Anti-traffic-cam countermeasure

Discuss

205 Responses to “Anti-traffic-cam countermeasure”

  1. Hegelian says:

    I can’t speak to the trends, but I can say that I was rear ended because I saw the traffic camera sign and decided to stop on yellow rather than risk having the light change on me and earn me an automatic ticket. The person who hit me said he thought I was going to go through the light.

    Traffic cameras do cause rear end accidents–my anecdote proves that to me since only one instance of an accident is needed to make that claim, though nobody has to accept my anecdote as true. The only question is the aggregate, do they cause more accidents, and more injury, than they prevent? Well, that and due process and false positives… :-p

    • Bruce Keeler says:

      1. Anecdotes do not prove anything

      2. The camera did not cause that accident, the guy that rear-ended you did.

      • Mister44 says:

         The camera was a catalyst.

        • acerplatanoides says:

          Tailgating was the catalyst.

        • marilove says:

          The guy who assumed something he shouldn’t assume was the catalyst. And was likely tailgating and not paying attention. Why the hell would you make an ASSUMPTION like that? Why not instead, I don’t know, pay attention, and remain far enough behind the person in front of you, so that yo have time to stop?

          I’d never just assume someone isn’t going to stop. That’s stupid. Really stupid.

          The camera wasn’t a catalyst. The guy who tailgated and rear-ended was an idiot.

          • relawson says:

            you can’t see it, but i’m touching my left index finger to my nose right now. 

          • ocker3 says:

             Many people tailgate and expect certain behaviours from cars in front of and behind them, it is one way to get more cars past a certain point on the road within a set time period. It doesn’t however leave enough room for the average person to stop safely and avoid an accident. So on one hand you have more people getting to where they’re going, on average, on the other hand you have more accidents when the flow is interrupted for some reason.

            We need better numbers, but there are perhaps too many vested interests to get objective ones.

          • acerplatanoides says:

             which are the vested interests preventing objective assessment?

          • spazzm3 says:

             > Why not instead, I don’t know, pay attention, and remain far enough behind the person in front of you, so that yo have time to stop?

            Because that would require personal responsibility instead of blaming someone else and try to circumvent the law with ridiculously complicated contraptions?

          • foobar says:

            Er, I’m supposed to take personal responsibility for people tailgating me?

      • Hegelian says:

        For you it is an anecdote. For me, since unlike you I directly witnessed it, it is not an anecdote. It is valid proof of a limited claim. One instance where a Red Light Camera caused a rear end accident. That’s all I need to make the claim.

        There is no single cause, rather there are a number of factors which combine to create the situation, of which the Red Light Camera was key.

        Anecdotes are evidence. The question is whether they are reliable evidence, or sufficient evidence, to prove a claim, not whether they are evidence.

        • GrueHunter says:

          Then your evidence is not reliable (you are not an objective, independent or even reliable witness — just a casualty), and it is not sufficient (unless the red light camera has a mind control laser that caused the driver behind you to not maintain a safe braking distance).

          If the red light camera was a key factor, then it should ’cause’ drivers who are otherwise practicing safe driving to crash.  It didn’t.  They don’t.

          • foobar says:

            But it did cause an unsafe driver into an accident that would not otherwise have happened. The person hit was dissuaded from taking the safe option of not slamming on his brakes when tailgated by the risk of getting ticketed.

          • cinerik says:

            ‘decided to stop’ does not necessarily mean ‘slamming on his brakes’.

            Also, if you’re driving so close to the person in front that you can’t stop if they do indeed slam on their brakes, then you are the cause of the problem.  No ifs or buts about it.

          • Deidzoeb says:

            Having a traffic light anywhere could result in an unsafe driver crashing. We should help unsafe drivers avoid crashes by giving each one of them hir own road with no one else on it. Failing to do so, forcing some unsafe drivers to drive near each other, means road planners are to blame for unsafe drivers getting in accidents. That law here on Bizarro world.

        • zartan74 says:

          No, the person that hit you caused an accident.  You could just as reasonably claim that the traffic light ITSELF caused the accident, since if it had not changed to yellow (or was not there) you wouldn’t have hit your brakes.  You could also claim that YOU caused the accident, since you’re the one who decided to abruptly slow down.  

          • marilove says:

            It’s not stupid to slow down on a yellow light. In fact, that’s the law.

          • Kirby_G says:

            No, the law is to stop on a yellow light **unless you are too close to the intersection to stop safely**.

            He was rear-ended.  I’d say he wasn’t stopping safely.

            The goofball behind him is at fault for following too close, but stomping on the brakes when someone is following too close is not a great plan in the first place.

          • cinerik says:

            @Kirby_G  The responsibility regarding slamming on brakes and distance between vehicles lies entirely on the person behind.  Assuming that a driver doesn’t swerve into your lane and immediately apply the brakes, if you’re driving too close, you’re driving too close.  You maintain a safe distance because someone may have to brake suddenly – mechanical failure, unexpected obstacle etc.  

          • Pecunium says:

             That depends on where you are.  In Calif. a yellow light means, “this light is about to change”.  A red light means, “don’t enter this intersection”. 

            One of the problems with red-light cameras (in Calif.) is that any vehicle which has entered an intersection prior to a red light is allowed to proceed.  Redwood City had to void between six-months and a year of citations because the firm being paid to review the photos wasn’t actually taking that aspect of the law into account.

          • boingboing512 says:

            Extrapolating, we could also claim that a car manufacturer caused the accident by making either car involved.  But the topic at hand is whether the presence of traffic cams increases accidents… and in examining that question, we’re taking several other factors to be invariant, including whether the cars were manufactured (yes), whether the light would have changed to yellow (it did), or whether the guy who was hit would slow down if there was a traffic cam (he would).  If we take all of those as givens — and I see no reason not to — then the only interesting question remaining is whether the guy behind him would have hit him anyway.  We (including IMO the driver who was hit) don’t have enough information to conclude yes or no to that, but if the answer is to any degree “no” (and note that such an answer is not implausible), then the traffic cam caused the accident… where “caused” *doesn’t* mean “is the sole factor” or “determines whose insurance will be paying” or “could conceivably have exercised judgement at the time to avoid this whole thing” (all of which, btw, are interesting and useful defs of “cause”, in various contexts)… but where “caused” *does* mean the accident would not have happened if all factors remained constant but for this factor.  The reason we’re talking about whether the cam caused the accident — rather than talking about the carelessness of the trailing driver, or the laws of physics, or banning cars — is because the presence of cams at intersections is a matter of public policy which can realistically be changed in a deterministic fashion.

        • marilove says:

          The guy that was tailgating and making stupid assumptions instead of paying attention was an idiot. The red light had nothing to do with his stupid decision to 1) tail gate 2) not pay attention and 3) make a stupid, and clearly costly, assumption.

          • ObeyMyBrain says:

            It was stupid but I would guess that, as it sound like he wasn’t slowing down to stop for the red, he was trying to make the yellow as well. So he was probably paying more attention to the light than he was to the car in front of him.

