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Traffic cops in one small Tenessee town have written a lot of traffic tickets so far this year using a new automated system. In total over 7,300 tickets have been issued.  (Source: Deadline Scotland)
Tennessee town of 17,000 has issued over 7,300 traffic tickets in half year since adopting system

The town of Farragut, Tennessee created quite a stir when it decided [PDF] back in 2006 to look at adopting an automated system to "watch" its town's drivers and automatically give them tickets for running red lights.  The system was finally contracted in 2009 to Redflex INC.  The system was completed in August 2009 with three cameras, and a fourth camera went online this summer.

The early statistics have been released by the town and they're either a staggering statement to how blatantly the town's population violates the law or how automated traffic enforcement systems may be much more active than expected.

In the first and second quarters, 7,168 and 7,213 incidents respectively were recorded by the cameras.  In total, 3,515 and 3,873 citations respectively were issued in the two quarters.  That's about 45 citations a day, or roughly 14 per camera per day (before the fourth camera came online).

To give a further breakdown, for the second quarter, 2,673 of the 7,213 incidents were rejected after review by an officer.  Another 662 incidents were not processed "due to technical issues or lack of information."  And the remaining incidents, as mentioned resulted in citations

Citizens have found it increasingly hard to argue their innocence in the face of glaring video evidence.  This is especially true in the case of rolling stops (slowing, but not fully stopping when turning at a red light).  Some citizens insisted their innocence, but when showed the video gave up their claims, according to the cops.

Perhaps the good thing for citizens is that the citation is merely a non-moving violation, which carries no points and thus does not raise drivers' insurance.  It weighs in at $50 USD per ticket.  The perhaps interesting part is that the language used by various towns in the state indicate that there's a lower standard of Constitutional protections with such systems.  Lawyers for the towns of Chattanooga and Red Bank (where a similar system is deployed) write, "[Drivers] are not entitled to a trial by jury, a presumption of innocence or a heightened burden of proof."

That's typical for civil offenses, which bear a lower burden of proof.  But its atypical for traffic violations, which often carry a presumption of innocence and allow citizens to request a trial by jury.  The shift is likely due to the light penalty associated with the ticket, but it's worrisome because that penalty could be bumped at some point to a full moving violation.

Two $10M USD suits about the system are pending.  However, these suits, which will be heard in court on September 20, seem unlikely to succeed.  After all, the Tennessee Court of Appeals recently denied complaints about Knoxville, Tennessee's similar camera system.

Another concern is the reliability of such systems.  Students in 2008 in Montgomery County, Maryland used fake license plates to spoof similar systems which gave speeding tickets.  The result was multiple people they pranked receiving traffic fines.

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RE: Lost in translation...
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/29/2010 10:10:49 AM , Rating: 2
In the US, you are usually permitted turn right on a red light. However, you're supposed to come to a complete stop, before doing so. In reality, everyone treats it as a yield sign rather than a stop sign, and just slows to a slow roll while checking to see if its safe to turn.

RE: Lost in translation...
By Amiga500 on 7/29/2010 11:02:43 AM , Rating: 2
In the US, you are usually permitted turn right on a red light.

Ahh, right, I see now.

That is definitely not the case here. A red is a red.

If there is a sliproad to the left (which is our equivalent of your right) with a give-way sign, then you can proceed - providing no traffic is oncoming.

But there is definitely no legal way of going through a red light here - hence my confusion.

RE: Lost in translation...
By Drag0nFire on 7/29/2010 11:09:09 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe you were also confused by the picture of the Scottish police officer.

Lol, is it that hard to look at the second and third google image results before picking the image for the article?

RE: Lost in translation...
By tmouse on 7/29/2010 1:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
It's not permitted everywhere, most if not all major cities have their own traffic codes so in NY there is on average 10 second yellows and right on red after a complete stop "if it is safe to do so" (ie no on comming traffic although thats often ignored), however in NYC you cannot even enter an intersection on a yellow which is usually only 2-5 seconds long and NO right on red unless there is a specific sign allowing it. MANY of these automated lights yield the most money in slow moving intersections, you have about 3 feet into the intersection stop line and even if you stopped you get a ticket for "blocking the intersection".

RE: Lost in translation...
By menace on 7/29/2010 6:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
10 sec yellows? LOL, that's a long time. If I was a tourist, I would probably come to a complete stop, wait 5 sec, and then punch thru after deciding that the lights must be malfunctioning.

RE: Lost in translation...
By Dr of crap on 7/29/2010 3:22:26 PM , Rating: 2
There is no LEGAL way here either.
You have to stop first. No one completely stops. I really could careless if they stop or not as long as no one gets hit.
But to your point, the law here says STOP, look if it's ok to proceed, and then turn on red.

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