Stupid Red Light Cameras...my rant. - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Stupid Red Light Cameras...my rant.

I don't rant often...only when I feel it's warranted. This is such a time.

My wife just got a ticket in the mail. She was caught by a red light camera. A week and a half ago, my wife got a call at 10pm from a friend of hers. She had been arrested and was at the county jail. Her (choice words) husband called the cops on her after she stood up to him and his womanizing, gambling, drug addiction and abuse. The cops showed up, he claimed she went crazy on him and they took her to jail right in front of their 18 mo son. She had hit him in self defense because he was holding her down while he screamed and threatened her. Her bruising didn't show up until the morning but he had a scratch on his cheek.

So, my wife gets this call and goes down to the jail to pick her up after her $50,000 bail was posted (yikes!). It's 1am and she's downtown trying to find her way to the freeway. Apparently they were doing road work so all the lights were flashing red. She went through quite a few of these, came to another one and after stopping completely proceeded through...only this one was actually a real light and then came the flash.

While helping her friend out my wife is now slapped with a nasty ticket. The ticket is $470, plus $56 traffic school fee, plus 3.75 something fee, plus another $6.95 fee. Then we have to pay for the actual traffic school. All in all, it'll come to about $600!

She completely admits she should have paid closer attention and there's no doubt she did run a red light. She doesn't want to contest it. I feel bad cause she's a bit embarrassed and feels real bad. Ok...so I get it, I don't like it, but I get it. It sucks, let's pay the ticket, do the traffic school and move on right?

Here's where I'm really ticked.

I was called for jury duty in late March. Fun, I know. I was put on a trial that lasted 7 straight weeks. My work pays me while I'm on jury duty, but they still require me to do my full time job. So...80-90 hour weeks for 7 straight weeks. That sucked. I gave 7 weeks of my life to the same county court that is now slapping this nasty ticket on us. That sucks too, but again, I get it, laws are laws, civil responsibility, yada yada. At least they "pay" you for jury duty right, $15/day plus $.34 a mile. Comes out to be about $20/day for me. At least I'll get something out of it.

What really gets me though...they said to expect a check in the mail for my jury duty service in 6-8 weeks. SIX to EIGHT weeks!

Yet, they waste no time in sending us a bill for close to $600 in only 9 days!

Messed. Up.

Ok, I feel better.

Sort of. Thanks for reading.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 10:50 PM
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Yep i feel for you brother and life throws us some curve balls like that at times but chin up at least you got your awesome bike to ride. It always feel better when we have a good rant and get it off our chest.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 11:49 PM
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Well as soon as you pay the fine they will be able to get that jury duty check out to you.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 12:10 AM
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Get a lawyer and fight the ticket. Even if guilty you may not have to pay the fine or traffic school. The legality of these cameras is still uncertain and that may work in your favor......just sayin!

Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 06:45 AM
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That is an excessive fine IMHO. If you're going to spend 500 bucks, get a lawyer. You may end up spending more, but at least you wont feel like a helpless victim of out of control government.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 07:04 AM
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Yea, not a fan of the red light camera either. Not that I run them, and I understand the logic behind trying to stop red light runners. But the law in Florida states that if you cross the white line, you will get a ticket. There are so many roads here that have white lines far away from the intersection. If you stop because of a yellow that far away to keep the cam from clicking, chances are high you will get rear ended. Kind of freaks me out approaching the light and it turns yellow, I brake, and find out I stopped for the light, but the line is 10 yards behind me.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 07:10 AM
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My sister had to spend 7 hours talking on the phone to Maryland bureaucrats when they insisted they had a picture of her running a red light, (they didn't). They had a picture of the same year and make car as she drove, but a different color, and a different license plate. This country's love affair with technology is bordering on ridiculous IMO. This kind of technological "advance" is supposed to make law enforcement more efficient and accurate, not the opposite.

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 07:16 AM
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You would think that someone would come up with a cover for the license plate that looks clear in normal lighting but becomes totally white when a flash hits it. I'm sure some type of prisms made into a sheet of lexan would do the trick.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 07:16 AM
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Traffic light cameras are effective for revenue raising for sure but I remember a time in the good ole U.S. of A. when you got to face your accuser . The cop had to hand you a ticket! Now I thought that if you had a clean driving record for the last 18 months, the traffic school was all that was needed, you didn't need to pay the fine. When I lived in Redondo Beach that was the deal.
With all the trouble you and your wife went through for your friend I'll bet anything the woman stays with the loser. Makes you wonder.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 07:18 AM
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That is an excessive fine IMHO. If you're going to spend 500 bucks, get a lawyer. You may end up spending more, but at least you wont feel like a helpless victim of out of control government.
Sounds like a decent approach to me. $470 for a minor traffic violation at 1:00 AM is more than a bit excessive in my opinion - even for cash-strapped California. It appears that this moving violation fine does not take into consideration time of day (or nght as the case is), traffic volume, or other extenuating circumstances. One size fits all isn't a reasonable approach in my mind.

My wife did the same thing (right turn on red without a complete stop) last year during the evening rush hour - now there's a contradiction in terms - in San Antonio, and was caught by the camera. But the fine was only something like $90 and it was waived when she attended traffic school which cost something like $45. The course was taught by an ancient man who still used a memiograph machine (!) to produce his hand-outs, and a complete waste of time according to her. Still, it saved half the cost of the fine - and she's been good since.

