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Tennessee Town Releases Red Light Camera Stats

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the let's-rethink-the-rolling-stop-at-least dept.

Government 567

SonicSpike links to what he calls "a transparent look at some statistics released by a small town's red-light camera program," writing "Specifically, in the last fiscal quarter, 7,213 incidents were recorded, 2,673 incidents were rejected by the reviewing officer, and 662 incidents were not processed due to technical issues or lack of information. All in all 3,878 citations were issued between April 1 — June 30 in a town of 17,000 residents. Interestingly enough there are two nearby cities claiming that individuals 'have no presumption of innocence' when accused by the red light cameras." Fines for no-harm-no-foul rolling stops bug me, and remind me of Gary Lauder's suggestion to merge stop signs and yield signs.

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no-harm no-foul (3, Insightful)

topham (32406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061672)

No problem.

No-harm, no foul. However, you fuck up, spend life in prison. seems reasonable to me.

Re:no-harm no-foul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061722)

I think it sucks that even such draconian measures don't get people to STOP RUNNING THE DAMN RED LIGHT!

Re:no-harm no-foul (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061758)

I think it sucks that even such draconian measures don't get people to STOP RUNNING THE DAMN RED LIGHT!

There's only one method I'm aware of which has been proven to reduce the number of people running red lights: increasing the duration of the amber light. Red light tickets merely increase accidents on the approach to the light as people slam on the brakes to stop and idiots go into the back of them.

But North American stop lights are a disastrous design anyway.

Re:no-harm no-foul (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061888)

But North American stop lights are a disastrous design anyway.

Got a better design, arrogant cocksucker?

Re:no-harm no-foul (2, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062016)

Yaah, they're called roundabouts. Problem is, they're too confusing for yanks apparently. No skin off my nose, but you did ask.

Re:no-harm no-foul (5, Funny)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062064)

"Hey look kids, there's Big Ben, and there's Parliament. "

Re:no-harm no-foul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33062140)

He's talking about roundabouts, ignorant cocksucker.

Re:no-harm no-foul (5, Interesting)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061934)

The problem with just increasing the length of yellow is that people will eventually become accustomed to longer yellows, and still run the red.

A better idea is to keep the yellow the same duration, and install a countdown timer: 20 seconds before the light turns yellow show a countdown to the yellow light.

They've been installed in my city at a few intersections - they were originally intended for pedestrian signals, but they work *really* well for drivers - it tells you exactly how much time you have to make the light, and you can start slowing down earlier.

Traffic Cameras are Free Money... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061906)

The amazing thing is that the "fines" are $50, and do not get counted against your driving record, no matter how many you get, due to the state constitution... It doesn't allow blatant ripoffs.

You know none of the current politicians had a hand in crafting it, lol.

Our state constitution makes it illegal for them to charge more than $50 also.

The "Speed/Traffic" cameras in nearby Oak Ridge, (which used to be a nice place, but is now Crack Alley) have at least three digits; it's become a game to see who gets the highest number. :)

165 in a 25 zone? that's $50 please. :)

It costs $167 to contest one of these tickets. Due process, anyone? Remember the golden rule, "the guy with the gold gets to make the rules."

I don't spend money or time in places with these cameras; if enough people have that attitude, they will go away. Hopefully before the town does.

Farragut is the rich section of Knoxville; Snobs, Bimbos, and teenagers driving/wrecking their BMW's daily, lol.

You don't want to see the poor section of Knoxville; look up "Shannon Christian" on Knoxnews.com :(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murders_of_Channon_Christian_and_Christopher_Newsom [wikipedia.org]

Re:Traffic Cameras are Free Money... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062010)

Good grief, it sounds like that place has really gone downhill since I moved out in 1994 to go to college. (I was probably last there in 1998 or 1999, when my parents moved out.) I actually lived in Farragut, which was a decent place, though of course it was certainly filled with snobs and teenagers driving BMWs. Oak Ridge was also a nice place, where a lot of the snobs' parents worked.

Re:Traffic Cameras are Free Money... (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062060)

$50 fine? That's amazing. In my town (of about 60,000), it's a $370 fine. That's higher than in other nearby towns (which are larger, to boot), but only by $30. And that's the minimum fine, mind. Good ol' California.

The worst part is that some signals don't show yellow for the same length of time as others, so it's really hard to judge, sometimes.

"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061714)

If the light is red and you drive past it, how can you in any way claim to be innocent? Bear in mind that red light cameras don't tend to trip below about 5mph, so "I just pulled into the junction to let the ambulance past" won't fly.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (2, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061752)

The point is that they have to prove you did it. Fundamental tenant of criminal justice, etc.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (2, Informative)

lisany (700361) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061852)

The photograph IS the proof.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (3, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061928)

And what happens if I own the exact same model of car, same color, same look and feel, and somebody drives through that light with a well done forgery of the innocent persons plates, landing them a ticket, with the picture as 'proof' and all.

