It's about municipal revenue and political corruption, not safety ...

In case anyone has not been paying attention, red light cameras were sold to the public as an accident prevention safety measure. However, statistical analysis has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is more about municipal revenue generation and the political corruption of red light camera vendors. There have been relatively few red light accidents, while there has been an increase in rear-end accidents as people jam on the brakes to avoid a camera ticket. In fact, the great majority of tickets are for rolling right hand turns, a far cry from the danger posed from running a red light.

It appears that, with ticket cost gouging ($400 – $500) for not stopping before a right turn on a red light, many motorists are becoming more cautious or are demanding that the red light cameras be removed altogether. This has lead to a significant reduction in municipal revenues and severely impacts the fortunes of red light camera vendors who partner with municipalities to share the bounty.

Now, the dishonest red light camera vendors appear to be, once again, lobbying “compliant” (spelled corrupt) politicians, to hoodwink the public into continuing the abominable camera systems.

Enter uber-liberal political tool and water carrier for the  red light camera industry, California Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski …

Bob Wieckowski is an American attorney and politician in California. He was elected November 2, 2010 to the California State Assembly. Wieckowski previously served as vice-mayor of Fremont, and was a member of their city council. Wieckowski attended the University of California, Berkeley where he earned a bachelor of art before attended law school at Santa Clara University School of Law where he earned a juris doctorate. Following law school he worked in bankruptcy law at The Law Offices of Robert A. Wieckowski.

Bait and Switch …

You would believe a progressive lawyer would want to protect consumers and our legal system? But you would be wrong. Because here comes Bobby Babble who is telling people that his legislation will reduce the amount of those onerous and pesky red light camera tickets.

The amount of the civil penalty for an automated violation that is recorded and cited under this section is an amount equal to one-half the total bail for a violation of Section 21453, 21455, 22101, or 22451, as the case may be, as set forth in the uniform countywide schedule of bail. As used in this subdivision, “total bail” means the amount established pursuant to Section 1269b of the Penal Code in accordance with the Uniform Statewide Bail Schedule adopted by the Judicial Council, including all assessments, surcharges, and penalty amounts.

Yes, the amount is one-half the total bail of an amount that the courts set – plus those outrageous “add-on” supplementary charges that jack up the fees.

 According to the California DMV 

Traffic fines in California are difficult to pinpoint due to additional penalty assessment fees and surcharges that vary by county. Consequently, a ticket with a $35 base fine may actually cost you $146.

Surcharges: The state charges a 20% surcharge on all traffic tickets. This means, for example, a $40 fine will incur a surcharge of $8.
List of Other Additional Fees
  • State Penalty Assessment
  • County Penalty Assessment
  • Court Facility Construction Penalty Assessment
  • DNA Identification Fund Penalty Assessment
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Penalty Assessment
Auto Insurance Rate Increase

Depending on the infraction, points may be added to your driving record, resulting in a jump in your car insurance rates.

So, if a $35 ticket can cost $146, what do you think a $250.00 ticket might cost?

So what does the aptly-numbered Assembly Bill A.B. 666 really do?

  • Eliminates Your Right to a Trial if You Get a Red Light Camera Ticket
  • Makes You Responsible for the Ticket Even When Someone Else Is Driving
  • Sets up Kangaroo “Administrative Hearing” Courts Run By Those Who Gave You the Ticket
  • No Evidence Other than the Ticket Itself is Needed to Convict You
  • No Right to Face Your Accuser
  • You Are Assumed Guilty and Have to Prove Your Innocence
  • You Will Have to Pay a Fee If You Want Your Case Heard in Court
  • Expands the Use of Photo Enforcement to Other Traffic Violations
  • Red Light Tickets will Count on Your Moving Violation Point Count – Affecting Your Insurance Rates
  • Refusal of Registration for Nonpayment of Automated Violation Penalties

And, about those notorious “snitch tickets” …

If you were not driving, you, the car owner, must turn snitch and provide information on who was actually driving when it was ticketed or be responsible for paying the ticket! Why is this important? Because under current law, you are not compelled to respond to the red light camera operator. This turns YOU, the vehicle owner, into an agent of the municipality and their partners, the red light camera vendors.

There are several legal questions that remain to be answered.

  • If a husband, the car owner, is forced to testify against his wife, the driver, does this violate California's "Spousal Privilege" provisions?
  • Or, does this legislation violate the "due process" provisions of the Constitution?
  • Is there a problem with someone who swears that they have witnessed a violation by simply reviewing a film?
  • Is there a corrupt conflict of interest between those who install red light cameras for the sole purpose of revenue generation when a "disparate analysis" of the data shows that the installation of the cameras does not provide a meaningful increase in resident safety?

Here is a Google Chat Session with Journalists …

Bottom line …

Red light camera systems are not about keeping the public safe or I would be on the other side of the argument. They are just another revenue generation mechanism for funding an increasingly corrupt political system and corrupt politicians who are willing to carry the water of the red light vendors who influence this troublesome legislation. And, it is not just about those staggering fines, but about increasing your insurance premiums.

If you want to see the full impact of red light cameras, snitch tickets and other such political machinations, you may wish to visit www.highwayrobbery.net to see the full impact of these nefarious red light camera systems.

-- steve

Reference Links …

California Assembly AB666

Highway Robbery -- Best Site for Red Light Ticket Information and Advice

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