Speed Camera Company Admission May Mean Tickets Issued From 1997-2008 Weren't Valid

from the details,-details dept

Redlight and speed camera provider Redflex is not having a great year. The company’s revenue has taken a hit due to massive opposition to these cameras, leading it to lose a major contract in the state of Arizona, while having many of its camera programs declared illegal. But things may be getting even worse. Reader Pwdrskir points us to some news coming out of a lawsuit that Redflex is dealing with from competitor American Traffic Solutions (ATS). The details of that aren’t all that interesting. However, as a part of that lawsuit, Redflex had to admit that its radar/speed cameras, despite claims to the contrary by Redflex were not certified by the FCC until 2008. That calls into question every ticket issued by those cameras from 1997 to 2008. And, as the article notes, it sounds like a lawsuit is already being planned in response to challenge the validity of those past tickets.

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Companies: redflex

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Comments on “Speed Camera Company Admission May Mean Tickets Issued From 1997-2008 Weren't Valid”

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64 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

we need another corporation to get involved

does it bother anyone else that there are corporations out there that compete with each other for revenue generated from enforcing traffic laws that are enacted by federal, state and municipal governments and are by law supposed to be enforced by police officers, not corporations…

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: we need another corporation to get involved

“and are by law supposed to be enforced by police officers, not corporations…”

It bother me quite a bit, the whole warrantless wire tap, and ACTA requiring the ISP’s to monitor peoples actions online, is going down the same route of corporations doing the job of law enforcement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: we need another corporation to get involved

It bother me quite a bit, the whole warrantless wire tap, and ACTA requiring the ISP’s to monitor peoples actions online, is going down the same route of corporations doing the job of law enforcement.

Haven’t you heard? Privatization is the way to go! Private corporations do everything better than the government!

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 we need another corporation to get involved

“No, they just do it more efficiently.”

Even that assertion lacks proof, and an indication of how much it might be so.

Haven’t most of us worked in corporations where we have to wonder how the company survives with all the nonsense that goes on.

IMHO, big companies are similarly inefficient as big government.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 we need another corporation to get involved

“Efficient” for a corporation, means spending as little as possible. Avoid redundancies, really crack down on “corruption”, where corruption would mean some employee taking money away from the stakeholders.

Like when there was that huge blackout in North America (something about Niagara?), mostly it was because they ran everything at “peak efficiency”, so the slightest energy spike got the whole system crashing down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: we need another corporation to get involved

Not at all, because laws are written and approved by people qualified to create them. Technology helps enforce those laws. Are you claiming that all technology be thrown out the window because private corporations created them? If not, then where is your line drawn.

Fact: Speeding kills people. It reduces your reaction times dramatically. We’re not talking about jaywalking or wearing a helmet, which are “crimes” that pretty much only impact the person comitting the crime. speeding impacts the public at large, and revenue generating or not, the FINES ARE COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE by simply staying under the limit.

Vincent Clement says:

Re: Re: we need another corporation to get involved

Fact: Speeding kills people.

Technically, it’s sudden deceleration that kills people.

the FINES ARE COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE by simply staying under the limit.

You improve speed limit compliance if you set the speed limit to the 85th percentile. Thing is, many roads have speed limits that are nowhere near the 85th percentile.

If you want to reduce the speeds people travel at, design the road for that limit. Don’t design the road for one speed limit and then post it at another speed limit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: we need another corporation to get involved

There are specific Federal guidelines for setting speeds. These are speeds that are ideal for the conditions they exist. They were tested in the 30’s and 40’s and have held up pretty well in the time since.

I don’t understand the malice people have with restricted speeds when we’re talking about matters of life and death evrsus getting there 20 seconds faster. What possible explanation does one have where risking your life is more important than simply getting to a location 20 seconds later, outside of actual emergencies?

You can’t seriously be claiming that road should be redesigned with the intention of keeping people traveling at 75 instead of 55, can you? That would require removing most exits and turns. Can you realistically say that if all freeways were 75 mph or with no limit we’d be safer?

“You improve speed limit compliance if you set the speed limit to the 85th percentile.”

And I claim you improve speed limit compliance by fining people that go above set limits. Just as you have laws that say don’t steal, or we will fine or jail you. We don’t say 85% of people steal, so if we just allow 85% of thefts to occur, that solves our problems.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 we need another corporation to get involved

I don’t understand the malice people have with restricted speeds when we’re talking about matters of life and death evrsus getting there 20 seconds faster. What possible explanation does one have where risking your life is more important than simply getting to a location 20 seconds later, outside of actual emergencies?

Except we aren’t talking about 20 seconds. I can’t find it right now, but I remember studies showing that the national 55 limit, for example, wasted more years of people’s lives in driving time than it saved in years of life. Of course, the insurance companies don’t care about that if it increases profits. They’re not the ones stuck doing the driving.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hmm I got a ticket from a Redflex camera in Phoenix 2 years ago. It was a BS ticket besides 45 mph on one side of a bridge, 35 mph on the other side and a permanent speed camera just past the 35 mph sign. A total speed trap that fortunately Arizona has outlawed this year. Once we got rid of useless governor Napolitano (where she can be even more useless as head of homeland security) who started all these cameras, our legislature finally got some sense. In a couple weeks all cameras on our freeways will be gone. They didn’t work anyways and were more of a hazard. Everyone went 90 between the camera points and 50 when they were in a camera zone. The Phoenix metro area is still covered with red light and speed cameras on the city streets they didn’t lose that contract.