Oh but the picture shows them guilty. They must have done it. Don't be so willing to throw away the "Innocent until proven guilty" clause to the heralding of new technology. Because that just means you will see ten-fold increase in convictions by 'no presumption of innocence', as you have happily given away your right to fight by not voting the county-city-state 'tards out who made it all possible.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062052)

The UK system for motoring offences caught on camera (most, I'm not sure whether it's true of all) is you are given the option of taking it to court or paying a reduced penalty.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

lisany (700361) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062166)

I'm not sure where you've been for the past 150 years but photography is not new.

Who do you think has to prove innocence when the likeness of a man with no twins is caught on film shooting someone? I'd say a photograph is very compelling evidence and I'm pretty sure the courts agree, but, IANAL.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061936)

No. The photograph proves only that there is a photograph. It's not like it's a video, nor is the camera positioned to see the light. It could be set to just snap a pic every three minutes for all we know. They do malfunction, also they lose calibration. Some states are considering banning red light cameras altogether, so there is clearly plenty of cause for concern about the issue.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062084)

The cameras in my area snap a picture of your car and the red light, from behind. Showing you, in the intersection, with the light red.

Are there really cameras out there that don't do this?

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061940)

In the college town I live in the red light cameras trigger enough times for a car coming to a stop that the flash actually strobes.

I have watched multiple false positives and Zero positives.

That is to say I haven't seen the red light camera flash on a single car running the red light.

- Dan.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061948)

If the photograph is taken from an angle that shows the red-light state of the light, then that could be acceptable proof. But most of the photographs just prove that the car went through the intersection, not that the light was red at the time.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061952)

not when you have a right to cross-examine the witness, it's not, notably since cameras are not people. In case you're wondering, jackass, thousands of tickets have been thrown out in multiple states for this.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (2, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062058)

The photograph IS the proof.

Hi,

We're from The National Enquirer [google.com] . We would like to make you an offer.

Sincerely, The National Enquirer

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (3, Interesting)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062094)

If one photograph is all we need to prove guilt for all crimes, then with one copy of Photoshop and a few minutes, I can rule the world.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062172)

If one photograph is all we need to prove guilt for all crimes, then with one copy of Photoshop and a few minutes, I can rule the world.

You'll rule the world until me and my copy of Photoshop show you stealing crack from a baby. How could you??

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (4, Insightful)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062104)

The photograph IS the proof.

If the driver is not positively identified then it is only proof of the vehicle's role in the infraction; not the identity of the perpetrator.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (3, Interesting)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062156)

The photograph IS the proof.

I've gotten hit twice in the past year on making legal right-hand turns on red lights. The first one I thought it so obvious that I was making a legal right turn that I requested a hearing without my presence, figuring that the judge would get it. They still charged me. For the second one, I'm waiting to get my hearing date. Either way, I think that sometimes the "proof" can be logically disputed.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (3, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061774)

Yes, and we all know how infallible those revenue-generating ticket machines are. Also your local government would *never* cheat...

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (2, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061814)

If the light is red and you drive past it, how can you in any way claim to be innocent?

Do the cameras actually show the light in the picture? Are the cameras positioned so you can actually tell if the vehicle is over the line or not?

If the camera doesn't show that the light is red, how do you know that the light isn't malfunctioning and taking the picture while yellow or green?
If you can't see whether you're over the line or not, how do you know that you actually ran it?

I drive through several of these things every evening on my way home. I've never seen one flash while the light is green or yellow, but I get flashed by them all the time while I'm coming to stop at a red light (I've seen them go off in the middle of a red light when nobody's even moving). I guess someone must review the picture to make sure the car photographed is actually in the intersection because I've never gotten a ticket.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062130)

They typically take three photos:
Photo one shows you, not yet in the intersection, and the light is red.
Photo two shows your back axle over the line and the light is still red.
Photo three shows the drivers face through the front windshield.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (5, Insightful)

Yakasha (42321) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061830)

If the light is red and you drive past it, how can you in any way claim to be innocent? Bear in mind that red light cameras don't tend to trip below about 5mph, so "I just pulled into the junction to let the ambulance past" won't fly.

Just a few:

  • The city improperly shortened the timing on the yellow light.
  • The date on the camera is wrong.
  • The camera violates anti-wiretapping laws
  • My brakes were broken
  • That isn't my car

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061970)

The timing of the yellow light has nothing to do with whether or not you ran the red.
Why should the date on the camera make any difference? It's proof of what you did.
Wiretapping has nothing to do with taking pictures of public behavior.
Are broken brakes a defense against moving violations? I don't think they should be.
If that isn't your car, why does it have your license plate?

Is this the best you can do?

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062124)

There are legal requirements for the length of the yellow that are dependent upon the speed limit on the road. The city violating those requirements would significantly weaken their position that you could have avoided going through the red light. Taken to the logical extreme, imagine the city shortens the yellow light to 0 seconds and then fines everyone for going through on red.

