Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chicago Jury Hands Down Guilty Verdict in Red Light Camera Bribery Trial

A jury has found former Deputy head of Chicago Department of Transportation John Bills guilty on 20 counts including fraud, extortion, bribery and other charges pertaining to the city's red light camera program

Prosecutors argued that Redflex paid $2million through a "bagman" to influence city officials, including $643,000 in cash, a condo in Arizona, trips, a Mercades convertible, and other benefits paid to Bills.  Australian photo enforcement company Redflex earned $124million off of their Chicago red light camera contract. 

Former Redflex CEO Karen Finley was forced to resign over the scandal and had previously plead guilty to her role in the scandal.  The scandal was revealed only because a whistleblower turned information over to the Chicago Tribune, whose investigation eventually led to the charges being filed.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Florida Report Showed Accidents and Fatalities Increased With Red Light Cameras

A report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles found that accidents increased almost 15% after the deployment of red light cameras at intersections.  A study of 71 local jurisdictions in the state looked at locations where cameras had been activated between January 1, 2012 and September 30, 2014.  The study showed that overall accident reports increased 14.65% after cameras were installed, rear-end crashes increased 10.18%.  Injury accidents increased as well, with "incapacitating injuries" increasing 29.31%.  Fatalities went up from 16 to 18 at these locations, and fatalities involving non-motorists (generally pedestrians or cyclists) showed a marked increase from 4 to 7.

Source: "Red Light Camera Summary Report: Fiscal Year 2014-2015",
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

The cameras did show success in two areas however.   "Angle crashes" declining by 0.12% with exactly one less "angle crash" accident.  And the cameras did issue $150million worth of tickets in FY15.  Of these citations, 253,744 tickets worth $40 million were issued for right hand turns on red, despite a state law that prohibits tickets for such turns made in a "careful and prudent manner."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Man Receives Tickets from Baltimore County, Prince George's for Vehicles He Does Not Own

A Rockville man received some unwanted Christmas presents in the mail this year: multiple photo-enforcement tickets for cars that doesn't belong to him, according to a report by Fox 5 news.

Michael Greene, from Rockville, got home from his Christmas break and found a stack of automated traffic tickets in the mail.  The man drives a BMW X3 SUV.  The citations showed images of various leased BMW vehicles, none of which were his, according to Fox 5.

“I thought my wife got speed camera tickets and was just speeding all over the place,” Greene said. “And then she said, ‘No, I didn't,’ and then we opened them up and I was really shocked to see that they weren't our cars.”
Two automated speed camera tickets were from Prince George's County, another speed camera citation was from Baltimore County. Greene also received a toll violation from the New Jersey Turnpike for a $2.90 toll and a $50 fine.  None of the citations were for vehicles he had been driving, according to the report.
“No one wanted to help, I talked to jurisdictions and that really got me nowhere. I talked to the MVA and they said all of the data was correct. I even called BMW and BMW said all the data was correct for them. At that point, with everyone washing their hands, someone's got to figure out where the problem is.”
Fox5 tried calling the same individuals whom Greene tried to contact.  Optotraffic spokesperson John O'Connor stated that they needed to take the matter up with the Prince George's County "ombudsman". The reporter was put on hold twice when they called the number for Baltimore County's citations and had to give up after waiting 13 minutes, according to the report.