        • Dan Gordon says:

          That’s just nonsense. The camera did not cause the collision. The guy behind you was travelling too close and not paying attention. You’re entitled to stop on the yellow, for any reason you want, including a traffic camera. Rear end collisions are always the fault of the person behind, because you’re supposed to leave enough room to stop. It’s simple enough.

          • Xrayspecs says:

            The Literalthink is strong in this crowd. 

          • Deidzoeb says:

            You will literally get into an accident if you don’t drive as if every car in front of you might jam on its brakes at any moment. You are literally responsible for not stopping in time, if you have not left enough room to stop. The rule of thumb is one vehicle length for every 10 mph you’re travelling, and big trucks need a lot more room to stop.

            There’s no realpolitik involved here. These are remedial driving skills and simple physics.

        • hypnosifl says:

          But if your claim is just “there is one instance where a Red Light Camera caused a rear end accident”, that tells us zilch about whether these cameras increase the statistics of accidents overall, so it’s not really relevant to the question of whether we should be for or against these cameras. Although there are some cases where they cause accidents (though as someone else pointed out, tailgating could also be blamed in your anecdote), it could well be that there are more cases where the cameras prevent accidents by making people think twice about running red lights, for example. When people speak dismissively about anecdotal data, it has nothing to do with believing the anecdotes aren’t true, just that there’s no way of knowing whether they are representative of the large-scale statistics (see the first paragraph of the wiki article on anecdotal evidence).

        • Deidzoeb says:

          An event is an anecdote whether or not it’s reported by a direct witness.

          I don’t see how you can blame the traffic camera any more than the traffic light. A person could reasonably slow down for a yellow light without a traffic camera, and the rear-end accident would still be fault of the person who was following too closely and/or speeding. The accident simply would not have happened if the person in the rear had left enough space to stop in time and had been driving responsibly. I’m aware that 95% of drivers seem to tailgate, but that just means 95% are driving irresponsibly, not that we should start blaming traffic laws or devices that confirm when drivers are breaking laws.

      • trondmm says:

        You can always argue that it’s not actually the camera that causes the accidents. However, several countries (including Norway, where I’m from) have stopping using traffic light cameras because there was an increase in rear ending accidents in pretty much every intersection they were used.

        If the goal is to reduce injuries, the statistics is very clear: Installing a traffic light camera is an extremely poor choice.

        • Marco Tietz says:

          one could argue that a rear ending accident is most probably less consequential than being hit in the side 

          • trondmm says:

             One could. But whiplash injuries are not something to scoff at either. In any case, there hasn’t been demonstrated any significant reduction of serious injuries after installation of red light cameras.

          • Marco Tietz says:

            is/was running a red light a big problem in norway? I can tell you, here in california I see it happen daily! and, of course, lots of pretty bad accidents as results. maybe the number was very low to begin with in your neighborhood? 

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        The camera did not cause that accident, the guy that rear-ended you did.

        Bullshit. Mass, velocity and inertia are to blame.

      • oasisob1 says:

        And you fell for it.

      • gibbon1 says:

        >1. Anecdotes do not prove anything

        And arguments like this are less than useless. People that make comments like this rarely understand the difference between a proof, data, and an anecdote.  The true measure of what is definitive is observability, which has to do with the signal to noise ratio of the measurement.  If your measurement is good, then it’s data.  If it’s really good one point may be all you need. if it’s bad, then it’s less than worthless because results in confusion.

        The modern rot is the idea that we can treat data distributions as a bell curve and then use an arbitrary p=0.05 as a cutoff.

        • Itsumishi says:

          If its one point, then technically its not data, its datum, no matter how good it is. You can’t prove anything with one datum.

          As far as “does X cause more traffic accidents” then you absolutely need more than one datum to make your observations. Hence, your argument is less than useless in this scenario as all you are doing is screwing with the signal to noise ratio.

      • Rider says:

        If you took the time to look you would find there are many cities that have done studies and have found that yes in fact their is evidence that these cameras cause accidents.

      • foobar says:

        1. Anecdotes can disprove a universal statement; Hegellan’s disproves “traffic cameras do not cause accidents”.

        2. He would not have been rear ended were it not for the traffic camera.

      • I like you. You’re a keeper, Bruce.

      • dragonfrog says:

         Anecdotes, if they can be believed to be true, can be perfectly valid evidence of existence claims.

        If the only thing you are trying to claim is that red light cameras have at least once in the history of forever contributed to certain types of accidents, then all you need is evidence that one did so, once.  A sufficiently reliable anecdote will do just fine.

        If you are trying to claim that their effect in contributing to those accidents is of a certain magnitude, or that it offsets / does not offset their effect in reducing other kinds of accidents – then anecdote cannot help you prove that.

      • It does though. Anything that causes us to deviate from expected behavior is problematic.  I  challenge you to slam on your breaks to 0 on 45+MPH zone that is flowing smoothly in an unexpected fashion.  You will, at worse, cause cars to swerve.

        • Deidzoeb says:

          If everyone is driving 100 mph past a school with a flashing 35 mph limit sign, then a cop who tries to pull over one of those cars is causing a deviation from expected behavior. Darn problematic cop.

    • Ashen Victor says:

       Blaming the girl on the miniskirt not the driver…
       [sarcasm] BRILLIANT[/sarcasm].

  2. This idea is just pure, unadulterated AWESOME!!!

  3. Genevieve Gore says:

    For eff’s sake, quit whining, drive responsibly, and slow down.

    • dbergen says:

      You realize this is about more than avoiding tickets right?

      • Petzl says:

        True, you also avoid tolls at tollbooths, and it can be of aid when fleeing after commission of a felony.

        • dbergen says:

          And the fact that the cameras make intersections less safe? 

          How about municipalities doctoring traffic light programs to actually generate more infractions?

          Lastly, if you really have not heard about new license plate tracking systems being rolled out accross North America just sit there, doing nothing, you’ll know about it soon enough.

          Where I go in my car is my business, the government can fuck right off.

          • Petzl says:

            Setting aside whether cameras make intersections less safe (I’ll let someone actually quantify this; anyone can argue anecdotes) …

            This guy did not make the device to “make intersections safe.” He did it to avoid paying tickets.

            If you want less government tracking, sorry, that train left the station.  It goes with the whole right-wing “don’t be soft on crime” / three strikes thing.  If you aren’t doing anything wrong, why should you object to being tracked, amirit?

          • Ben Hutchings says:

             ANPR cameras don’t use a flash, so this doesn’t help to defend against such tracking.

          • Aloisius says:

            How about municipalities doctoring traffic light programs to actually generate more infractions?

            The last time I heard about a city doing that, they were forced to give back all the money they made on moving violations. The fast that anyone can sit at a light, time it and check to see if it is too short base don the speed limit really doesn’t make it a good idea for cities to pull intentionally.

