Red Light cameras fleece the public

After speaking to various citizens of Encinitas it is difficult to find those who have not personally, known someone or have heard of an individual who hasn’t received a red light camera ticket. 

The initial premise involving their installation that the then-city council, sold to the public, was that the cameras would “significantly” reduce red light running, mid-intersection collisions. Words associated with significantly include “convincingly,” “compellingly,” “momentously,” and “substantially.”

Since their introduction this assumption has certainly not proven to be the fact, with only a negligible decrease in the number of total collisions. This includes red light running associated with rear end accidents encompassing the years before and those after initiation.

The most recent city “bar graph” statistics covering the years 2000-11 reveal the following:

At the two intersections studied one camera being installed in mid June 2004 which has five flash angles and the other is mid-November 2005 which has only one flash angle, there have been a combined total of 17 less overall collisions (97 before to 80 after) and a joined overall three less red light running-rear end impacts of this number (20 before to 17 after.) In review of the original argument for installation this is clearly not a very “significant” total.

The narration originally professed to the unwary public was that after their introduction the cameras’ impact on collision reduction would be fully deliberated and if proved not to be extremely beneficial would come up for an elimination vote.

Despite the fact that during the initial two years before and two years after review the total mid-intersection collisions only decreased by nine (40 before to three after) and red light running rear end accidents only went down by four (nine before to five after) after installation the Redflex Camera Company contract was renewed and has again been since.

Now let’s contemplate why they remain in place. In reviewing the customer management report for Encinitas detailing red light camera facts dated May 1, 2011 to May 15, 2012 and speaking to the Sheriff Dept. Code Enforcement officer the following is disclosed.”

The total number of red light running citations issued was 2,533. The cost of each ticket ranges from $480 to $535 depending upon a wish to go to traffic school and most do. With add-ons to include a court appearance contesting the citation, traffic school attendance so the violation doesn’t add to ones insurance, a previous ticket add on and finally a payment plan the cost could escalate to well over $700.

The total revenue generated, if all is collected, ranges from $1,215,000 to $1,355,000 when rounded depending upon what is finally collected. The camera company gets a fixed rate of $210,000 yearly for maintenance and the sheriff department take is $35,000 for administration.

With the state court system reaping 78 percent of the remainder or $757,000 to $865,000 the city of Encinitas then gets 22 percent or $213,000 to $244,000 for it’s share which amounts to $84 to $96 a ticket. Not a bad take for allowing others to do all of the work.

The money collected goes into the cities general fund to be distributed wherever. One council member has stated that he was all for the cameras as long as they didn’t cost the city anything.

At times good intentions can be hijacked by greed. This certainly appears to be the fact, as the cameras have become a “cash cow.”

A consequence associated with the camera installation has been the development of rear end collisions as motorists jam on their brakes so as not to be flashed in the limited time allowed between the yellow caution and red light in traveling through the intersection.

The driver behind may then be liable for being at fault, various injuries associated, repairs and insurance increase among other consequences.

Perhaps Encinitas should stop turning a blind eye to original intent in following the lead of many other cities, which have either chosen not to install red light cameras and/or decided to remove them. This would eliminate the high cost public gouging criminal extortion, which continues under the bogus guise of safety. We all know extortion is illegal.

George D. Hejduk is a Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident

 

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  1. Dave says:

    The real point here is that the people we elected to positions to make decisions on OUR behalf have turned a blind eye to the original reason they’re in office. The red-light cameras are proof of that. So, find out who voted the cameras IN and the next time they’re up for reelection make sure that someone else gets the job. It’s that simple. Oh -and flooding the mayor’s office with complaints on a daily basis won’t hurt. DAILY. Hourly. How about “Occupy red light camera intersections”?

  2. Tom Munnecke says:

    A reduction of 15%-50% of accidents is a very significant accomplishment.

    And its the LAW that a car be able to stop in time to prevent a rear-ending of the car in front of them.

    The simplest way to avoid these fines is to not run red lights.

