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Traffic Cameras Worldwide Go Haywire

The_Patriot

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Speed cameras in California, Florida and Australia are not living up to their image of providing infallible evidence of traffic crimes. To the contrary, officials must find clever excuses to cover for the mistakes that are uncovered with increasing frequency.

In Hallandale, Florida, the private firm American Traffic Solutions mailed a $125 ticket to Phil Kodroff accusing his car of "running a red light" at the intersection of Federal Highway and Hallandale Beach Boulevard on May 22. The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported that Kodroff's vehicle committed this crime at the speed of 0 MPH.

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Deuce

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Man, I read the thread title and was hoping to see a bunch of cameras spinning wildly and recording images of the apocalypse.

"Traffic cameras don't function up to reasonable standards" is way less interesting than what I had in my head!
 

The_Patriot

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Man, I read the thread title and was hoping to see a bunch of cameras spinning wildly and recording images of the apocalypse.

"Traffic cameras don't function up to reasonable standards" is way less interesting than what I had in my head!
Yeah the title is somewhat misleading, but I didn't write it. :lol:
 

Deuce

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Yeah the title is somewhat misleading, but I didn't write it. :lol:
More on-topic, if the cameras aren't functioning properly they should be removed. But somehow I suspect the revenue they generate will push officials to ignore the problems.
 

The_Patriot

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More on-topic, if the cameras aren't functioning properly they should be removed. But somehow I suspect the revenue they generate will push officials to ignore the problems.
Oh I agree with that. I'm of the opinion that they should be removed entirely. It's hard to fulfill the Constitutional requirement under the Sixth Amendment of the ability to face your accusor when it's an inanimate object. That defense has been used successfully here in Missouri and the court has no choice but to find for the defendent.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
 

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Speed cameras have saved a lot of lives. No they aren't perfect, but they're better than nothing.

My hometown had upwards of several hundred accidents a month at intersections and usually one or two fatalities every couple weeks. Speed cameras were installed about two years ago and accidents dropped to less than a few dozen a month and we've had less than 2 fatalities in a period of six months. My graduation class in high school lost 83 students over four years. Four were suicides, eight were drug overdoses, ten were medical or accidents, and the remaining fatalities were car accidents. This last graduation class lost only 23 students through their four years. Six suicides, 12 drug overdoses, nine medical or accidental deaths, with the rest being car accidents.

This is evidence enough for me to support traffic cameras.
 

iangb

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Oh I agree with that. I'm of the opinion that they should be removed entirely. It's hard to fulfill the Constitutional requirement under the Sixth Amendment of the ability to face your accusor when it's an inanimate object. That defense has been used successfully here in Missouri and the court has no choice but to find for the defendent.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Surely 'the accusor' is whoever set those cameras up and uses them to gather evidence of speeding? Cameras do the evidence-recording, not the accusing...
 

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I'm curious as to how these are allowed in some states.

It seems to violate a number of key Constitutional provisions.

First, how do you confront your accuser? How can you cross examine a camera?

Second, how can you ticket a person for something a car did? In other words, how do you know someone else wasn't driving the car at the time?
 

Deuce

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Surely 'the accusor' is whoever set those cameras up and uses them to gather evidence of speeding? Cameras do the evidence-recording, not the accusing...
As mentioned above, the "right to face accusor" defense actually worked in several states for a while. Some states have already "fixed" that "loophole" with a quick change to their laws, I suppose naming the person processing the camera records as the accusor.

I'm curious as to how these are allowed in some states.

It seems to violate a number of key Constitutional provisions.

First, how do you confront your accuser? How can you cross examine a camera?

Second, how can you ticket a person for something a car did? In other words, how do you know someone else wasn't driving the car at the time?
You get the camera operator (or whatever you call them) to come to court with the photos that show you in the intersection with the red light or speeding or whatever. Of course, those guys are probably even less motivated to go to court than the police officers, so just showing up to your court date give you a good shot at having the ticket dropped.

Then again, probably 99% of the people caught by these cameras actually were breaking the law...so.. you know. There's that. :)
 

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As mentioned above, the "right to face accusor" defense actually worked in several states for a while. Some states have already "fixed" that "loophole" with a quick change to their laws, I suppose naming the person processing the camera records as the accusor.
I know that in Missouri, the legislature mandated that all red light cameras must have a 15 second yellow signal statewide and that if you're within 50 feet a traffic light that you can safely go through it when it's yellow without penalty in order to prevent the accidents that was on the rise.

