Arizona Dumping Redflex Cameras... But Giving Redflex An Award For Innovation?

from the and-what-kind-of-innovation-is-that? dept

Arizona has become ground zero with the backlash against redlight cameras, with plans to get rid of them across the state. And yet... Dave Records alerts us to the news that the annual "Governor's Celebration of Innovation" includes a variety of companies nominated for awards... including Redflex, the redlight camera maker who was just complaining that its revenue was dropping due to public opposition to such cameras. Oops.


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  •  
    identicon
    ..., Sep 16th, 2009 @ 5:02am

    Apparently they are innovating in the area of converting ill-gotten gains to political campaigns.

     

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    Yosi, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 5:21am

    This discussion is demagogy in its best

    Mike, your dislike of red light cameras is amusing. Unlike all kinds of IP laws that's discussed here, traffic laws are actually saving lives. Most of this laws are written by blood.
    It must be noted, that it's extremely bad idea to cross an intersection on a red light. In fact, it is very deadly idea. People doing that should be caught and punished.

    Now, if one who catch the offenders also making small fortune of this enterprise, good for him. Once upon a time, it was OK to make prisoners work on all kinds of not-very-pleasant works to compensate the state/society for their crimes. It is not such a bad idea.

    Think about it: crossing on a red light is often equal to murder (i.e. someone dies in consequent t-bone collision). If it was possible to automate prosecution of other kinds of violent crimes (given due process) - would you oppose it? Of cause not.

    It's not like you're punished on baseless accusation - there's actual due process in place. So, what do you mad at - that someone making profit of the crime? It was always the case.

    Moral of the story - don't run to red light.

     

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      Sneeje (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 5:40am

      Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

      Yosi, are you aware that red light cameras have been shown to *increase* deaths and injuries at intersections? And that lengthening the yellow light timing *decreases* them?

      http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/04/430.asp

      If that is the case, and is widely known, it would be hard to defend the reasoning for using them, wouldn't it? This can be seen in the positive conclusions made from research--which ONLY seem to focus on economic benefit and reduction in violations (which does not necessarily correlate with reductions in injury and death).

      http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-02-14-redlightcameras_x.htm
      http://www.tfhrc.go v/safety/pubs/05049/

       

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        Luke Stackwalker, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

        So what if we lengthen yellow light time AND use photo enforcement to catch those who still refuse to obey the law! I just don't see this as a completely pro/con issue as many posts have done.

        I have done technical consulting for a photo enforcement company so I understand the technology and methodology. Sensors detect a car running a red light, take photos (and in some cases video), hired hands look through the data for offenses, THEN, an OFFICER of the law/court/government reviews evidence and issues the ticket.

        A person can still fight the ticket though the practive differs by locale. In some places, a photo showing the driver MUST be taken in addition to the red-light running evidence, to ensure who was driving. In other cases, video must be acquired to ensure that the red-light running wasn't done to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle. A person can still have their day in court if their locale allows it. If not, they should move:)

        Long, long story short, it's technology being used (or misused) for better safety. It's no different than lasers or radar guns for speed enforcement; both can be used or misused depending on the will of the "legislators" or law men.

        Again, don't blame the technology, blame the people who misuse the technology.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 5:47am

          Re: Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

          "So what if we lengthen yellow light time AND use photo enforcement to catch those who still refuse to obey the law! I just don't see this as a completely pro/con issue as many posts have done."

          It no longer brings a profit in that case though.

           

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      Chargone (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 5:41am

      Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

      i think the biggest problem was the constant deliberate fiddling, on more than one occasion breaking laws and endangering lives, to make the cameras Profitable.

      this involves catching not just the problem people, but also people caught out by the system being mucked around with.

      also, it might be my imagination, but wouldn't, typically, if you ran a red light and had a T bone collision, the car running the light normally take the worse hit?

      not always, mind you, but in most cases...

       

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      Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 5:45am

      Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

      Hello Yosi,

      Your argument might be more persuasive if that was the true goal of red light cameras. There have been many districts who implement the cameras not for safety, but for revenue. They have been caught reducing the yellow light time below a legal limit. This leads drivers to slam on their brakes when they see yellow, often resulting in rear end collisions. So, the red light cameras more often end up increasing accidents than decreasing.

