Privatizing law enforcement should never be done lightly. The combination of the government’s power to restrain individual liberty and greed for profit invites corruption. That’s the scenario playing out across the country with revenue cameras, sometimes called red-light cameras.
The most extensive photo-ticketing program in the world is in (surprise!) Chicago, and soon the greedy guys may be shopping for lawyers. The city had invitedRedflex Traffic Systemsto issue tickets in a deal that meant $100 million for the Australian firm and $300 million for the revenue pot stirred by the municipal bureaucrats. With numbers that big on the line, it’s hardly a surprise that the company behind this “safety” program cut corners to encourage the city to increase the number of cameras.
American Traffic Solutions could easily have another lawsuit on their hands after putting their employee in danger by placing him in an obviously dangerous roadside position, trapped inside a photo radar van.
You’d think the government corporate welfare goons at ATS would have learned from Redflex and the danger of having employees sitting in live freeway photo radar vans [lawsuit], but obviously the safety of rank and file employees doesn’t factor into their revenue model.
From the article in AZStarnet.com, it was clear that the ATS employee was sitting inside the van during a “revenue extraction” shift which involves flashing drivers who pass by when the unreliable radar system indicates a traffic violation. [story]
The motorist who smashed into the ATS van was allegedly intoxicated. This brings up another constant failure of so-called photo enforcement - if the city of Tucson had instead placed a patrol officer on this road, he could have been able to stop a possible drunk driving fatality, while the scamera van merely served as an incredibly dangerous hazard.
This unfortunate situation clearly articulates the most dangerous and potentially fatal flaws of photo radar vans, manned and unmanned.
The report blew the lid off the outrageous amount of money funneling out of motorists’ pocket and into the mansions and lavish lifestyles of executives of American Traffic Solutions in Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, AZ.
Arizona Campaign for Liberty director, Shawn Dow, points out that the red light cameras in Missouri are a clear violation of constitutional rights, cause a physical danger to motorists and it’s all about making money for these scamera company executives.
They truly don’t care about safety because safe roads and intersections are bad for their bottom line.
Matt Hay, also featured in the report, who was a city councilman in Arnold, MO agrees, calling red light cameras “cash registers on poles.”
State Senator Jim Lembke, who has sponsored bills to eliminate red light cameras in Missouri for 6 years, speaks about the shortened yellow lights that were causing dangerous conditions in intersections, but designed to make ATS more money.
Thank you to CBS Saint Louis for contacting us and taking the time to consider the constitutional arguments against red light cameras. If only the media in Arizona would be this diligent….
The Chicago Tribune has been busy exposing the already well known connection between Rahm Emanuel, Redflex Traffic Systems and high dollar lobbyists.
This time the damage was a bit more fatal to Redflex, who has now lost out on the lucrative speed camera dragnet, which Emanuel has forced down the throats of his electorate. And their red light scamera program in Chicago (the largest in the U.S. with 384 cameras) is now in jeopardy.
Local media and blogs have begun piling on the beleaguered Australian camera vendor today, even printing the rejection letter [link] from the city for the speed camera contract proposal.
The whole matter is allegedly based on unreported hotel bills paid by Redflex for John Bills, a Chicago Dept. of Transportation official who oversaw their operations within the city, that amout to $910. It’s hard to believe that there isn’t more to this particular scandal than just that ethical blunder.
The Expired Meter, a motorist blog in the Windy City summed up the series of events quite nicely, but this is still a developing story:
More on this story from other major media outlets in Chicago:
City axes speed camera firm’s bid, citing delay in reporting ethics case (Chicago Tribune)