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Pro Publica: Racist Radar Robocop Cameras Keep Noticing Blacks Speeding
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From Slate:

The American Addiction to Speeding

How we became obsessed with driving fast, no matter the cost.
BY HENRY GRABAR
DEC 15, 2021

… Unlike drunk and distracted driving—the two other great causes of death on the road—speeding can be easily patrolled by machine.

In Europe, speed cameras are ubiquitous and so familiar that “radar” is a readily available Halloween costume for French children. In France and other European countries, it’s almost unheard of to be pulled over by a flashing-lights police cruiser going 85 mph. Instead, roads are lined with radar-enabled cameras that distribute tickets by mail. Speed cameras are a part of the reason Europe’s roads are now much safer than America’s; a 2010 literature review found crashes resulting in death or serious injury fell between 17 and 58 percent where cameras were installed. And because speeding is more rigorously enforced, penalties are smaller than in the United States, where a speeding ticket can set you back hundreds of dollars. …

Some civil rights advocates oppose automated enforcement on the grounds that even race-blind cameras are used to scale up America’s traditions of revenue-driven and racist policing. … Still, the prospect of a well-run speed camera program is enticing for city residents who have watched their neighbors die in both collisions with speeding cars and encounters with police. As the activist Darrell Owens, who successfully pushed Berkeley, California, to remove the police role in traffic enforcement, put it recently, “No one’s ever been shot by a traffic camera.”

Generally speaking, Americans find speed cameras unsporting. Like Hunter S. Thompson on the way back to L.A. at three digits MPH, they figure they deserve a chance to talk their way out of a speeding ticket. In contrast, robots are racist. From Pro Publica:

Chicago’s “Race-Neutral” Traffic Cameras Ticket Black and Latino Drivers the Most

A ProPublica analysis found that traffic cameras in Chicago disproportionately ticket Black and Latino motorists. But city officials plan to stick with them — and other cities may adopt them too.

by Emily Hopkins and Melissa Sanchez
Jan. 11, 5 a.m. EST

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.

… But for all of their safety benefits, the hundreds of cameras that dot the city [of Chicago] — and generate tens of millions of dollars a year for City Hall — have come at a steep cost for motorists from the city’s Black and Latino neighborhoods. A ProPublica analysis of millions of citations found that households in majority Black and Hispanic ZIP codes received tickets at around twice the rate of those in white areas between 2015 and 2019.

The consequences have been especially punishing in Black neighborhoods, which have been hit with more than half a billion dollars in penalties over the last 15 years, contributing to thousands of vehicle impoundments, driver’s license suspensions and bankruptcies, according to ProPublica’s analysis.

“We felt the brunt of it the way white people didn’t,” said Olatunji Oboi Reed, a longtime activist for racial equity in transportation in Chicago who has received a handful of camera tickets over the years. “Fortunately, I’ve always been in a situation where I can survive financially, unlike many Black and brown people in the city; one ticket is throwing their whole finances in a hurricane.”

The coronavirus pandemic widened the ticketing disparities. Black and Latino workers have been far less likely than others to have jobs that allow them to work remotely, forcing them into their vehicles more often. In 2020, ProPublica found, the ticketing rate for households in majority-Black ZIP codes jumped to more than three times that of households in majority-white areas. For households in majority-Hispanic ZIP codes, there was an increase, but it was much smaller.

It’s almost as if the vaunted Racial Reckoning of 2020 encouraged an upsurge in black bad behavior, both with cars and with guns.

Similar racial and income disparities in camera ticketing have been documented elsewhere. In Rochester, New York, officials eliminated the city’s red-light camera program in 2016 in part because motorists from low-income neighborhoods received the most tickets and the financial harm outweighed any safety benefits. Miami ended its program in 2017 amid complaints from low-income residents who felt unfairly burdened by the fines. And in Washington, D.C., racial justice advocates are researching the city’s camera-ticketing program after a local think tank in 2018 and The Washington Post last year found that cameras in Black neighborhoods issued a disproportionate share of tickets there.

In general, the black-white bad driving gap isn’t anywhere near as huge as as the homicide gap — CDC data shows blacks die of homicide by firearm 14 times as often as whites and presumably the perpetration ratio is even worse.