    I’m happy that the city and the Sheriff’s department are enforcing the laws…

  3. Dave R says:

    Numerous studies have shown that red-light cameras have dubious benefits while significantly increasing the risk of fraud in the name of increased revenues.

    What has been proven without a doubt to reduce red-light accidents is to increase the amount of time spent on yellow and increase the amount of time waiting before turning the next set of lights green.

    If you want traffic enforcement at a problematic intersection – camp an sheriff there a a couple days a week. Then he can not only catch red-light violators but also the many people who speed and chat on their phones without regard for their fellow motorists.

  4. Henry says:

    Every car owner needs to know about Snitch Tickets, the fake/phishing tickets sent out by the police to bluff the registered owner into identifying the actual driver of the car. (Local depts. using them are Escondido, Del Mar, Encinitas, El Cajon, Oceanside, Poway, Solana Beach, and Vista.) Snitch Tickets have not been filed with the court, so they don’t say “Notice to Appear,” don’t have the court’s addr. and phone #, and usually say (on the back, in small letters), “Do not contact the court about this notice.” Since they have NOT been filed with the court, they have no legal weight whatsoever. You can ignore a Snitch Ticket. If in doubt, Google the term.

  5. It is virtually certain that using safer, longer yellow intervals would prevent MORE violations and produce better safety than the red light camera cash registers. WHY don’t cities use the safer, longer yellows? There is one, and only one, reason: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Maximizing safety is NOT profitable, but mis-engineering for more tickets is.
    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI

  6. Jon B says:

    The red light cameras need to taken down!!! I will vote for city consul member that supports eliminating the red light cameras in Encinitas!!!

  7. BD says:

    This article beautifully exemplifies mafia tactics and the basis of the STATE.
    1. A group incorporates as a fictitious entity known as the “City of Encinitas”.
    2. This corporation is under government sanction, specifically the State of California (Also a corporate entity).
    3. This corporation has the privilege of a regional monopoly of force. What this means is that all association with individuals in society are expected, and legitimately, to be of a voluntary nature, EXCEPT those interactions with the above mentioned entities and their representatives, agents, employees, etc.
    4. Such an entity “legitimizes” it’s existence based on involuntary (residing) and voluntary (voting) consent. This fictitious entity becomes a reality in the minds of those willing to except that an elite minority has the “right” to rule over the masses with the euphemistic “freedom of democracy” (majority ruling over the minority) justifying coercive means.
    5. This is a mafia! The bosses get paid the spoils and the minion servants are thrown scraps such as higher than private sector wages with inflated pensions. You always treat the members of the gang (“family”) better than the common prey (resident/citizen). We are “prey” because we are preyed upon just as a highway-robber preys upon their victims. The highway-robber claims illegitimate ownership of your possessions and ability to travel freely. This is the same tactic of government/STATE entities. They hold claim to regions which fictitious entities have no right to claim. The soil on which we stand is not owned by an arbitrary and ever-interchangeable political body, but rather those which privately own land through voluntary exchange.
    What is also important to understand is that these thousands of victims of highway robbery are guilty of no “crime”. Traffic courts in California are legally Criminal Courts. Therefore their rulings and proceedings are based on criminal law. In order for prosecution to have “grounds”, there must be “Corpus Delecti” or a damaged body/property. In traffic court the prosecutor is the “City of Encinitas” (for example) a representative entity of the State of California. There is no damaged party and therefore no grounds, though. Also, the Judge (which interestingly sits on the “bank”) represents and is payed by none other than the State of California. This is a conflict of interest (to the amount of 78% in Encinitas) as the judging party is financially linked to the prosecuting party. Not quite a fair trial. This is grounds for dismissal and any judge attempting to do anything to the contrary is no longer holding an impartial position, but rather imposing a position of tyranny.
    These are the tactics of the STATE. A legislative to create statutes to control the masses, an executive to enforce the rules of elites and a judiciary to legitimize the entire system.

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