Tom Cosgrove (profile) says:

Re: Redflex

Unfortunately, too many smaller AZ cities have adopted the revenue generating “song and dance routine” of these foreign blighters. ShowLow, in the heart of the White Mountains recreation area is going Redflex big time and charging high fines. It certainly appears that their cameras have been tricked out to generate massive fine revenues from the highpoint of the summer tourist season. Make hay while the sun shines. Support the ban in November and let’s get these exploiters out of Arizona.

NormanRogers (profile) says:

Bwah!

I’m sorry, but your local government entities have already spent that money, sir, and I don’t think anyone will get their money back.

The devices may not have been FCC certified, but the principles of speed detecting RADAR are well established. If it is proven the devices were inaccurate, fine, but they’re still designed to only generate a ticket if the speed is 12 mph or more over the limit, if I’m not mistaken.

A slight variation still means the tickets were valid, and the technology can’t really be challenged. Sure, back in the 1980s, a lot of goofballs tried. But challenging the technology now is a no-brainer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Bwah!

Good point. Other commentary on the issue also seems to say that the reason they needed to be certified by the FCC was to make sure they didn’t interfere with other radio signals. FCC certification doesn’t mean they validate that it actually works correctly, but just that it doesn’t interfere with other signals. So anyone trying to argue that the ticket is not valid because it lacked FCC certification is likely to lose.

choirkurt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Bwah!

“Other commentary on the issue also seems to say that the reason they needed to be certified by the FCC was to make sure they didn’t interfere with other radio signals”

So, if they weren’t FCC certified, does that mean other signals could interfere with them? One could then make an argument for spurious signals causing faulty readings.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Bwah!

Any device can be interfered with. Having FCC certification does not mean the devices are immune to being interefered with, and the lack of certification does not mean the device is more susceptible.

The whole purpose of the certification is to make sure that someone turning on their microwave doesn’t cause everyone’s cordless phone to go dead in a 1 mile radius.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Bwah!

No, only evidence obtained unconstitutionally is subject to the Exclusionary Rule.

“Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” is a legal metaphor in the United States used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally. [Dressler, Joshua (2002). Understanding Criminal Procedure (3rd edition ed.). Newark, NJ: LexisNexis]

Furthermore, such evidence is not generally admissible in court. [Gaines, Larry; Miller, LeRoy (2006). Criminal Justice In Action: The Core. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth]

The doctrine is an extension of the exclusionary rule and, like the exclusionary rule, the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree doctrine is intended to deter police from using illegal means to obtain evidence and stems from the 1920 case of Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States.

I know you claim to be a lawyer, but have you considered asking your law school for a refund?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Visual reaction time and high-speed ball games

Speeding reduces your ability to react to a given situation in time, other people to react, given a certain situation.

physics !=intelligence. Death = death, bub.

Speed is a factor in 31% of traffic fatalities.

I’m going to go with the number crunchers in the insurance industry over your line about idiots! Thanks!

Vincent Clement says:

Re: Re: Re:

You do realize that traffic fatalities can have multiple factors? You could be drunk driver who blew through a red light at 20 mph over the posted speed limit. Three factors: DUI, failing to stop and speeding.

I’m going to go with the number crunchers in the insurance industry over your line about idiots!

Yes, because we can expect that there would be no bias in the conclusions and statements made by the insurance industry.

Common Sense says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, sorry. Reaction time is not affected, as was correctly stated it’s the distance you travel during that same amount of time that varies.

I’ll trust common sense over the insurance industry’s paid lemmings generating figures that help prove whatever their corporate overlords want them to prove.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Speed is a factor in 31% of traffic fatalities.

So in 69% of traffic fatalities there was no speed involved, i.e. the vehicles were at a complete stop? Wow, that’s amazing!

I’m going to go with the number crunchers in the insurance industry over your line about idiots! Thanks!

Yeah, because an industry group with vested interests is bound to be unbiased!
/s

arrgster says:

Comercials

What law enforcement commercials do you see more of. Don’t drink, don’t speed, wear your seat belt. The answer is wear your seat belt. Why? because the insurance industry created that law and had it passed because it affects their bottom line.

It has nothing to do with saving people, it has to do with money. Making the personal choice to wear a seat belt has been taken from you because a corporation wants to make money.

Seems like a small thing but the simple choice of putting on a seat belt has become the most pressing thing in law enforcement because an industry has taken it over. That bothers me, a lot!