Camera date is the weakest of his arguments, but it does point to general problems within the system and chain of evidence. If nothing else, if the camera says you were at intersection X at 1pm on Tuesday and you can prove that you and your car were somewhere else it weakens their case considerably.

Police departments have recently been using wiretap laws to argue that it is illegal to film them in public. This is simply turning that argument around on them, more in protest to their not wanting to be filmed than an argument to your innocence. Still a point worth mentioning since the argument has worked for others (the police) in the past.

Broken brakes would result in a fix-it ticket, generally little to no fine if you provide proof that the issue has been professionally repaired. Yes, this is absolutely a valid defense assuming that it is true.

Stolen plates, you let someone borrow the car, stolen car... all situations which would end up with you getting a ticket that for an action that you never performed. You might have to prove that one of these was the case, but it is a valid argument.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33062020)

I wasn't driving the car - someone else was

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

IgnitusBoyone (840214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062138)

The that isn't my car thing isn't likely to happen, but I am more concerned with. It was stolen or I That is not me in that video driving.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (4, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061860)

If the light is red and you drive past it, how can you in any way claim to be innocent?

Many ways. It could have been wild kids putting printouts of my plate on theirs, and then blowing threw the lights so that I could be mailed the ticket, it could be a computer error (those never happen), it could be foul play, maybe a database problem. The prevailing assumption from this line of rationale is that even though technology progresses, nothing is absolute. And if you are willing to risk your criminal history, driving record, insurance cost, etc against an electronic system sold to people who haven't been known to be the most honest with matters of money and law, well good sir, keep pissing it away.

Innocent until proven guilty.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062170)

When you mail in your ticket, you almost always sign a line saying that you are pleading guilty to the crime/infraction. If you want to fight it you can go to court. No different than when a cop gives you a ticket.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

Venotar (233363) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061866)

Bear in mind that red light cameras don't tend to trip below about 5mph, so "I just pulled into the junction to let the ambulance past" won't fly.

You're completely incorrect. As the article specified, they DO catch "rolling stops", if a rolling stop didn't end up in a citation, it's simply because the officials managing the particular municipality's red light enforcement chose not to issue a citation (whether because they felt it was too close to call, or they felt no traffic hazard existed, or because of an internal policy, or a technical problem, or just human oversight). In fact, the article specifically mentioned "pulling into the junction to let the ambulance past" as one of the reasons a citation wasn't issued to some of the recorded incidents.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (2, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061930)

As the article specified, they DO catch "rolling stops"

If you're rolling, you haven't stopped. If the light is red, you must stop. It's not a hard concept to grasp.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061962)

It's worse than that -- there is generally no presumption of innocence for infractions to begin with.

For example, in my state, infractions have been handled completely under civil rules since 1981. (AFAICT, before that they were handled with criminal rules at trial (e.g. informing of your right to a jury trial; you still have the right in civil cases, but they no longer need to tell you), but still had civil standard for proof ("weight of the evidence", not "beyond reasonable doubt").

So a cop saying you ran a red light, and you say you didn't, but can't bring any evidence? You lose, because a sworn officer's testimony carries more weight than yours. Contrast to a criminal trial -- a cop accuses you of robbery, rape, or murder, you say you didn't, and in the absence of other evidence you walk, because there's still reasonable doubt.

Frankly, I find the notion of being convicted upon evidence from an untampered automated camera much more palatable than being convicted on the testimony of a human -- my complaint is with the laws themselves (more with speed cameras than red-lights), and with the system which gives the city a motive to focus enforcement (and even other areas, e.g. shortening yellows) on profit from fines rather than on public safety.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (2, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061994)

If the light is red and you drive past it, how can you in any way claim to be innocent?

If the man was alive and you killed him, how can you in any way claim to be innocent?

What you are saying is that if someone is murdered and the security cameras point at you a trial is not needed.

In the case that you were trying to say that running a red light is not as bad as murdering someone, therefore the standards of fairness should be set lower, then the US Constitution has something to say about that. The Sixth Amendment says you have a right to trial by jury in any criminal case. If it's a civil case the Seventh Amendment says there's a right to trial by jury whenever the value in controversy exceeds twenty dollars.

Don't like that? Change the Constitution, there's a well-defined procedure for doing it.

Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062062)

If the light is red and you drive past it, how can you in any way claim to be innocent?

- Yellow is too short to allow a safe stop
- Stoplight malfunction (changed from green to red without a yellow; stoplight in 4-way flash)

Bear in mind that red light cameras don't tend to trip below about 5mph, so "I just pulled into the junction to let the ambulance past" won't fly.

Because equipment never malfunctions.

Yield signs (4, Insightful)

kehren77 (814078) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061748)

Fines for no-harm-no-foul rolling stops bug me, and remind me of Gary Lauder's suggestion to merge stop signs and yield signs.

