“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.


Australian Media Slams Redflex

August 12, 2010

It’s hard to find a mainstream media piece as perfect as this one. Enjoy the video and post your comments below.

Good: The lovely Tracy Grimshaw of A Current Affair asks the question of automated ticketing: “Life savers or just revenue raising cash cows?” CameraFRAUD as well as FireRedflex.com are mentioned in the story.

Better:

Quotes from the video: “Governments all around the world are in a lot of debt, they have to raise more money, and what better place to raise money than from penalties and speeding fines.”

“The cars are unmarked and there’s no warning sign until after you’ve driven past, and even then it’s tiny.”

REPORTER: “What do you do to pass the time when you’re sitting in here?”

REDFLEX DRIVER: “We watch the instrument.”

REPORTER: “And you need all three of you in here to do that?”

REDFLEX DRIVER: “That’s correct… at the moment…”

Best: The closing video of the UK show ‘Top Gear’ using a vehicle-mounted rocket launcher to take out a Gatso scam cam.


CameraFRAUD Events Aug / Sep 2010

August 10, 2010

Celebrating Two Years of Fighting Automated Ticketing

Paradise Regained – Tuesday, Aug 10th @ 7:00 PM:

Monthly Meeting – Tuesday, Aug 17th @ 7:00 PM:

Sign Making Party – Saturday, Aug 28th @ 12:00 PM


Victory Lap for Liberty – Friday, Sep 3rd @ 12:00 PM:



Paradise Regained

August 5, 2010

Dear Redflex,

We’re coming.

Sincerely,

CameraFRAUD


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


FINISHED: Redflex Cams “Coming Down”

July 12, 2010

Less than two years after the first freeway flash, almost a hundred fixed and mobile Redflex speed cameras will cease operation this week in a bittersweet outcome for both opponents and supporters of automated ticketing.

The disastrous program, which was met with significant resistance and became a political hot potato, was the only statewide program in operation within the United States.

Let us not forget or allow any politician from this day forward in any city, in any state, to ignore what even Redflex’s own investors referred to as “an expensive failure.”

Even more important to recognize is that not all losses can be accounted for on a balance sheet. The Arizona Department of Public Safety and Redflex allowed private citizens to drive and operate photo radar vans bearing the department’s emblems and likeness.

In April of 2009, Douglas Georgianni was shot and killed as he sat inside of one of the DPS-marked Ford Escapes, with not even a remote chance to defend himself from the attack.

DPS Lieutenant James Warriner then attempted to use the tragedy for shameful political gain by blaming anti-camera opponents, casting fault away from where it belonged: the shooter, and those who put Mr. Georgianni in harm’s way. (In one of the most underreported Arizona news stories of 2010, DPS is now facing a significant survivor’s lawsuit from the family of the victim.)

Business at Redflex continues as usual, with the company encouraging clueless municipal police and sheriff departments nationwide to lend them their insignia for the profitable mobile radar units.

With a ballot initiative to ban automated ticketing statewide failing to gather the required signatures, the return of the statewide freeway program is possible. While state officials cited increased public opposition and the possibility of a ban in their decision to not renew the contract with Redflex, the thought that public officials will do the right thing and avoid entangling alliances with dubious foreign-owned corporations is a pipe-dream.

Don’t let up now. Monitor the news for mentions of Redflex and ATS sneaking into new communities and email the city / town councils a link to this or other CameraFRAUD articles. Make them vividly aware that a vote for photo enforcement is a gamble against their political future, and that the backlash of the “cash flash” can be… fast.

While we celebrate some of the cameras coming down this week, CameraFRAUD won’t be going anywhere until all of… “The Cameras are Coming Down!”

Are you in? Join CameraFRAUD on Facebook today.


Cops Go Ballistic Over Camera Dissent

July 10, 2010

Police were "hopping mad" as they attempted to remove a state-of-the-art revenue suppression device -a sombrero- from a scam cam

A giant sombrero placed over a Redflex ticketing machine in Paradise Valley, Arizona was stomped on and destroyed by town police officers before being placed in the back seat of a cruiser.

CameraFRAUD volunteers had gathered at the “scamera” location in the upscale Phoenix suburb late last month to assist a production crew from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” in obtaining footage and interviews regarding two controversial Arizona policies: photo enforcement and SB1070.