But the racial reckoning is causing cutbacks for everybody in traffic safety enforcement, whether by human police or by radar robocops.

 
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  1. Are there ANY laws the urban underclass will try to follow?

    • LOL: the grand wazoo
    • Replies: @Squid
    , @Kronos
  2. El Dato says:

    a local think tank in 2018 and The Washington Post last year found that cameras in Black neighborhoods issued a disproportionate share of tickets there

    That’s some hardcore sleuthing. You could probably not find retired Nazi doctors in Argentina with dat skill, but it’s a start.

    • Agree: Polistra
  3. The legal problem here is that of who was driving the vehicle at time of camera ticket. Until a system of requiring car owners/drivers/car manufacturers to document electronically who is actually driving the vehicle at all times it is in motion on a public road, there’s frequently a way to make a camera ticket case implode in court.

  4. I’m wondering how many other people share my mixed feelings about speed cameras. I’m generally against, but I do see that they are objective and constantly at work, so I won’t dispute that they’ve brought accidents down. Still I am disturbed by the constant increase in surveillance of one sort or another over us all, and the proliferation of radars for speeding has occurred even as surveillance cameras in public and private places also multiply. I tend to be a cautious driver and am only rarely tempted to go faster than the posted limits, BUT I notice that I feel relief when I know I’ve left a radar-monitored zone and I don’t think it’s purely due to a bad conscience.

  5. Not only are the cameras raysiss, they vaporize blacks’ valid driver licenses and proof of insurance!

    • Thanks: Redneck farmer
    • Replies: @Anon
  6. OT, but just a little treat for the Unzitariat: Patti Smith, Bono and the Boss doing evil wypipo stuff, which will soon be illegal.

    Even pushing seventy and in a frumpy dinner jacket, Patti is still the sexiest woman alive. I’d get down with her in a heart-beat if she gave the say-so, just like I would have back when I was 14.

    I only got to see Patti perform live once, and she was so intense and outrageous that I actually had to leave the room because she was giving me a case of the vapors, and I had to go out into the lobby to catch my breath and recover from her insanity.

    Surprisingly (because he’s a frontman not a soloist) Bruce cuts The Edge on guitar. Go figure.

  7. Mike Tre says:

    The problem with attributing a higher rate of accidents to speeding is the same as the problem with assigning all deaths as the result of covid just because someone dies while “infected” with covid. It doesn’t tell the whole story. If I’m doing 75 in a 70 in the #2 lane and I rear end a car doing 60 because he suddenly changes lanes from the #3 with no signal, that’s going to be an accident attributed to speeding. That’s like a 75 year old with type 2 diabetes and is morbidly obese dying of covid.

    It seems to me that speeding by itself is not the problem. But speeding while:

    -following too close (tailgating)
    -not signaling lane changes
    -not checking mirrors and blind spots
    -passing on the right
    -distracted by eating, playing with the radio, looking at a cell phone
    -driving with bald tires, worn brakes, worn steering box, worn suspension/misaligned front end
    -impaired
    -the ever increasing number of licensed drivers who don’t speak English, can’t read, or otherwise shouldn’t qualify to drive on public roads

    Speeding is merely the easiest thing to identify, and requires the least amount of investigation.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  8. Arclight says:

    I feel like I read somewhere that speed cameras can contribute to an increase in fender bender accidents as drivers learn where they are and sometimes abruptly brake as they enter the camera zone from their previous well above legal speed limit. That was certainly the case some years back in my former neighborhood, and I was guilty of it myself.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  9. Mr Mox says:

    You could enforce the Finnish model, where speeding tickets follow your income:

    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/in-finland-speeding-tickets-are-linked-to-your-income/

    Of course this would probably lead to demands that The Less Privileged should be paid when speeding.

    • LOL: Gabe Ruth
  10. watson79 says:

    In my town, the city has slowly removed the cameras from black zip codes. Problem solved.

  11. EdwardM says:

    The obvious solution is to make the fines graduated based on income and/or race. A white shlub who has to sit in traffic 90 minutes each day to commute to his office-drone job: \$350. Olatunji Oboi Reed, who fortunately has always been in a situation where he can survive financially, 20 bucks. For someone living in Section 8 receiving welfare, the state pays you when you get flagged since your infraction was the result of oppression built on oppression.

