Photo Radar Complaint Condensed Summary
Want more details? See the full summary with all of the details here.
The reasons to oppose photo enforcement are numerous and compelling, so we've prepared a summary of ALL reasons why photo enforcement should be strictly prohibited in the United States. The reasons include:
- Fairness and Equality
- Equipment Reliability and Limitations
- Machines Not Capable of Judgment
- Safety Non-Crisis
- Profit, Not Safety
- Constitutionality and Privacy Concerns
Fairness and Equality
Only a small percentage of drivers are eligible to receive a properly served citation. Everyone else is exempt or highly unlikely to be served with a citation. The following list shows classifications of drivers (some legal, some not) who cannot be identified/cited or who face a greatly reduced probability of receiving a citation or being convicted:
- People with out of state (or country) plates
- People driving commercial vehicles
- People driving rental cars
- People wearing masks
- People covering their face
- People who turn or tilt their head away from the camera
- Cars with temporary plates
- Cars with missing plates
- Cars with plate covers
- Cars with missing plates
- Cars with dirty plates
- People with inaccurate address on vehicle or license registration
- Trucks operating with the tailgate down
- Trucks with trailer hitches that block the plate
- Vehicles towing trailers or boats
- Vehicles with rear-mounted wheel chairs or bike racks
- Vehicles committing violation with larger vehicle in the line-of-sight to the camera
- Identical twins
- Illegal aliens
Equipment Malfunctions and Limitations
Cameras have another limitation: they cannot actually stop any crimes from being committed.
The cameras are highly prone to malfunction and becoming mis-calibrated
Malfunctioning equipment and erroneous tickets are issued by the hundreds and thousands and are an undue burden on the innocent.
By the time a person is properly cited for a violation, it may no longer be possible to analyze the "crime scene" for the purposes of establishing a defense. Signs may have changed, mobile units are no longer in the same place, etc.
By the time a person is properly cited for a violation, many weeks or months have passes and the accused are no longer able to remember specifics about the event in question, and are thus unable to establish a defense.
Judges are trained by the equipment vendors and are biased against violators. Many people who fight their tickets report being railroaded - judges will not even consider that it is possible for a machine to be inaccurate or malfunction.
Multiple violations may be issued for the same offense. If you drive past several cameras doing the same speed - OR - if you drive past a camera and get a ticket and moments later get pulled over by a peace officer, you are cited for two (or more) violations for the same offense. Reports show that judges are not consistently dismissing the "duplicate" charges.
Machines Not Capable of Judgments
A violation of ARS 28-701 requires a judgment call, and the camera equipment is not capable of doing this. In addition to instances where exceeding the limit may be justified, cameras cannot adjust their enforcement criteria when conditions warrant a much slower speed than posted (i.e., active rain or snow) and cannot issue citations to vehicles traveling slower than reasonable and prudent.
Safety Non-Crisis (Revenue, not Safety)
Speeding is not the crisis that it is made out to be by photo equipment manufacturers and government officials. By most measures, our roads are VERY safe! These draconian measures are not called for.
Speed is not the only thing that causes accidents. On the contrary, speed is usually only a contributing factor to an accident. Cameras do nothing to address the true causes of accidents.
If the motive was safety, the specific need for safety improvement would be identified, solutions evaluated, and then a particular solution implemented. In reality, camera programs are approved and purchased, and THEN it is decided where to put them.
Privacy and Constitutionality
The tracking of the daily movements of all citizens regardless of guilt or suspicion without court order should concern everyone - even the honest and innocent.
State Constitution 14th Amendment: "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." Part of this clause includes an analysis of the risk of erroneous deprivation of life, liberty, or property as a result of this law. This can happen in districts where eligibility or possession of a driver's license may be affected by a conviction and in all cases where the risk of deprivation of property in the form of cash paid for a fine is the result of an erroneous citation.
- Lack of government monitoring and oversight of the operation of the photo equipment can lead to abuse of power by a private company with profit motives on behalf of the government which may lead to mass erroneous deprivation of life, liberty, and property.
- The accused are not being provided with the opportunity to cross examine or subpoena all camera equipment operators, anyone who handled the evidence, and the officer who issued the citation. The accused are not being provided with the opportunity to examine the design and operation of the equipment itself. This is an explicit violation of due process because the accused clearly do not have a fair opportunity to affect the outcome of their trial if they cannot question key personnel and witnesses who are responsible for the very charges they face.
Arizona Constitution: Equal Protection Clause: The Arizona Constitution's equal protection clause is also violated by photo enforcement's inability to pursue drivers whose vehicles are registered to corporations. Corporations cannot be legally served, so vehicles registered to corporations are automatically exempt.
Arizona Constitution: Equal Protection Clause: The penalties for the same crime are different based on whether one is cited by a machine or by a peace officer. On Jan 28, 2009, it was published that one Maricopa County justice of the peace agrees and is throwing out tickets for this reason.
US Constitution, 6th Amendment: Right to a speedy indictment. Part of the test for compliance with this amendment is a measure of the degree of prejudice to the defendant which a delay causes. Since photo citations are received after 7 days (at best) and at worst 180 days, this causes extreme prejudice against the accused.
Illegal establishment of "de facto" speed limit. Arizona Department of Transportation established speed limits are usurped by DPS' widely published policy of enforcing only violations in excess of 11 mph over the posted speed limit. This effectively establishes +11mph as the legal limit and undermines the limits established by ADOT.
Benjamin Franklin said it best when he stated, "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither." Another famous piece of wisdom says, "if you give an inch, they will take a mile." There are more than enough arguments on this page to justify the elimination of camera enforcement in Arizona and nationwide. Now it is up to the citizens of this great country to take this information and act upon it. Bring those cameras down!
Other Reasons & Examples
For those of you who are still skeptical, put yourself into these stories and see how you would feel if you were a victim of these illegal and unethical practices:
Think you've dodged that photo radar ticket?
Beware of "alternate service." This unfair practice could lead do you being convicted of charges without ever being notified, as one unlucky citizen discovered.Feb 5, 2009 AzFamily.com - Article