Year In Review: Redflex, ATS Beaten Down in 2013

January 1, 2014

WarOnDriving.com

2014 is here!

Alas, another year has gone by where drivers in 33 states were having their wallets drained by flashing boxes in intersections and creepy vans parked along the side of the road.

2013 also marked the largest and most widespread scandals the industry has ever been exposed for and it only promises to get worse for Redflex, American Traffic Solutions (ATS), Affiliated Computer Services (ACS – Xerox) and others in the new year.

In light of that good news, we bring you:

TOP 10 TRENDING SCAMERA STORIES OF 2013

10. License Plate Scanners Being Used in Red Light Cameras to track every driver

Although this little nugget of info has been known for years, the ACLU uncovered the widespread use of license plate scanners which were set to data mine every driver passing by, regardless of any suspicion that they were violating the law. In a year where blanket surveillance came under major fire, this was more ammo for motorists’ rights advocates to heavily criticize the dubious nature of red light cameras. Read more – [link]

9. Judge in Ohio Orders Refunds, Camera Seizures

A Cincinnati area Judge really put the hammer down hard on red light cameras in a nearby village. He ruled Elmwood Place and Optotraffic in contempt of court for continuing to issue photo tickets for months after he initially ruled them illegal.

Refunds were also ruled by Judge Ruelman and the cameras were to be seized. [read more]

8. $4.2 Million in Camera Ticket Refunds for New Jersey Drivers

American Traffic Solutions (ATS) were caught up in yet another multimillion dollar lawsuit, this time in the Garden State, where drivers were awarded over $4 Million in refunds. Why? So glad you asked. It’s because they were issuing red light camera tickets in 18 municipalities where they were actually illegal. Minor detail, of course. Read more – [link]

7. Michigan Kills Red Light Cameras Before They Go Up

We are proud to say that this website actually sounded the alarm in Michigan when a camera shill of a legislator was trying to sneak through a Red Light Camera bill back in May. Michigan Campaign for Liberty’s Tony DeMott lead the rally cry to successfully defeat the cameras before a single one could be installed. Thanks Tony!

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6.  Protestor Arrested in Florida

Wayne Schmidter, a man who has had to defend himself from violations of his free speech in the past, was handing out flyers at an intersection with Red Light Cameras in Apopka, FL. An overzealous police officer demanded to see both his permit to hand out flyers and his ID, neither of which are required under any law in that jurisdiction. Schmidter answered he did not have either, nor did he need them and was then arrested. Amazingly, the Judge who heard Schmidter’s previous civil rights suit was eating at an establishment near by and ran out to tell the officer he’d better back down! Read more – [link]

5. Multiple States Move to Ban Photo Ticketing

State Legislatures in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Missouri and Ohio all advanced bills in their 2013 sessions to make red light cameras and photo radar completely illegal. Citizen backlash against the unconstitutional camera systems has demanded legislators file these bills – in some cases under major duress! Expect these states as well as others to take the issue up again in 2014. After all, the Cameras Are Coming Down!

4. Redflex Faces Massive Financial Troubles

Fallout from the bribery scandal in Chicago (don’t worry, that one’s coming too) crushed any expectations of staying above water that Redflex may have had. Shortly after it was announced that they were losing their contract in Chicago, Redflex put out a press release that detailed their grim fortunes to come – [link]

Later on in the year, the camera vendor announced that their profit had dropped a whopping 50 percent! Look out below! [read more]

3. Missouri Court System Condemns Red Light Cameras

Missouri courts spend the last 4 months of 2013 absolutely obliterating the state’s red light camera scheme. In September, they deemed that it violated due process. In November, the 2nd highest Court in Missouri ruled that red light camera programs are unenforceable and thus void. Later that month, the MO Appeals Court agreed and upheld that ruling. And in December, the MO Appeals Court ruled that red light cameras are unconstitutional!

2014 should be the end of red light cameras in Missouri and the court system, not legislature, will be the ones to thank for that.

2. Florida Caught Up in Yellow Light Time Shortening Scandal

And they say Journalism is dead in this country. One News Affiliate in Tampa Florida proved that it’s still alive in 2013 when they blew the doors wide open on a $50 Million dollar yellow light shortening scheme being carried out by American Traffic Solutions and several municipalities. They estimate that $50M figure is what’s been stolen by ATS by lowering yellow light duration to illegal and very dangerously short durations.

Thanks to WTSP (Tampa) for doing this great public service and the fallout continues to be felt across the state [read more]

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1. Chicago-Redflex Bribery Scandal

And now the Granddaddy of them all and the scandal which rocked the entire mafia of photo ticketing, the Chicago Bribery Scandal. To prop up their $80M per year photo ticketing racket, a few palms need to be greased, right? Chicago is no stranger to this form of corruption, but the city never seen a scandal with bribery that tallied as much money as Redflex was dishing out, under the table.

