Monday, June 04, 2007

Red Light Camera, Part Deux.

In which the photo enforcement saga continues...

Predictably, the Law'N'Order contingent has chimed in with responses like "You broke the law and were dumb enough to get caught by a MACHINE!", so let's examine the state's evidence against the defendant, hm'kay?

Exhibit 1: The Citation.

It lays it out nice and neat: The person cited, her address, the location and time of the crime, her vehicle and its license number. It's all right there in black and white:

Exhibit 2: The Damning Photo.

Well, there it is, timestamped and everything: A photo of license plate number XX2KXX tooling through the red light at the time cited. Slam dunk, right? Wait, that doesn't look like a BMW; maybe she craftily switched her plate to another vehicle to carry out her nefarious red light running scheme!

Exhibit 3: The Defendant's Current Getaway Car.

A-ha! There's her escape vehicle! Only... wait... is that a two or a three?

Better have her waste a day in court without recompense! Only a judge with the wisdom of Solomon could dig to the bottom of this one!


Anonymous said...

Tam- I'm sorry you're having to deal with the BS that comes from paying for someone else's error.

You are obviously in the right. Your photos have certainly been the coup de grace, counselor. Now, unfortunately, you will end up getting to show your evidence in court just to stop the slow wheels of BS you are caught in.

If there was anything I could do to help, I'd offer.

shooter said...

Is that what I think it is on the back of your car? A *GASP* Sverige sticker? Could it be possible that this blond, tall vixen is Swedish, too? Well, dress me up and call me Sally! I knew there was a reason I visit this blog daily!

Anonymous said...

Man, that sucks. I guess you'll have to pay the fine. Or you'll lose your license!

Anonymous said...

The state should have to pay for your lost time, after you are found not guilty.

Anonymous said...

Just wrestled the local bureaucracy into submission for a friend's toll violation; here they mail citations for running a toll plaza. Friend's car was cited, etc. Car had valid electronic toll gizmo, but failed to read on one trip through the toll lane. They looked at the violation photo, misread the tag, looked it up, that tag didn't have a valid gizmo registered to it, so they mailed the ticket. Yep - they were one character off on the tag number. When they were finally convinced they read & typed the tag number wrong they apologized and dumped the ticket.

Y'know, you'd think someone would figure out blind double entry to minimize the human errors.....

Tam - when the dust settles it would be interesting to know what percentage of the Knoxville red light citations are issued on the basis of erroneous tag numbers.

Anonymous said...

It's entirely possible that the DMV database is wrong. I had a situation in Nebraska where they sent my new Ham plates misspelled. When I went in to get it corrected they told me that was what was in their database. The plates I had been using for the last year didn't even exist to them.

Anonymous said...

"Car had valid electronic toll gizmo, but failed to read on one trip through the toll lane."

Talk about a labor saving device. The authorities know longer even have to say "Paper, please!"

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, you can also have this disputed through the mail without actually having to go to court. Should be outlined on the back of the citation.

I can't wait to hear how this further plays out.

Bonnie said...

That's the dumbest mistake I've ever seen, so of course it must belong to the government.

Good luck, Tam. It just totally sucks that you have to deal with this.

Tam said...

What's funny is that I have never, in almost 22 years of driving, ever owned a pickup. Or SUV. Or minivan. Or wagon.

Heck, I've only owned two four-doors in that time. That is so not my vehicle.

But instead of some public servant reading this and calling me on the phone with a "Whoops! We screwed up! Sorry!", I will have to go downtown and perform my obeisances in an orgy of forelock tugging, curtsying, and groveling, and beg my betters to please let me go about my business unmolested...

"You say you want a revo-lu-tion..."

taylor said...


I did some digging for you. You can mail it in without paying by assigning blame to another driver. Where ever you fill out the other driver's info, simply put that the tag shown in the photo is wrong, as it is the wrong tag number and not even your car. Also, enclose photocopies of the citation (not original...keep that)

I dont know the exact procedure for assigning blame to another driver, but if you call the municipal court clerk they could tell you. 215-4311

Done, no court time or hassel! Just keep it simple when you call. We public officals are easily confused!!

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, do you get points for a red light violation there, or just a fine?

taylor said...

Its just a points since it is impossible to prove who was the driver at the time of the incident.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. Courts are not all that good at figuring out truth.

I submitted cancelled checks to prove I paid my child support. The Judge didn't care. Neither did the prosecutor. The Fix was In!

7.62x54r said...

What good is a game with no points!?!?

Look at the bright side, maybe you can share a cell with Paris!

staghounds said...