I too am bugged by rolling stop fines. However the biggest problem I see with merging stop signs with yield signs is that some people tend to believe that a yield sign means they just need to try to merge with traffic, not stop and yield right of way.

Re:Yield signs (4, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061938)

That's because the morons who make decisions to put yield signs at the end of _on_ ramps onto major interstates create a system where you learn to ignore them.

If you actually stop and yield to traffic on an interstate, one of two things will happen. Either you will be stopped forever, or you will be plowed into by the guy behind you.

Now, on normal roads, at least I yield to traffic when I see them. I know they have their place, but interstate on ramps, no.

Re:Yield signs (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061984)

Fines for no-harm-no-foul rolling stops bug me

okay... let's get back to that in a moment...

However the biggest problem I see with merging stop signs with yield signs is that some people tend to believe that a yield sign means they just need to try to merge with traffic, not stop and yield right of way.

So people believe that a sign that means one thing (stop and yield right of way) means something else (try to merge with traffic). Obviously that's a lack in their driving education (insofar as driving on backroads with daddy can be called a driving education).

But then again, can you really blame them, when you are absolutely guilty of the same thing? After all, a STOP sign means you need to STOP moving. It really doesn't get any simpler than that. Yet you interpret it as a "slow down to some variable speed that I, myself, decide is quite slow enough thank-you-very-much".. and then feel 'bugged' if you get a fine for it.

STOP (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062066)

doesn't mean Slow To Observe Police.

Really, if something as simple as a STOP sign is distressing I cannot imagine other laws of inconvenience to you during the course of the rest of your drive. Cannot count the times people drifting through STOP signs have almost winged me on my motorcycle or my car. It isn't bad enough with lack of attention from cell phones too many people just don't obey the signs out of habit leaving motorcyclist like me to approach all such intersections as potential death traps.

Dear SonicSpike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061754)

For the benefit of non-hillbillies, please post the name of the Tennessee town.

Thanks in advance.

Yours In Domododevo,
Kilgore Trout

Re:Dear SonicSpike (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061846)

Fist line of TFA:

Town of Farragut announces the following statistics for the 2010 second quarter enforcement period of April 1 through June 30 for its Traffic Enforcement Program (red light violations).

duh...

Re:Dear SonicSpike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33062118)

As the name of a city, isn't Duh supposed to be capitalized?

Accidents at Camera Intersections go up/down? (4, Insightful)

kbreak (1378527) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061762)

So, the big question is, "did the redlight cameras reduce accidents or increase them?" Here in Los Angeles, a TV station got ahold of the records, and in most cases, accidents *increase* at camera intersections.

Re:Accidents at Camera Intersections go up/down? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061826)

Probably because the yellow was shortened to increase ticket revenue.

So people end up having to brake more quickly at some red lights than at others.

Re:Accidents at Camera Intersections go up/down? (5, Interesting)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061854)

The stats for some of my cities intersections clearly show a decrease in the T-Bones and an increase in rear-endings. Stats are not public.

If you believe T-Bones are the more fatal of the two, then the trade-off is likely appropriate. Note, light timing did not change and there are 100+ intersections with camera boxes but only a handful actually have a camera installed (randomly rotated).

Re:Accidents at Camera Intersections go up/down? (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062012)

On the other hand if you just want to reduce all accidents you make the yellow light longer. Almost 0 cost, and actually effective. On the other hand it doesn't generate thousands of dollars in revenue for the police department so it's a no go.

Re:Accidents at Camera Intersections go up/down? (3, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061902)

This is not about public safety, it's about raising money for the municipality. Period.

Re:Accidents at Camera Intersections go up/down? (2, Insightful)

MrBB (1866342) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061982)

There are quite a few black tire marks leading into the intersections that are camera enforced where I live... The winter here is ESPECIALLY dangerous where ice + snow + fear of a ticket = scary situations. I actually avoid areas that are camera enforced. I have heard of studies that show a decline in local economy because of these systems.

public safety should never be a revenue source (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061772)

and you have the right to face your accuser so you can get out of these tickets pretty easily. If everyone would start to fight them in court the amount of money to run them at a loss would get rid of them pretty quickly.

Re:public safety should never be a revenue source (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061856)

If everyone would start to fight them in court the amount of money to run them at a loss would get rid of them pretty quickly.

That's an excellent solution if you're someone with a few hours to spend on a weekday in traffic court. However, most of "everyone" would have to give up badly needed wages to fight the ticket in traffic court. Thankfully, traffic courts expect pro se defendants, so there isn't a legal cost, but there is most definitely an opportunity cost.

Interestingly, at least in my city they put the traffic cameras near the projects and far from the suburbs. They're targetting people who are less able to fight back.

Re:public safety should never be a revenue source (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062054)

Are you really so sure they aren't just targeting intersections where they have more problems, rather than the people that live near those intersections?

Re:public safety should never be a revenue source (4, Informative)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061908)

and you have the right to face your accuser so you can get out of these tickets pretty easily. If everyone would start to fight them in court the amount of money to run them at a loss would get rid of them pretty quickly.