[read more] from Chicago Tribune’s David Kidwell

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In true Chicago style, the contract with Redflex, which was announced to be dead and gone in 2013, by Mayor Emanuel, has been quietly extended to January of 2014. When the Redflex cameras are finally shut off, and they will be, that company will plunge into multimillion dollar deficits from which it will be nearly impossible to dig out of. 2013 brought more citizen, lawmaker and court backlash against red light cameras and photo radar than ever before. It will only continue to grow and crescendo in 2014!

Happy New Year and keep motoring!


HB 2579 Goes to Arizona House of Reps Transportation Committee on 2/21

February 17, 2013

From the CameraFRAUD meetup group:

Sunday, February 17, 2013 to Thursday, February 21, 2013, 7:00 AM

There’s no way to tell which order the chairman (Karen Fann) will schedule it, but the info is available here – [link]

This bill would make using ANY unmanned devices to issue traffic citations and fines illegal in the state of Arizona. That would mean all of Redflex and ATS’s scameras would come down and be shipped out to another state that still puts up with this unconstitutional racketeering.The best way you as an individual can help would be to swing by the House of Reps building at 1700 W Washington in Phoenix, sign into their system and register as a supporter of this bill. We understand that many of you couldn’t fit that into your schedules, so there’s another option…

The next best thing you could do is send a friendly email to every member of the transportation committee before Thursday and let them know why you personally want these cameras off your streets and traffic lights. They want to hear from you!

Spread the word far and wide that a bill to ban the scameras is once again making its way through Arizona Legislature. We’ve lost by just one vote the last two years, so any help we get could push us over the top this year!

Copy/paste the list below or email each individually:

kfann@azleg.gov, rgray@azleg.gov, vsteele@azleg.gov, bbarton@azleg.gov, sborrelli@azleg.gov, jescamilla@azleg.gov

Ban Redflex and American Traffic Solutions

The Photo Radar Prohibition Bill (HB 2579) will be voted on in the Arizona House of Reps Transportation Committee on Thursday February 21st.


The Axis of Fraud is Trying to Buy a Congressman in AZ

April 17, 2012

They already own countless city council members, mayors and state legislators so it only makes sense that the scamera lobby would want to move on up and buy themselves a brand new Congressman as well.

Given Ben Quayle’s penchant for posting photos all over the web for Nik Richie’s Dirty Scottsdale under an assumed identity, photo fraud vendors Redflex and American Traffic Solutions (ATS) were a perfect fit for campaign financiers to the little internet prankster turned Congressman.

George, “The Hitman” Hittner, executive general counsel of the mafia-like corporate leech, ATS (owned by Goldman Sachs), has thrown his support behind Quayle. Redflex’s Jay Heiler has been Quayle’s spokesman since his 2010 Congressional campaign.

Arizona should really be proud to be represented by such a creepy guy, who once faked having a family, just to seem somewhat normal compared to his internet persona, “Brock Landers.” Brock (also the name of a character from the almost-porn flick Boogie Nights) spent day and night posting pictures of women at Scottsdale night clubs in various stages of intoxication and undress.

Don’t let Brock, err Ben fool you, those days of what some conservatives in Arizona call “internet porn” really prepared him to be a “responsible adult” and cosponsor the SOPA bill which would shut down any website at the drop of a hat if the almighty DOJ didn’t fancy its content. One wonders if Ben’s old buddy Nik would get a pass even though he outed him 2 years ago. At least Nik was kind enough to wait until most of the early ballots had been returned so it wouldn’t cost Brock Ben the election.

Quayle, Hittner and Heiler – what a team!

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Peoria Speed Traps Confuse Drivers

December 19, 2011

From PhotoRadarScam.com

Dubious Traffic Engineering and Politics Predominate Over Public Safety on Arizona Roadways

People place blind trust that the governments responsible for determining speed limits are qualified and have conducted a proper analysis to arrive at the correct number. Many firmly believe that driving even just a little above the posted limit can be indeed be extremely dangerous. But this new video on Youtube shows that posted speed limits we see are sometimes nothing more than the result of a political whim, as in the city of Peoria, AZ the limits are established by ordinances that are established by the city council. Although difficult to see, the video shows a roadway in North Peoria, the stretch of Pinnacle Peak between 83rd Ave & 91st Ave where speed limits are set for 30mph going Westbound, but 45 going eastbound. There is no discernible difference in each side of the road (low density residential with no schools or school crossing), and the road is one lane in each direction. What could the engineering justification possibly be to call for a 15mph difference in speed limits based only on what direction you’re going? The only reasonable answer is that the city wants to create a speed trap.
The video also shows another location just south of Happy Valley Road on 91st Ave. As you approach the 3-way intersection, the last 1/8 of a mile drops from 40mph to 30mph. When you turn from Happy Valley onto 91st Ave southbound, you can go 45mph for the 1st 1/8th mile, then the limit drops to 30mph for about 3/8 of a mile, then raises up to a standard 40mph limit. Again, there are no schools and no discernible changes in road design or neighborhoods over these distances. These limits are nothing more than a speed trap, and nothing more than city officials screwing with drivers.
What’s interesting is how all of this sharply contrasts with information published by ADOT about speed limits:

[Since most citizens can be relied upon to behave in a reasonable manner as they go about their daily activities, many of our laws reflect observations of the way reasonable people behave under most circumstances. Traffic regulations are invariably based upon observations of the behavior of groups of travelers under various conditions.

