Print 102 comment(s) - last by trailmixedup.. on Aug 2 at 7:44 PM

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 tastyratz on 7/29/2010 10:13:29 AM , Rating: 1
The best way to explain it? stop means yield. A rolling stop is when your car never actually comes to complete rest, you stop...ish. Technically a stop doesn't count till the nose of your car lifts here.

It's a great way to nab people on a technical foul crap violation if they come to a near stop and creep to look. Personally I think a stop should be constituted as slowing down below 2mph - 2mph to a complete stop is negligible at best, and a complete stop is beyond un-necessary in most applications.

RE: Lost in translation...
By superunknown98 on 7/29/2010 11:12:58 AM , Rating: 1
I agree with you. A complete stop is not necessary, only a slow roll to maybe 2 or 3 mph. Honestly it takes less than a second to assess any surrounding traffic. If you can't determine the road is clear without stopping for 5 seconds, you probably shouldn't be driving.

I concede certain situations might necessitate a complete stop, but for an average right turn on red or two way stop sign, I just don't see it.

RE: Lost in translation...
By Iaiken on 7/29/2010 11:25:22 AM , Rating: 1
A complete stop is not necessary, only a slow roll to maybe 2 or 3 mph.

The problem with that attitude is that once you concede 2-3mph over the current full stop, it becomes hard to gauge and enforce. Then soon that 2-3mph cautious creep becomes 9-10mph with a passing glance to a 25-35mph merge with no running ramp (which are shockingly commonplace in Toronto and LA).

Each complete stop will add maybe an extra two seconds to your trip. If you're worried about the tiny bit of extra gas it takes you to get moving after a full stop, buy a hybrid. :P

Personally, when I am allowed to proceed after the stop, I always come to a complete stop, let the weight of the car come back on itself and then creep up to the corner to make my turn while assessing oncoming traffic.

RE: Lost in translation...
By tmouse on 7/29/2010 1:56:04 PM , Rating: 2
If its a empty country road with no one comming I would agree, but many people do not realize in many states the law also reads "if it is safe to do so" so technically even if you COULD make it, if another car is comming and hits you you will be ticketed for illegally entering an intersection even if you stopped completely (the accident itself is acceptable legal evidence that it was NOT safe to do so). So it has to be at least a full stop since people already ignore the part where its not permitted to make a right on red if there is on comming traffic and the person with the right of way now has to judge whether the other guy is going to jump out in front of them.

RE: Lost in translation...
By tmouse on 7/29/2010 1:48:30 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is people do "creep the allowance" so where do you draw a line? We have a major interstate I drive daily, when the speed limit was 55 people went 65-70 on average now its 65 and people are doing 75-80 while driving close which is plain stupid. I'm always having to slow down when the distance I like to leave get reduced to zero by someone who is doing 85+ and weaving in and out of the traffic while the guy behind me is so close all I can see is his windshield.

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