See the second link in the summary...
The court filing obtained says offenders "are not entitled to a trial by jury, a presumption of innocence or a heightened burden of proof." [knoxnews.com]

Re:public safety should never be a revenue source (1)

jfredric (1724030) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061916)

Maybe I have this wrong, but how is anyone losing the right to face their accuser? Isn't it the city/police that is accusing you? How is this technically any different then being caught on camera robbing a store? If the "ticket" you receive is an actual infraction you would have a right to your date in court. Otherwise you have no obligation to pay someone anything. Actually, now that I think about it, the camera's where the ticket is sent by a collection/operating company and not law enforcement sounds an awful lot like blackmail. "We got this awfully bad pictures of you running a red light. Pay us money, which we will give a kickback to the city for, or we report you."

Re:public safety should never be a revenue source (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062076)

Because 1) it costs more to actually go to trial than to pay the ticket (you're required to pay $167 for the court costs), and 2) the court is a Kangaroo court. They see a picture, and it doesn't matter what your testimony is, you're automatically guilty. It doesn't matter if you were being tailgated and were justifiably worried that stopping for the too-short yellow light would have resulted in being rear-ended. (Of course, no one ever gets a ticket for tailgating.)

roll stop fines should continue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061788)

Until people quit rolling over pedestrians in a crosswalk!

Whiners (1)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061800)

Getting caught by a camera seems no different than getting caught by a cop. Does the cop presume you're innocent after he sees the crime being committed? Neither should the camera if sufficient evidence is recorded. Of course, everyone should get their chance in court to challenge in case there was a legitimate reason for the infraction. Sounds like that town needed those cameras.

Re:Whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061886)

The cop gives you the ticket which includes a court date. You appear on that court date, and face your accuser.

If the cop doesnt show, the ticket is discarded. If the cop does show and is unable to prove your guilt against a well-ordered defense, the ticket gets discarded. If you show up and state "I was hoping to get out of a ticket" and the cop comes to court, you are going to have to pay.

With these machines, you arent given a court date at the time of the infraction (it may be mailed to you later, I havent gotten one so I am unsure). Given "photographic evidence", the burden of proof (that the accuser is required to provide) is automatic.

*Note: Claiming a blue-shift turned the red light into yellow or green will only result in larger fines.

Re:Whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33062152)

With these machines, you arent given a court date at the time of the infraction (it may be mailed to you later, I havent gotten one so I am unsure).

I dunno about TN, but here in AZ they're mailed to you later, with a court date. Of course, you can then throw it in the trash, because you have to be properly served for them to require you to appear in court, and the U.S. Mail is not proper service. They tack on an extra fine if they have to send a process server after you though, but it's easy to avoid service: don't answer your front door. This happened to me when I got a ticket. We had a couple of shady people show up at the front door, refusing to identify themselves, saying things like they wanted some water. My wife went to the window next to the door and pointed her .357 Magnum at them and they took off.

Re:Whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33062142)

Getting caught by a camera seems no different than getting caught by a cop. Does the cop presume you're innocent after he sees the crime being committed?

No, the judge and possibly jury do. The prosecution has to convince them otherwise. Which a traffic camera, it's a civil offense and they just have to convince the judge it's more likely true. Personally, I don't think the difference matters much in traffic cases, but there's a real and significant difference between the two legal systems.

A little reality please (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061810)

A police officer has reviewed the tape, and has issued a ticket that says you ran a red light. If you think any traffic ticket carries a presumption of innocence, then you've never been to traffic court. The only reliable way to beat a traffic ticket is if the officer doesn't show up at court. Otherwise, it's your word against his - and guess what? - his word always wins.

Re:A little reality please (2, Interesting)

Skjellifetti (561341) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062030)

My sister ran into a motorcycle cop while making a left turn where the normal left lane was blocked off - that's where the cop was driving. She was ticketed. But she went to court armed with a state law book that showed that what the cop did (driving in the blocked off lane) meant that he had forfeited the right-of-way. Judge tossed the ticket. You can beat them, but it takes work.

Running red lights is no joke. (2, Interesting)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061818)

Especially now that people text while driving, it's probably a good thing that we're bringing automation to bear on traffic problems.

They could do more to prevent problems than to catch people after the fact, I think. They're able to drop crossing guards on railroad tracks and tollbooths; why not set them up at every practical intersection as well? There's some good talk out there about adding a breath test to the steering columns of every vehicle, but how about in-car interference of the cellphone frequency?

I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg on what can be done here to ensure safety.

Re:Running red lights is no joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061926)

What a delightful troll! Nicely done!

Re:Running red lights is no joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33062026)

Jamming cell signals won't work correctly. Either blocking passengers from use, or blocking things outside the vehicle.

