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.