    Since the cameras only catch the license plate and not the driver identity via facial recognition (so far), at least one doesn’t get a demerit on one’s driving record from these cameras. In Qatar and the UAE, speed cameras are ubiquitous, but here they do presume the owner of the driver was behind the wheel so he gets “points” unless he can demonstrate that he wasn’t driving. There is a cottage industry of locals hiring patsies to take the hit, while the owner pays the fine, in exchange for a small fee. For example, Ahmed will bring his Nepali gardener to the DMV. “See, my friend Khoroog here was driving my Ferrari at the time, again.”

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  12. ic1000 says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    > The legal problem here is that of who was driving the vehicle at time of camera ticket.

    Disagree. Reuters, among many others, has already solved much bigger problems.

    Five dead, 40 injured after SUV hits Wisconsin Christmas parade

    • Replies: @Sick 'n Tired
  13. As they say…drop a gear…and disappear!

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  14. Anonymous[904] • Disclaimer says:

    I agree speed and red light cameras disproportionately affect blacks and not solely because they are disproportionately the speeders.

    My impression is that in D.C. and P.G. County a large number of speed cameras are in black neighborhoods and/or along major routes where higher speeds are possible (e.g., North Capitol St. vs. MacArthur Bvld.).

    Apps like Wase tell you where the speed/red light cameras are so if you’re from out of town or not familiar with the area you are on alert and no doubt have slowed down well prior to the camera. I would guess a lot more white drivers than black drivers are using apps like Wase when driving through cities.

    If you live in the area you probably know where the cameras are but are not conscious of them and get nailed. Or see them or remember them last second and still get nailed.

    • Replies: @Ed
  15. Generally speaking, Americans find speed cameras unsporting Orwellian.

    … oh, and yeah, racist as all get out.

  16. @Arclight

    That’d be even more the case for the red light cameras, Arclight. I’ve also done it myself

    • Agree: Arclight
  17. Gamecock says:

    You have the right to confront your accuser in court.

    Get that damn camera off that pole and bring it to the courthouse.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Macumazahn
  18. Gamecock says:

    Much of Europe doesn’t have speed limits.

    And, 2., who gives a \$#|+ what they do in Europe?

    “Why can’t we be more like socialist Europe and have fewer rights?”

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Peter Akuleyev
  19. When it comes to being pulled over by human cops, “it’s the vehicle, stupid”. I’ve been pulled over so may times in the one, while I could drive my small pickup 10 mph faster and be left alone. On the side of the road, it’s the interaction with the cops that differentiates lots of the black drivers from others.

    One trooper in N. Dakota had me sit in his car while he tried to get his laptop to do something. He thought I was some computer whiz or something and asked me what to do when he got stuck. “Just power it off.” I told him. He was able to get it going to give me a warning.

    As for the automatic systems, they don’t account for conditions. There are places where it’s plenty safe to go 15 mph over the limit and stretches, maybe just 1/2 mile down the road, where it’s not. Then there’s weather and traffic.

    • Replies: @jamie b.
    , @Gamecock
  20. Generally speaking, Americans find speed cameras unsporting. Like Hunter S. Thompson on the way back to L.A. at three digits MPH, they figure they deserve a chance to talk their way out of a speeding ticket. In contrast, robots are racist.

    American car culture may be unique in the world.

    I think there’s also the fact that engineering has made cars much safer handling, quieter, and more comfortable at higher speeds, so 55MPH seems ridiculously slow in a modern car. Modern cars just don’t cruise well – you can’t float along in your Eldorado Brougham land yacht at 50MPH in the same way you used to be able to do fifty years ago.

  21. ic1000 says:

    > In Rochester, New York, officials eliminated the city’s red-light camera program in 2016 in part because motorists from low-income neighborhoods received the most tickets and the financial harm outweighed any safety benefits.

    My computer’s broken. The link that reporters Hopkins and Sanchez supplied for “the financial harm outweighed any safety benefits” didn’t work.

