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: Maybe I missed them...
By clovell on 7/29/2010 1:42:22 PM , Rating: 4
Simple fix - destroy the cameras. If these things ever make it to my town, they'll get pellet-sniped at 3am.

Biggest scam ever.

RE: Maybe I missed them...
By roadhog1974 on 7/29/2010 7:20:27 PM , Rating: 2
law enforcement == scam

I like your thinking.

RE: Maybe I missed them...
By sprockkets on 7/29/2010 10:44:35 PM , Rating: 1
Thought about that. But after finding out they take video all the time, I would be on camera as I shot them.

I just got a $114 parking ticket. That, is extortion.

RE: Maybe I missed them...
By Hyperion1400 on 7/29/2010 11:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
Aw, isn't that cute, he thinks $114 dollars is expensive. My first speeding ticket was over 200(!) dollars! I was doing 70 on a 4 lane divided highway that only has 3 traffic lights over the course of 15 miles and the cop decided that my offense was so egregious that he just HAD to power-slide through the median and into oncoming traffic to teach me a lesson; I shit you not! However, I may have crapped my pants just a little... :(

RE: Maybe I missed them...
By nuarbnellaffej on 7/30/2010 9:59:05 PM , Rating: 2
Nice try, but he said parking ticket not speeding ticket. ;)

RE: Maybe I missed them...
By walk2k on 7/30/2010 2:13:32 PM , Rating: 2
That's easy, just shoot it from behind. ;)

RE: Maybe I missed them...
By Camikazi on 7/30/2010 3:24:09 PM , Rating: 1
Dark Clothing, on a roof, laying down, laser sight to blind the camera, make it quick and clean, no one but the camera gets hurt.

RE: Maybe I missed them...
By leexgx on 7/30/2010 8:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
just an simple high powered hand laser is all you need all you need to do is hit glass once and it fries the cam or if you want to make it cost even more find the box that the cams connect to and make an hole in it and Fuel+match = very costly fix

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