Scam-Cams To Cite “Distracted Driving”?

October 1, 2008

Totalitarianism is a concept used to describe political systems where the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life.- Wikipedia

City, state, and corporate officials have indicated interest in using existing photo scam-cams to monitor / ticket “distracted drivers,” including those who text message, eat, drink, talk on a cell phone, or literally do anything other than breathe while driving (from the East Valley Trib):

“We’re able to see people clearly on their cell phones,” said Josh Weiss, spokesman for American Traffic Solutions…

Weiss is also a member of Scottsdale’s Transportation Commission, which recently voted to recommend that the City Council adopt a ban on text messaging while driving. The commission also urged the council to look at expanding that potential law to bar any activity that distracts a driver from the road, like eating, talking on the phone or applying makeup while operating a vehicle.

…it would be possible to point out such things as distracted driving, expired license tags or failure to wear a seat belt to police, who could then issue a citation, Weiss said.

Shoba Vaitheeswaran, spokeswoman for Redflex… said it’s possible to use cameras to enforce additional traffic laws… “Our infrastructure is there,” she said.

Those who generally support photo enforcement should keep in mind the implications of this “mission creep.”  Automated seat-belt and expired licensing tickets don’t hold a candle to what the technology could be expanded to:

  • Both-hands-on-the-wheel tickets, or improper hand placement on wheel.
  • Tire tread tickets.
  • Child safety tickets (kids took their seat belt off for a second? Too bad.)
  • Headlamp/tail-lamp tickets.
  • Loose pet (“distraction”) tickets.
  • Equipment violation tickets, including bumper height and spare tire mounting.
  • Drinking… anything.

The list of possibilities goes on and on.

Keep in mind these are all things that real police officers could potentially pull a person over for.

Example:  even though eating or having a pet loose in the vehicle is not currently defined in statute, an officer using human judgment to determine that the driver might be distracted is still able to pull such a person over under the pretext of distracted or reckless driving.

Since cameras can’t use the same judgment as a human, each activity must then be banned under law, so that the photographic evidence is irrefutable and unmistakable.

So, even though a “John Doe” might be obeying all traffic laws while enjoying a soda under today’s laws, banning the activity immediately turns him into a violator, regardless of if he was driving responsibly.

Scottsdale Launches All-out Assault on Freedom of Speech

August 28, 2008

Scottsdale Police has arrested a reporter who was videographing anti-camera activists. Two individuals were exercising their first-amendment rights by waving signs on a sidewalk on Shea Blvd when, incredulously, the Scottsdale Police arrested the person holding the camera. One of the charges was even for a non-existent crime: “disrupting the operation of a photo radar van.”

“A Scottsdale man arrested Wednesday night was accused of disrupting the operation of a photo radar van parked in the 6800 block of East Shea Boulevard, police said.

Shelton, 35, was holding protest signs and blocking the van’s cameras, Officer Dave Pubins said.

Last Friday, a grass-roots group called gathered at Scottsdale and Thomas roads to protest the use of photo-enforcement cameras.”

The Scottsdale Police is in such an outright tizzy that they even went as far as to issue a press release in a section of their website normally grazed with information pertaining to death investigations and armed robberies.

The arrested reporter is a contributor to local-news site, as well as his own Youtube channel, “RP4409.” He was released on his own recognizance on 8/28 around 5:30 PM.

Best of luck with your proceedings, Scottsdale. You’ll need it, because by acting illegally under the “color of law,” the TRUE law shines though as clear as day.

UPDATE: A few of our readers pointed out an interesting question: If it’s a crime to wave a sign on a city street near photo radar equipment, why didn’t the Scottsdale Police take enforcement action on Friday, August 22nd during the Thomas Road protest, in which footage from local channel KTVK-TV clearly shows activists who may have purposefully been blocking the equipment?

Is it because they were afraid of possible public backlash and blowback for being heavy-handed? Is it because the Scottsdale Police is afraid of the media? Or, perhaps the City of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Police are terrified of cameras catching them in the act when they do something wrong?

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