Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Red-Light Plea To Legislators And Media

Jefferson City, MO - February 26, 2014
(links to data and statistics below)

Today there is to be a vote on HB1157 which aims to legitimize red-light cameras by making automated camera tickets devoid of points. Points are normally assessed by Missouri's Director of Revenue for moving violations. Missouri's Appellate courts have ruled that current state law dictates points SHALL be assessed for red-light camera violations.

Although this "points" issue is not THE ONLY concern of the appellate courts; municipalities and red-light camera companies see the "point" issue as the main one that can jump start their court-stalled camera systems again. Hence HB1157 is being pushed by State Representative Hinson who has taken contributions from at least one red-light camera company.

Simply put, House Bill 1157 would make red-light camera tickets non-moving with no points assessed; while leaving officer-written red- light camera tickets as moving violations WITH POINTS.  CAN NO ONE SEE THE INHERENT CONFLICT HERE?

So, you create two different penalties for the same crime? Among many others, former State Senator Jim Lembke looked into this very issue a few years ago and determined it is very likely unconstitutional to treat defendants of the same crime differently based on nothing other than the method implemented to catch an alleged violator. Again; same crime, different punishments treating equal citizens differently -- simple logic should give ANYONE pause.

Equal treatment under our laws is by no means the only issue with HB1157, but that issue is at the heart of the bill. This means that red-light camera ticketing systems will likely be right back in our appellate courts being contested.

Please do what YOU the reader of this release can do to bring common sense to Missouri's General Assembly deliberations. 

Here is some more information you may find useful:

Sources say that Representative Hinson has cashed some favor chips in and cajoled Senator Brian Munzlinger into pushing a Missouri Senate version of HB1157.

These bills cannot pass.  They ignore the fundamental problems with red light cameras and will permanently legitimize camera corruption in this state. 

A compromise may look something like the following outline of a bill which was penned predominantly by Ryan Keane, the appellate lawyer who has handled nearly all the pivotal cases that Missouri's Supreme Court denied transfer on yesterday:

Red-light cameras may only be used to enforce violations that occur after the all-red interval or possibly a simple bright line rule that says no camera citations issued for violations occurring during the first 1.5 or 2 seconds of the red phase. This relates to the intricacies of the way intersection signals are timed to ensure that the intersection is completely clear before changing the crossing traffic 's light to green after the other way changed from green to red.

We've all seen this; when the crossing lane's green light goes red your signal does not immediately turn green. Rather, the intersection is timed for everyone to have a red signal for a few moments to help ensure that the intersection is clear.  Well, the signal system is set up to CLEAR the intersection. This ALL-CLEAR is engineered and assumes some late travel through. Red-light camera tickets SHOULD NEVER be issued during this purposely engineered time interval

Quite frankly, reasonable minds should find such a bill:  1) is fair; 2) is grounded in common-sense; 3) could stem or eliminate corruption and abuse of cameras; 4) will have bi-partisan support; and 5) still achieves public safety goals.


The FHWA has said that due to variations in yellow light timing “red light photo enforcement should not be used during the period of red clearance required by the ITE formula.”  See sec 4.7.4 of this:  

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/04091/04.cfm

In case these statistics aren’t enough to get the attention of reasonable legislative minds, then add on top this stark fact:   the type of crashes in signalized intersections, i.e., t-bone collisions, that ATS/Cities claim cameras prevent (and hang their hat on) simply, and logically, don’t occur during the all-red clearance interval.  To be sure, see FHWA/TX Report at:

http://tti.tamu.edu/documents/0-4196-2.pdf

finding t-bone (aka right-angle) collisions occur on average 14.1 seconds into the red light phase (with a median of 8.9 seconds) and finding a virtually zero probability of t-bone collisions occurring within the first 4 seconds of the red light phase (see Figure 5.3).

RED-LIGHT CAMERAS DO NOT PREVENT OR EVEN AFFECT T-BONE COLLISIONS. Those are the dramatic side impact collisions constantly rolled out by cities and camera vendors. RATHER, T-Bones occur because of distracted driving -- texting, DWI, wild kids in car, dropped cigarettes, and so on.

THANK YOU MIKE CARTER

FORMER RED-LIGHT CAMERA JUDGE

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