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Archive for July, 2011

San Bernardino Red Light Camera Agreement May Be Costly

Friday, Jul 29th, 2011
"The provisions of the agreement allow the early termination of the contract with proper notice and each of the locations has a required payment of costs," the city council report said. According to the news source, the police station provided the city with an incorrect formula for calculating the costs of cancelling the service, which caused for the large difference in cancellation costs. City employees are now working together to get the correct figures. Many cities across the country have been working towards cancelling their red light camera service due to the cost of maintenance. For example, the town of Davie, Florida, is contemplating dropping its red light camera program before it starts issuing tickets, according to the Miami Herald. The program was initially appealing because of safety features, but the town eventually realized it would cost money to operate unless it issued about 1,000 tickets a month.
Posted in Government, Red Light

Red Light Camera Tickets Create Large Revenues for Municipalities, Private Firms

Wednesday, Jul 27th, 2011
It's no secret that traffic tickets of all sorts result in increased revenues for states around the country. Many believe that instances of traffic law enforcement such as parking and red light tickets are used to increase a state's revenue. Particularly frustrating to many are the red light ticket cameras that allow authorities to hand down fines to motorists even though no one is present to witness the alleged infraction. "Revenue seems to be driving the red light camera rage," Eric Skrum, Communications Director for the National Motorists Association, said. "If cities were truly concerned about intersection safety, their engineers would be applying sound engineering practices that improve compliance with traffic laws and traffic signals while reducing accidents rather than installing ticket cameras." Red light ticket cameras are big business. According to the Weekly Standard, the city of Chicago made $64 million from such cameras in 2009. In fact, the industry is so large that defense contractor Lockheed Martin sold its red light camera division to Affiliated Computer Services in 2001 for $800 million. These numbers are staggering to attempt to comprehend but what can be an even more frustrating number for motorists is $446, which according to MSNBC is the average fine in Los Angeles. While it may appear that bureaucrats in city halls and governor's mansions may be rolling in green from these red light tickets, much of the proceeds go to the private companies that are contracted to operate the cameras. Indeed, the city of Oxnard, California, pays Redflex Traffic Systems more than $30,000 each month to operate its red light cameras, a fee that is ultimately paid by citizens, either through traffic tickets or through taxes. These contracts with red light camera operators can be so expensive and binding that cities can't even get out of them without paying millions of dollars. Such is the case in Houston, where the city must use its red light cameras even though its citizens voted to turn them off. If the city had followed the popular will, it would have owed $20 million to American Traffic Solutions for violating its contract. While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how these traffic fines are used by officials, one can be sure that it is revenue coming directly out of the pockets of citizens.
Posted in Government, Red Light

Red Light Cameras Under Debate in Peoria

Tuesday, Jul 26th, 2011
Red light camera tickets may end in Peoria, Arizona, according to The Arizona Republic. The City Council will have to decide whether or not to renew its contract with Redflex Traffic System, which expires in October, reports the newspaper. The City Council's decision will depend significantly on crash data, according to the news source. The four intersections that had cameras installed saw a combined 100 or more accidents each year during the three-year contract with Redflex. The year prior to the cameras, accidents in the intersections only totaled 82, according to the newspaper. Peoria Police Lieutenant Doug Steele told the media outlet that he will be examining the data more closely to see if the increase in accidents was caused by the red light cameras. According to the National Motorists Association, red light cameras can increase rear-end accidents because drivers often stop short rather than risk receiving a citation. The Peoria police department will also be considering the financial impact of the cameras, according to The Arizona Republic. The city has actually been losing money on the red light cameras. The news source reports that although Peoria received an estimated $300,000 from citations last year, once all costs were factored in the city lost $3,194.
Posted in Government, Red Light

Decision Reversed in Florida City to Allow Use of Red Light Cameras

Friday, Jul 22nd, 2011
The City Council of Clearwater, Florida, recently voted to permit red light cameras, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The newspaper reports that the council initially decided to postpone any further discussion of the plan, but three days later reversed this decision and approved the use of cameras. The red light camera plan was originally postponed due to concern about the cameras' effectiveness, according to the news source. However, Mayor Frank Hibbard told the media outlet that the cameras have more popular support than previously thought. Hibbard also mentioned that a recent Broward County ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the cameras contributed to the reversal of the decision, according the newspaper. Houston legislators also overturned a previous decision and recently decided to re-instate the use of red-light cameras. Tickets will begin to be issued again on Sunday, according to The Houston Chronicle. The city turned the cameras back on July 9, but have not yet begun issuing violations because they lack the manpower to review the video footage, according to the newspaper. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), only nine states currently have laws prohibiting the cameras. The GHSA also reports that 25 states have red light cameras operating in at least one location.
Posted in Government, Red Light