According to witnesses, PV Ofc. Steven Chavira arrived on the scene and immediately demanded the production crew cease filming, using his hands and body in an attempt to obstruct the crew’s cameras, apparently unaware of the irony of his actions.

According to TheNewspaper.com, “Chavira… then jumped several times in vain attempts to reach the giant hat that rested on the camera head just beyond his reach. After using a stick, Chavira and a second officer were able to knock off the sombrero, which he stomped on several times before taking it into custody in his patrol car.”

Did the officers act inappropriately? While covering or blocking a ticketing camera isn’t known to violate any local or state law, the officers actions appear to be unprofessional: the immigration debate is a hot topic; sworn law officers stomping on something racially symbolic is a public relations fiasco in the making.

Furthermore, destruction of evidence is a serious crime, and would be applicable if the town had decided to attempt to maliciously pursue the individuals responsible for the placement of the sombrero.

(Media Inquiries: media@camerafraud.com)


Is Photo Radar Affecting the 2010 Census in Arizona?

May 9, 2010

By now, almost everyone in Arizona knows that you must be served with a photo ticket for it to be legally valid. As such, the citizens have become accustomed to dodging process servers in order to avoid having to respond to tickets received in the mail. The main aspect of avoiding process service is to avoid answering your door for anyone you don’t know or who anyone you are not expecting to visit your home. Do this for long enough and you get out of your photo ticket Scott-free.

But this is also a census year, and those who do not respond by mail will be receiving in-person visits from census workers. The census response is very important to state and local governments, as each person counted is worth $25,000 federal and state dollars for their community over 10 years.

This is where Arizona may have shot itself in the foot with photo radar. As citizens have become accustomed to not answering their doors for unexpected visitors for fear of being served with a photo ticket, it is likely that many census workers will be unable to contact citizens who would have otherwise answered their door before Arizona’s photo enforcement experiment. With reported state photo program revenues reported to be around $35M, it means that if more than 1400 citizens go uncounted because they refuse to open their doors for fear of photo radar process service, the state will actually end up losing money.

KOLD reports that 30% of Arizonans have not sent in their forms and will be getting a visit from a census worker. There are hundreds of thousands of drivers who have not responded to their photo tickets who are weary of being served. It’s not hard to estimate that there is easily a population of more than 1400 who will go uncounted, since each address likely has several residents. Arizona needs every response it can get, as ABC15 has reported that Arizona’s response rate is “lackluster.”

So much for a program that was supposed to make money for the state, and all of this at the height of a recession when Arizona needs all of the funds it can get. An undercount could also lead to losing a seat in the leglislature. What was touted as a way for the state to make millions may end up costing Arizona dearly. These are all unintended consequences, and for that, we can all thank former governor Janet Napolitano.


DPS & State of Arizona Sued by Georgianni’s for Shooting Death of Van Operator

April 27, 2010


On April 16, the surviving spouse and beneficiaries of Douglas Georgianni filed suit in Superior Court seeking unspecified damages in the shooting death of Douglas Georgianni. Douglas was shot almost a year earlier by Thomas Destories while working for Redflex in a DPS-marked photo radar van.

The lawsuit alleges that a major contributing factor to be the DPS markings on the side of the Redflex owned and operated talivan. This gives the public the impression that the occupants are peace officers and that the vehicle is owned and operated by a police agency. When a police vehicle is driven by a civilian, it is supposed be clearly marked as such, typically with the words “Not in Service.” If this practice is not followed, it is considered to be a violation of ARS 13-2411, impersonating a peace officer. DPS is alleged to be negligent because they knowingly put civilian contractors in harm’s way by making them impersonate a peace officer as a regular part of their job. While contractors no longer occupy the talivans while parked on the highways (because of the shooting), civilian contractors are still driving and moving the DPS-marked vehicles.

Another major point in the lawsuit is the allegation that DPS knowingly put civilian contractors in harm’s way because they were aware of or should have been aware of attacks on photo radar van operators but did nothing to protect them. PhotoRadarScam.com had reported on several speed van attacks that occured before the shooting, so law enforcement and Redflex should have been fully aware of the propensity for the public to act out against these vehicles, not just locally but world-wide:


Thanks to Janet Napalitano, DPS, and photo radar, the state is now looking at what is likely to be a multi-million dollar judgement at a time when the state can least afford it.


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