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Why Aren't Automatic Speeding Tickets Issued?
Old 10-02-2015, 07:21 PM   #1
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Why Aren't Automatic Speeding Tickets Issued?

If I drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, the system takes a photo of my license plate and sends me a bill for the toll.

On a recent trip to the Bay Area we were passed by many cars traveling at least 80 MPH and many faster.

Wouldn't it be a slam dunk to set up cameras that measure speed, photograph the license plates, and send a bill?

Certainly those would reduce crashes and deaths and result in enforcement savings.

What's the holdup?
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Old 10-02-2015, 07:27 PM   #2
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Wouldn't that result in tickets being issued for cars going just a few MPH over the limit, or within the margin of error for a speedometer?

Slippery slope, it seems to me.
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Old 10-02-2015, 07:28 PM   #3
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Sounds like a great idea. Can't image why it hasn't been done already.
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Old 10-02-2015, 07:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Wouldn't that result in tickets being issued for cars going just a few MPH over the limit, or within the margin of error for a speedometer?

Slippery slope, it seems to me.
It could be set to give warnings to those who are 1-4 over and tickets to those 5+ over.
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Old 10-02-2015, 07:35 PM   #5
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They already have them pretty much everywhere, although I guess not where you are. IMO, the main reason not to have them is because this is supposed to be a free country where we aren't under surveillance 24/7. As Koo'lau's sig line says, anything that can be misused will be. Also they tend to be used more for increasing income vs. safety, just like the red light cameras, which have actually increased dangerous rear-end accidents.

Here is a list of some objections to speed cameras. Here is a study from Britain showing that raises doubt over their effectiveness.

But I still stand by my main objection, which is the slippery slope issue of massive surveillance. Soon they'll have cameras in your freezer monitoring your Ben and Jerry's consumption. Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.
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Old 10-02-2015, 07:47 PM   #6
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There are some places in the U.S. with radar-cameras issuing speeding tickets and tickets for running red lights. Often, politicians will give in to their voting public and cancel the contracts due to poor public opinion.

I got radar'd on the causeway going over to Venice for 1.2 mph over the ridiculously low speed limit, and it cost $155 wired to the city's checking account in Euros. And Hertz hit Visa for $45 service charges for telling the city of Venice who was the driver and my address. The cameras are all over Italy and France.
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
If I drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, the system takes a photo of my license plate and sends me a bill for the toll.

On a recent trip to the Bay Area we were passed by many cars traveling at least 80 MPH and many faster.

Wouldn't it be a slam dunk to set up cameras that measure speed, photograph the license plates, and send a bill?

Certainly those would reduce crashes and deaths and result in enforcement savings.

What's the holdup?
I've often wondered this as well. There is some controversy over the red-light cameras (mostly bogus, IMO - IF the proper controls are in place), but speeding seems even easier to catch.

And in places like IL, where you have a transponder to auto pay tolls, why can't they say " Hey, you covered those last 10 miles at a rate that is 15 mph over the limit - ticket!".


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They already have them pretty much everywhere, although I guess not where you are. IMO, the main reason not to have them is because this is supposed to be a free country where we aren't under surveillance 24/7.

Here is a list of some objections to speed cameras. Here is a study from Britain showing that raises doubt over their effectiveness.

But I still stand by my main objection, which is the slippery slope issue of massive surveillance. ....
I don't get the 'slippery slope' arguments. These are laws. I don't see how enforcing them creates a 'slippery slope'. On the contrary, I think NOT enforcing laws creates a slippery slope of 'training' people they can 'get away' with breaking the law.

Being in a 'free country' doesn't mean you are free to break the law, does it?

Sometimes there can be a slippery slope if a law kinda interferes with our freedoms, so people get used to that, and they pass another law that interferes a step further. But these laws exist, and for good reason IMO.

I'd say the arguments in your links are pretty specious. The one I do agree with though - if you get a ticket in the mail X days later, you are kind of "Huh? What? What was I doing at that time/place? I don;t recall, it didn't seem like a big deal at the time". Defending yourself is tough if you weren't aware that you were being ticketed.

The second link (if i read it correctly), seems to be saying the vast majority of speed cameras DID reduce serious accidents, but some (21/551) should be 'investigated'. Looks like they are doing a lot of good overall, and maybe a small minority are causing problems. Why not figure out the problems (if they even exist)? Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

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Old 10-02-2015, 08:27 PM   #8
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Speed cameras are the norm in Australia. Some are in fixed locations and bring in millions in revenues, others are portable. You don't even know you are caught until 6 weeks later when you get a ticket in the mail. Then if you get too many, you lose your license. They also have booze buses, where every one get's pulled over and alcohol/drug tested. You get a Dwi and you lose your car.
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:40 PM   #9
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I drove around the uk for a week before I figured out what this sign meant, lol!
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:54 PM   #10
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I think we have all seen this movie before.


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Old 10-02-2015, 08:56 PM   #11
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I drove around the uk for a week before I figured out what this sign meant, lol!
You have to be well over the limit before you get an automatic fine. e.g. You won't get a ticket if you are driving below 79 in a 70mph zone.

See table of speeds in link below.


Speeding fines: your rights - Advice on speeding tickets - Driving advice - Driving your car - Which? Car
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:59 PM   #12
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I don't think these pose a significant civil liberties intrusion per se.
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
- if you get a ticket in the mail X days later, you are kind of "Huh? What? What was I doing at that time/place? I don;t recall, it didn't seem like a big deal at the time". Defending yourself is tough if you weren't aware that you were being ticketed.
Yes, this is a problem. Where I've seen these in Germany, there was usually a flash associated with the sensor unit, and it took pictures from the forward hemisphere, so you pretty much saw the flash (even in daylight) and knew that the jig was up--and to expect a ticket soon.