Decision Reversed in Florida City to Allow Use of Red Light Cameras

Friday, Jul 22nd, 2011
The City Council of Clearwater, Florida, recently voted to permit red light cameras, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The newspaper reports that the council initially decided to postpone any further discussion of the plan, but three days later reversed this decision and approved the use of cameras. The red light camera plan was originally postponed due to concern about the cameras' effectiveness, according to the news source. However, Mayor Frank Hibbard told the media outlet that the cameras have more popular support than previously thought. Hibbard also mentioned that a recent Broward County ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the cameras contributed to the reversal of the decision, according the newspaper. Houston legislators also overturned a previous decision and recently decided to re-instate the use of red-light cameras. Tickets will begin to be issued again on Sunday, according to The Houston Chronicle. The city turned the cameras back on July 9, but have not yet begun issuing violations because they lack the manpower to review the video footage, according to the newspaper. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), only nine states currently have laws prohibiting the cameras. The GHSA also reports that 25 states have red light cameras operating in at least one location.
Posted in Government, Red Light

Red Light Camera Tickets Generate Millions

Thursday, Jul 21st, 2011
Red light camera tickets are a pain for all drivers (but we can help if you get a ticket), however, they are boon to not only the government entities that collect the fines but to the private companies that operate the cameras as well. The amount of money that is generated by red light camera tickets is eye popping as the Houston Chronicle reports that the city of Houston has received more than $50 million in civil fines since the cameras began operation in 2006. While at first this may appear to be a good thing as the city now has more money to provide services, it is money that is coming out of the pocket of everyday people. MSNBC reports that the average fine in Los Angeles - where the city's police commission recently voted to end its red light camera ticket program - is $446. In addition, the agreements that these cities have with the companies that run the cameras, like American Traffic Solutions Inc., are worth millions of dollars. In fact, the city of Houston had a referendum where its citizens voted to end its red light camera program this past November. However, the city's contract with American Traffic Solutions required Houston to either turn the cameras back on (and ignore the will of the people) or pay $20 million in damages to the private company. "The City just went through a very painful budget process in which nearly 750 employees were laid off and park, library and health services were cut back," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said, reports KTRK, an ABC affiliate. "We simply don't have the millions they claim we would owe for violating the court decision and our contractual obligation to [American Traffic Solutions]. Therefore, I have decided the fiscally-prudent path to take is to turn the cameras back on while also seeking a second chance for the voters in the courts." American Traffic Solutions isn't the only private company raking in tens of thousands of dollars from city's across the U.S. The Ventura County Star reports that Redflex Traffic Systems collects $30,500 each month from the city of Oxnard. According to the Dayton Daily News, the city of Dayton, Ohio, has had difficulty trying to get its drivers to pay fines issued by red light cameras. Motorists reportedly owe $3.89 million in unpaid tickets over the past eight years.

Houston's Red Light Cameras Are On But No One is Watching

Monday, Jul 18th, 2011
The city of Houston has been forced to turn its red light cameras back on, but so far no tickets have been issued. The Houston Chronicle reports that the police department has not staffed the room where the surveillance footage from the cameras is shown, meaning that there is no one there to catch traffic offenders. City Attorney David Feldman told the news source that eventually the footage would be reviewed. "The violations are being recorded, and they're being put in a (computer) queue, but HPD is still in the process of mobilizing the manpower to actually process the violations because every one of those has to be reviewed," he said. Feldman also noted that about 60 percent of the violations that are recorded ultimately result in tickets. The city has been embroiled in a legal controversy with the Arizona-based company that runs its red light camera program, American Traffic Solutions Inc. Houston turned the cameras off after a November 2010 referendum showed that a majority of voters did not like the red light camera ticket issuing devices. However, the city's contract with the company may have been violated by the move, resulting in the cameras being turned back on this month.
Posted in Government, Red Light

Long Beach's Red Light Cameras Have Been Off Since December

Friday, Jul 15th, 2011
The Long Beach Press-Telegram recently reported that Long Beach, California's five red light cameras have been turned off since December. The city's contract with the company that operates the cameras - American Traffic Solutions Inc. - expired at the end of 2010 and city officials are currently considering whether the contract should be renewed. "We've been working with the Police Department and looking at accident statistics and other data related to red-light cameras," Erik Sund, the purchasing agent and business relations manager for Long Beach, told the news source. "It can be a sensitive issue to the public, so we're doing our homework." The city has had the cameras - which issue red light camera tickets - since 2001, according to the news provider. Last year, the Long Beach Police Department said that 5,122 tickets were issued for red light violations. A number of cities - including Anaheim and Houston - have voted to ban the red light cameras. In addition, the Los Angeles Police Commission recently voted to put an end to the controversial program.
Posted in Government, Red Light

