---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gary Denese
SB595, An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for display of registration plate and for automated red light enforcement systems in first class cities, was passed yesterday by a vote of 35-14 with one abstention. Southwestern PA senators voting against the measure were Jim Ferlo (D-38), Jane Orie (R-40) and Elder A. Vogel, Jr. (R-47). John Pippy (R-37) was the lone abstention. The bill would permit more Pennsylvania cities, including Pittsburgh, to install red light cameras. Similar legislation in the House, HB821 , providing for automated red light enforcement systems in second class, second class A and third class cities, currently sits in the Transportation Committee.
Get ready for more Big Brother surveillance, state revenue raising and vehicular accidents.
Installing red-light-running cameras statewide was one of the recommendations made by Governor Corbett's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission in it's final report on long-term transportation funding options for the state released in August. Scroll down to "Traffic Control, Enforcement, & Safety" on pages 26 and 27 (PDF page 16): ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/TFAC/TFAC%20Final%20Report%20-%20Spread%20Version.pdf
Last year, Senator Ferlo told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that he hopes the red-light camera plan 'dies a slow death', stating "this thing is very Orwellian", and the bill (at that time) "is just fraught with problems and associated with a lack of due process", and that he thinks "it's fundamentally about raising revenue".
Mr Ferlo, it seems, is correct on all accounts.
In an interview with Liberty News Network's Sam Antonio at the Liberty Political Action Conference 2011, Shawn Dow, a member of the Arizona Campaign For Liberty Board of Directors, stated that the issuance of red light camera (or photo radar) tickets violates the Fifth Amendment right to due process. There is no right to discovery and no way for issuees to fight the tickets in court. They are denied their right to question their accuser, because the tickets are signed electronically by a law enforcement officer (the accuser), and he or she never has to testify that they issued the ticket. The tickets are actually issued by a private Australian company traded on the Australian stock exchange tracking people via Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). Issuees are essentially forced to testify against themselves. Law enforcement authorities don't know for sure that you were the driver at the time the infraction took place unless you admit to it, but according to Mr. Dow they don't really care, because they have lowered the burden of proof down to the preponderance of the evidence, so you're still considered guilty no matter what you say. They consider you responsible simply because the vehicle is registered in your name, so you're guilty until proven innocent and charged with a crime you didn't commit if someone else was driving your vehicle.
It also violates the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial if the fine exceeds $20 (some of these tickets exceed $700) and the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, because so many groups and classifications of people are exempt from the issuance of photo radar tickets like law enforcement officers, judges and elected officials, those with vehicles registered under corporate names or trusts and people from out of state or country.
Red light camera proponents, including politicians, argue that they reduce the number of intersection crashes, which is cited in the PA Transportation Funding Advisory Commission's report (see pages cited above), but Mr. Dow states that there are numerous studies proving that red light cameras have actually increased accidents, and by as much as 480% in Peoria, AZ, where the cameras are now being turned off, thus proving that the politicians are lying about the issue and are actually putting people at risk. When the cameras are installed, the yellow signal time is immediately lowered, thus making the intersections much more dangerous, but the authorities get to make more money off of it, because 95% of all people issued tickets by red light cameras are making righthand turns on red. The cameras can't tell the difference and only see that someone is crossing the stop bar line.
Mr. Dow essentially says that these cameras are not at all about making people safer, but are simply another revenue raising scheme designed to cover up politicians' inept budgeting skills. The efforts of Campaign For Liberty activists have gotten the cameras banned in 15 states and 18 cities, including Los Angeles, where authorities couldn't get anyone to pay the tickets, because people knew they were illegal and could just throw them in the trash without responding to them and they'd get dismissed in 120 days. It was finally decided that there was no point in continuing to put the public at risk, because the revenue promised by photo radar tickets was not materializing.
Shawn Dow Interview LPAC 2011 - YouTube
Red-Light Cameras IncreaseAccidents: 5 Studies That Prove It
Santa's helpers disable naughty cameras in Tempe - YouTube