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Running a Red-light, Stop sign, Speeding - CLICK!

We've got your picture...

Red-light running, speeding, rail crossing violations, and toll violations each contribute to the needless carnage on our roads. In response to these problems, many jurisdictions have begun using automated law enforcement technology to identify and prosecute violators. In use worldwide (45+ countries) for over forty years, red-light, speed, rail crossing, and toll cameras are finding a place in many US cities.

Who Supports Photo Enforcement?

As mentioned, many jurisdictions around the world are using photo enforcement to enforce traffic laws. The technology, however has only recently seen any growth in the U.S.  For the past ten years many jurisdictions have tested various types of photo-enforcement with somewhat mixed results. Even though the technology is becoming more stable, accurate, and cost effective, many jurisdictions unsure of local reactions have chosen to run pilot programs. This is primarily due to political insecurity and has subsequently resulted in the slower growth of this technology since the demand is still relatively low, but growing.

Some Folks Don't Like It

[Driver Mooning] Of course, not everyone likes this technology. For example, Chris Longhurst has created the definitive work on photo radar from a citizens point of view. His Speed-trap Bible is a great source for those interested in speed enforcement. For those of us who think we see a camera behind every tree, Mr. Longhurst also keeps us abreast of devices out there that are NOT photo-enforcement equipment..

Detecting and Hiding - Trying to Beat the System

An Australian company, RDS, has some good information on photo-radar use in Australia. RDS stands for Radar Detection Systems. This should give you some clue as to their point of view. There are many who see photo-enforcement a business opportunity and want to profit from trying to defeat this technology. Another company Crutchfield - offers drivers, "The freedom to relax and drive with confidence."

Of course radar detectors have been for sale for some time, but new products have been designed and are being sold to prevent cameras from recording a license plate. One is called Flashbuster. The maker claims that this product will cause the plate to be unreadable. Another vendor advertises that their , "ELIMINATOR is ... effective against photo-radar, both day and night, and is completely legal. " ( although, this is rarely the case) Another company even offers a warranty, "If Big Brother can successfully take a readable picture of your license plate within 60 days of purchase, we will refund your purchase price!"

Do these devices really work? Are they really legal? In most countries and states these devices ARE ILLEGAL!

Is your community ready for photo-enforcement?
Consider the following:

For any public safety program to succeed it must have the approval and support of the citizenry. The following are a few of the ways communities may get the citizenry positively involved prior to installing a photo enforcement system.

1. Photo Enforcement Warning Signs

Signage informing citizens about the use of photo-enforcement may be placed at the jurisdictions' discretion or may be mandated by law. Signs may be placed at every location or at major entrances to a jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions - e.g. New York City - have chosen to maintain a stealth program where no signage is used.

2. Public Awareness Campaign

The objective of a public awareness campaign is to ensure that no one receives a notice without being forewarned. This strategy can outline the community education program designed as an on-going dialogue with community organizations, neighborhood associations, and schools. This strategy might also include a detailed plan consisting of a time-line, schedule of events and appearances, list of organizations and groups, and proposed community education strategy.

3. Press Conference and Equipment Demonstration

If desired, a major kick-off event designed to educate the community about the objective of the program as a means to improve traffic safety can be scheduled. The press conference could feature local and state officials, supportive residents and community leaders as proponents of the program.

4. Police Department and State Personnel Familiarization Training

Just as it is critical for the public to be informed about the implementation of a new photo-enforcement program in their community, local law enforcement and jurisdiction personnel must be provided with the information necessary for adequate support and administration of the program. Training sessions should be scheduled for all key personnel within the jurisdiction's operational structure.

Get the Picture?

Violations of traffic laws result in the needless death of thousands of individuals and the injury of many more each year. Many of the deaths and injuries would not have occurred if drivers had obeyed the existing traffic laws. For over forty years jurisdictions around the world have successfully used photo-enforcement to reduce the violent death and injuries caused by these violations.

Enforcement of red-light, rail, speed, and toll laws through the uses of photo-technology is a practical and cost effective method to reduce traffic accidents. Current technology includes both wet film and digital systems which may be deployed with knowledge that public support for stronger enforcement is strong in most jurisdictions.

These systems serve as a highly visible reminder to the public of a lesson each individual learns in childhood: Red means stop!


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