One problem is positively identifying who was driving the car--that seems to me to be the only way points can be assessed to a license or any legal action taken.

From a civil liberties angle, I'm much more concerned about technology that can track the whereabouts of a vehicle, cell phones, etc. And the license plate readers that can be used to quickly produce the names of the registered owners of all cars in a parking lot, entering a political rally, etc. There have already been abuses of this to target people where there is no reason to suspect any lawbreaking has occurred.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:05 PM   #13
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I don't think these pose a significant civil liberties intrusion per se.

Yes, this is a problem. Where I've seen these in Germany, there was usually a flash associated with the sensor unit, and it took pictures from the forward hemisphere, so you pretty much saw the flash (even in daylight) and knew that the jig was up--and to expect a ticket soon.

One problem is positively identifying who was driving the car--that seems to me to be the only way points can be assessed to a license or any legal action taken.
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Same in the UK, and I believe you get a single flash when you are close to being fined and a double flash means you can expect a ticket in the mail. I've experienced both, fortunately the double flash happened as a motorcycle overtook me.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:07 PM   #14
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Speed and/or red light cameras would never lead to corruption. Or would it...

Former Redflex CEO Pleads Guilty to Corruption in Awarding of City of Chicago’s Red-Light Camera Contracts

That investigation has also touched Columbus too. And is an issue in the current mayors race.
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:17 PM   #15
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Any one who thinks you are "safe" at 65 mph in a 65 mph zone and then NOT safe at 66 is probably over thinking the issue. Speed limits are as much an art as a science. They are typically set based on some set of assumed traffic, weather and other conditions. A posted speed limit is more useful as a guideline rather than a "never exceed." Most traffic situations set their own speed limits. It's the occasional "yahoo" going 15 or 20 faster than (wait for it) traffic who is a menace.

If speed limits are rigorously enforced at the exact speed, no one would dare actually drive at the "safe" speed - because it wouldn't be safe - at least not from the traffic cameras. Even if you use your cruise control (not recommended in most situations other than relatively non-congested instate travel) you still might exceed on a down hill stretch or your car's speed could be off by a mph or two.

But, honestly, it's just too much "big brother" in my opinion. Soon, with technology advancing as it is, it would be possible to prevent almost all crime - if we give up our liberty (just assume you are required to wear google glasses at all time - what crime would you commit?)

Thanks for the "shout out" from Harley!!
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:27 PM   #16
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In the US, per the 6th Amendment citizens have the right to confront their accuser in criminal cases. Though speeding is not a criminal offense, in general I don't wish humans to become servile to robotic accusers.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:08 PM   #17
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Man what a bad , bad idea.

Good grief Al, I'd put you on double secret probation if I were a moderator.

We finally got rid of the red light cameras in LA , over the objections of the contractors running the shake down system, stuffing money into local politicians campaigns.

Rear end collisions are now DOWN. The serious t-bone collisions are usually by drunks oe dumb-asses on their phones. The red light camera enforcement never reduced the side collisions, but INCREASED rear end collisions.

Last time I was on the toll fastrack lane , one lane only, a pickup was on my bumper literally !, and I was already doing 75, and not going to go any faster

Any competent traffic unit can write droves of citations during a normal shift, without even trying. like shooting fish in a barrel. I hate traffic division officers, but they do a far better job of reducing accidents than automated citations.

PS I go out of my way to not patronize businesses in a nearby city with red light cameras. I wrote a letter to the general manager of a car dealer in that city explaining why I will never use his dealership while that city continues to use red light cameras.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:10 PM   #18
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......, in general I don't wish humans to become servile to robotic accusers.
Sorry, you are too late
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:54 PM   #19
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Any one who thinks you are "safe" at 65 mph in a 65 mph zone and then NOT safe at 66 is probably over thinking the issue. ...

If speed limits are rigorously enforced at the exact speed, ...
That's a lot of red herrings, no? I'm sure the majority do not think that 65 versus 66 is safe/not-safe. The few that do don't really matter. It was pointed out, the systems in use today don't trigger at the exact limit, there is some leeway.


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It's the occasional "yahoo" going 15 or 20 faster than (wait for it) traffic who is a menace.
Right, and let's catch him 24/7 where ever we can, rather than hoping it happens right in front of a patrol car at the right time with their radar going.

And with auto-enforcement, traffic will not be exceeding the limit by very much, so the ones going 15 or 20 mph faster than traffic will stick out and get ticketed. Sounds good to me.

Thinking again about the ticket after the fact - that's not a precedent at all. If I break into someone's home and steal their TV, LE does not need to catch me in the act. If they compile enough evidence, I can be found guilty.

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Old 10-02-2015, 10:58 PM   #20
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Speed and/or red light cameras would never lead to corruption. Or would it...

Former Redflex CEO Pleads Guilty to Corruption in Awarding of City of Chicago’s Red-Light Camera Contracts

That investigation has also touched Columbus too. And is an issue in the current mayors race.
But that is a problem with the use/abuse of a tool - not an issue with the tool itself. Yes, we need controls and checks/balances. But we need those regardless. Plenty of corruption existed before technology came along (probably more).

By your logic, since there have been cases of rogue firefighters who were found to be arsonists, we should disband all fire departments (insert any other bad-apple case here).

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