    But some think our attitude
    Should be one of gratitude
    Like the widows and cripples in old Rochester town
    Who owe their large insurance payouts to Mayor Lovely Warren and the City Council

    Tom Lehrer’s original did scan a bit better.

  22. But the racial reckoning is causing cutbacks for everybody in traffic safety enforcement,

    Good. Most speed limits are artificially and arbitrarily low for the sole purpose of raising revenue for the state. Most traffic “safety” laws are passed and enforced to rape citizens of more money, not safety. If it was about safety, the cops would write a whole lot more “driving to slow for conditions or driving in the left hand lane and impeding traffic” tickets. If it was about safety, we would not allow attention seeking idiots to ride bikes on roads with speed limits higher than 20 mph. If it was about safety, we would ban motorcycles.

    Traffic enforcement cameras have one sure solution, a suppressed 22 and a chinaflu mask.

    • Agree: Mike Tre
  23. possumman says:

    Well it’s not like they are driving their own cars or have insurance so why are they worried.

  24. Anon[258] • Disclaimer says:

    Speed cameras can’t help cops fortuitously apprehend criminals evading warrants, violating parole, driving around with illegal firearms, or driving a stolen car. Regular speeding stops are the rolling version of stop and frisk.

  25. SafeNow says:

    As a youth, a zillion years ago, I got a ticket for going 40 in a 30 zone. Well, I learned my lesson; it was my only lifetime moving violation. What is the mindset of the speeder, who chooses to speed rather than to take an extra few minutes for the drive? I can’t recall what my own irrational mindset was when I chose speeding rather than taking an extra few minutes.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  26. @Tono Bungay

    Speed and red light cameras about first and foremost about raising money. Many of the companies who install and maintain these systems get a cut of the revenue. One of them conspired with the city to reduce the length of the yellow light from 5 seconds to 3, which then meant that cars leaving the intersection at the end of the yellow light got a ticket for running a red light.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
    , @El Dato
  27. Rob says:

    I recall that cities with red-light cameras shortened the yellow lights to issue more tickets. I am sure that cities that have decided to fund city government off black crime would put 15 mph speed limits after 55 mph ones with no warning just to raise money.

    Funding cities from black fines is sort of poetic. Black misbehavior is why they don’t have other sources of revenue, white taxpayers having been driven to surrounding suburbs and counties.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  28. peterike says:

    If you can’t pay the fine, don’t do the crime.

  29. Barnard says:
    @Tono Bungay

    I am generally against. I doubt these speeders are paying the tickets or that it causes them to drive safer. In most cases, the legwork is subcontracted to a private company that keeps around half the ticket revenue anyway. It is an extra layer of surveillance with very little improvement in public safety.

  30. Woodsie says:

    I’ve racked up too many tix in NYC from both red light and speed cams. I have had to adjust my driving because at \$50 a pop, it gets expensive. Note also that recently the city dropped its city-wide speed limit to 25, slowing everything down on main arteries that were once 35 and 40, a big adjustment. But, to address the article, aren’t drivers from the black community also learning to obey these laws? Sure, it takes me another ten minutes to get to the highway, but I can’t afford paying an extra \$50 everytime I go somewhere, so I’ve slowed down and been more careful at the lights, no more “I can make it,” last one through moves. However, the real trick to these tickets, at least in NY, is that there are no points. So no matter how many you get, you never have your license suspended or your insurance premium go up. And here’s the rub: rich folk can speed and run lights all they want. If you are wealthy, an extra \$50 to buzz through town and save some time by being a little late on a light or going 10 miles over the speed limit (the camera ticket kicks in at 7 miles over) is not an impediment. So the rich get to speed and run lights. If there is an argument against them, it is not that non-whites get too many tickets, it’s that the wealthy have license to drive like hell.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  31. @Jim Bob Lassiter

    I dunno … the cameras that occasionally get me in Europe usually have a good shot of my face, but in any case I would imagine the liability sticks to the registrant of the vehicle. I knew two guys in one of our Private Equity teams who had identical Porsches, so they swapped cars and each claimed he was not the driver when the tickets came in, thinking they could avoid the wrap. The problem was that these were company cars, so management got tired of being stuck with the fines and could clearly see who was doing the driving, so these masters of the universe weren’t particularly bright and were eventually shown the door.