My idea was simple. Use a sensor to detect hands on the wheel. If there are less than 2 hands on the wheel for more than some amount of time, say 5 seconds, then play an increasingly loud and annoying sound until 2 hands are on the wheel again. I think I read about taxis in Germany doing something like this when they exceeded the speed limit.

no-harm no-foul my a** (3, Insightful)

cruff (171569) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061832)

Fines for no-harm-no-foul rolling stops bug me

Perhaps you have never been side swiped by someone who failed to stop at a red light or stop sign? It can be much worse when you are a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcyclist without a steel cage to protect you. You might think differently then.

Re:no-harm no-foul my a** (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061950)

Then it's not a "no-harm" instance, is it?

Re:no-harm no-foul my a** (2, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061956)

Hmmm. Does that fit under no-harm-no-foul? To me it seems like swiping a person would violate the "no harm" part of the phrase.

I guess I don't really think that strict enforcement of absolutely full stops at stop signs (or right turns at red lights) increases the safety of pedestrians. If it does, then it is probably "worth it"; but if it doesn't, then it certainly isn't. I'm not a traffic professional so I can't really say.

Re:no-harm no-foul my a** (3, Interesting)

kehren77 (814078) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061964)

Okay, I'm not advocating the complete running of stop signs or traffic lights. I'm saying that rolling stops for stops signs (ie you get to the stop sign, make sure nothing is coming and continue on before your vehicle has come to a complete stop) aren't a big deal.

Just down the road from me there was a 3 way intersection that was cut down to a straight through road. But they left the stops signs up as a way of slowing traffic through that area. That sort of crap shouldn't happen and people definitely shouldn't be ticketed for doing a rolling stop in that location.

Re:no-harm no-foul my a** (1, Flamebait)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061976)

It can be much worse when you are a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcyclist without a steel cage to protect you.
Funny thing the vehicle most likely to blast past stop signs without slowing are bicycles. I always stop rather than rolling, and get really pissed at bicyclists who seem to think they don't have to pay attention to traffic signs.

Re:no-harm no-foul my a** (1)

Visaris (553352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062072)

"Perhaps you have never been side swiped by someone who failed to stop at a red light or stop sign?"

The cameras/law are unreasonable. I've been caught by the cameras driving through Knoxville, TN going 4-5 MPH rolling through a stop. I had time to slow to ~4 MPH, stay behind the white line while maintaining said speed for a good few seconds. This safe time behind the white stop line was more than ample to check every direction multiple times. I really don't think it makes sense to fine for that.

On the other hand, someone can come to a nearly screeching halt, stop for an unreasonably short time period right at the line, and then speed off past the light, accelerating so fast their tires are just under the screech threshold. This person is somehow considered "safer" than I am under the law, when in fact, my rolling stop is safer. I'm very sorry if you've been sideswiped, but it wasn't because of a rolling stop. It was because of a bad driver.

Re:no-harm no-foul my a** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33062128)

I haven't driven a car in years -- and I'm even in favor of reducing the number of roads in major metropolitan cities, and possibly banning private cars from large areas of cities -- and I still see traffic cameras as nothing more than another disingenuous tax on motorists. If cities cared about safety, they wouldn't shorten the yellow lights, and they'd spent significant money figuring out how to prevent the increase in sudden-stop accidents that come from traffic cameras. Instead it's all about money and figuring out ways of justifying it; if they don't make money, they go away.

Re:no-harm no-foul my a** (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062164)

Fines for no-harm-no-foul rolling stops bug me

Perhaps you have never been side swiped by someone who failed to stop at a red light or stop sign?

I wouldn't -assume- that outlaw or allowing rolling stops makes a difference one way or the other, in the absence of evidence.

For one thing, I think it's plausible that coming to a complete stop doesn't mean you are anymore aware of what is going on in the intersection than if you did a rolling stop. For another thing, I think a lot of sideswipes at stop signs are probably due to people not even doing a rolling stop, I think most are probably people not noticing there was a stop sign.

So lets see some studies on the actual safety on rolling stop vs complete stops (which Lauder may have) before we say "think of the pedestrians and bicyclists!"

Red light Cameras != Speed Cameras (1)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061842)

I live in Phoenix, AZ where speed cameras were recently deactivated after two years of controversy. The same vendor, Redflex, was snapping pictures if you were driving 11+ mph over the limit.

However, Tempe and Scottsdale still have red-light cameras. I have no issue with red-light cameras, so long as common sense is used when reviewing tickets. TFA:

Although most were still violations of state law, they were considered very close calls or were due to such reasons as vehicles stopping a short distance over the stop bar that did not pose a traffic hazard, vehicles moving out of the way of an emergency vehicle, plates that were unidentifiable and weather related issues.

Speeders going 11-over when the rest of traffic drives 8-over aren't a public safety risk; red-light runners coming perpendicular to broadside traffic and kids in crosswalks are.

Sounds like a sudden outbreak of common sense. Ticket those red-light runners. I paid my ticket for getting there after the yellow; fair and square.

