Sunday, June 03, 2007

Red Light camera fiasco...

So my downstairs neighbor handed me my mail yesterday and I started flipping through it. Bill, bill, bill, catalog, junk mail, Knoxville Photo Enforcement Service Center...

Huh?

I haven't run a red light in years that I know of, and the last time I did wasn't in this city, but my daily travels do take me through a few traffic camera monitored intersections. Maybe I did and wasn't aware of it? I tore the envelope open, and immediately burst out laughing.

"What's so funny?" asked my neighbor.

"R2D2's a retard. Look at this," I replied, and handed him the notice. He started laughing too.

There on the right hand side of the page was the information that one Tamara K., owner of record of a BMW convertible, license plate number 122ABC, was guilty of running a red light at Kingston Pike and Alcoa Highway on May 22nd at 8:17PM.

There are a couple of problems with this.

1) I haven't been through that intersection in the last year.

2) The license plate on my BMW convertible is 123ABC, not 122ABC.

3) The vehicle in the accompanying photos is a white Toyota Tacoma, license number 122ABC. I realize it was dark, but a white pickup doesn't look much like a silver Nazi rollerskate, no matter how hard you squint.


"I am so blogging this," I muttered. And I have.

This should be fun.


EDIT: Updated with my pathetic claims of innocence.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fun? It should be hilarious. Mainly as they'll continue to take the machine's view of things even with absolute evidence to the contrary.

Can't wait to see the rest of this.

TheSev

Huck Phinn said...

Silver Nazi roller skate? I thought the Z3 was the Beemer that Bubba built (as opposed to Sargun and Ahmed on the German assembly line :D )

Squeaky Wheel said...

You need to make this a series. Because it WILL go on for weeks if your law-enforcement officials are anything like the ones in my town.

Too funny. :-)

Anonymous said...

Damn I hate those things.

"It's for your safety, not revenue, honest!"

My ass. But hey, if that's the case let me donate the full amount of the ticket to a homeless shelter. Funny how they won't let you do it...

Here's some reading on the damned things:
http://tinyurl.com/rtrst

Things like this can be found there:
"The analysis shows that the number of crashes at locations with cameras more than doubled, from 365 collisions in 1998 to 755 last year. Injury and fatal crashes climbed 81 percent, from 144 such wrecks to 262. Broadside crashes, also known as right-angle or T-bone collisions, rose 30 percent, from 81 to 106 during that time frame."

Standard Mischief said...

Pictures or it didn't happen. Wait, it really didn't happen, so pics or it did happen.

Anyway, can you scan the photo in?

Well, good thing you're presumed innocent until proven guilty, right? Oh, yea, I know you'll have to take time off from work and what not - uncompensated, even if you win - but that's just the price of living in a free society. Right?

And good thing you will be able to subpoena the money-camera so your independent expert can go over it with a fine toothed comb to make sure it's working OK, or at the very least you should be able to force the camera into the courtroom so you have the right to face your accuser.

Oh and if the 14th applies the first amendment to the states, it should also apply the 7th amendment too. That ticket is over $20, right? Jury trial.

Jeffro said...

But, but, but - computers do not lie?!?!?!?!

BobG said...

"But, but, but - computers do not lie?!?!?!?!"

No, but data entry people make typos...

pax said...

I've long thought that one of the (many) drawbacks of working in a job where you deal with the public is the knowledge that, every time you goof up, someone blogs it.

Ben said...

Ah yes, like the delightfuly astute clerks at MCSD who managed to not only misspell my address, but list me a a female on my permit paperwork despite typed copies of application and photo copy of licence attached.

Rich said...

Years ago I received a parking ticket in New York City when I wasn't even there (living in NJ). To fight it I first had to pay it and then appear. When I got there with evidence that the ticket was invalid, (Nj does not have a registration sticker on the Window) the court throw it out as there was no description of the car so it was automatically invalid. Took them two months to send me my money back and of course with no interest.

Anonymous said...

I kinda like the response of some drivers in Great Britain to traffic cameras.
There's an underground there that hangs a tire full of gasoline on the camera box and then puts the ensueing video on line; just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

BMW motorcycles are Beemers. BMW automobiles are Bimmers. Now you know.

Coleman said...

Apparently, their OCR (optical character recognition) software engineers rock. Maybe the state should go and hire some guys who dropped out after their third year and the AI class... Rather than the 'astute' coders.

Then they should hire somebody to unfuck the database that sends Car A a ticket to Person B registered to Blondie C

Taylor said...

I work at KPD Tammy. All those tickets are reviewed by actual police officers, but they review like 2000 incidents a month, and theres only 2 guys doing it.

Honestly, someone probably had a hard time reading the tag or made a typo. It sucks that it happened, and I wish I could help, but youll still have to go before a judge. when they see it isnt even your car itll get tossed out for sure.

I know thats not any help, but its not something that can be fixed.