    • Replies: @Unit472
  32. Buffalo took down the school zone cameras because, well you know why. You got a warning or two by mail before you were issued a ticket. I got a warning on my way to volunteering at an inner city soup kitchen. My friend , a Buffalo resident, got his warning and then two tickets. He paid them after challenging them. The ONLY reason the cameras came down is disparate impact on minority drivers. Oh, my friend is a retired attorney, his valid legal challenges didn’t work but crying racism did.

  33. In Rochester, New York, officials eliminated the city’s red-light camera program in 2016 in part because motorists from low-income neighborhoods received the most tickets and the financial harm outweighed any safety benefits.

    Both the NY Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library eliminated overdue fines for library books last year because of their disproportionate impact on Blacks & Hispanics.

  34. Anon[310] • Disclaimer says:

    “It’s almost as if the vaunted Racial Reckoning of 2020 encouraged an upsurge in black bad behavior, both with cars and with guns.”

    https://econofact.org/what-drives-racial-differences-in-speeding-tickets

    “There is some evidence that minority drivers who are stopped and ticketed are driving faster than white drivers who are stopped and ticketed. But the speed difference is small relative to the difference in lenience across groups. In our analysis of all traffic citations issued in Florida for the years 2005-2015 we have information on the speed that the officer charged on the citation but we do not see the original speed of the stop. To address this concern, we leverage the fact that a significant share of officers never give drivers breaks and effectively use these officers as speedometers for the underlying distributions of stopped speeds. While Black and Hispanic drivers are stopped at slightly faster speeds than white drivers (roughly one MPH greater), this gap is not sufficient to explain the disparity in lenience. This fact leads us to conclude that a significant share of the gap in treatment is due to officer discrimination in lenience.”

    “In general, the black-white bad driving gap isn’t anywhere near as huge as as the homicide gap — CDC data shows blacks die of homicide by firearm 14 times as often as whites and presumably the perpetration ratio is even worse.”

    The majority of the gun deaths in the United States are not homicides but suicides, and white men account for 74 percent of them. More than 288,000 white males fatally shot themselves between 1999 and 2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Having access to a gun substantially increases the risk of death by suicide. In other words, if white men didn’t have so many guns, they would be much less likely to die.

  35. Squid says:
    @Redneck farmer

    Yes. The laws that are more trouble to break than obey.

  36. @kaganovitch

    “the Brooklyn Public Library eliminated overdue fines for library books last year because of their disproportionate impact on Blacks & Hispanics.”

    Oh, pull the other one. We both know who isn’t actually taking out any actual library books.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @kaganovitch
  37. @ic1000

    That story died off real quick, yet the wounds are still fresh when it comes to the Emmitt Till case.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  38. Alrenous says: • Website

    AI is not unfriendly. Humans are unfriendly and project this unfriendliness on the robots. The problem is hypocrisy: you can’t program hypocritically. No number of winks or nudges will make the code do anything but exactly what you told it to do. This means you either have to come right out and explicitly program it to let blacks off when they speed (pretty hard for speed cameras to even see inside the car from typical angles) or to let the robots cause disparate impact. Either way it’s heresy.

    You find this out from talking to your speed trap programmer for about five minutes. Only those entirely removed from (thus totally irrelevant to) the process can be unaware of the issue.

    Perhaps, then, then plan is to constantly bemoan how “racist” the cameras are, as a smokescreen, exactly so they can revel in all the racial suffering and resentment this causes. Nobody hates blacks the way leftists hate blacks, of course. Nothing would please them more than seeing a bunch of them in jail for failing to pay speeding tickets. And if you can stoke racial envy as a side-effect, what’s not to love?

    You can’t program them to be anti (lol) racist, but you can remove the cameras. “Until an anti (lol) racist solution is found, we…” Is this rocket surgery? Did I just genius hard in the Sailer comments section? No, this is super obvious. They won’t do it, because they like the results. Note this is a concrete and falsifiable prediction, although admittedly I do have a fallback position. If they can find a way to make you suffer even more by doing so, they might remove the cameras.