      Here are some examples of other stories this site has discussed that show that cities only use the lights for revenue and not for safety:

      Link 1
      Link 2
      Link 3
      Link 4
      Link 5

      If it were not for so many examples to the opposite, I would agree with your argument. However, I just do not believe that red light cameras are for safety. The safety of the people could easily be increased then by increasing the time of yellow lights. This would give people more time to stop safely before it is red.

       

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        Yosi, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:15am

        Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

        In one word - bullshit. In four - "true goal is irrelevant". You see, it doesn't matter what is true goal of prison: revenge or justice or profit or [put something here].

        Either you believe that crime should be punished, or not. And running into red light is a crime no matter how you look at it.
        If I force prisoners to work for profit, does this mean that "jail is bad idea because true goal is profit"? Answer is no. It has been tested numerous times in history.

        Increasing length of yellow is similar to telling that stealing less than $100 is OK. Try this in your local store and see what happen.

        Now, it doesn't matter whatever crap you believe. Run to red light, hit someone and THAN tell your bullshit about "true goal" to survivors. I'd like to see that one.

         

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          AZFords (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:39am

          Re: Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

          Well put, Yosi. For all those who are referencing articles, here is a good set of research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/rlr.html

           

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            Sneeje (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

            As I stated in my response, they base their success factors on reducing *violations*, not injury. I for one would rather have a higher degree of violations if it means less people die or get injured.

             

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          John Fenderson (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:44am

          Re: Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

          Do you actually think that more than a tiny percentage of people who run red lights are doing so deliberately? I seriously doubt that proposition.

          "Increasing length of yellow is similar to telling that stealing less than $100 is OK."

          Uhhh, what??? Those two things aren't remotely similar. Increasing the length of the yellow is increasing a safety margin and benefits everybody. What you said is like saying that making seatbelts more effective is similar to saying that stealing less than $100 is OK. It's a total non sequitor.

           

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          Sneeje (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:46am

          Re: Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

          Huh? I don't think any of us disagree whether or not running red lights should be punished--what we disagree about is whether or not the use red light cameras, along with their UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, further in the desired outcomes.

          And, the issue can't stop with a desire to punish. Punishments exist to create incentives for people to engage in safe behavior. Why? To reduce crashes and injury. If a method of enforcement increases or does not reduce injury, why would we not look for another solution?

          Places of business have very strict policies that their typical (not security staff) employees do not ever pursue or attempt to detain criminals that have stolen their merchandise. These businesses still believe shoplifting and theft should be punished and realize that this policy may make that harder. The reason they do it is that it is likely to result in injury to the employee and liability for the business.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:49am

          Re: Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

          Some governments have been setting times below the legal limit (by state laws or federal laws)to make profit though, which is the bigger issue. Such lights would be illegal, and if they are set long enough to be legal, then they wouldn't make profit and thus be counter productive.

           

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          Alan Gerow (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:21am

          Re: Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

          You are 100% absolutely incorrect in just about every aspect of what you said:

          "Either you believe that crime should be punished, or not"

          Not true. I believe criminals should pay restitution to the victim or the community, and in the event someone is truly anti-social (not shy, which is unsocial, but truly sociopath anti-social) then they should be removed from society with an attempt at rehabilitation. Not simply lock them up for preset amount of time, and then let them go as they were.

          I also believe the first form of retribution should be community service, not prison. I believe prison should be used for only the most violent and anti-social people.

          I do not believe fines to a government are at all acceptable. I don't believe putting non-violent drug offenders in prison is at all acceptable. And I don't believe "punishing" "criminals" is at all acceptable. But I believe restitution to victims, community service for community endangerment, and rehabilitation when possible. And in extreme cases where the person cannot play nice with others, move them to an isolated community where they aren't a danger to society at large anymore.


          "Increasing length of yellow is similar to telling that stealing less than $100 is OK."

          How?!? NO IT'S NOT!


          "If I force prisoners to work for profit, does this mean that "jail is bad idea because true goal is profit"?"

          Actually, yes. Because jail is not a job. What you are talking about here is slavery, or at the very least indentured servitude. Because now, the prisons need to be filled in order for the prison to keep its profits up. If people aren't arrested & thrown in prison, then the prison can't afford to operate, so people need to be made into criminals so that they can become prisoners so that the prison can gets its "employees". Try putting an ad on Craigslist's job section for "Need Prisoners. Apply TODAY!" and see if that business model holds on its own.

