Red Light Photo Ticketing Could Be Illegal

A decision handed down by the Federal Highway Administration(FHWA) will be sending shock waves through the insidious network of red light cameras across the country. Last month they ruled that the “enforcement lines,” which are the lines used by automated ticketing companies to determine a violation, are illegal and potentially unsafe. Could this mean that every red light photo ticket in Arizona could get thrown out based on that ruling?

Michael Kielsky was asked about it on Channel 5 News on Tuesday night and his answer was, “it might.”

Kielsky still offers his unique, $95 Photo Radar Legal Defense to Arizona motorists. featured an article about it on Monday, which describes an Tucson, AZ motorist who brought the issue before the FHWA:

When Arizona motorist Dianne Patterson asked FHWA whether the city of Tucson violated the law by using violation lines, FHWA’s Acting Director of Transportation Operations, Paul Pisano, said it did.
“The Manual on Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) does not contain any provisions for the use of transverse lines to indicate the legal limits of an intersection for red light violation purposes,” Pisano wrote. “The reason is that, under the provisions of the Uniform Vehicle Code, which is the basis of the motor vehicle laws of most states, the stop line, or crosswalk if there is no stop line, defines the point beyond which a red light violation has occurred.”

This decision could have major ramifications nationwide for the legality of red light photo enforcement.

The Cameras Are Coming Down

29 Responses to Red Light Photo Ticketing Could Be Illegal

  1. Stacey says:

    Illegal in this friggin state doesn’t mean jack ****!

  2. photoradarscam says:

    Could be illegal! It is! You have to be a PI to do what Redflex is doing.

  3. Stacey says:

    Just got this e-mail from Bill so I thought I would post it:

    Help Needed For
    Phoenix First Assembly’s
    Great Bike Build!

    This Saturday 12-19-09
    From 6 am to ???

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    Each year Phoenix First Assembly gives these new bikes to needy children from all over the Valley. It’s an amazing blessing to these children and their families.

    But, we will need your help to pull it off. It takes over 500 people to assemble these bikes in about 6 to 8 hours. If you are able come for 2 hours, or the whole day, it will help. We need you!

    There will be Free Food & Free “Dutch Brothers” Coffee, Music, plus Bike Build Contests with prizes and more. We intend to have lots of fun while we serve others. Bring someone with you if you can and be blessed by blessing others with your time.

    You don’t even need to be mechanically inclined. We will have team leaders to place you where you fit best. If you have tools please bring them. One 15 mm or 9/16” socket wrench and a Crescent Wrench or Pliers and 1 Phillips-Head Screwdriver. That’s it. If you don’t have tools, don’t worry, we have extra.

    No need to register. Just show up. Starts at 6:00 am.
    Hot coffee will be waiting for you.

    We will give these bikes away to needy children the very next day, Sunday, December the 20th, at our Sunday morning Christmas service only. This service will be held outside on the lawn/ field.

    When you arrive Saturday just ask for Jason DeBus or Daniel Gonzalez. They will point you in the right direction.

    Thank you so much!
    Blessed to be a blessing,

    Phoenix First Assembly Bike Build Details:

    DATE: This Saturday 12-19-09

    TIME: From 6:00 am to Early Afternoon.

    LOCATION: 13613 N. Cave Creek Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85022.

    Located just north of Cactus and south of Greenway Parkway on the east side of Cave Creek Road. (FYI, Cave Creek Rd begins at 7th Street and Dunlap and heads NE.)

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  4. JOKN says:

    f@#$ around f@#$ soon you wont be around

  5. JOKN says:

    What I meant is what my Grand Father would say is
    fuk around fuk around soon you wont be around.. ie
    rsd fux

  6. Stacey says:

    Here is what I used to say:

    Excuses are like assholes, everyone has one.

  7. Glyph says:

    …and if Assholes could fly, Redflex would be an airport!

  8. ProCamera says:

    The Federal Highway Administration is not a legislative body. They are a government administration that offers “Guidelines” in use of devices.

    Second, the violation line in Arizona is the point at which a vehicle crosses the prolongation of the curb. The prolongation of the curb (not the crosswalk, not the solid white line before the crosswalk) is the point at which Arizona legislature has deemed a violation occurs. The violation line, which is not painted the reflective white like other roadway markings, was put in place to show where the continuation of the curb actually is. And in Arizona, the continuation of the curb is beyond the crosswalk. So if a person abides by the FHWA standards, they will never be in violation of Arizona law in reguards to red light running.

    Good luck with that argument as a defense.

    • Cathy says:

      Wait a second, PC.

      You said, “…the continuation of the curb is beyond the crosswalk. So if a person abides by FHWA standards, they will never be in violation of Arizona law in regards to red light running.” Are you implying that because the violation line comes after the stop mark/crosswalk, that motorists have no excuse to “run” a red light?