Re:Red light Cameras != Speed Cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33062002)

Speeders going 11-over when the rest of traffic drives 8-over aren't a public safety risk

But this one goes to 11.

I wonder how many... (4, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061848)

were cops?

I'm not sure about Tennessee, but in my small town, the local cops treat most laws or the road with little regard. Rolling stops, speeding, high speed/reckless driving. Heck, I had to file a complaint one evening after a cop damn near ran into a group of young boys walking down the side walk. Apparently, pulling over to the curb and calling them to the car, or getting out and approaching them were the lesser options when compared to flooring it and jumping the curb to park on some company's apron to block the side walk. His excuse was that someone had reported their teen daughter missing and the officer thought the boys might know where she was.

Or heck, when I was working 3rd shift years ago, we used to have two squad cars that would run 1/8th mile laps around the block in front of my work place. They would turn on the lights, but no sirens, then scream up and down the divided business road.

Just last night on the drive home I saw a cop come to a complete stop and make a 7 point turn IN THE MIDDLE OF A BRIDGE, blocking traffic in both directions on a 55mph high way during rush hour. If he had driven 100 feet, he could have pulled into a country lane and done his turn faster and with out obstructing any traffic.

Then again, I guess if you can just brush away any pics of cops blowing lights due to 'technical issues', there won't be many of them getting tickets.

-Rick

Re "Presumption of innocence" (2, Informative)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061874)

This only applies in criminal cases in U.S., and a number of other jurisdictions.

A lot of states have made traffic offenses civil offenses, where a preponderance of evidence is the standard.

Re:Re "Presumption of innocence" (2, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062070)

I'm not a lawyer, but I think "preponderance of evidence" is a lower standard for "beyond a reasonable doubt". Presumption of innocence is a different concept which would apply to both standards of evidence. Can a lawyer please say for sure?

But people stopped doing rolling stops! (3, Insightful)

CLorox (7) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061884)

The article doesn't state how many residents of the town were ticketed as opposed to out of town drivers passing through, but lets pretend it did. Nearly 50% of people in this town flagged, and a little under a quarter were ticketed.... in 3 short months? Not sure how many were drivers from outside the town, but that is a ridiculous sum. Change the law or scrap the camera, this is not working and is a burden to the citizens. I wonder how many traffic collisions will occur because people are slamming on the breaks trying to avoid getting ticketed.

How many of these drivers were traveling at a safe posted speed limit and caught a yellow on a rainy day and had no choice but to either enter a skidding sliding stop or get a ticket. and now due to their unfortunate luck have the added benefit of fighting this in court. Burden to the court, burden to the citizen and a significant expense of time and money. What a racket.

Re:But people stopped doing rolling stops! (2, Insightful)

Necreia (954727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062106)

The article doesn't state how many residents of the town were ticketed as opposed to out of town drivers passing through, but lets pretend it did. Nearly 50% of people in this town flagged, and a little under a quarter were ticketed.... in 3 short months? Not sure how many were drivers from outside the town, but that is a ridiculous sum. Change the law or scrap the camera, this is not working and is a burden to the citizens. I wonder how many traffic collisions will occur because people are slamming on the breaks trying to avoid getting ticketed.

How is it not working? People violating the law are being caught and fined as appropriate. The problem/complaints seem to stem from it working too well. Also according to the article, people who were not violating the law were not given tickets. To quote: "more than 41 percent of the total recorded incidents were rejected. Although most were still violations of state law, they were considered very close calls or were due to such reasons as vehicles stopping a short distance over the stop bar that did not pose a traffic hazard, vehicles moving out of the way of an emergency vehicle, plates that were unidentifiable and weather related issues."

...How many of these drivers were traveling at a safe posted speed limit and caught a yellow on a rainy day and had no choice but to either enter a skidding sliding stop or get a ticket. and now due to their unfortunate luck have the added benefit of fighting this in court...

In inclement weather, or other situations in which the speed limit is too high to drive safely, then it's the drivers responsibility to low down to safe speeds. If the driver couldn't react (for whatever reason) and stop for a red light, then they were going too fast under the circumstances. The Green->Yellow->Red timings are not arbitrary, and are based on good weather conditions and acceptable reaction time expectations. If you can't stop for a red light, you'll not stop for a pedestrian. In short, they are going too fast and deserve the ticket.

Farragut, TN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061900)

Farragut, TN is not a small town. It's called a suburb. The median income for a household in the town is $82,726 Not exactly a small town

Red lights (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061914)

I don't know about merging stop and yield signs, but red lights should be treated as stop signs. I would venture a guess that many people run red lights because they know if they stop they'll be sitting there an aggravatingly long time. But if they can stop at a red light, look left and right, then go, they'll probably be more willing to stop rather than punch it.

Screw em (2, Insightful)

lisany (700361) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061918)

As someone who has almost been run over by morons failing to stop at a stop sign and red light I endorse red-light and stop sign cameras. I say put the cameras at every intersection and raise the penalty for not stopping at stop signs or red lights.