           

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          Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 9:12am

          Re: Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

          I completely disagree. The true goal is very important. You quite literally just argued that the ends justify the means.

          If you force prisoners to work for profits, that DOES mean that prison is bad. Perhaps not from the perspective of those not in the prison, but certainly from the perspective of the prisoners and from the grander perspective of justice.

          You concentrate on only the perspective of those outside the prison, which limits the power of your argument, in my opinion, to the point of irrelevance.

          As others have said, I don't understand what you mean by saying yellow lights are like $100. You really have to explain that one better.

           

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      identicon
      Rich Kulawiec, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 6:05am

      Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

      The level of ignorance demonstrated in your comment is appalling. Everyone who's been paying any attention at all to this issue is fully aware that the purpose of these cameras has absolutely nothing to do with safety and everything to do with revenue -- for municipalities and for vendors. This in turn is why simpler, more effective measures have been eschewed in favor of cameras: the former only save lives, but the latter makes money.

       

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      Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 6:48am

      Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

      "It's not like you're punished on baseless accusation - there's actual due process in place. So, what do you mad at - that someone making profit of the crime? It was always the case. "


      Sorry but I cannot correlate an automated justice dispensing mechanism to the 5th or 6th Amendments of the U.S. constitution. Where are you from?

      I could not comprehend the rest of your post as I have been completely desensitized to children, atrocities, corporate greed and blood on the highways.

       

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        identicon
        Yosi, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:06am

        Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

        In my country, you either pay the automated ticket (meaning that you admit the violation) or you file request for trial.

        Than, on trial, evidence (photo of your car) is examined by judge.

        Looks like due process to me.

        P.S.
        US Constitution doesn't apply for some places in the world.

         

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          jjmsan (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:45am

          Re: Re: Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

          Except in most cases this is not true. The ordinance allowing the cameras provides for an administrative hearing by a "judge" employed by the company. Who, I am sure does not take into account that if he finds too many people innocent he will not have a job. Second, if this is so wonderful for public safety why aren't the installing governments running it? What's next privitized police?(For any one who thinks this might be a good idea check out how well the parking meter sale in Chicago is going)

           

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      identicon
      brink, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:24am

      Re: This discussion is demagogy in its best

      Honestly, I think these exist more to catch people who run Yellow lights that might turn red mid-intersection, most people know that crossing a RED is a very bad idea, but some people get in a rush and cross Yellow lights (being relatively safe as anything while driving) and get stuck with a fine for endangering no one!

      Also, IME, some people drive far too crazy - where are the cameras mounted on my car to catch that?

       

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    Jon B. (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 6:37am

    Why don't we have digital yellow lights with a 5 second countdown? It doesn't have to be a digital number, but some sort of light sequence. If we have the technology to use motion, magnetic, and weight sensors to optimize lights, then don't we have the technology to use a few more LED lights than just the 3 light sequence we have? Now, THAT would win an award for innovation.

     

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      Why don't we build a series of walls at an intersection that lift up or down depending on the light status? I am sure people will brake for a yellow then since the the consequence if your too late would be quite an accident. It would be great to see some Indiana Jones moments...reaching back and grabbing your muffler before the wall slams down.

      Note to readers: Sarcasm

       

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      You Are How Old, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 9:18am

      Re:

      John, if they worked properly in all places and if available, the count down timer for pedestrians should be good enough for drivers. No need for anything new.

       

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    identicon
    AZ Resident, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 6:48am

    Article is Wrong!

    Living in AZ, I can tell you that the public uproar here is not with the red light camera technology but with the speed enforcement cameras on the freeway systems. Redflex happens to make both. Unfortunately, when things are posted on the internet they are not always accurate. As for the comment that red light cameras do not save lives, I would like to offer up this article which references two different research studies that suggest that the cameras do in fact save lives. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-02-14-redlightcameras_x.htm As for those pesky, revenue generating, speed cameras. I think that AZ truly missed the point on these. Basically, the state installed about 100 of these cameras, some permanent and some mobile. The main point of contention with them is that when you receive a ticket from one, no points are assessed. You only get a bill for about $185. If that doesn't scream "money maker", I don't know what does. It's a classic case of not taking something far enough. If points were assessed as well as the fine, just like an officer issued ticket, then I would not have an issue with it (although others still would for other personal reasons). AZ needs to man-up and put some teeth into the photo speed enforcement program or remove them all together! As for the residents and visitors to AZ in the meanwhile, I offer up this advice: Stop speeding and running red lights!!!