You get the camera operator (or whatever you call them) to come to court with the photos that show you in the intersection with the red light or speeding or whatever. Of course, those guys are probably even less motivated to go to court than the police officers, so just showing up to your court date give you a good shot at having the ticket dropped.

Then again, probably 99% of the people caught by these cameras actually were breaking the law...so.. you know. There's that. :)
Except, the guy processing the photo didn't witness the event and under the rules of evidence what he sees is just hearsay and not admissible in court.. He's only processing what the camera saw. Many of the red light cameras just take pictures of the front of the car and rear license plate. The resolution of the photos make it impossible to determine who was behind the wheel. I know because when I worked as a mobile supervisor my work got a ticket for running a red light from a red light camera and the ticket just had pictures of the front of the car and the rear license plate. Fortunately, I was able to prove that it wasn't my ticket because I was off that night.

Proof that 99% of the people were breaking the law.
 
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iangb

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Except, the guy processing the photo didn't witness the event and under the rules of evidence what he sees is just hearsay and not admissible in court.. He's only processing what the camera saw. Many of the red light cameras just take pictures of the front of the car and rear license plate. The resolution of the photos make it impossible to determine who was behind the wheel. I know because when I worked as a mobile supervisor my work got a ticket for running a red light from a red light camera and the ticket just had pictures of the front of the car and the rear license plate. Fortunately, I was able to prove that it wasn't my ticket because I was off that night.
In the UK, a letter is sent to the vehicle owner asking who was driving it at the time. I have a feeling that contradicts the 5th, but I've never been a fan of Constitutionality anyway... I don't know how it would work in the US; I would guess that it's the same but the owner is presumed guilty unless he names someone else as driver.

The organisation who sets up the camera and develops the photo (though I'd guess they're all digital these days) are said to be viewing the scene of the crime by proxy. Think of it as a webcam with an incredibly long delay/lag. It can't count as heresay, because it's documented and photographically proven; heresay is unprovable (by the heresayer, at least).
 

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Speed cameras have saved a lot of lives. No they aren't perfect, but they're better than nothing.

My hometown had upwards of several hundred accidents a month at intersections and usually one or two fatalities every couple weeks. Speed cameras were installed about two years ago and accidents dropped to less than a few dozen a month and we've had less than 2 fatalities in a period of six months. My graduation class in high school lost 83 students over four years. Four were suicides, eight were drug overdoses, ten were medical or accidents, and the remaining fatalities were car accidents. This last graduation class lost only 23 students through their four years. Six suicides, 12 drug overdoses, nine medical or accidental deaths, with the rest being car accidents.

This is evidence enough for me to support traffic cameras.
Statistics by several state Department of Transportion and other government agencies disagree with you. Virginia Department of Transportation 2007 Report and North Carolina Urban Transportation Institute 2004 Study. These two are just the tip of the iceberg and there are more studies out there that show that accidents increased due to red light cameras.
 

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In the UK, a letter is sent to the vehicle owner asking who was driving it at the time. I have a feeling that contradicts the 5th, but I've never been a fan of Constitutionality anyway... I don't know how it would work in the US; I would guess that it's the same but the owner is presumed guilty unless he names someone else as driver.

The organisation who sets up the camera and develops the photo (though I'd guess they're all digital these days) are said to be viewing the scene of the crime by proxy. Think of it as a webcam with an incredibly long delay/lag. It can't count as heresay, because it's documented and photographically proven; heresay is unprovable (by the heresayer, at least).
In Pennsylvania at least (where I practice) it wouldn't be admitted.

In fact, I just had a similar case. The officer had a video of the arrest on his dashboard for a DUI case. Then the officer died in a shoot out before the trial. I argued that the video was now inadmissible -- how could I cross examine a video? And besides, how can a silent video testify that my client smelled drunk, had slurred speech, and so on?

Well, the judge didn't want to dishonor the heroic cop (I think) and said he'd let it in, despite all the research I had saying it couldn't be admitted. Then, just before the trial, we worked out a deal where they gave my client a lesser sentence and he took it. (They knew they wouldn't win the appeal, I'm sure)
 

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In the UK, a letter is sent to the vehicle owner asking who was driving it at the time. I have a feeling that contradicts the 5th, but I've never been a fan of Constitutionality anyway... I don't know how it would work in the US; I would guess that it's the same but the owner is presumed guilty unless he names someone else as driver.

The organisation who sets up the camera and develops the photo (though I'd guess they're all digital these days) are said to be viewing the scene of the crime by proxy. Think of it as a webcam with an incredibly long delay/lag. It can't count as heresay, because it's documented and photographically proven; heresay is unprovable (by the heresayer, at least).
In that instance, it would be a violation of a person's Fifth Amendment protected right to not inciminate himself. Here, the state, has to prove that you were behind the wheel when the picture was taken.

