• ETC
  • Aug 26, 2014

The goal of speed cameras should be to improve safety and change driver behavior, not to make motorists feel like they're being ripped off.

A speed-camera program in one Long Island county issued almost 40,000 tickets over the past month. They're all being expunged.

A malfunction with the cameras caused them to cite motorists who didn't deserve the citations, according to Edward Mangano, Nassau County's top executive. As a result, the county plans to dismiss more than $2.4-million worth of tickets. Motorists who already have paid their citations will receive refunds.

"I don't have a high confidence level that the cameras were operating at statutory levels," Mangano tells Newsday. "So we are declaring amnesty with all tickets issued this summer."

Six cameras responsible for the improper citations are located in school zones. Problems arose because the speed limit changes between 25 miles per hour and 40 mph, depending on whether the schools are in session. In some cases, motorists simply were not aware summer school was in session. In others, the cameras recorded violations at incorrect times.
Doreen Delatch of Bethpage, NY, told WABC-TV she received 11 tickets from the cameras, and that they all arrived in her mailbox on the same day earlier this month. Until then, she had no idea the speed cameras even existed.

That's not how speed-camera enforcement should work, according to Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. He told Autoblog they should be well-marked and well publicized. The goal of speed cameras should be to improve safety and change driver behavior, not to make motorists feel like they're being ripped off.

American Traffic Solutions, the company that operates the county's speed cameras, will receive 38 percent of all fines and penalties collected.

Nassau County's program is expected to generate $25 million in revenue on an annual basis, according to Newsday. Local municipalities will receive a share of that revenue for citations issued within their borders. American Traffic Solutions, the company that operates the county's speed cameras, will receive 38 percent of all fines and penalties collected.

These problems on Long Island are the latest in a string of recent glitches for traffic-enforcement cameras. Last week, New Jersey dismissed approximately 17,000 alleged infractions because a glitch in the system never informed the motorists of pending violations.

Last month, the Chicago Tribune revealed dozens of anomalies in the number of tickets generated by individual cameras throughout the city that occurred at seemingly random times. The unexplained spikes resulted in thousands of undeserved $100 tickets. They city had fought to withhold the public data from reporters who discovered the anomalies.

And last week, the ex-CEO of RedFlex, the company that ran Chicago's red-light cameras, was indicted on federal corruption charges. Prosecutors allege Karen Finley bribed a city transportation official who swayed approximately $124 million in contracts toward the company.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      knightrider_6
      • 3 Months Ago

      American Traffic Solutions, the company that operates the county's speed cameras, will receive 38 percent of all fines and penalties collected.

      That's your problem right there. As long as these companies get a percentage of fines, they have a vested interest in encouraging issuing more tickets - whether it's faulty software or poor configuration.
      akitadog
      • 3 Months Ago

      Whenever the profit-making motivation is employed for government services, like with traffic/speed camera vendors, this kind of cash grab ALWAYS happens. When there is a chance that the rules of the road are a bit unclear, as is the case here, the vendor decides to just grab as much money as they can, and hope that they get to keep it. It didn't work for ATS this time, but you KNOW they're just trying to figure out the next loophole or gray area to exploit. They'd rather ask forgiveness than ask permission.

      Floyd Wilson
      • 3 Months Ago

      Speed cameras are an unconstitutional shift of law enforcement to private for profit corporations. The only purpose they serve is enriching the corporation. 

      Joe K
      • 3 Months Ago

      Unfortunately the way we are advised to tell if school is in session is if the flag is on the pole. By the time you get to see the flag on the pole, its too late.

      ray5240
      • 3 Months Ago

      I wasn't aware we had any/many speed cameras in the US.  If ever there was a case of needing some civil disobedience to destroy government property, it is speed cameras.  I'm not sure why, but the idea of speed cameras just royally piss me off.  And I try not to speed!  

      stephen
      • 3 Months Ago

      There big money making idea to get money FAST ,because New York State is bankrupt along with the REST of the U.S.A. & not to mention 80% of the world! "it is GREED!" "GREED & SPEED is going to Do this Planet in !"

      DKano
      • 3 Months Ago

      They just installed on my street (school zone) and the speed limit is 15mph so I'm sure once they start issuing tickets next week they'll make thousands every week just on that one camera!

      denniskfc
      • 3 Months Ago

      i will support speed camera in school zone if 90% of the money goes back into the county school system, minus the 10% in expense to maintain the cameras and admin cost.

      davegyza
      • 3 Months Ago

      Once vehicular travel is fully automated, what are the odds that law enforcement will be looking for new revenue sources to make us safer from ourselves?

        b.rn
        • 3 Months Ago
        @davegyza

        It's rarely law enforcement that seeks these types of things. Typically, LE is acting under the direction of the City Council, who is responding to citizen complaints (usually a vocal minority).

      superlightv12
      • 3 Months Ago

      Let's all get together and vote out those that support this type of activity. Politicians look at the public as a source of cash. Vote them out at all levels. Vote out those that sell public roads to private companies. If you're ok with that, would you mind it if your city put a meter at the end of your driveway so that you pay a fee to use the street? I find it to be sad that people are all for this type of thing. Research has  shown that adding 15 seconds to a yellow light would decrease collisions at intersections more than cameras do. But, lights don't collect revenue, do they?

        b.rn
        • 3 Months Ago
        @superlightv12

        15 seconds to a yellow light?  That's an eternity.  People would become accustomed to it and start treating yellow as if it were green.

          Leather Bear
          • 3 Months Ago
          @b.rn

          I suspect that "15" seconds was supposed to be "1.5" seconds.

      ajk724
      • 3 Months Ago

      A law is a law.  Break it and you should be punished.  Just because a pig doesn't see it in person doesn't make it any less of a law.  

        b.rn
        • 3 Months Ago
        @ajk724

        But the camera doesn't punish the lawbreaker.  It punishes the registered owner.

        akitadog
        • 3 Months Ago
        @ajk724

        You are the scariest type of citizen/subject. One who cares more for the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. You don't even care whether a law is just, only that "it's the law." I bet you also believe that "if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear."

        I bet you're comforted by the fact that you live your life as black-and-white. It's just so much EASIER to not have to consider nuances (i.e., employ critical thinking), isn't it?

          Michael
          • 3 Months Ago
          @akitadog

          @akitadog

          If you really want to talk about the spirit of the law - ok let's do just that. The spirit of the law is about kids safety around school zones when school is in session. What I'm reading in a lot of these replies is that you don't care about kids safety - it's all about you getting to the mall to take advantage of the super sale going on (or whatever). How are you all going to react when that kid gets hit and/or killed because you all think it's ok to ignore the speed limit. I hear a lot about the camera/ticketing generating a lot of money for the town. But what about the flip side. What about the money the town will cough up when that kids parents sue because the town doesn't enforce the speed limits.

        Chris123NT
        • 3 Months Ago
        @ajk724
        You would fit right in with 1939 Germany.  Turn in the Jews to the SS, because it's the LAW.

        Very scary to just blindly play follow the leader don't you think?
      robotics223
      • 1 Month Ago

      My strategy for these speed zones is to put on the flashers, get right in the center of the lane, so nobody can pass, and slow down to less than 5 mph (brisk walking speed). By the time I travel the length of the speed zone, I can't even see the end of the line of cars behind me in the rearview mirrors. They want pictures? Let them take movies of that and choke on them, I hope.

    • Load More Comments