          • foobar says:

            So, worst case the municipality still doesn’t lose anything? Seems like a good fiscal plan.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Perhaps, instead of insulting people, you might do a little research and discover that traffic lights are timed in such a way to make it difficult not to violate. Municipalities are so dependent on revenue from fines that the whole thing is run as a trap.

      • Marco Tietz says:

        Actually you can stick it to the man by not running red lights! Because no matter how there are timed, they only take a picture when it’s red.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Actually you can stick it to the man by not running red lights!

          Funnily enough, no you can’t.  If you’re in a 45 mph zone and the yellow light is timed for only a couple of seconds, you either go through and catch the red or hit the brakes as hard as you can and end up halfway in the intersection.

          • Marco Tietz says:

            so you are saying where you live yellow phases are so short that it is impossible to stop before the intersection if you are doing the speed limit? I am just surprised. In 20+ years of driving, both cars and bikes that has never happened to me, not once. As far as I know there are very specific rules on how long the yellow phases have to be. 

          • Nimdae says:

            In Dallas, TX, the city of Dallas was caught shortening yellow cycles in an attempt to increase citations issued by the red light cameras at those intersections. TxDOT determined that a 30mph road requires a minimum of 3.5 seconds of yellow light to give a driver a chance to react and stop. Many intersections were well below this time, and not all the roads involved were as low as 30mph.

            I believe the standard for Texas is 4+ seconds. It may be different in other states.

            So yes, this has been happening.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            so you are saying where you live yellow phases are so short that it is impossible to stop before the intersection if you are doing the speed limit?

            Yes. It’s a deliberate attempt to generate revenue via fines.

          • marilove says:

            Erm … that’s why you’re supposed to slow down and stop on yellow.  That’s kind of the law…

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            If you hit your brakes the instant that the light turns yellow, it’s still not enough time to stop before entering the intersection, because the yellow light has been deliberately shortened to encourage drivers to run the red light and pay the fine. How many times do I have to write this?

        • Terry Fuller says:

           I agree with Marco.  The DOT is in charge of the timing of the traffic lights.  They don’t write the tickets, that is law enforcements job.  The DOT and the Police are two different government organizations.  While I agree, that on some level they answer to the same ‘man’, but I don’t believe that it is some conspiracy.  Most traffic lights, the yellow stage is 1 second for every 10 mph. If the timing of the yellow light is off by a second or two, it is up to you to report it to the DOT for your area.  The rules are posted on the DOT website, you could always bring it up at traffic court when you contest the ticket.

      • theophrastvs says:

        here’s the real sneaky thing:  most traffic camera-systems are leased to the city and the company that retains ownership of the system gets a cut of the associated (and presumed enhanced) ticket revenue.  “how could anything go wrong” with that arrangement?

      • asuffield says:

        This is a problem in its own right. The solution is to prosecute the criminals.

        Hiding your numberplate doesn’t solve anything.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          The solution is to prosecute the criminals.

          Good luck prosecuting the government.  You usually have to overthrow it before you get a chance to do that since there are generally laws making it impossible to prosecute government hierarchs.

          Hiding your numberplate doesn’t solve anything.

          Except maybe save you $500 – $1000 or more in fines and traffic school or increased insurance premiums.  Money that you might not have or that you need for health care because you’re uninsured.  Do you know how many people are $100 away from homelessness?

          • twianto says:

             If you live $100 away from homelessness and have a car (that costs you thousands of dollars a year) you’re doing it wrong. Unless you live in your car, in which case it might make sense.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Those of us who don’t live in a European theme park city may need a car to get to work or go grocery shopping or take the children to school. And, no, there is not adequate public transportation in much of the US.

          • twianto says:

            Putting aside that you have no idea where I live: where I am, not being homeless is pretty much a priority. You _will_ find a way of living without a car if it means not being in danger of becoming homeless, even if it means relocating to some crappy town/part of town where your job is. There are tons of options that are waaay cheaper than keeping a car.

            (I’ve been there BTW. I know of what I speak.)

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Putting aside that you have no idea where I live

            Ahahahahaha! (strokes hairless cat)

          • twianto says:

            Cool, you just discovered proxies! Good job!

            (Strokes little A.)

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            That might work if all your IPs didn’t point to the same place.

          • twianto says:

            Y’know, some people actually need to VPN into some other computer (in other countries, imagine that!) due to certain restrictions. I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say here.

          • Pecunium says:

             What makes most of these vulnerable to lawsuit is that the municipality almost never adminsisters the system; leasing it out to a third party.  The duty of care is therefore different, and the lack of actually stopping the offender increases the standard of scrutiny required.

            That’s what cost Redwood City Calif. a lot of money.

      • Woolfhound says:

        I thought citations were required…

      • CLamb says:

        Not everywhere.  Here in New Jersey they are required by law to be timed for the stopping distance at the posted speed limit.  However, when an enforcement camera is used the light must be timed for the measured speed of the traffic.  Most folks end up running red lights because they are traveling faster than the speed limit and the lights are timed for the speed limit.

    • thecleaninglady says:

      And keep in mind that your local government may choose to shorten the yellow light duration because more tickets = more profit and to hell with driver’s safety and research showing that longer yellow light duration reduces accidents. Yes, just shut up and bend over, citizen.

      http://mynorthwest.com/category/local_news_articles/20110126/Lawmakers-want-to-regulate-against-yellow-light-traffic-cam-squeeze/

    • Blake says:

       I agree. Whether or not traffic cameras cause accidents, or “accident” in Helegian’s example of confirmation bias, there is no excuse for poor driving. In addition, I think a large flash coming from the license plate of the car ahead of you is likely to be a distraction as well.

      As for the “I must face my accuser in court I am an American Constitutie Fruitie” – it simply stinks of Freemen on the Land nonsense. The camera is not accusing you, it does not have the agency to do so.

      However, if it would please Mr. Dandrow, I propose creating a small mechanical body for the camera, sharply dressed in a suit and adorable hat, wired to do nothing but flail and screech in a tinny voice “I SAW YOU.” Mutatis mutandis.

      • Judas Peckerwood says:

        “I must face my accuser in court I am an American Constitutie Fruitie”
        Wow, just wow. I used to wonder how countries slide into fascism. Now I know.

        • Blake says:

          It is his observation that the camera, not whatever relevant traffic offense board -

          “”if you do commit a traffic violation, you should have your constitutionally guaranteed right to face your accuser – and that your accuser should not win by default just because it happens to be a camera that can’t talk in court.” -

          is the accuser, that is the Freeman on the Land nonsense. It’s akin to the tactic of arguing that the ticket can’t be given to you because your name is printed in caps and your Name isn’t in all caps.

          I am growing ever in favour of my shrieking mechandroid accusomat. I SAW YOU. I SAW IT.

          I think Jimmy would be a good name for him.