Cdub says:

Big Brother

to the anonomous coward that says …. speeding is dangerous. first of all, your reaction time does not get worse with speed, reaction distance and stopping distance increase… get it right. Second of all, define speeding? legally, or by some standard of safety. Some roads, actually all roads have posted speed limits bellow what was deemed safe by an engineer. Some roads, have limits posted WAY below what was deemed a safe speed for the specific purpose of generating revenue. Whether done by a corporation or by the government, its wrong either way. Not to mention some munincapallities alter red light timing for the purpose of revenue. Not only is this wrong, its outright dangerous to the drivers, maybe not as dangerous as sniffing arsenic but non the less, it is less safe than the intersection was before, and for what? to generate revenue, thank you gov’t for looking out for me.

Vincent Clement says:

Re: Big Brother

“Speeding” as a factor means many things, including driving too fast for conditions. Sometimes, police ‘guess’ what the factors were based on interviews and forensic evidence. Listing something as a factor gives no indication as to the degree the factor played in the fatality, especially when there are multiple factors.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Big Brother

Sometimes, police ‘guess’ what the factors were based on interviews and forensic evidence. Listing something as a factor gives no indication as to the degree the factor played in the fatality, especially when there are multiple factors.

If the vehicles were moving then obviously speed was involved.

Bill Young (profile) says:

Cameras Save Lives

You don’t hear non-smokers complain about cigarette taxes so why should we believe all these whiners are anything other than reckless drivers who don’t want to get caught. Also, I think the “revenue” attack is total baloney! When reckless drivers are SURE they are going to get caught they WILL adjust their behavior and the number of citations will drop, as will the number of collisions (I can’t call a result of reckless behavior an “Accident”) injuries and deaths, which is the whole point in having traffic laws in the first place!

Anonymous Coward says:

If I am speeding in the left lane and someone swerves into my lane and causes a wreck, it was the idiot who wasn’t paying attention and swerved into the lane that caused the wreck. How is that so difficult to understand?

Simply getting to your location 20 seconds later….? Are you serious? You must have a 4 block commute or something.

Stefanie (profile) says:

Wow I wonder what the total value of all those tickets issued will be if they have to return the money.

I don’t know if you have heard about Trapster. It’s a free mobile phone application that alerts drivers to red light cameras, speed cameras, live police, road hazards, etc. It’s honestly helpful with not only preventing tickets but also getting drivers to slow down and hopefully make them more aware of upcoming ticketing cameras. All in all safer drivers are what we are all striving for.

Stefanie

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

The Purpose of Roads

Those arguing for lower speed limits in the interests of safety are ignoring the original, and still essential purpose of roads – to get us where we are going, and to do so more quickly than horses over mud trails.

If safety is paramount, then we should ban roads and cars and never go anywhere. But our society accepts some risk because of our desire for mobility. There is a trade-off between safety and mobility.

But whenever this discussion comes up, some people argue that if something is safer, it must be better. OK, those people can just stay home, and leave the roads for those of us who want to get somewhere as quickly as reasonable.

Other commenter have noted that the engineers have designed cars and roads to be safe for specific speeds. Right. That speed should be a communally acceptable trade-off between velocity and safety. That should be the speed limit — not some revenue-driven, entrapment, under-estimate, driven by some spineless elected officials and a corporate entity motivated by just one side of the trade-off equation. Those biased people don’t want more safety, they want more violations! That makes us neither safer NOR faster.

Kimberly says:

Cameras...yes

Cameras are not the problem. Speeders and red light runners are. They are the ones that make the roads dangerous. Cameras are great because it is instant gratification for me- I see a speeder or red light runner and I see a flash and I feel happy inside. 🙂 I think Redflex sounds a little shady but again, they had to admit that they weren’t telling the truth and so now they are paying for it. Just like people who get tickets in the mail. Justice. I love it!

branden884 (profile) says:

Don't throw the baby out

This sounds like an old fashioned don’t throw the baby out with the bath water story. Because Redflex was irresponsible in not getting proper FCC certification, don’t condemn camera enforcement. Red-light and/or speed camera enforcement is in use in more than 400 municipalities in the US and is adding to safety. Both reduce collisions and, therefore, reduce injuries.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Don't throw the baby out

Red-light and/or speed camera enforcement is in use in more than 400 municipalities in the US and is adding to safety. Both reduce collisions…

Except, that isn’t true. Studies have shown that red light cameras actually increase the number of accidents. You sound like an industry shill.

rjohnson (profile) says:

just blame shifting

These people signing on to this lawsuit at basically saying because the radio frequency that caught me breaking the law was not in compliance I shouldn’t have received a ticket. Why can’t people just take responsibility for their actions and pay the ticket. Everybody wants to blame somebody else for their irresponsible actions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: just blame shifting

Yeah, like people who want their confessions thrown out just because they were obtained using torture. What does it matter if a little less-than-perfectly-legal process was used? They confessed and now they should just take responsibility for their actions. Everybody wants to blame somebody else for their irresponsible actions.

xx says:

You are all a bunch of douchebags. Whining about getting tix for speeding in school zones or otherwise. Suggest you get off your desktops and tour with a cop to see the carnage created by people who speed. The tech is proven and reduces accidents. Get out of your suburban can infested irrelevance and see that bikes, pedestrians (including walk to school zones) exist alongside of your crappy japanese speeder sleds. Escape from your me-car and realize that there is a community around you that is sharing the road.

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