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 07:30 AM
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My sister had to spend 7 hours talking on the phone to Maryland bureaucrats when they insisted they had a picture of her running a red light, (they didn't). They had a picture of the same year and make car as she drove, but a different color, and a different license plate. This country's love affair with technology is bordering on ridiculous IMO. This kind of technological "advance" is supposed to make law enforcement more efficient and accurate, not the opposite.
That reminds me of the two times the city of Milwaukee has sent me threats of suspending my auto registration because of bogus parking tickets. I live in Wisconsin, about 300 miles from Milwaukee. Haven't been to Milwaukee in about 30 years, never parked there. Still, because of a parking violation employees mistaken license plate entry, I was threatened with registration suspension. Legal in Wisconsin.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 08:04 AM
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Throw the ticket in the garbage!

If they serve you later pay the fine etc. If they don't get around to serving you....you just saved $600+.

They can't prove you know about or received the ticket without serving you!

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 08:06 AM
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always contest the ticket! Go to court and tell your story... the court fee is included in the fine anyways so you might as well take the chance of lowering the fine. I have seen several times where a court administrator works with people on the fines and tries to settle out of court so that the court room is not tied up.

I got a $700 ticket for a "move over" law, which was brand new at the time. I showed up to the court room 150 miles away from home and told the nice judge that he would basically have to lock me up because the money that I have was going to buying my fiance her wedding ring. (Yes, I worked a tear or 2 in there) He let me off. Some Judges do have a heart and it helps if you have a solid story.

Main point - Contest the ticket.

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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 08:55 AM
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I live in Missouri and a state senator on the radio said that red light cameras were actually illegal here and do not pay the fine, they have no way to collect.

When I bought a new bike, I went to the DMV to change the license plate over to the new bike and was told that no such plate by that number existed. I went back home, got the plate, and returned to the DMV. It took them 3 days to find their error. What really was scary about this was I wondered what would have happened if I had been stopped for some reason. What would have been the result when the cop could not find any record of my plate?

About 10 years ago I got a letter from the state telling me my driver’s license had been suspended and to go to the local DMV office and turn in my license. I had zero points on my license so I didn’t get it. I called the state and after about an hour on the phone I found out that it had been suspended because I had not paid some lawyer his fee. I had never heard of this guy. I had not hired a lawyer for anything for 20 years or so. I called him and explained and eventually got it straightened out but wondered how in the world a lawyer could get someone’s license suspended for not paying a fee anyway.

Government, a euphemism for screwed up.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 09:21 AM
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These camera arenít about safety, theyíre about raising revenue without having to call it a ďtaxĒ.

It is `legalí extortion!

New York: County Admits Cameras Are For Revenue


DC: Mayor says traffic cameras needed for revenue
.

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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 10:15 AM
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Ask to see the photo. Here in WA state, if they can't identify the driver clearly, you can get the ticket thrown out. I've heard of one guy in a municipality who wears a Halloween mask to hide his identity. They haven't been able to make any of his red light tickets stick because they couldn't identify him. Check your local laws.

Statistics show that accidents before red light camera installations are actually less at intersections than after installation.

They're not about safety - they're about dollars - which are split between the law enforcement agency and the camera company, who actually mail out the ticket.

Good luck.

Last edited by pirnie; 06-02-2011 at 10:27 AM.
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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 10:35 AM
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That's an expensive ticket, and most unfortunate.

However, I have to chuckle at some of the responses thus far. Run a red light (which isn't exactly what your wife did) get a photo ticket, and all of a sudden it's GOVERNMENT CONTROL CONSPIRACY NO FREEDOM THAT SUCKS BLAH BLAH.

Now, put yourself on your motorcycle, and you get creamed by some douche that runs a red light. Now what do you think? Has it ever occured to anyone that perhaps the reason red light violation fines are so high is to teach the stupid SOB a lesson- DON'T RUN RED LIGHTS.

Interesting that people like to blame the government for enacting a law to deal with people's stupidity (running lights) rather than learn to drive within the means of the law to begin with. Whatever.
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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 10:49 AM
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What is also stupid is setting at a red light when you can clearly see that there is no traffic coming for miles in either direction. Burns gas, wastes time, pollutes the air, wears engine. In other countries people aren't so stupid to just sit there.
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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, it is nice being able to vent! It's not necessarily the red light camera that gets me, although if an LEO had stopped her instead of a camera, I'm inclined to think there might have been a bit more grace extended to my wife than the camera's black/white approach.

What really sets me off is 1) The fine amount and 2) The timing of getting the ticket vs. getting my check. I think red light cameras aren't necessarily a bad thing and can prevent accidents, but the system certainly isn't perfect and certainly isn't set up soley for the benefit of the driver. That may be a side benefit, but even Elk Grove (where I live) has said it's a financial gold mine for them. A few years ago, we had our first red light cam installed in Elk Grove (3 blocks from my house). A report was released a year later on how it was doing. Elk Grove banked over $1 million in violations from that single camera alone in 9 months.

The camera systems in place here take several pictures from different angles. There's no doubt it's my wife driving. They even take it further and let you watch a video of it online. So, there's no fighting it that way.

I've thought about a lawyer or at the very least her going in and asking for a reduction, but she is pretty adamant that she does not want to contest it. I have to be honest, it's her choice and I'm going to respect her for wanting to take responsibility for the violation, no matter the circumstances of it and how I feel about it.
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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 12:11 PM
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You would think that someone would come up with a cover for the license plate that looks clear in normal lighting but becomes totally white when a flash hits it. I'm sure some type of prisms made into a sheet of lexan would do the trick.
When I lived in England about 20 years ago it was possible to get license plate covers that blocked the traffic cameras. Don't know what the penalty was if caught with them on your vehicle.

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