          • Blake says:

             In fact, I’m thinking we go full on children’s show here. Full slate, run it every afternoon after school. o/~ “Jimmy’s got his eye on you, Jimmy makes safety true – sing with him kids, don’t be blue, come on Jimmy I SEE YOU” o/~

            The doctors say Jimmy’s frantic writhing, like a thing born wrong, makes the children have nightmares. We like to think of nightmares as dreams with special effects. He will tear and scream and flail his useless limbs apart. He will cry and shriek and I SEE YOU uselessly try to stop the horror that is his condition but only as part of the less than perfect life I SAW IT given to him. All Jimmy can do is observe and with each frame he captures he goes more and more insane, trapped in his horrible shell of a body. And his dapper hat.

            We can get the cereals behind this. Weetabix.

            I SAW YOU.

          • Blake says:

             http://soundcloud.com/angrybutt/jimmy

          • Marc Mielke says:

            Nightmares are dreams with special effects?

            Dude, your non-nightmare dreams must SUCK. ALL my dreams have an effects budget that would shame James Cameron. 

        • Itsumishi says:

          Yes like Australia. Those fascist bastards with all their traffic cameras.

      • acerplatanoides says:

         I think the car in front of me giving off a blinding flash could, indeed, pose some problems.

        • ldobe says:

          In my neck of the woods, obscuring a license plate unintentionally is worth about $300 to the city.  Intentionally obscuring a license plate is likely to get you a fine of $500 to $700.  The city I’m in has several redlight cams, and when they were put in at 35mph intersections, the shortened the yellow light from about 6 seconds down to 3 seconds or so.  I’ve been ticketed for entering an intersection a tenth of a second after the light turned red.  And two days after I payed that ridiculous ticket I was rear-ended stopping 1 second before the light turned red.  I have great insurance (my mother’s an insurance agent) so I was lucky enough to not have to pay for a replacement rear bumper.  But the redlight cams definitely don’t decrease the number of accidents.

          In my opinion, they probably decrease the severity of accidents, particularly reducing T-bone collisions, but what they get rid of they make up for in lower speed rear-end collisions which can still be quite dangerous.  I got some whiplash from my accident, but it cleared up with a few physical therapy sessions, and due to the fact that I’m in my early twenties  and can bounce back from a lot of things.  But if it were my mom or dad (both of whom have osteoporosis) it could have put them off of work for months and given them damage that would persist possibly for years.

        • bobk says:

          And it would have to be several flashes. I’ve seen cameras flash three times. 
          And another thing: video is taken in some cameras, so flashes wouldn’t prevent video recording in natural light.

      • Hegelian says:

        “I agree. Whether or not traffic cameras cause accidents, or “accident” in Helegian’s example of confirmation bias, there is no excuse for poor driving.”

        Not confirmation bias. Fact. I had driven the road before. I knew there was a Red Light Camera. When the light turned yellow, I made a conscious decision to stop when I otherwise wouldn’t have because of the camera and I didn’t want to risk a ticket. I was rear ended. Clear chain of causality. Absent the Red Light Camera under the same circumstances I would have continued through the yellow because it is safer to do so.

        You don’t have to believe me. It is just an anecdote to you. But, it is also the same cost benefit ratio that all drivers have to decide on at every intersection with a Red Light Camera.

        • Will Bueche says:

          Plus, I don’t like the way that we are being asked to consider driving through yellow lights as “poor driving”. On what basis is the word “poor” being used? Likely, it is being used to denote deviation from the law. 
          But more relevant to people’s safety is what is standard to drivers, not what is standard in a law book. Rather than call it “poor driving” or “good driving”, perhaps call it “typical driving” and “atypical driving” to remove the bias. Rely on numbers instead of sentiments.

          Drivers’ “typical” standards include the expectation to be able to drive through yellow lights and even the first moment of a red light. So when an intersection has a camera, and a different set of expectations exist for those who’ve been unlucky enough to experience the wrath of a $200 ticket versus everyone else, rear-end collisions occur. Or, at best, people in your rear view mirror flipping you off for stopping.

  4. Jim Swift says:

    What about cameras that use video? My guess is you’ll get a ticket AND other related charges.

    • corydodt says:

      Wouldn’t a video camera also need a flash to see your plate?

    • thecleaninglady says:

      All traffic light cameras in LA I’ve seen do shoot video, too.

    • Nimdae says:

      The video is more for proving the moving violation. It’s generally very poor quality, just good enough for identification and verification with the images.

    • ldobe says:

      In my neck of the woods, obscuring a license plate unintentionally is worth about $300 to the city.  Intentionally obscuring a license plate is likely to get you a fine of $500 to $700.  The city I’m in has several redlight cams, and when they were put in at 35mph intersections, the shortened the yellow light from about 6 seconds down to 3 seconds or so.  I’ve been ticketed for entering an intersection a tenth of a second after the light turned red.  And two days after I payed that ridiculous ticket I was rear-ended stopping 1 second before the light turned red.  I have great insurance (my mother’s an insurance agent) so I was lucky enough to not have to pay for a replacement rear bumper.  But the redlight cams definitely don’t decrease the number of accidents.

      In my opinion, they probably decrease the severity of accidents, particularly reducing T-bone collisions, but what they get rid of they make up for in lower speed rear-end collisions which can still be quite dangerous.  I got some whiplash from my accident, but it cleared up with a few physical therapy sessions, and due to the fact that I’m in my early twenties  and can bounce back from a lot of things.  But if it were my mom or dad (both of whom have osteoporosis) it could have put them off of work for months and given them damage that would persist possibly for years.

  5. corydodt says:

    Has he tested this with an actual traffic camera? If so, how?

  6. Henry Pootel says:

    I wonder what it’s like following someone with this, and what it would look like when it went off?  I’m thinking distracting and a hazard in its own way.

  7. If this were to be widely used, wouldn’t they just make the traffic cameras digitally bracket each shot and ensure seeing the license plate

    • Funk Daddy says:

      No, they’d legislate the device prohibited with a substantial fine and possible jail time. 

      Except in most places it is already legislated that this device if installed would be a violation.

  8. sqyntz says:

    i’d prefer a device that shoots out the camera with a BB gun

  9. adonai says:

    From memory, that’s the same legal argument used on The Big Bang Theory. Wonder if it will end up with the same outcome…

  10. Nimdae says:

    First and foremost I will say that I fully approve of this device. Red light cameras are a problem, not a solution. They do not enhance safety in any way.
    But a couple points should be made.

    First, all citations issued in person or automated are revenue generating citations. All municipalities count on revenue generated by these citations to help fund their cities. Many, such as my city, are not allowed to budget based on expected citations issued, but rather budget based on past citations. The “revenue generating” argument is stupid because all citations are revenue generating.

    Second, there is no privacy violation being committed. I can go outside right now and take a picture with my camera phone of a passing car including the license plate, with location information stored, and post it on the internet without breaking any laws nor violating anyone’s privacy. Why? Because there is no expectation of privacy when you are out in public. If I can see you with my eyes in a public place, I can take a picture of you, and you can’t do anything about it. This is also a stupid argument against red light cameras.

    Most people use these 2 arguments in place of their own argument because “I don’t want to get caught by an automated system” is a bad argument as well. Simply put, the safety aspect is the best argument, and it’s a great one to run with.