Not "better to waste". You have to waste the time. Only a judge has the authority to dismiss it.

(I'm assuming this is a city offense, and the officers prosecute their own cases.)

This is such an obvious mistake that a civil lawyer might well advise you to make a claim or sue for damages. The problem is, your damages may not be worth the trouble.

Tam said...


"Done, no court time or hassel! Just keep it simple when you call. We public officals are easily confused!!"

A sincere Thank You for your generous help and gentle wit. :)


Anonymous said...

RE: David's comment on DMV database error - I had a conversation once with the head of records for my state's DMV in which he admitted, in public and in front of witnesses, that their data error rate was "in double digits." I mentioned that covered the range from 10% to 99% and could he narrow it down some.

He could not.

My agency has since obtained a local copy of that database for verification of citation info, and, while it's easy to pick out typos on local street names that I'm familiar with, I don't have a way to determine correct spelling of names. I think, though, that not too many people spell "Murphy" with a "X"...... When challenged on the street, Mr. Muxphy would usually respond with "I'm not going to stand in line for three hours to fix that." Quite understandable.

I would suspect that any organization that depends on humans for manual data input will have the default 8%-13% keystroke error rate, and some outfits may have close to twice that.

Anonymous said...

According to data in our industry, the error rate of manual keystroke entry of any data, from a highly skilled operator, is 1 in 300. That's one in every 300 KEYSTROKES, not words or files. That's an error every couple of sentences. It also works out to one error in an entry this long. (Just over 300 keystrokes).

staghounds said...

My comment was meant to have an additional paragraph:

Although the out of court appeal process may work correctly, I wouldn't bet on it given the original problem. If by some mischance the clerk (or whatever) who decides that tha charge against you is without merit fails to correctly do his work, your case could remain on the docket. Then, if you aren't there, a failure to appear warrant is taken out and your real fun begins. Probably the first you'd know about it was finding out, after being pulled over, that your license had been revoked because the Knoxville court reported your absence to the DOS.

I do this for a living. If it were me, no matter what a voice on the telephone or a letter from some clerk said, I'd go to court. Think of it as a double tap, to MAKE SURE.

Tam said...

You're probably right, there. (I had nearly that exact set of circumstances happen to me once.)

Plus, I don't want the driver of that Toyota getting pulled over and proned out for an FTA. ;)

Anonymous said...

State of California suspended my husband's license, and they could not even blame computer error. They wrote the ticket for driving without a license (thus no ID) and then took his word completely as to who he was and did not follow up at all by mailing a notice to him. (He had been given the ticket in person after all. It is not our fault he was not the actual person we cited.)

To give you some idea of how easy this would be to cross check. The person receiving the citation was 5'6" brown hair and eyes and Hispanic. The person who's license was suspended due to this citation is 6'2" red hair, blue eyes and needless to say has the super pale skin and freckles of a red head.

Anonymous said...

Red light cameras here in GSO, NC were shut down by the courts, but while they were operating, there was a huge increase in rear end collisions at RL camera intersections.
And, if a funeral procession, under police escort went thru a RL camera intersection while the light was red, photos were taken and tickets mailed out. One had to go to the police station, get a certificate from the escorting officer that, indeed, there had been an escort on that date and place, then attend a hearing to seek the refund of your money since, of course, the fine had to be paid first. Frigging MORONS.

Anonymous said...

Matt G said...

"Plus, I don't want the driver of that Toyota getting pulled over and proned out for an FTA. ;)"

Uh... we usually don't do it that way, for standard FTA warrants, Tamara. Not unless his hat is of the brand name "Ass." (Ask for it by name!)

Tam said...

Yeah, but "proned out" creates a much funnier visual...

...especially considering that this clown is at least partially responsible for my current situation.

Anonymous said...

Here's a stumper - anyone got advice for me?

I received a letter from Ohio lawyers saying they're "attempting to collect a debt." They say it's "regarding your account with City of Knoxville Camera Violation."

The debt is $117, and they claim I have 30 days to dispute it. I just need to write them, they say.

What is this? I never received a citation.

What's weird is I just moved to town and have Florida plates.

How would they know my Tennessee address to mail this collection letter to?

Should I:

1. Write them and dispute it (and ask what it is);

2. Contact the Knoxville PD and ask what's going on;

3. Toss the sucker as a possible scam.

You will not be held legally responsible for your advice LOL ;-P

rlcsadmin said...

These cameras have been cropping up everywhere as towns deal with revenue issues due to recession. I got one and some of my friends got tickets too. It is hard for human beings to conform to the allowed error rate by the camera robot overlords.
Anyway, I created a site to add comments regarding this: