Posted by: thescoundrel | August 30, 2008

Money-Money-Money Re-launch the Speed Cameras


Davenport, Iowa city fathers must be licking their chops right about now! The State of Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that their speed trap cameras are legal. The cameras had already made the city over $1.3 million dollars before they were shut down over a legal challenge. The city coffers will soon be able to hear that old familiar sound of cha-ching once more as the cameras re-launch and start snapping pictures of vehicles rolling down the streets of Davenport. It is not just Davenport, Iowa that is drooling over the money they will make from cameras. Across the nation cities and states have been eyeballing this modern-day moneymaking version of the speed trap. Some state and city governments, like here in Illinois, are also looking to use them for added reasons other than as a speed trap. Illinois is even considering forming an elite tactical team with the extra revenue. Welcome to the World of Modern Camera Technology. I have ranted against speed cameras and their possible abuse before. I can actually see their advantages but I can also see their abuse potential. And I am not against the police nabbing speeders; I actually applaud the police when they take a bite out of traffic crime. However I am not a proponent of cameras replacing the police. First and foremost unless they can identify the driver of the vehicle I feel their photo has no value. It is the driver who is at fault of speeding – not the owner of the vehicle. I have also personally experienced the fallibility of traffic citations. A few years back I received a letter from a city stating that my vehicle had been ticketed in their city committing a traffic offense. This utterly confused me because as I informed their representative by phone, neither my vehicles nor I had been in their city for years. This was not what the representative wanted to hear. We had a few more debates upon my guilt, which finally ended with my telling them where they could stick the traffic citation. I do not know whether it was an honest mistake or if the city was just running a traffic citation scam. I never heard from them again. I have not bothered to visit their city since, nor have I spent any of my money at their many fine tourist traps. Still the camera invasion is encompassing more and more territory. Soon you will not be able to leave your house without being on candid camera. And the States and Cities are drooling with anticipation of the extra money those cameras will bring in to their coffers.

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Responses

  1. Since I rarely speed and don’t run red lights it doesn’t bother me a lot. What does bother me is if I loan the car to my son, he runs a light, and then a couple months later I get a ticket. The ticket should be issued to the driver at the time of the infraction, not to the owner of the vehicle months later. We agree with you, it’s a cash cow for the city.

  2. The issuing of tickets by mail and not directly is one of my pet peeves. The driver of a vehicle does not have to be the owner. The owner should not be held responsible for other drivers infractions. Though insurance companies do that very thing. You can even be sued if someone damages property with your vehicle. I do not believe in that either. It forces you to have to carry insurance for other drivers.

  3. I recently got a phototicket of me supposedly running a red light on a right turn. There is a 2 sec delay between photos and the first shows my vehicle at the corner and the next shows my vehicle still in the frame pulling away. There is no video of this alleged violation. What are my chances of beating this fine? In the city of Albuquerque the fine for a stop light violation is 70 dollars, if i lose the case i will be additionally fined for court costs around 55 dollars and a administrative fee by the photo people of 50 dollars. Not to mention that i will have to use my personal time to attend court. If i fight it I might lose to the tune of 200 dollars. If i pay the fine, then I am just guilty until proven innocent. So much for jurisprudence. P.S. The Mayor just signed the Union Contract for the Police and Fire Dept. giving them the highest pay increase ever in the history of the city. I dont really think Im gonna win this one.

  4. Yeah a lose-lose situation.

  5. John, we had the same problem here in Davenport where people would get sent a photo of people running a red light while making a right turn at a intersection with two right turn lanes. There is two things, (1) you should be able to contact the city issuing the ticket and request to review the violation (which should answer the question if you stopped), and 2nd if it happens to be a double turn lane intersection, you can only turn from the curb lane, and it is illegal to turn from the inside turn lane. I’m all for the red light camera’s, as accident’s involving broad side collisions have a far greater change of resulting injuries to the involved parties, just based on the physics of the crash. The speed cameras are a necessary evil, but hopefully Davenport sets the limit for issuing tickets to 13 or higher and not the 10 they had before. As for the money generated from the violations, maybe it will help curb peoples driving habits and keep my property taxes down.

  6. They make GPS devices that alert you when you are approaching an intersection with a red light camera. The theory is that cameras are placed in intersections that are notoriously dangerous and these devices give you advanced warning of these problem areas. And of course they have the side benefit of keeping you from doing something silly like not fully stopping on a right on red situation – a totally legal thing to do but could give you a false camera photo.

    If you’re interested see http://www.redlightcameradetectors.com


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