    As a motorcyclist, there are many cases where running a red light is damn near required. Safety is a big one. I can’t count how many times I’ve been sitting at a red light (even if it’s been red for a little while) and someone slams on their brakes behind me because they didn’t see me. Additionally, there are many cases where the induction loops are poorly calibrated and left turns remain red for me through numerous cycles (in this case, I literally have no choice but to violate traffic laws if I want to proceed in ANY direction).

    I may not care as much about having one of these on my car, but I would LOVE this on my bike. Unfortunately, it appears these will only be available for car sized plates.

    • Marco Tietz says:

      “As a motorcyclist, there are many cases where running a red light is damn near required. “Seriously? I am driving for 20 years and I NEVER had to run a red light. This seems like a bold statement.

      • Nimdae says:

        I like how you copied and pasted that statement without my qualification of it. Context is important when attempting to make a solid argument.

        • Marco Tietz says:

          I apologize, I just wanted to quote to which statement I was replying. As your comment is right above mine, I thought that people can read the whole paragraph if they wanted to.
          You were stating that there are many cases where running a red light is ‘damn near required’ and than you stated a couple of examples. My comment relates to the fact that it never happened to me, not once. So I wonder how many cases there really are.
          (I should clarify that I have never been rear ended neither, neither in the car nor on a bike)

          • Nimdae says:

            I have only run a red light a handful of times for safety reasons. I cannot count how many times I’ve ran a red because the induction loop wouldn’t detect me. Unfortunately, Texas does not provide protection to motorcyclists who run red lights because it won’t change, so it would be citable.

          • Marco Tietz says:

            I did not know that. That sucks. I would have thought that every state had regulation like virginia (and california as well). Ok, so in your case, on a bike, in texas, I am ok with you running the red light if you stopped before crossing the intersection! And you could even use this guy’s device :)
            and good to know in case I ever ride my bike in texas

      • Lexica says:

        It’s so necessary that it’s explicitly codified into law in many states. This is from Virginia:

        Motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles may treat a red light as a stop sign if their bike fails to trigger the traffic light and they are stopped for two complete cycles of the traffic light or for two minutes, whichever is shorter, and they yield the right of way to any approaching vehicle from either direction.

        • Marco Tietz says:

          Ok, so in these case you wouldnt get a ticket, right? so why would you need the device?

          • Nimdae says:

            Traffic laws are governed by states. This means Virginia law doesn’t apply to me. Texas does not provide this protection, as far as I know.

          • Marco Tietz says:

            To summarize: you live in a state that doesnt allow you to run a red light when your bike isnt recognized, illegally shortens the yellow time to collect fines and has car drivers that run over bikers that are stopped at a red light!
            sounds to me like you should consider moving to california! but then, the streets here are in terrible condition. What about Virginia? ;)

          • Funk Daddy says:

            Most states have a variation. 

            The purpose is not to prevent you being rear-ended, it is to protect you from being cited when you need to safely cross an intersection your vehicle can’t activate, which happens from time to time.

            The electro magnetic sensors that will change a light cycle to allow a green light where due to volume/flow there needs to be a constant red (on the low volume) and a constant green (on the higher volume or faster) for traffic management purposes.

            If it happens a lot due to your vehicle make (rare, but not unheard of) you can attach a small block of metal to your undercarriage, closer to the road, to better trigger the devices. 

            This usually applies to left turn only lights at intersections where triggers are most common, but occasionally you find a constant red/green whereby if you couldn’t trigger the sensor you’d be technically stuck, but for the clause.

            edit – and having read further, I see you know this.

          • Nimdae says:

            “To summarize: you live in a state that doesnt allow you to run a red light when your bike isnt recognized, illegally shortens the yellow time to collect fines and has car drivers that run over bikers that are stopped at a red light!”
            I honestly don’t know of any deaths here as a result of being rear-ended, but a quick search seems to point to recent incidents in Florida and Arizona. It’s not just my state ;)

            That and the yellow light shortening happens everywhere, it seems.

            Texas has some fine traffic laws, though. There’s been various groups trying to improve the laws for bikers. Our speed laws are pretty sane, at least. But no amount of laws can protect you from stupid people.

      • Jardine says:

        I ran through a red light once. Well, not so much ran as slid uncontrollably on ice even though I was going about 20 km/h and tried to stop well before the intersection.

    • dragonfrog says:

      Second, there is no privacy violation being committed. (…) Because there is no expectation of privacy when you are out in public.

      I see this essential argument frequently, and I have some reservations with it.

      I agree, I have no expectation that any particular action that I do in a public place will remain unseen forever.

      However: imagine a full extension of your argument – a scenario where there are cameras at every intersection, with both license number parsing and facial recognition logic behind them.  In this world, anyone can instantly be updated with anyone’s location, and watch every minute of the footage they care to see.  If they get in a car, that car’s license is tracked; if they get out of the car that’s tracked; if they go into a private home it’s tracked; if they go into a shop, their every movement is tracked.

      Can you agree that your privacy is being violated, even though everything that’s being monitored is happening in public?

      So, I would argue, the standard of “there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public space” is obviously not enough – some additional standards need to apply.

  11. missamo80 says:

    His claim that this is legal in the US is easily shown to be false. Here is just one example, from Washington State RCW 46.16A.200 7 (c):

    It is unlawful to: (c) Use holders, frames, or other materials that change, alter, or make a license plate or plates illegible.

    • Nimdae says:

      Texas has a similar law. I’d like to see this plate frame challenged in court since it can be read easily under normal circumstances.

    • Hegelian says:

      But it doesn’t make the plates illegible–it just alters the exposure needed to make a photograph of the legible plates. Not that a judge would necessarily agree–but he or she could, if she wanted to based on the way the law is written.

      • Nimdae says:

        If the cameras were run solely by law enforcement and there was no private entity involved in their operation and ownership, I would agree there would be a concern and would probably consider this to be an illegal obstruction. However, almost all of the red light cameras are owned and operated by private companies. A cop can still read my plate.

        This is why I would love to see this challenged.

        • HarveyBoing says:

          The law in WA doesn’t say “make illegible to a police officer”. Nor does it indicate any minimum time during which the plate must be illegible to be illegal.

          Other states may vary, but clearly in WA, making the plate illegible at all, even for the short duration of a photograph exposure, is illegal.

          • Funk Daddy says:

            It needs to be legible to everyone so that people can also police themselves. 

            I’ve memorized a few plates having witnessed various crime in progress, namely hit n runs.

            It was also handy when I witnessed a redneck in a pickup with his dogs untethered in the back. He accidentally launched them on the freeway going too fast through a short but not dangerous dip in the road. 

            I felt bad for him, I felt worse for his dogs and the people who could not avoid them. The only thing I could do for any of them was drop a dime on his ass so I did.

