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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  1.  
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    Designerfx (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    good riddance

    I can't think of a single positive thing that the entire company of redflex deserves in any form.

    The whole company is defined as a negligence that knows what they were doing from day one, and they clearly don't do a good job in any form.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 7:45am

    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...

     

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  3.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 7:51am

    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.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 8:04am

    Re: we need another corporation to get involved

    But isn't this what free market capitalists wanted? I mean, there can never be anything wrong about anarcho-capitalism.

     

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  5.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: we need another corporation to get involved

    Ya know, if your local gov simply gave a government contract/mandate to some security corporation--suddenly they're officially cops.

    Does it really make any difference who's making money on keeping the sheep in line?

     

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  6.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 8:24am

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

    "Does it really make any difference who's making money on keeping the sheep in line?"

    Yes, because it's an indication of where things are going. Corporatism is the first step to fascism....

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    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.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 8:58am

    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!

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 8:59am

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

    Corporatism is the first step to fascism....

    So what's wrong with that?

     

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  10.  
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    NormanRogers (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 9:19am

    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.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    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.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    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.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 9:58am

    Speeding does not reduce your reaction time in the least. It will increase your stopping distance.

    Speeding doesn't kill people, idiots kill people.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 10:11am

    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!

     

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    Vincent Clement, May 25th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    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.

     

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    Haywood (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 10:13am

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

    Suggested viewing; Robocop

     

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    arrgster, May 25th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    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!

     

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  18.  
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    Cdub, May 25th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    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.

     

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  19.  
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    Vincent Clement, May 25th, 2010 @ 10:27am

    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.

     

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  20.  
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    Vincent Clement, May 25th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    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.

     

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  21.  
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    choirkurt (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 10:39am

    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.

     

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  22.  
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    Blind Ham, May 25th, 2010 @ 10:47am

    Another Corporation is needed...

    Omni Consumer Products.....

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    So a company that's supposed to help enforce the law and help punish those who break the law itself breaks the law. Way to set an example. While those others who break the law get punished, chances are this company will either get a slap on the wrist or not be punished at all.

     

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  24.  
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    Common Sense, May 25th, 2010 @ 10:59am

    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.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re:

    The Autobahn has no speed limit, people go 160+ MPH, and their accident/fatality rates are considerably lower than that of many U.S. states including California which has a state sanctioned 65 MPH speed limit.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    (well, many parts of the autobahn have no speed limits)

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Bwah!

    So anyone trying to argue that the ticket is not valid because it lacked FCC certification is likely to lose.

    If it lacked FCC certification then its operation was illegal and evidence obtained by illegal means is not admissible in court.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 11:07am

    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.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Most accidents do not happen on highways.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    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

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 11:45am

    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.

     

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  32.  
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    porkster, May 25th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    Thank goodness!
    All those law breakers will go free.....

     

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  33.  
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    btr1701 (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

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

    > Private corporations do everything better than
    > the government!

    No, they just do it more efficiently, not better.

     

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  34.  
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    btr1701 (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Bwah!

    > evidence obtained by illegal means is not
    > admissible in court

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

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    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.

     

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  36.  
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    Bill Young, May 25th, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    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!

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    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.

     

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  39.  
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    Stefanie (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 12:46pm

    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

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 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?

     

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  41.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

     

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  42.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: we need another corporation to get involved

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

    The fines would also be avoidable by simply raising the limit. I like that option better.

     

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  43.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 2:16pm

    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.

     

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  44.  
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    Kimberly, May 25th, 2010 @ 3:28pm

    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!

     

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  45.  
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    PCDEC, May 25th, 2010 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually I believe speed is a factor in ALL traffic fatalities. DUH


    If none of the cars were moving then how could someone die?

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 4:24pm

    Actually I believe speed is a factor in ALL traffic fatalities. DUH
    If none of the cars were moving then how could someone die?


    Carbonmonoxide poisoning, being shot, things like that.

     

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    branden884 (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    Don

     

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  48.  
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    branden884 (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    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.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re: we need another corporation to get involved

    speeding doesnt kill people moron its the people who dont look in their mirrors by law you got to look in all you mirrors every 8 seconds its the people who make lane changes without looking.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2010 @ 6:27pm

    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.

     

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  51.  
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    cubuffalo, May 25th, 2010 @ 7:23pm

    red light camers

    This is interesting. Should take about 10 years to straightened this out if it should prove true.

    Regardless it brings more publicity to the systems which means they will work even better.

     

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  52.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 25th, 2010 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

     

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  53.  
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    rjohnson (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 12:40am

    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.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 4:51am

    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.

     

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    horseplay, May 26th, 2010 @ 6:59am

    say cheese

    Interesting article. I still believe red light cameras and speed cameras are a great way to keep the public safe. If you break the law you should pay a fine. Articles like this make the public more aware that they should pay attention more!

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I know.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which only further makes the point that speed isn't the only factor that contributes to safety.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: say cheese

    I still believe red light cameras and speed cameras are a great way to keep the public safe.

    I still believe in pink unicorns.

     

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  59.  
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    James, May 26th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    Wow! Although this is a HUGE oversight, it doesn't seem like it should be condemned. I am a fan of photo radar/cameras as it has really slowed people down in my neighborhood. As someone with kids under 10, that makes me feel a bit better about my kids playing out front.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
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    colorwonder (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Get your act together, Redflex

    Shame on Redflex for not obtaining FCC approval of their devices until 2008. Still, I hope this doesn't tarnish the entire positive impact that other companies have had on driving habits through the use of speed and red light cameras.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
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    Minnie, May 26th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Get your act together, Redflex

    well said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
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    Susan Glasgow, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 8:32pm

    Too bad for Redflex, pretty disappointing. But overall, these cameras are a good thing.

     

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    xx, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 8:11pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
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    Tom Cosgrove, Jul 12th, 2010 @ 9:22pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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