TicketKick® Announces Their Money Back Guarantee- Traffic Ticket Dismissed or TicketKick's Full Fee Back to Customer

Thursday, Jul 14th, 2011

TicketKick®, California's leading resource for traffic ticket defense, helps drivers beat traffic tickets now with a money back guarantee. If their customer's case is not completely dismissed, TicketKick® will issue a refund back to the customer. TicketKick® helps thousands of drivers save money on ticket fines, keep their driving records clean, and save time in court by preparing a comprehensive written defense that drivers can simply mail to the court to contest their traffic ticket.

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) July 13, 2011 California drivers know all too well the fines and hassle associated with receiving a traffic ticket. Until recently, drivers who were cited with a ticket were left with the option of trying to fight it on their own, hire an expensive attorney, or just pay their ticket. California based legal company, TicketKick® fills that niche market for people who would like the assistance of a qualified team of experts to help them fight their traffic ticket without paying the average attorney fees or having to risk the extra cost associated with hiring assistance. TicketKick® has helped thousands of drivers fight speeding, red-light, stop sign, and other common traffic tickets and has always offered a money back guarantee of their defense fee. Until now, like other similar services in the industry, they charged a non-refundable administrative fee to help cover their overhead costs. Greg Muender, TicketKick's Founder and President says, "Most people were OK paying the admin fee, but we got to thinking, 'Why should we keep any of their money if their case doesn't get dismissed?' so now we don't, and now our customers truly have nothing to lose using our service." TicketKick® is now proud to announce their new refund policy: a money back guarantee of their Flat Fee, making them leaders in the industry as being the most affordable traffic ticket defense experts offering an unbeatable level of customer service and expertise in traffic ticket defense. They've also made it easier for their customers to apply for a refund if their case is not dismissed. "We used to require our customers to mail us their refund request documents, but now we welcome a simple and easy fax or email with a copy of their notice of decision so we can start their refund process right away," Greg added. "The point with TicketKick® is to provide the most simple and easy process possible in helping people get their ticket dismissed. Other companies may have very strict or ridged terms and conditions but that just makes the process difficult for everyone. We make it simple and easy so our customers can beat their traffic tickets and move on with their life." TicketKick® is a registered Legal Document Assistant in California, providing self help services in traffic ticket defense, with a similar service model to companies such as LegalZoom and E*Trade. TicketKick® works with attorneys in California in developing their defenses, which utilize many different arguments and tactics. TicketKick's goal is to help people get their traffic tickets dismissed, and although not every customer will win their case, TicketKick® offers a refund and a free consultation for guilty verdicts. TicketKick® representatives can be reached at (800) 580-1902, at http://www.ticketkick.com, or at questions(at)ticketkick(dot)com. ###

Red Light Camera Tickets Can Cause Large Increases to Insurance Premiums

Wednesday, Jul 13th, 2011
Traffic tickets are a drag for a number of reasons, as not only are they an immediate drain on one's wallet, but they can also have a long-term effect on one's finances through increases to insurance rates. An Insurance.com analysis of rates found that even one moving violation could cause one's insurance costs to increase greatly. Further, just three such violations can increase rates by 50 percent. The website analyzed the insurance costs for drivers who bought a one-car, one-driver policy and found that the average annual premium for those with no moving violations - which can include red light camera tickets - was $1,119. After just one ticket, that number shot up 18 percent to $1,318; after two it increased 34 percent to $1,497; and three moving violations on the record of the sampled drivers resulted in a 53 percent increase to annual premiums, meaning these motorists had to pay $1,713 each year. Insurance.com found that not only do violations for speeding and driving under the influence affect insurance rates, but citations for actions such as running a red light can cause premiums to soar. Due to this fact, it is important that red light camera tickets and other violations are fought, to not only protect one's money in the short-term, but in the long-term as well. In a recent editorial, The Washington Times called out a survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that showed drivers supported red light cameras, despite the fact that no ballot measure supporting the cameras has ever been approved by voters. The periodical pointed out that the IIHS is funded by insurance companies that have a vested interest in tickets being issued so they can increase drivers' rates. In addition, red light camera tickets can cause one to get points on his or her license in a number of states including California. While one should always be sure to follow all traffic regulations, there are instances where citations are issued - either by law enforcement officers or red light ticket cameras - erroneously. Those who have had to deal with such a situation may want to fight a traffic ticket and California allows trial by written declaration, meaning one does not even need to be in court to contest a citation.
Posted in Red Light