    • And even if you find a state that has no such law, or find a lawyer who’ll argue that machine-unreadable isn’t the same thing as illegible, I predict that you’d find out rapidly how much good it does you to be legal if the cops hate you. Driving While Smart-Ass isn’t any safer than Driving While Brown, and may actually be even less safe.

    • unclezip says:

       I would imagine that “illegible” means illegible to a person – not a machine.

      Spray paint. Use it.

  12. Marco Tietz says:

    How about not running red lights and keeping the required distance to the car in front of you? Wouldn’t that do it?

    • Nimdae says:

      You can’t control what the vehicle behind you, which you are not driving, is doing. Intersections are extremely dangerous to motorcyclists because people don’t pay attention.

      It’s not unheard of to see a story about a biker being rear ended at a light. I saw an article a few years ago of a biker who was killed in one of these wrecks.

      • Marco Tietz says:

        So, you are saying you shouldn’t stop at any red light because someone might rear end you?

        • Nimdae says:

          You are absolutely right, that is precisely what I said.

          …sigh

          Seriously, though, if I look in my mirror and see a vehicle bearing down on me and feel I am in danger, I will move. I have moved through a red just to get out of the way of a car that blasted through the red light, nearly causing a severe wreck.

          Of course, as per the anecdote discussion above, you can take this claim or leave it. I will make attempts to preserve my safety even if it means violating the law.

          • Marco Tietz says:

            but in this case you would be in favor of the red light camera because it would take a picture of the guy that nearly ran you over and produced a ticket for him, right? SCNR
            I hear you, I would do exactly the same. What I am saying is, I dont believe there are a lot of cases like this. So not a lot of reason to run a red light. And if there were, even more reason to have cameras and haves these guys ticketed. 

          • Nimdae says:

            I would be cited as well. Automation doesn’t really care much about context.

          • Marco Tietz says:

            “I would be cited as well. Automation doesn’t really care much about context.” Sorry, cant reply to the other comment for some reason.
            I wonder if you could fight that ticket in court, especially with a nice picture of the guy in the car running the red light 0.5 seconds behind you. 

          • Nimdae says:

            Yeah, this thing gets wonky when the message nesting gets far enough.

            It really depends on the judge and if you got a good lawyer. My bike is technically a sport bike and it’s been modified to enhance performance, so the case could be made that I was participating in or contributing to the irresponsible acts committed.

  13. KWillets says:

    Mr. Douchebag’s argument is that he isn’t faced by his accuser.  So what happens if he goes to court, the prosecutor doesn’t show up?  

    He’s still required to display the license plate unobscured at all times.

    • Rider says:

      Yes in fact that is exactly what happens, here in Florida these get thrown out of court by the thousands because the accuser is in a data center in the mid-west and never shows up in court.

  14. Andy says:

     Dunno where you live, but in San Francisco they only take pictures of the front of your plates, I found that one out the ‘easy’ way! yay!

  15. Petzl says:

    Some people have too much time on their hands.

    Is this guy getting constantly burned by speed cams, or is he drinking too much Tea Party Four Loco?

    If anyone is a lawyer, it would interesting to hear his/her take on this.  I think it’s illegal to obscure your license plate (temporarily or not), and just having such a device rigged up is sufficient to get you in trouble (ie, they wouldnt have to catch the rig in operation).  But his device is using the “fig leaf” of blasting the license plate with light, rather than obscuring it.  So, it would be up to a judge to then rule, “OK, this, also is a legal obscuring of the license plate.” 

    How is he going to get crowdfunding for a device that is of such marginal legality?  And, can’t he be working for something to actually help his fellow man, rather than help his fellow man break the law?

    2 hitchhiking thumbs, way down.

    • coweatyou says:

      I am no lawyer and think it relies on how specific the state law is but I can tell you in California this device is clearly illegal. This is because California law says nothing about obscuring the license plate and instead states that “any product … that obstructs or impairs the reading or recognition of a license plate by an electronic device operated by state or local law enforcement … shall not be installed on, or affixed to, a vehicle.” That wording seems pretty solid.

    • Gilbert Wham says:

       Now I want to hold a tea party with Four Loko in china cups…

  16. coweatyou says:

    This guy clearly knows nothing about the law as his constitutionality argument is ridiculous and this device is clearly against the law in California where the law states: A casing, shield, frame, border, product, or other device that obstructs or impairs the reading or recognition of a license plate by an electronic device operated by state or local law enforcement, an electronic device operated in connection with a toll road, high-occupancy toll lane, toll bridge, or other toll facility, or a remote emission sensing device, as specified in Sections 44081 and 44081.6 of the Health and Safety Code, shall not be installed on, or affixed to, a vehicle.I also think this actually working is dubious as you would first need to create a flash bright enough to over power the tinting they use on the traffic cams and second you would need to have that flash go off awfully fast to get it to synch with the camera. Then you would need to test it which would involve getting a bunch of tickets (and running a bunch of red lights) just so you can avoid a few tickets.

  17. Tom Tjarks says:

    I’m waiting to hear about the accidents this thing causes because of headlights from cars behind him keep tripping it off, or reflections from other light sources.  I don’t think he can filter that kind of thing out enough to make it effective, and a bright light on the rear of the car is bad for the drivers behind you.  I believe it’s the reason you have to keep cracked tail lights repaired.

  18. lese says:

    I really, really, really hope he fails at getting these made.

    If I’m following this moron, I do NOT want to be going through an intersection at night and have his flash go off in front of me. It would be as bad as being on stage and having some nimrod using a flash camera from the audience (been there, done that, didn’t enjoy it).

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Are there traffic cameras in places dark enough that you would even notice the flash? I only ever see them at urban intersections. But then, I really only drive through urban intersections.

      • coweatyou says:

        The flashes are REALLY bright. You can clearly notice them even when they go off in broad daylight.

      • Nimdae says:

        When the sun is low, or perhaps at night, the flashes are highly distracting. This is one of my many dislikes of red light cameras.

        I would assume that the analysis this device is performing as claimed by its creator is a process of determining if the light received is a camera flash or ambient light. If it’s accurate in only flashing in response to camera flashes, then the plate would only flash when these other flashes are happening anyway, and I don’t see that as any more of a distraction.

        No camera flash, no plate flash. At least, I would hope this is how it works.

  19. Incidentally, I am just watching a TV magazine which reports on that issue (K1 Magazin, Top 10 Verkehrsirrtümer, October 18, 2012, around 10 pm on Kabel 1 in Germany) which I had in the security buffer behind a film I recorded.

    This is what I can say for Germany:

    The Munich chief of police said on camera that tampering with a number plate in order to not by identifiable on pictures can get you in jail (in the worst cases). It’s also not a petty offense anymore, as driving too fast usually is.

    Also, this contraption up above might be rendered useless because the latest generation of traffic cam uses a so-called “black flash”, which is black light that makes the number plate reflect it, also the driver doesn’t notice it. It might not trigger the counter flash – or, if it does so, might not overexpose the taken image since the numberplate might still be visible in the UV spectrum.