    P.S. As a general principle, it’s fine to assume leftists hate everything they say they love and love everything they say they hate. If you claim to love blacks and then destroy the black business, the black school, and black family (civil rights) then you can get away with it. If you claim to do it on purpose, it’s nearly impossible to get off. Even if they didn’t understand the theory, it would happen via selection, but this theory isn’t exactly quantum chromodynamics, so I wouldn’t bet on it.

    Meanwhile someone who genuinely wants to help would feel devastated if someone told them they were raising racial tensions instead. Maybe they briefly go into denial, but then they stop. They never stop; it’s fully intentional. You’re just telling them it’s working.

  39. Jack D says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    There are ways of getting around that. You can have a legal presumption that the car is driven by its registered owner. If the owner gets a photo ticket, there is a space on the return form where you can make an affidavit swearing to the identity of the person who actually driving and they will fine him instead. If the car was stolen you can give them a copy of the police report.

  40. Jack D says:

    The Pro Publica article mentioned the solution – you can have a program for “low income drivers” (cough blacks) which offers reduced fines or forgiveness. That way you can still collect all that nice camera ticket money from white people without oppressing blax. You staff the office where you go to get your ticket reduced with black ladies who are hostile to whites. When a black person comes in they write off his ticket no questions axed. Just sign here. When a white person comes in he has to provide certified copies of his last 7 Federal income tax returns in order to qualify. Please come back again and next time make sure you bring the certified tax returns wif you. And then if he does come back, they will reject him for some other technical reason. It’s like blacks voting in the Jim Crow South except in reverse.

    IIRC, some European countries (Sweden?) have speeding fines that are based on a % of your income. If a millionaire speeds the fine can be many thousands of \$.

  41. jamie b. says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    When it comes to being pulled over by human cops, “it’s the vehicle, stupid”.

    Yup. The only times I’m ever pulled over are when I’m driving a junker (i.e. my own car). I’ve never been pulled over while driving my wife’s car. That’s the pattern I’ve observed here in Washington state for the past 15 yrs.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  42. @kaganovitch

    My local library has also just done away with fines, even though there’s nary a black in sight and I doubt our local Guatemalans are racking up big overdue tabs trying to finish Anna Karenina or Gravity’s Rainbow.

    What’s going on is that due dates — like speed limits or SAT scores — are objective measures and benchmarks and thus must be discarded as too judgemennnnnntal (as Michael Savage would pronounce it). Returning books on time is too rigid and anal.

  43. To say nothing of the cameras’ unfair disparate impact on black people quite understandably speeding from the scene of a shooting or carjacking

  44. Chicago’s “Race-Neutral” Traffic Cameras Ticket Black and Latino Drivers the Most

    Years ago I recall there were traffic cameras at the intersection of Cermack & Clark in Chicago that one day acquired black garbage bags to cover up the equipment… wonder who accomplished that nefarious task in the middle of the night…

  45. The reason red light cameras have mostly been taken down in Orange County CA (except for Garden Grove and Los Alamitos) is because they have been challenged on constitutional grounds. You cannot cross examine a camera in court, nor is a camera and its operator a sworn peace officer.

    These types of revenue generators used to be common here. Typically it is a third-party company that sends out the notice of violation–not the government. The third-party company has a financial interest in collecting fines. They used to send out notices in the mail that said if you were not driving your car, just snitch on the person who was.

    Thank god these awful devices have largely been done away with in these parts.

  46. Abolish traffic laws (fines doubled in school zones!), privatize the roads, etc. Less government.

    If that’s not going to happen, then eliminate tax farming: The money collected from those nuisance fine, speeding tickets should be redistributed to licensed drivers, who live within the ticketing jurisdiction, who have spotless driving records. Like policy dividends awarded by mutual, auto insurance companies.

    Tax neutrality.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  47. Anon[323] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sick of Orcs

    Dass why the bruthas don’t have no ID to vote with!

    • Thanks: Sick of Orcs
  48. @jamie b.

    As a pedestrian not wanting to get run over, I fear late-model white BMWs the most.

  49. Wilkey says:

    It’s frightening to think how much money disparate impact doctrine cost the US. If the Supreme Court overturned it the net benefit to the economy would quite literally be in the trillions.

  50. Cortes says:

    Disregarding stop lights is becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK, despite the ubiquitous cameras.