      Let’s break this down…

      FHWA standards imply that a motorist must stop at the stop line (or before the crosswalk if there is no stop line) before the light turns red.

      When AZ defines the intersection as not beginning until the “violation line,” it gives the traffic control signal an extra second or two–depending on the intersection and the speed of the motorist–after the light has turned red to still be able to issue a ticket. Most motorists gauge their decision to proceed through an intersection based on being beyond the stop line/crosswalk before the light turns red, which is generally a good rule of thumb–EXCEPT at RLC locations where in many cases, they have up to an extra 40 feet to cover that they didn’t know they had to. THIS is where the vast majority of tickets are being generated.

      That 40 feet and second or two may seem negligable, but without it, the red light “violations” in Tucson would be virtually eliminated.

      So I respectfully disagree. It is possible (and even encouraged) to abide by FHWA standards and still be in violation of Arizona law.

      In fact, I would go so far as to say that the RLC intersections–at least here in Tucson–are intentionally designed to suggest FHWA standards (they have crosswalks and stop lines), which encourages the “violation” of Arizona law.

      • ProCamera says:

        I’m not encouraging someone to purposely make an unsafe situation by stopping their car over the crosswalk, but as long as they are not over the prolongation of the curb, they are not in villation of entering the intersection and shouldn’t get a red light violation ticket. Be it from a camera or an officer.

        The FHWA doesn’t make laws. They make guidelines that the Legislature (sometimes) follows. In this case, it looks as if Arizona law differs from the FHWA’s guidelines.

        • The FHWA is a Federal Agency and is considered an authority on the matter. I assure you that lawsuits are coming despite what you say about AZ Law. Red light photo enforcement is hazardous to motorists. We have always maintained that position. Now we have federal backing.

          My suggestion is to buy some popcorn, sit back and watch your cameras come down.

          Nobody has claimed that they are a legislative body, so your argument seems to be a straw man.

          • ProCamera says:

            The cameras are tasked to enforce the law, no enforce FHWA guidelines. They are doing their job. Your argument to toss these tickets will be to toss out the entire law in reguards to Red light enforcement by all means.

            Good luck with that one.

  9. Stacey says:

    Well, Procamera, let’s complicate as much crap as we possibly can at intersections! That sounds safe to me.

    • ProCamera says:


      If it is too complicated to figure out that it is probably better to not block a crosswalk, but you don’t actually violate the law until you actually cross the prolongation of the curb, then maybe you should not drive at all. If this equates to a complex decision that draws too much brain power to figure out when approaching a green light that may turn yellow at any instant, then maybe you should be tasked with operating a vehicle.

      The point is, if you follwo the FHWA guidelines, you will be stopping at the “Stop Line” which is in front of the Crosswalk. But remember that you won’t be in violation of red light laws if you stop and partially cover the crosswalk.

      The violation line is not a traffic control marker, it is a line painted to aid in using cameras to determine if you crossed the imaginary prolongation of the curb line.

      • photoradarscam says:

        You say you shouldn’t drive if you can’t understand what you said. The reality is that there are A LOT OF PEOPLE who are driving who DO NOT UNDERSTAND a lot of the rules and laws. Yes, we should take their licenses but we both know that will not happen. The markings have to conform to standards to help try to make it so that even the most incompetent drivers do not endanger the rest of us.

        If you want to live in your fairy tale world where everyone is a great driver – I can’t stop you. But you have to live in the REAL WORLD, and that’s what the FHWA guidelines are based on. It is BEST PRACTICE to comply with the FHWA guidelines, and for anyone to support ignoring and defiance of the guidelines is just naive.

  10. Cathy says:

    Indeed, it does look like FHWA and Arizona law differ. In fact, according to the Arizona law that’s being upheld in Tucson’s traffic court, a motorist has no obligation to stop at a stop line/crosswalk on red. They can plow right up to the WAIT line.

    Of course, as it stands, pedestrian cross-traffic receives the right-of-way WALK signal at the same time the motorist has the right-of-way to pull up to the WAIT line.

    Seems to me that given the potential for disaster under these circumstances…well, I can just hear the commercial: “Are you a pedestrian who was injured by cross-traffic at a red light camera location? If so, you could be the victim of negligent traffic engineering. You shouldn’t have to suffer due to a city’s faulty traffic control laws. You may be entitled to compensation. Call Goldberg & Osborne now!”

  11. guttersn1pe says:

    Ok – here’s my question. If the intersection doesn’t begin until this “line” – and some lines are 30+ feet beyond the crosswalk (i.e. Oracle/River) – then am I violating any law by stopping at the “line” rather than behind the crosswalk? What if stopping at the “line” creates a situation where I block the crosswalk – is that illegal?

    Leave it to Arizona to come up with what has to be the most goofy traffic law on the books.