  20. Preston Sturges says:

    My GF was all indignant about about getting a red light camera ticket in the mail……until we watched the video on line and saw her clearly blowing through a red light about 2 seconds too late.  I told her she should pay the fine and send them a thank-you note.

  21. Preston Sturges says:

    Joke:

    A guy is getting a lift from a friend.  They blow right through a red light (this is probably  Washington DC).  

    The passenger says “You ran a red light!” and the driver says “My brother never stops for red lights.” 

    It happens again and the passenger says “You ran another red light!” and the driver says “My brother never stops for red lights.” 

    So they come to a green light and the driver stops the car.  The passenger says “Why did you stop?” and the driver says “My brother might be coming the other way!”

  22. SomerVillain says:

    Not to be a spoilsport here, but wouldn’t it be easier to make a small bracket with infrared LEDs that was always on while you are driving?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Didn’t there used to be something that you could spray on the plate to make is too reflective to show up on camera?

    • Nimdae says:

      Many intersections have a receiver that takes IR input from emergency vehicles to change the lights in their favor as needed. Attaching IR LEDs to the outside of your car could be construed as manipulating these receivers (even though they are not emitting a pattern), which is probably illegal everywhere (it is here in Texas).

      • SomerVillain says:

        Yet, a few LEDs would be much, much easier to hide from law enforcement officers.

        This is why I love boingboing so much, though.  I had no idea about emergency vehicles IR usage.  Nice community they have here.

  23. Dan Gordon says:

    The notion that red light cameras make intersections more dangerous seems to me like one of those petrolhead fantasies, similar to the idea that we should increase speed limits to reduce fatigue on long drives. It pretty much amounts to “anything that interferes with my right to drive precisely as I’d like to drive must be some kind of government conspiracy to raise more revenue”. Cars running red lights is a huge problem. Here in Melbourne, it’s pretty much out of control. Sorry, but if you don’t have the driving skills to stay within the speed limit and stop at red lights, then you probably shouldn’t be on the road, and I certainly won’t be shedding any tears when you get fined. It’s not that hard.

    • SomerVillain says:

      Studies have shown time and time again that the best way to decrease accidents at stop lights is to extend the yellow light, giving people more time to clear the intersection.  Many municipalities and the companies they outsource oversight of the cameras to immediately shorten the duration of the yellow light because it immediately increases their bottom line, in fact making the intersections more dangerous.  True story.

  24. Years ago in Australia a guy sold a transparent paint called ‘Flashback’ that did essentially the same thing. In normal lighting you couldn’t really tell it was there, but it did reflect camera flashes back rather effectively. In other words, it had the same effect without the magic electronics. 

    Of course, there were problems. The paint was deemed to obscure the number plate and thus illegal. It also caused problems if you were driving into or out of the sun—the sunlight reflecting off the paint would distract other drivers.

    Oh, and the really big one—’road safety cameras’ don’t always need flashes during the daytime. I haven’t read the article, but I suspect this’ll be a problem for the high tech version.

    • spazzm3 says:

       A similar spray (along with other devices along the same line) was tested (twice) by the Mythbusters and found to be completely useless.

  25. flyoverland says:

    Our city is trying to decide whether to keep these camera. The city’s rationale is that no deaths occurred at the intersection in question since the cameras were installed. Of course, there were none before the cameras were installed. I’m thinking its all about the dough. 

    • Nimdae says:

      I’ve seen various cities banning them, and others putting it on ballot.

      Honestly, I don’t think the problem is the cameras. I think the way they are being operated is the problem. There’s a reason many cities have a policy against creating a budget that includes anticipated citations. There’s a reason citation quota systems are actually illegal in some places. It promotes abuse and reduces safety.

      I think there’s a way the camera systems could work, but no municipality is going to do it this “right way” because it would cost too much.

  26. Wade Sims says:

    Kudos if you made it down the comments this far.

    1. IAALS (law student), which means IANAL.  I can’t give legal advice.

    2. Traffic cameras are not unconstitutional.  The Confrontation Clause only applies to criminal prosecutions. 

    3. Obscuring your license plate is illegal.  Someone made a transparent reflective spray that accomplished the same thing, and applying this spray was deemed illegal.  Using any type of active technology to obscure your plate is illegal.

    4. These cameras are only designed to take pictures when the light is red, not when you enter an intersection on yellow.  You will receive two pictures: one shows the light as red, the other shows you crossing the white line on that red light.

    5. Correlation is not causation.  Traffic accidents are higher where there are cameras because these cameras were first installed at intersections with high collision rates as a means of deterrence.

    6. There are reports of police shortening the lights as a revenue stream.  I can’t remark to the truthfulness of this.  Whether or not that is true or common practice, #3 still applies.  So you will be performing an illegal activity to circumvent a crime.  I find it interesting some people believe there is an escalating “war against police enforcement.”  The legal way to combat this issue would be to lobby your local legislators to regulate the camera use or remove them. 

  27. So, for everyone up on their high horse about traffic cameras — those are NOT the only use for license plate photography. Several states, including TX and WA, use those cameras to assess toll fees on toll bridges and roads for the cars who don’t have a pass. In at least both of those states, this sort of technology is SPECIFICALLY ILLEGAL and will get the user a nasty ticket.

  28. lavardera says:

    We are going to regret all this camera shit some day.

  29. Mitch_M says:

    I wish Wisconsin would have traffic cameras. If I try to go around 27 on Johnson St I get passed by everyone going 35 and then have to wait for them to wake up and get moving at the next light.

    A five second grace period on red light cameras would solve the problem of rear end accidents caused by sudden braking.

    But the bottom line is traffic cameras violate people’s right to have a sporting chance to get away with violating traffic laws.

  30. Terry Fuller says:

    I think Jon doesn’t quite understand the ‘face your accuser’ part of the law.  In most states, a law enforcement officer (not some bookkeeper) must review each and every photo before a ticket is issued.  Remember, just because you sign (or are sent) a ticket doesn’t mean that you are agreeing to the accusation, you’re just agreeing to receipt of the document.  You are still entitled to a date in traffic court.

  31. If these cameras were actually installed and inspected and maintained in a manner that puts public safety first, then I would support them.  Yet time and again, the lure of the revenue stream is stronger than saving lives.  The most effective camera placements would quickly turn into money losers.  

    I don’t think this device would be legal in some states depending on the statutes as written, notably in CA as mentioned above.  But IF this were legal enough places and people started buying them, it wouldnt take long to get outlawed.

  32. Daemonworks says:

    I have to think that a set of IR leds would do the job at least as well as a visible-light flash, and would be far less visible to a casual observer, what with all of the light being invisible to the naked eye, but quite capable of blinding a digital camera.

  33. Sure seems like you could do this with an optical slave and a photo flash. Off-the-shelf bits at any photo store. Embedding the tubes in a plate frame to avoid an ugly obvious flash unit hanging in the air is a little more work, but hardly rocket science.

    The first person maimed by a driver using one of these to run a red light will take everything he owns and everything he might ever hope to own in the future.

