumbling down and multi million dollar refunds are sought through the legal system. Good luck holding onto your public-sector job when you bankrupt your municipality over a failed cash-grab-gone-wrong.

Politicians are like diapers: They should be changed often, and for the same reason.

13 Responses to The Italian Job

  1. I’m sure the “crisis” in the EU is the same as the “speeding crisis” in the US. According to publicly available stats, in the US there’s a death caused by exceeding the posted limit for every BILLION miles driven! We must stop this crisis now!

    to put it in perspective, 6 times as many people die from falling or poisoning every year than as a result of someone exceeding a posted limit.

    Seriously, can’t we find something more dangerous to be concerned about than exceeding the posted limit?


  2. Glyph says:

    Good point about oversight. That’s one of the issues that disturbs me most about PE, Redflex and DP$’ assertions that their equipment never needs to be scrutinized. “Our equipment is fine, and never malfunctions, now shut up and pay!”

  3. Who’s ready to do the next FOIA request?

    We need to request DPS’ Redflex audit records. My guess is there aren’t any, so when the request comes back as non-existent, we make a big deal of it.

  4. Glyph says:

    Yeah, don’t expect to get much out of DPS with a FOIA request. you saw how far I got :-/

  5. jgunn says:

    That has already happened here, witness the cameras on the loop 101 being set for SL 55 while the limit was 65 and the drop to 55 happened after the cameras. People were ticketed at 1MPH over, which is well withing speedometer error so they may have been following the law. How many innocent drivers here just paid the ticket? More $$$ for Redflex I guess.

    Lets see, how many freeways closed today due to accidents? I10 to tucson closed, check. Northbound I17 closed at 101, check. Man those cameras are doing a “bang up” job of preventing accidents! Or was their purpose to rake in the $$$? I forget sometimes.

    In other news, a hit and run driver was caught today by ‘gasp a real police officer pulling over someone for a traffic violation. Good thing they didn’t leave it up to the cameras to catch the guy. He would have just gotten a notice in the mail which he would have ignored anyway.

  6. Will Kay says:

    When I was at the signature colleting booth at Westworld during AZ Bike Week, one of the signers, who does contract work for ATS and Redflex, said that these scameras are supposed to be calibrated at least once every 30 days, and since they have thousands of cameras located all across the country (wherever they haven’t already been banned by law or citizen’s vote), it’s almost impossible (and no doubt very cost prohibitive) for them to keep the scameras calibrated that often.

  7. RPr says:

    When in doubt vote them out!

  8. Joe says:

    An interesting article on the NewTimes “Valley Fever” blog:

  9. Has anyone seen inside a Redflex van? Do they have any video equipment forward of the driver’s seat? AZ has pretty much the same law mentioned here:

  10. Glyph says:

    This might help.

  11. Joe says:

    Appears to be IN the driver’s seat!

  12. abdou says:

    ilove italian job

  13. abdou says:

    love you italian job

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