Are you fucking kidding me? (2, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061932)

Merge stop and yield? That's one of those ideas that sound awesome, until you consider that people will be involved.

We are just getting round abouts where I live, and people are constantly stopping at those things when no one is there, or trying to go even though they don't have the right away.

People are idiots, and couldn't handle such a suggestion.

I partially stand up (4, Insightful)

egandalf (1051424) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061958)

There is no such thing as a rolling stop - you either stop or you don't. You either break the law, or you don't. Not harming someone or their property doesn't make it any more legal to disobey rules of the road.

This whole concept reminds me of the George Carlin bit about staying seated until the plane comes to a "complete stop." There is no such thing as a partial stop. If you roll through a light, get caught and fined, at least own up to it. Any driver who does this knows they are taking the risk, knows it's against the rules, and, while I'm not saying they deserve to get caught, should at least take personal responsibility if they do.

I roll through stops sometimes, though I do try to make a conscious effort to not do so. I also speed - and have no shame in doing it. If/when I get caught, I accept the consequences unless I have what I feel is a justifiable reason for what I did.

What, no karma for me? (0, Offtopic)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 4 years ago | (#33061972)

I appreciate the shout-out, but don't I get karma points?

informative` bitchbitch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33061974)

You can view the incriminating *video*. Nice! (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062004)

That's actually a nice touch. That way, you can see if you really failed to stop or not.

Huh...

I don't like red light cameras, but this is one of the better ways to implement them, I think.

Maybe just enhance Yield signs and use them more (2, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062044)

I have long thought that a majority (not all, not even most, but more than half) of stop signs should be replaced by yield signs which specifically list the speed to which you should slow down. For instance, we all do rolling stops because, honestly, it's almost always safe to do so. You rarely see people doing it at blind intersections with unclear views (I don't see that, anyway). Almost all intersections have very good visibility and slowing down to 5mph is perfectly safe. Some intersections, 10mph will be good enough; some, 2 or 3mph is good enough. On a small number of intersections require a full absolute STOP to make the intersection safe.

(Please note, I followed the link but could not watch the video. I was hoping for a text summary but there was none. If he said exactly what I said, then I'm silly and apologize.)

so the lights are in your favour (1)

naeone (1430095) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062100)

so the lights are in your favour, cant help myself i STILL check both ways before proceeding, not just because the highway code says so. its simple self preservation

I was caught recently (1)

goontz (1441623) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062102)

I recently got one of these in the mail only to find out that I had been ticketed for turning right on red. They had a nifty online log in where I could even view the video of the "infraction" and it did turn out that I didn't stop completely. I suppose I admit my "guilt," but it was 7:30am on a Saturday in a small town and a completely empty intersection. Unfortunately, the town is about an hour and a half drive from my home and there was some fine print about a $50 administrative fee for doing so. It wouldn't be at all worth it to fight or argue the thing (especially considering that I admittedly didn't come to a full stop), so I just paid the $75 and take it as a lesson learned.

I have no problem with using the cameras to ticket those who actually blatantly run red lights. I see it all the time and it scares the crap out of me how much people endanger themselves and others just to save a few minutes. After sitting at a red light, I'm always sure to check and make sure no one is about to blast through the intersection before I start going. It's something I started being extra sure of when riding motorcycles, and has just become a good habit.

Automated Speeding is another... (2, Insightful)

IgnitusBoyone (840214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062116)

In Louisiana these things are always used to also give out speeding tickets for (they claim 11 over, but my wife received one for 7 so I personally think its 6mph). Might sound bad as I have had to pay tickets from these things, but I disagree in handing out speeding tickets through automated systems. This Article cites a reviewing officer, but to my knowledge the system in place where I live uses company employees and not police officers to review the video's. Anyways I have no problem with ticketing anyone who runs a stop sign its a dangerous act that you can't expect cops to witness enough to enforce the law. However, I can't say I like the idea of ticketing a car and not a driver, but at least they have a spot on the ticket to transfer the ownership of the ticket to the driver.

I do have problems with getting speeding tickets from them with out the benefit of the doubt or consideration to the flow of traffic and day of the week. In a big city normally the roads are so busy its not possible to speed when it would be really dangerous to do so, but it is possible to run red lights. However, on the weekdays or early in the morning when no one is on the road its easy to forget that some parts of a five lane road are 35MPH and be caught going 42MPH. They do not release the stats here that often, but it was reported by the local news (for what ever that is worth) that the five camera's in my area produced more revenue then the traffic tickets issued by the regular police force during the first year of operation. As I can't find the quote right now online I will have to take that fact with a grain of salt, but worth mentioning.

Gary Larson's traffic sign (1)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 4 years ago | (#33062132)

I first misread that as Gary *Larson*, I'm sure his idea for a merged traffic sign would've been much more humorous, perhaps involving talking animals in an incongruous situation of some sort.

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