    Import Karachi and Kinshasa, get Karachi and Kinshasa driving standards. Even for buses and trucks.

  51. @Jim Don Bob

    I wouldn’t say it is that clear cut.

    I used to live in a city with one those crazy 6 or 7 way stops. In the morning people would actually just give up on trying to wait and fly through. Once the camera was up it happened less often. Kids would walk through the crosswalk so I was fine with the camera.

  52. @petit bourgeois

    The reason red light cameras have mostly been taken down in Orange County CA (except for Garden Grove and Los Alamitos) is because they have been challenged on constitutional grounds. You cannot cross examine a camera in court, nor is a camera and its operator a sworn peace officer.

    Cross examining a camera? You do realize how ridiculous that sounds? What is next? Rejecting digital evidence because a computer can’t swear on a bible?

    People hate the cameras because they work.

    Southern California should be covered in cameras. Unbelievable as to how bad the drivers are around LA. Same with Portland.

    It amuses me that liberals view themselves as civic minded but both LA and Portland are like Mad Max. You need a sawed off shotgun to get on the highway during rush hour.

    • Replies: @petit bourgeois
  53. “We felt the brunt of it the way white people didn’t,” said Olatunji Oboi Reed, a longtime activist for racial equity in transportation in Chicago who has received a handful of camera tickets over the years.

    Well it seems the best way to stick it to White people then would be to not speed, right?

    It’s really sad and pathetic as to how NO ONE thinks Blacks can change. As I said before both liberals and Black leaders treat them like bears. The great debate is on how the bear handlers should treat them.

  54. El Dato says:
    @Gamecock

    Of course the camera is not an “accuser”.

    It is just a device collecting evidence.

    The “accuser” is whoever collects the fine.

    Next question.

  55. El Dato says:
    @Gamecock

    Much of Europe doesn’t have speed limits.

    AFAIK, only German Autobahns.

    In other parts, speed limits exist and are being generally tightened.

  56. El Dato says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Nah these are probably the books that are loaned out then sold via amazon.com second-hand listings.

  57. @Chris Mallory

    If it was about safety, the cops would write a whole lot more “driving to slow for conditions or driving in the left hand lane and impeding traffic” tickets.

    If the fuzz wanted to clean up on revenue AND safety they’d nail people for driving with no lights in rain/fog/snow, which is an enormous hazard to everyone on the road AND an easily provable charge in traffic court via dashcam footage.

  58. @SafeNow

    What is the mindset of the speeder, who chooses to speed rather than to take an extra few minutes for the drive?

    “This road is completely empty. I have a full tank of gas, fresh oil change, good radar detector, and a high-powered German sedan….eff it.”

    Well, I learned my lesson;

    Username: SafeNow…..username….checks out….

    • Thanks: SafeNow
  59. El Dato says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    When you lazy and corrupt enough and working for places like blue Oregon, you can take the easy way out and try to make the guy, who found out that your traffic light timing is a trap, shut up.

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/transportation-engineers-consider-whether-yellow-traffic-lights-should-last-longer

    https://new.ij.org/press-release/oregon-engineer-wins-traffic-light-timing-lawsuit/

    Mats’s interest in traffic-light timing was sparked in 2013, when his wife received a red-light-camera ticket in their hometown of Beaverton, Oregon. He began studying, writing and speaking publicly about how the standard mathematical formula for timing yellow lights should be tweaked. In his view, the standard formula is incomplete because it fails to capture the behavior of drivers making right turns. And after developing a modified formula—and even corresponding with one of the formula’s original creators—Mats started discussing his theory publicly.

    People wanted to hear Mats’s ideas—traffic engineers expressed interest, local news covered his story and he presented his research at a national conference of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

    But things came to a screeching halt when Oregon’s engineering board got wind of Mats’s actions.

    After a two-year investigation, the board fined Mats \$500 and said that he could not talk about traffic lights in public until he obtained a state-issued professional-engineer license. If Mats continued to “critique” traffic lights, he would face thousands of dollars in fines and up to one year in jail for the unlicensed practice of engineering. The board also said that Mats could not call himself an “engineer,” even though he has a degree in electrical engineering and decades of engineering experience. Like most engineers in Oregon, Mats is not a state-licensed “professional engineer,” and state law provided that only licensed professional engineers could legally use the title “engineer.”

