Traffic Cameras = Automated Ticketing Machines
They are popping up across the country at intersections near you. Traffic cameras are marketed as a safety solution and a cost-saving measure for cash-strapped municipalities…unfortunately the truth is far more sinister.
ATMs Don’t Solve Problems, They Create Them
Did you know that traffic cameras actually increase accidents at intersections? That they routinely issue tickets for false positives to those making legal right-on-red turns? (Find the studies here.)
How about the companies that push the cameras, did you know they are for-profit companies? That they have revenue-sharing agreements with the cities that host the cameras? It’s a built in incentive – for both the company and the municipality – to maximize the number of tickets issued.
If those problems weren’t bad enough, think about how they shift the burden from presumed innocence, to presumed guilt even when it’s widely known that drivers are routinely misidentified or ticketed due to an equipment malfunction. There are a host of liberty issues: invasion of privacy, denial of due process, and financial conflicts of interest to name a few.
Traffic cameras are about revenue. Make no mistake about it, local politicians may tell you ATMs are about safety, but Automated Ticketing Machines represent considerable cash flow to municipalities who, instead of cutting budgets, are casting about for more ways to get their hands in your pockets.
What Are We Doing About ATMs?
The legislative season is in full swing. One of the top issues we are working on this year is getting rid of invasive Automated Ticketing Machines. On this issue we have opened up two fronts.
Washington State Campaign for Liberty has partnered with liberty-minded groups around the state to turn back the tide in four cities: Bellingham, Longview, Monroe and Wenatchee.
Washington State Campaign for Liberty, BanCams, and VotersWantMoreChoices are involved in all four cities in conjunction with:
- Transportation Safety Coalition – Bellingham
- Seeds of Liberty – Monroe
- We the People – Wenatchee
- Mike Wallin and Joshua Sutinen – Longview.
In each of these cities the legislative body – the city council – has decided they will put the safety of their citizens at risk for a revenue stream by installing Automated Ticketing Machines.
If you live in – or near – any of these cities, here is your chance to help make a statement. Print a petition and get registered voters in the city to sign the petition and return them to the address on the petition.
Click on the thumbnail below to print a petition.
A Legislative Solution
We appreciate the unique opportunities the initiative process provides Washington State citizens. However, we generally favor more comprehensive legislative reform efforts. As the political police, it’s our job to hold our elected officials accountable.
There are several bills introduced in the state legislature this year modifying provisions of the law that allow traffic cameras – requiring mandatory study periods, lengthening the “yellow change interval” at intersections, etc.
These are prime examples of trying to make a bad law into a law that is less bad. In some cases, the proposed legislation makes sections of the law actually worse than it already is!
It’s easy to fall into the trap of supporting this kind of legislation in the spirit of moving closer to our eventual goal. However, if there is a bad law on the books, the right thing to do is to repeal the law.
To that end, Washington State Campaign for Liberty has drafted language for a bill that completely removes the authority for the use of Automated Ticketing Machines. It’s been introduced to the State House as HB 1823 – “Repealing the authorization for automated traffic safety cameras.” It’s also introduced in the State Senate as SB 5716 – “Repealing the authorization for automated traffic safety cameras”.