    • noLimits Enterprises says:

      Off the shelf units don’t have anywhere close to the required range.  Also, you’d need two photo flashes, false detection filtering circuitry, and a way to weatherproof and reliably power the devices – as well as a way to craft the device while getting around our patents.  

      • elmarkitse says:

        If you’re already waving patents in the face of a DIY maker simply musing about doing this himself, you’re probably going to worry yourself into an early grave once the asian KIRF facilities kick into gear.  I’d be more worried about being named in the civil suit of the maimed driver he thinks about in that post than a fellow idly thinking he can replicate your product. 

  34. rastronomicals says:

    I’ll buy this thing just as soon as it’s available and may contribute to his kickstarter, though that kinda seems like double jeopardy on my part. 

    Last year I was ticketed twice for not coming to a complete stop when making a right turn on red onto a freeway onramp.  There is never any through traffic, and no cop–I am confident when I say this–no flesh and blood law enforcement officer would have given me a ticket.  Never mind the draconian fine.  Whatever happened to 75 dollar traffic tickets?  These municipalities lost their tax base when the real estate market tanked and this outfit in Arizona is promising to make it up for them–by hook or crook.

    I took one of the tickets to court, and all it did was cost me an extra 75.00–it wasn’t about justice, it was about facilitating payment.  The judge wouldn’t even let me finish my remarks, threatened to hold me in contempt (and no I was not profane).

    The great majority of the citations are just like mine, failing to pause three seconds on a right turn on red, and it is a scam, a scam, a thousand times a scam.

    More power to this man, and long live civil disobedience in the face of unjust law.

    • robcat2075 says:

      “no cop–I am confident when I say this–no flesh and blood law enforcement officer would have given me a ticket.”

      Do not test this theory on the flesh and blood human officers in Richardson, Texas.

      • rastronomicals says:

        robcat–I’d guess your comment is friendly and jocular, but the corollary, at least for me,is that if a cop did deliver me a citation, I’d take the thing and drive away if not happy, at least understanding that there was at least a modicum of fairness to the whole thing.  I’ve gotten my share of speeding tickets, and, y’know, if I’m busted in the eyes of someone who does this for a living, well, I’m busted.  I just don’t want to be a cog in their money making machine.

        Also did want to mention, given some argumenrts on this thread, that there has been some political discussion of this in our state legislature, with certain politicians actually arguing the view on right turns on red  I take.  Anyway, the upshot has been, yellow lights have been extended (to six seconds?)  to prevent cities from getting too jiggy with it (I live in Florida).  Right now, it appears unlikely that these things will be made illegal, but the issue is not dead, and I suppose a compromise that permits their use but keeps them from issuing these bogus right turn citations is also possible.  One can hope and in the interim wait for this machine.

  35. robcat2075 says:

    His notion that the camera is his “accuser” should be a sign that he is not thinking clearly.

  36. fiatrn says:

    In Denver, CO, you must have your citation personally delivered by an officer – otherwise you do not have to pay.  This is a quote from the city’s website:

    “By law, a warrant can never issue and a person can never be arrested for outstanding photo speed enforcement citations. In order to enforce outstanding citations where a person failed to pay, or if the person set a court date and failed to appear, the city is authorized to forward the case to a collections attorney to have the fine amount collected.”and:”Failure to respond to the notice may result in a Penalty Assessment Notice being authorized by the Denver Police Department. This Penalty Assessment Notice will be personally served by a process server and will result in a service fee of at least $29.00.”
    So they don’t even care about your driving safety, just about getting your money.  There is some hope, when our city auditor “The issue came after city auditor Dennis Gallagher issued a report saying the program should be terminated unless the city can justify the value in terms of safety.
    ” (from a cbs website)  Sadly, the city council ignored him and renewed the contract for another year. For those who think that redlight cameras are about safety and that cities don’t rig them for revenue, please see the cases in NJ, where the cameras were “suspended” bc the towns never certified them as being timed properly, but no one got their money back.  http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/06/is_your_local_red_light_camera.htmlJonathanDenver, CO

  37. shimrod says:

     why not use ‘always on’ infrared diodes to flood the plate with IR – that way there’s no followup flash to give away the fact you are employing countermeasures.
    I always wanted to set up a covert IR laser to tag a stationary camera and watch the dept go insane trying to figure out why all the pictures from that cam are always overexposed

  38. spazzm3 says:

    This is pure stupid.

    > constitutionally guaranteed right to face your accuser

    This relies on the clever trick of defining your “accuser” as the camera, not the PD. If we accept this argument, any evidence gathered by an electronic device becomes inadmissible. In the real world, the accuser is the person taking you to court, not the device used to gather evidence.

    > “The increase in rear-end collisions alone from people slamming on their brakes to avoid being ticketed is enough to increase accident rates overall.”

    Those accidents are not caused by traffic light cameras, they are caused by people following to closely.

    Also, this will look incredibly ugly on your car.

    • noLimits Enterprises says:

      Hi spazzm3,

      Unfortunately you are incorrect. The police department actually does not own or operate these cameras, and the fines that you receive are actually not under their jurisdiction in some cases.  They have been reclassified from moving violations to “administration” violations, and as such you lose your right to take them to court.  The courts literally won’t hear your case unless you file a completely new lawsuit.

      • spazzm3 says:

         So you can go to court and face whatever department and/or bureaucrat is responsible for fining you?

        If so my point still stands: The camera is not the accuser, it is a device for collecting evidence.

  39. David Botha says:

    Anyone backing this is a fool, because it will clearly be illegal.

  40. Guest says:

    Red light cameras cost more lifes than they save. Also airbags, and seatbelts, and speed limits. Right?

  41. rocketpjs says:

    I’d rather get rear ended by someone in a fenderbender than t-boned by someone who runs a red light.  In all cases (at least here in Canada) the rear-ender is deemed at fault.  There is no good reason not to leave a safe following distance.  

    I know many drivers think tailgating is no big deal (they certainly act like it), but I personally am very uncomfortable if I am too close to the vehicle in front of me. 

    Personally, I think all red lights should have cameras, and all highways should have radar traps.  But I am all too conscious that if I am to die young it will likely be the result of a moron driver who is not paying sufficient attention to his/her responsibilities as an operator of a vehicle.

    It just isn’t that hard to drive safely.

  42. Sirkowski says:

    Jeez, respecting the driving code is that hard?

  43. ackpht says:

    When I get a ticket, I simply think of all the times that I violated traffic laws and got away with it because there were no witnesses, and I figure I am still way ahead.

  44. escher7 says:

    This device only works if it detects the flash, which it may not in the day. How about researching whether the cameras are blinded by infra-red or some other non-visible light and then continuously flooding the plate with that unseen light??

  45. Tim Addison says:

    I read about this device earlier in the week on wired – how well does it preform in direct sunlight?

  46. Pecunium says:

    I don’t think this “system” can work.  I’m a photographer.  When the flash goes off, the shutter is open.  At that point the image is made.  Flashing after that is wasted energy.

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