[Generally speaking, traffic laws that reflect the behavior of the majority of vehicle operators are found to be successful, while laws that arbitrarily restrict the majority of drivers encourage wholesale violations, lack public support, and usually fail to bring about desirable changes in driving behavior. This is especially true of speed zoning.]

ADOT continues to explain that reducing speed limits will NOT change traffic speeds and will not change accident frequency and that there is no “direct relationship between posted speed limits and accident frequency” and that, “speed in itself is not a major cause of accidents.” ADOT then proceeds to identify such locations as those described in North Peoria as a speed trap:

[It is accepted within the traffic engineering profession that there is a demonstrated need to produce as much uniformity as possible in the traffic flow and to eliminate the so-called speed trap. A speed trap may be defined as a street or road which is wide enough, straight and smooth enough, and sufficiently free of visibility limiting obstructions to permit driving a certain speed, but where the law nevertheless calls for a much lower speed.]

According to ADOT, “Speed zoning in Arizona is based on the widely accepted principle of setting speed limits as near as practicable to the speed at or below which 85 percent of the drivers are traveling.” But after spending a few minutes on the side of the road at either of these locations one can clearly see that the 85th percentile speed is closer to 40 or 45mph (common on Phoenix-area arterial roads) than the 30mph displayed on the speed limit signs.
So why is the city of Peoria so careless about road safety? There are only a few possible answers:
  1. Arrogant and/or incompetent city council who either believes they are qualified traffic engineers or that they know more than traffic engineers.
  2. They have allowed incompetent city traffic engineers to remain employed.
  3. They are more interested in revenue generation from speed traps than safety.
For clues to the answer, we can look to other city council decisions. Over 3 years ago, Peoria started a pilot red light camera program at 4 intersections. The results were disastrous, leading to over a 100% increase in accidents. But for some reason (read: $$$), the city decided to renew and extend the “pilot” program multiple times (guess they don’t understand what you’re supposed to do when a pilot program fails). Finally after 3 years and continued disastrous results, the city reluctantly ended the dangerous cash cow red light camera program after being unable to justify the program under the guise of safety any longer.
But the city of Peoria isn’t alone in the world of dubious traffic engineering. Take the new stretch of 303 West of I-17 for example. This is brand new freeway, 2 lanes in each direction separated by a significant distance. This stretch has very few on and off ramps, and very little traffic. Yet the speed limit is only 55mph! Contrast this to the 101 freeway which has a great deal of traffic and is usually crowded, on and off ramps every 1 mile, and the limit is 10mph faster. I don’t think you have to be an engineer to know that the new stretch of 303 freeway is every bit as safe as the 101, if not safer. So why the lower limits?
Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 28-702 allows the establishment of speed limits on the State Highway System “upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation.” The MUTCD also requires a traffic engineering study. So where is this engineering and traffic investigation that found a speed limit of 55mph to be appropriate on the 303 but not on the 101?
State and local governments have become lazy, arrogant, and exploitative. They have forgotten that their purpose is to serve the people and do what’s in the best interest for the public rather than the government. ADOT’s own literature contradicts their actions and appears to violate state law. This isn’t about safety. It’s about what it’s always about: power and money.

Red Light Camera Company Steals From Elderly

December 14, 2011

Courtesy of WarOnDriving.com:

Florida Red Light Cameras Scam Woman on Fixed Income

Nobody who’s paying attention is going to pretend the US economy is in good shape, nor has it been since 2007.

In Green Cove, Florida a retiree was not only sent one of these scam tickets, but was charged extra just to fight it in court.

What a racket they have going out there in North Florida. From the news report below by First Coast News, it sounds like the cameras are on the way to even more communities.

Will the citizens of Green Cove say enough is enough?


Motorists in Texas Can Take it Off! (License Plates)

December 6, 2011

Courtesy of WarOnDriving.com:

Texas Gaffe Means No License Plate = No Problem

Every motorist in Texas is now exempt from photo tickets from speed cameras, red light cameras and toll road enforcement cameras, starting January 1st, 2012.Texas legislature left a key provision out of the latest version of their Transportation Omnibus Bill that penalizes drivers for not visibly displaying a license plate on their vehicle, reports TheNewspaper.com[BILL]
Once this bill becomes law, it cannot be changed for two years because Texas Legislature only convenes every other year.
[READ MORE]


WarOnDriving.com: Traffic Camera Vote in Baytown Texas Invalidated; Citizens Angered

October 11, 2011

Many times legislatures or council get things wrong, some times very wrong.

Baytown, TX was one of the many communities whose leadership completely failed them when the decision to install dangerous red light cameras in their intersections.

The driving public was outraged, but Baytown’s city council predictably wasn’t willing to part with the money that American Traffic Solutions(ATS) had promised them.

[read more]


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