The first thing I want to say about these to be crystal clear — these aren’t about anything but revenue. The revenue is for the owners of the camera and for the towns/states/municipalities that use them. This revenue is no small amount; we are talking multiple millions per year.
If that wasn’t the case, the municipalities that use these cameras would care if there was an actual violation and who actually committed it. But they don’t, pure and simple. They just want the vehicle owner to pay the fine. They just want the money.
Most times you will not win, if you try, as they assume guilt. Hey, they have the picture, right? And even if the camera is broken, you are still guilty. And even if you were in Iraq or on the moon, your car was the one we have on camera and you are guilty.
In my opinion, and everything I write is my opinion, I think that stinks. Why? Because I often let others use my personal and company vehicles. I often leave my keys in case someone needs to use my vehicle, or move it, etc. Sure I expect them to drive it gently, and to obey the law. I believe most times they do.
Annoying Example One:
There is a seemingly new interpretation regarding the red light cameras in many states. I guess their revenues weren’t as high as they expected. It seems now, that if your tire touches the white line – you are guilty of running a red light and they are sending tickets for same*. If your car stopped, but if your tire went over the white line you can and most likely will be found guilty of this violation at any traffic signal equipped with these cameras. My advice then, based on that is run the damn light and get the ticket legitimately. The hell with safety, and doing what’s right by trying to stop – if you are going to get the ticket anyway, and have to pay the fine, with little to no hope of contesting it and it’s “just that close” run the damn light.
You see I believe people aught to be commended for trying to stop, whether last minute or not, and even if they crossed the line. The fact their tire touched the line should not matter, heck they stopped. To give a person a ticket for this is just plain ridiculous!
These camera’s and then by association the municipalities that use them, do not care that the conditions are slick, that you did your best to follow the law, that your view of the light was blocked until the truck in front of you moved, they only want to get you for the dollars. And even if all that happened to you, if your tire touched the line – they only see that and you are guilty.
*This never happened to me but I think its plain wrong.
Annoying Example Two:
Speed limits are reduced in Safety Zones, and of course you are expected to comply.
This one is especially annoying to me. I was in Las Vegas for the last Indy Car race of the season (the one in which Dan Wheldon was killed) when someone drove my car through one of these zones in Maryland. Of course, I got the ticket. It wasn’t huge, only $40.00 (and I’ll be happy to shell that out) but when I pay it, even though I wasn’t within 2000 miles of the State of Maryland, I am guilty of doing this. They didn’t say the CAR was guilty of this. I am guilty of this because by paying them, I am admitting guilt. How is that right or fair? And since I know it’s annoying impossible to win in these cases, I just have to suck it up and pay it. I don’t mind the money, I do mind being falsely accused and deemed guilty when I am obviously not. The rule they use clearly states that the registered owner of the vehicle is the per se violator, regardless of who the operator actually is. Your vehicle, you’re guilty.
But I tried anyway! I sent them a letter. They didn’t follow their own directive to send it to the District Court for adjudication – per the paperwork they gave me. They just sent me a letter saying that residents of other states are subject to their laws. Where that came from I don’t have a clue. No one asked to be excused because they live in another state. I was saying I wasn’t in Maryland at the time of the violation and since I can’t drive on their roads when I am not in their state…. I wasn’t the driver of this vehicle, and I don’t know who was. Yes, I swore and affirmed it – basically I guess they didn’t accept it. But it’s true. Again I need to remember– that the registered owner of the vehicle is the per se violator, regardless of who was the operator.
I am being advised to stop letting it annoy me and to just pay it. But I am thinking… maybe I just got someone who doesn’t understand English well, or who hadn’t a clue what I was saying in that sworn, affirmed letter I sent via Certified Return Receipt Requested mail for $5.59. And even though they require you to send it that way, they don’t follow through on their end to actually read and comprehend it. How is that right or fair?
I would be so much happier, if they just said, “Even if you weren’t the driver of this vehicle, we really only want the $40.00. State on your check that you weren’t the driver and enclose your check.” Instead they say, by paying you are admitting guilt. And that really hurts.
So what am I going to do now? I am going to let someone else pay it and admit my guilt. It just feels better to me to do it that way. Hey, they still get their money, and it’s really all about the money.
There is really is only one thing to say. Expect it to get worse. You are now guilty if you pay the fine for someone else’s error or own the vehicle they committed it in. You are going to be nickel and dimed to death because the municipalities need the money. The next scheme to help part you from your hard earned cash is just around the corner. Is it any wonder people have had enough already? What happened to innocent until proven guilty?