    • ProCamera says:

      Looked at the intesection on Google. Per the law, you can be completely over the crosswalk and still not in violation of red light because you haven’t crossed the prolongation line yet.

  12. Dr Jett says:

    A key factor that most people don’t realize is that ALL of the local traffic laws are being enforced FOR REVENUE ILLEGALLY BY THE LOCAL COURTS. Safety would require the proper highway engineering studies that haven’t been done because the local GESTAPO ENFORCEMENT wants to keep their fat paychecks rolling in even after they are retired at the expense of the citizens rights according to the Constitution.
    NHTSA’s oversight of the UVC has also been duplicitous at best, as manifest in its calculated expansion of non-conforming practices; including their model law designed to circumvent due process to increase the efficiency of automated enforcement citation issuance and fine collection. With the profits derived from these errant enterprises being dedicated primarily to its constituents.

    automated traffic law enforcement model law

    “The model law imposes only a civil fine for traffic law violations enforced via an automated traffic law enforcement system and relies on an initial presumption of guilt.” … “Indeed, any attempt to unfavorably influence persons’ driving privileges, through the use of this system, could raise due process of law concerns.” … “revenue derived” … “solely to fund highway safety functions.”
    Ergo, the ever-prevalent Police Chief as the public safety official advancing automated enforcement initiatives; whereas, as a general rule they have no training whatsoever in engineering principals or how safety on a roadway is achieved, nor can enforcement correct an engineering defect.

    To facilitate the interest of a few, over the last decade USDOT administrators have been systematically replacing our fact-based system with anarchy and local political whim as the new national standard for traffic control and the exercise of police powers thereof for the 80,000 posting authority in the US and its Territories. All of which is patently unconstitutional.

    Coinciding with the automated enforcement presumed guilty model law and its adoption around the country; the FHWA removed fact-based speed limits, the requirement that signal timing was adequate to meet the needs of traffic and periodic review.

    In addition, the FHWA emasculated safety based standards for right turns, stop sign use and has failed to reign in unauthorized traffic control device use when it’s clearly for nefarious purposes; and now in the federal register they have proposed the removal of factual foundations for all traffic control devices, altogether, leaving the choice to the whim of local politicians.

    Leaving the citizen with no remedy except the Constitution to end this tyranny that is also directly responsible for the loss of thousands of lives and untold mayhem each year.

    The authority to compel USDOT compliance or remedy these errant unsafe and unconstitutional practices they have been purportedly authorizing is founded in section 5 U.S.C. § 706.

    Regardless, it does not bar the individual from exercising their Constitutional rights in court, and this is our greatest tool to right this wrong.

    • photoradarscam says:

      Well said. Enforcement has become politicized and engineering has been thrown out the window.

      They want us to believe that the same drivers that can negotiate properly-engineered roads and intersections without problems suddenly and consciously decide to break the law at a few select locations where the accident rates are higher. Then they want us to believe that the threat of the car owner (not necessarily the driver) getting a ticket in the mail weeks after the event will prevent accidents somehow. That is, of course, if their plate is visible and they aren’t hiding or wearing a mask or towing a trailer or any other of the numerous ways to avoid photo tickets.

  13. dear moderator, I conclud u are a dumb@ss motherfocker stoopid sh1t. I hate you for the racist things you say in your blog. LONG LIVE THE TURKISH FEDERATION!!!!

  14. Our detractors are so eloquently outspoken these days. Keep it up!

  15. Verla Dockter says:

    I have a problem with the obvious speed traps on the freeways. With the freeway speed 65 they arbitrarily drop the speed to 55 and place a camera. This recently happened to me. At night the flash is blinding and just about makes you drive off the road. How does this increase safety? To save money the state has turned off most of the freeway lighting. I never saw the speed limit sign decreasing the speed to 55. When the light flashed I was shocked. Because it was night and the freeway was so dark I was only going 60, my ticket came with approximate speed of 66. I have never violated the law and I threw this ticket away. There are a lot of flaws in this system. I had a completely different incident 2 years ago @ an intersection in Gilbert. I paid that ticket and have never felt it was a fair ticket. I entered the intersection on a green light going south. There was a fire engine coming from the south just as I entered the intersection he turned on his siren and light and went into the turn lane. I had to stop. He paused at the light and then proceeded north. By now the yellow light was on and was one of those very short lights. I was in and extended cab pick-up and felt I was too far out to sit, all intersections were stopped due to the fire engine and I felt I needed to proceed so went and was camera flashed and sited for red-light. I called and was advised if the judge didn’t go in my favor it was going to cost me points on my license. I know if there had been an officer there I would have been flagged thru the intersection. I have never in my life run a yellow or red light. So for those of you out there who haven’t had the bad luck to see how these cameras work you may be next. I thought they had a good purpose until I realized that the state is purposely doing speed traps and how unsafe the light flash is. I will vote to remove them.

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