     

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    AZFords (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:10am

    Article is Wrong! (Continued)

    Since I'm on a roll here, why not offer up more of my AZ opinion. I have heard, and read above, the complaint that and automated system cannot replace our rights (reference to constitution and amendments). What people need to step back and realize is: 1. The technology only enforces the laws that have been in place for decades. It does not infringe on your rights any more than an officer pulling you over. 2. This technology did not exist when these documents were written, so therefore it could not have possibly been addressed. The only way that someone could accurately be accused of a crime in 1776 was to have an officer witness the crime taking place. 3. These cameras have the potential to free up law enforcement officers for fighting more severe criminal activity.

    On another note, I have heard the argument that these cameras invade your privacy. Hehe, this is the most humorous of them all. It's a public road. DUH!!!

    Basically, the uproar over the system as a whole is that people are pissed off that law enforcement has finally acquired the tools to help them do their job more efficiently and more people are getting caught!!! It just infuriates some that now they can't break the law as much as they used to without getting caught. What is the world coming to????

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:52am

      Re: Article is Wrong! (Continued)

      "Basically, the uproar over the system as a whole is that people are pissed off that law enforcement has finally acquired the tools to help them do their job more efficiently and more people are getting caught!"

      Maybe in AZ, but for my part -- automated speed cameras and, to a lesser extent, automated red light cameras, really bother me a great deal. So much so that I avoid areas where they exist.

      However, I do not speed nor run red lights. I have never been cited for either in my 30 years of driving. My objection to them has absolutely nothing to do with some kind of fear that I'm going to get caught.

       

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        identicon
        Yosi, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:06am

        Re: Re: Article is Wrong! (Continued)

        "My objection to them has absolutely nothing to do with some kind of fear that I'm going to get caught."
        So you actually mean that your objection are actually not based on anything.

        Since highway is not only public place, but place is supposed to be monitored, "privacy!" doesn't apply here. What's left? The fear to get caught.
        Stop the bullshit and argue reasonably. "really bother me" is not a reasonable argument.

         

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      Free Capitalist (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:06am

      Re: Article is Wrong! (Continued)

      "2. This technology did not exist when these documents were written, so therefore it could not have possibly been addressed. The only way that someone could accurately be accused of a crime in 1776 was to have an officer witness the crime taking place"


      In 1791(or 1792 I forget now) the 6th amendment to the U.S. constitution was ratified, which grants the right of the accused to face one's accuser in a court of law.

      I do not think that just because the technology is there, that we necessarily need to toss out the adversarial system of justice.

      Curtailing unequivocable and explicit rights for the sake of safety or for budgetary concerns of law enforement organizations is an easy road to tyranny that many people seem to think is OK. I do not think this is OK any more than I think it is OK for people to drive wrecklessly.

      I'm sick of the "its too old to be relevant" arguments about the Constitution.

       

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      Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:57am

      Re: Article is Wrong! (Continued)

      The study you cited doesn't study accidents, only violations. The article itself states it in the first paragraph. There are numerous studies cited frequently by this site that show that, regardless of the number of violations, the number of accidents goes up.

      Also, "do their job more efficiently." That requires the question of what their job is. Is their job to simply catch people breaking the law? I thought it was to serve and protect. If that's the case, stopping speeders is protecting non-speeders. But that would require the argument that speed is in itself dangerous, and that's incorrect. Along with studies, common sense arguments can be made showing that fewer accidents occur on the highway, and that autobahn in Germany, with no speed limit in large sections, has a significantly lower number of accidents per miles driven.

      I do not consider cameras an impingement on my privacy, per se. I see them as an impingement to freely live my life without constant monitoring. You liken cameras to legitimate officers, so shall I. If I was being followed and watched by a cop of every minute of my shopping trip (a la London), or drove past a cop every mile and a half (a la speed cameras), I'd start to get nervous and weirded out.