And as far as I know, the city dosent make much money at all on red light camera tickets. Something like $30 of the ticket goes to the company that makes them to cover the cost of the camera, maintainence, and the server systems that run them. The $20 the city gets covers the cost of mailing you a ticket and the salaries of the officers who review it all. Its pretty much revenue neutral.

Tam said...

What kind of cheeses me off is that whoever reviewed that ticket got the license plate number in the photo right...

...but that's not my license plate number.

This cat could go running red lights all over town, and I'll get his tickets. Meanwhile, the vehicle in the photos is clearly not a convertible.

Countertop said...

Taylor -

I'm sure your a fine upstanding police officer, but your certainly not a mathematician. Frankly, and assuming your figures are correct, there is nothing revenue neutral about this at all.

Now, assuming its $50 a ticket ($30 + $20) and they give out 2,000 tickets a month (your number) that comes to $100,000. Multiply that by 12 months and you get $1.2 million of which $720,000 is going to the company providing the cameras to pay for "camera, maintainence, and the server systems that run them." And a healthy profit, of course! Not to mention some room there for a nice kick back to the Chief of Police or Mayor (yes, the gun banning bigot himself) or whoever else has their hands in the cookie jar).

For Knoxville of course, its a free $480,000 (lets call it an even half million) to pay the salaries of two cops who might better be utilized actually, ya know, chasing after bad guys. Can their salaries REALLY be $240,000 a year each??

If so, I'm gonna stop practicing law and move to Knoxville to become a red light monitoring cop!!!

Huch Phinn said...

$50??????

In CA the intersections are posted $271.

Oregon fines vary by jurisdiction. Beaverton's web site lists $336

I actually have the "honor" of having run a red light, being photographed, and, so far in 3 years, NOT getting the envelope.

7.62x54r said...

Typical gov't. It's stories like this that confirm my belief in anarchy.

staghounds said...

For what a prosecutor's comments are worth, I suggest you go to court. Take the stuff that came in the mail, your registration, and a picture that shows the back end of your car and you beside it. Wait til your name is called, show the judge tha stuff, and it will be dismissed.

Anonymous said...

This should be interesting. My understanding of the photo radar system here in Knoxville is that if you pay the ticket, it will cost 50 dollars. If you fight the ticket, there is a 65 dollar, non-refundable court cost fee, even if you win the case and have the charge dropped. Good luck!

Dave

Standard Mischief said...

Taylor said...
And as far as I know, the city dosent make much money at all on red light camera tickets. Something like $30 of the ticket goes to the company that makes them to cover the cost of the camera, maintainence, and the server systems that run them. The $20 the city gets covers the cost of mailing you a ticket and the salaries of the officers who review it all. Its pretty much revenue neutral.

Eh? Then why the fsck are they doing it? How can they make any money? Volume volume volume.

If they really are revenue neutral, then this is just the teaser rate. Proposals were floating around in Montgomery County Maryland to raise the fine to $250. Plus, you are discounting the benefit of having a flock of sheep-people already acclimated to the money-cameras. When the speeding money-cameras get trotted out, they will be accepted with just a bit of grumbling.

If it was really about safety, perhaps they would consider a one second grace period.

Here in the "free state" our state level critters passed the bill authorizing the cameras and then sat on it for a full year before the camera were rolled out. Had anyone raised a stink, they could backpedal before anyone got voted out of office. Good thing the fourth estate was on their toes. Not.

The money-cameras around here are made by Lockheed Martin. Their true to life slogan? We never forget who we're working for.

guilty said...

You're not guilty, are you?

So, what are you worried about?

Tam said...

[quote]So, what are you worried about?[/quote]

Who's worried?

I'm alternating between amused and annoyed.

Anonymous said...

"Honestly, someone probably had a hard time reading the tag or made a typo. It sucks that it happened, and I wish I could help, but youll still have to go before a judge. when they see it isnt even your car itll get tossed out for sure."


There's a lot of time and effort involved in going before a judge to get this dismissed. Too bad KPD won't reimburse Tam for the trouble of doing so.

Anonymous said...

Tam's going to spend a minimum 1/2 day sitting in court downtown waiting for her case to be called, based on my experience. And then she'll have to drive all the way back to West K-Ville for work.

That's 10% of the work week gone. And who from KPD will have to waste their time appearing in court on these robo-cam citations?

When an officer writes a cite, he/she has to appear in court if the citizen chooses to fight it. The system has some semblance of self-regulation in this respect.

Anonymous said...

The old tire and three bucks worth of gas is beginning to sound like a "reasonable" response.

Anonymous said...

Now that you have heard the rumors here is a little advice that might help. If the information is yours and the picture is not you there was probably a miskey at the DMV when you got the license plate. It happens. Contact the local Redflex office and let them know there was a mistake and show them your registration with the correct license plate number on it. They will take your citation and have the officers review the information a little more indepth. If you do this there will not have to be a court date and they can clear up the matter immediately. As for going to court the court costs only appear if you lose the case. All of this advice is useful to anyone whether they blog or not. All they have to do is call and advise there was a mistake.