If the photo processor claims that it was you driving the car without using the photo evidence then that would be hearsay. Also, photo processors are not trained in the field of forensic study and their expertise is questionable regarding it.
 

The_Patriot

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Neither of these studies explain why.
The reason why is simple, drivers are willing to slam on the brakes and unintentionally causing an accident then to risk running a red light then getting a ticket. Accidents increase due to the shortness of the yellow light in order to maximize revenue and traffic congestion at the the time. Most accidents of this type happen on heavily traveled roads.
 

Deuce

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In that instance, it would be a violation of a person's Fifth Amendment protected right to not inciminate himself. Here, the state, has to prove that you were behind the wheel when the picture was taken.

If the photo processor claims that it was you driving the car without using the photo evidence then that would be hearsay. Also, photo processors are not trained in the field of forensic study and their expertise is questionable regarding it.
That's why the bring the photos to the court. Photographs are evidence, otherwise security cameras wouldn't be particularly useful anywhere!
 

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The reason why is simple, drivers are willing to slam on the brakes and unintentionally causing an accident then to risk running a red light then getting a ticket. Accidents increase due to the shortness of the yellow light in order to maximize revenue and traffic congestion at the the time. Most accidents of this type happen on heavily traveled roads.
Is service time of the units taken into account?
 

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That's why the bring the photos to the court. Photographs are evidence, otherwise security cameras wouldn't be particularly useful anywhere!
They do bring the photos to court, but since the state is relying upon an inanimate object to report breaking the law then the defendent must be able to face his accusor. Can you cross examine an inanimate object? Can the inanimate object prove that you were behind the wheel at the time the pictures were taken? The answer to both of those questions is no. The guy doing the processing isn't trained in law nor in forensic science and wasn't there when the pictures were taken. The article has plenty of examples of where the processors show a lack of knowledge of the law and processed tickets against innocent people.
 
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The_Patriot

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Is service time of the units taken into account?
The service time isn't applicable, since the presence of a red light traffic camera, functioning or not, causes people to slam on their brakes to avoid getting a red light ticket. It's human nature to avoid a penalty.
 

iangb

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They do bring the photos to court, but since the state is relying upon an inanimate object to report breaking the law then the defendent must be able to face his accusor. Can you cross examine an inanimate object? Can the inanimate object prove that you were behind the wheel at the time the pictures were taken? The answer to both of those questions is no. The guy doing the processing isn't trained in law nor in forensic science and wasn't there when the pictures were taken. The article has plenty of examples of where the processors show a lack of knowledge of the law and processed tickets against innocent people.
Does the US not have burgler alarms that automatically call the police when triggered? I could have sworn I was reading about them the other day...

If it went to court, it would not be 'Mr Speeder vs Camera #192101'. It would be 'mr speeder vs owners of camera #192101'.
 

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The service time isn't applicable, since the presence of a red light traffic camera, functioning or not, causes people to slam on their brakes to avoid getting a red light ticket. It's human nature to avoid a penalty.
The service time is extremely important as slamming on the brakes could be attributable to seeing a camera at an intersection where someone isnt used to seeing one.
 

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Does the US not have burgler alarms that automatically call the police when triggered? I could have sworn I was reading about them the other day...

If it went to court, it would not be 'Mr Speeder vs Camera #192101'. It would be 'mr speeder vs owners of camera #192101'.
Yes, there are burgler alarms, but they are not used in the actual prosecution of a case as proof you had committed a crime. That part is done by the police investigating it and do have the training and authority to do it.

No, it would Mr. Speeder vs Municipality or County or State, since the government is doing the actual prosecution. The camera functions as the primary eyewitness to an event and functions as the accusor.
 

The_Patriot

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The service time is extremely important as slamming on the brakes could be attributable to seeing a camera at an intersection where someone isnt used to seeing one.
Prove that statement please with data.
 
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The service time isn't applicable, since the presence of a red light traffic camera, functioning or not, causes people to slam on their brakes to avoid getting a red light ticket. It's human nature to avoid a penalty.
Well considering yellow means slow down, not go faster, maybe they should have been slowing down to begin with, then the brake slam wouldn't have been necessary. Blaming traffic cameras for bad driving practices is not a very good defense.

Also, which accident do you think is more fatal, a hit from behind as that car is slowing down (after all the guy in front of them was just about to run a red light), or being slammed into from the side from cross traffic as that car is speeding up because you just ran a red light. Not to mention, running a red light also puts pedestrians in danger.
 
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