      It's because systems like that are by their very nature accusatory. The argument "if I'm doing nothing wrong, I have nothing to worry about" is patently absurd. We all do something wrong. If I just drift over the speed limit one day, I don't want seas of cameras just waiting and salivating to nab me.

      If the government is set up in such a way as to make us act differently than we would, we are not truly free.

       

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    Space Pirate, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:01am

    Really?

    It appears the only references to AZ actually dropping the camera's comes from an az republic article from Jan of 09 saying an AZ house committee had okayed a ban. No word on it actually getting through the legislature or to the governor or ever having been signed. Is there any new information here or was this post just to shake things up?

     

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    WammerJammer (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    So who cares

    Just put oil or dirt on your license plate and smudge it.
    Works for me. Never been nabbed yet and they're all over L.A. CA. So wash your car not your license plate. Special Detail Service for your car.
    The more you squeeze, the more will slip from your grip.

     

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    identicon
    Alex, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:31am

    I live in AZ and have witnessed TWO multiple-car accidents on the freeway (one on the I-10 and one on the US-60) due to the wonderful speeding cameras that Redflex placed. People see them and slam on their brakes.

    Also, a lot of people commenting here are working under the assumption that the technology in the cameras is infallible. This is far from the truth. VERY regularly there are stories of them malfunctioning; people with junker cars getting tickets for allegedly going 170mph, etc. Just two days ago I saw a news report about how the camera at ASU had a panel removed, and was suspected of being tampered with, so lots of people that had received tickets from it were fighting back.

    If these technologies were flawless and error-free I would be much more accepting of them; yesterday I was driving through a SOLID GREEN (the red "don't walk" hand wasn't even blinking) at Southern and Mill Ave, and three people got flashed by it. It's ridiculous.

     

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    identicon
    Grady, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 9:47am

    Y'all need to think a second.

    First off, to clarify something: If the light is in operation illegally (i.e. yellow below "legal" limits, against appointed laws) they should be removed or rectified. Second, they are machines, they cannot cause anything adverse to an individual in control, unless it's purpose is to do so. A camera on a timer/motion sensor is not intended to harm or change actions.

    To address a few concerns:

    You still have to right to face your accuser. No where does it say you must face the accuser at the time of incident. That is why the court system mails you a court date AFTER you receive a ticket from an officer. Same goes with an auto-mated system.

    Regardless of the end-goal, the actions of the individual receiving the citation are not swayed (the individual still controls the his own actions).

    Now, on to my point(s).

    I've stated this before. And I will do so till we stop fighting over this BS.

    WE are the cause of accidents. Not the cameras. Who chooses the following distance? The speed? The use of the brakes? I know a camera doesn't control any of that in my vehicle. If we drive like a we cared about other people, like we cared about our own safety. Followed the laws, and used common courtesy, while driving, we wouldn't be in this situation. Yes, people are now slamming on their brakes to avoid the ticket, but anyone behind that vehicle SHOULD have enough stopping distance to not rear-end them. If they don't, it's not the camera's fault, it's the driver.

    I can see the flip side. The cameras probably have caused more accidents, but how many, in comparison, are as "severe"? Kinda hard to T-Bone someone from behind the vehicle.




    Simple way to stop the accidents. Stop thinking you own the road, stop driving while distracted (or even intoxicated), and follow the laws. Stop at red, slow at yellow. Don't follow so closely you can't avoid an accident. Things happen, other than a camera that causes people to slam on their brakes. And don't take unnecessary risks (like running the red/yellow because the guy ahead of you is pushing it close).

    We are in control, not the cameras.

     

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    identicon
    MCR, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Crime with Monetary Punishment

    So, if I'm wealthy and don't mind paying the fine, I can repeatedly break traffic laws without every worrying about losing my license. Sweet!

    Of course, when I finally get in a serious accident and someone dies, everyone will ask how I was still on the road after running 122 red lights.

     

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    identicon
    ..., Sep 16th, 2009 @ 6:08pm

    It seems everyone is focusing on the crime comitted by the vehicular driver. What about the crime being commited by the RedLight Camera Company and their political sponsors? Reducing the length of time that the light is yellow beyond a prescribed value is criminal, and yet they get away with it. This practice will continue unabated, no doubt. I encourage everyone to slowdown if you are being tailgated, that way there is less chance of collision when everyone in front of you slams on the brakes.

     

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