    Some don’t follow The Science, others don’t follow The Engineering!

    • Replies: @anon
  60. @John Johnson

    Digital evidence is covered in other areas of the penal code rather than the individual cases, including chain of custody which can be challenged.

    You are confusing digital evidence with the fact the prosecuting entity is not a human being; there are no witnesses to the alleged crime. People have hired expert witnesses to challenge the veracity of the evidence being proffered in red light camera cases. These are not arguments that I have made, they are arguments that have been sustained in the appellate division of the California Superior Court here in Orange county. Always with unpublished opinions that cannot be cited later and never make it to intermediate level of appeal. I know one superior court commissioner who lost his job for making an adverse ruling on red light cameras, because they are unconstitutional. The citizenry essentially killed them years ago in my county.

    The cameras don’t work. That’s why they have torn them out where I live. They aren’t there for any sort of traffic safety. They are there to generate revenue for the municipal entity. You might want to read up on the subject:

    https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/unintended-consequences-red-light-cameras-might-cause-traffic-accidents-19125

    In this country, we have a constitutional right to confront witnesses at trial. When those witnesses are not sworn police officers who actually witnessed the alleged traffic infraction, the claims of big corporations looking to profit by partnering with municipal entities to screw over the little guy is something we stomped out years ago in my town. The city was losing money on the red light cameras and they didn’t make the streets any safer. Your jurisdiction may differ.

    Anyone who advocates for the amplification of the surveillance state is insane. Normally I agree with your posts, but you must live in another country. Why are THE MEN OF UNZ like you in favor of a surveillance/penal state?

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Jack D
  61. Kronos says:
    @Redneck farmer

    Laws were meant to be broken. Otherwise they wouldn’t be laws.

  62. Ed says:
    @Anonymous

    I live in VA people speed here but it’s on an entire different level in PG. it’s not just the speeding but the weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating etc. Cars will wiz by you going 90+

    The speed cameras in these areas are a good investment in public safety, although I’ve witnessed near accidents as drivers slam on their brakes as the remember the camera’s presence.

  63. @EdwardM

    ” There is a cottage industry of locals hiring patsies to take the hit, while the owner pays the fine, in exchange for a small fee.”

    If you’re going to get your wife to take the points (to prevent you being banned) I strongly recommend not upsetting her by leaving her for a younger woman. Ms Pryce decided to burn down both their careers. She seems to have plotted to do this with one of the UK’s first black female judges, Constance Briscoe, who also ended up in jail for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Huhne

    Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne (born 2 July 1954) is a British energy and climate change consultant and former journalist and politician who was the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Eastleigh from 2005 to 2013 and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2010 to 2012. From September 2013 to August 2014 he wrote a weekly column for The Guardian.

    On 3 February 2012, Huhne resigned from the Cabinet when he was charged with perverting the course of justice over a 2003 speeding case. His wife at the time, Vicky Pryce, had claimed that she was driving the car, and accepted the licence penalty points on his behalf so that he could avoid being banned from driving. Huhne denied the charge until the trial began on 4 February 2013 when he changed his plea to guilty, resigned as a member of parliament, and left the Privy Council. He and Pryce were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on 11 March to eight months in prison for perverting the course of justice. He served nine weeks of this sentence at HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire before he was released.

    Interestingly Vicky Pryce then had a relationship with former Labour MP and expenses cheat Denis MacShane, who also knows the inside of a prison.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_MacShane#Referral_to_police_and_conviction

  64. @Tono Bungay

    “Still I am disturbed by the constant increase in surveillance of one sort or another over us all”

    In the UK there’s a big network of ANPR cameras which log the registration of every passing car. A couple of anecdotes

    a) one of my kids was leaving London and had a ton of stuff that needed moving that weekend. The only vehicle that was big enough had an expired MOT (annual roadworthiness test), it had expired the day before and was booked for the Monday.

    So I bit the bullet and took the big vehicle in – it must have passed a dozen ANPR cameras en route. I waited for the letter from the authorities but it didn’t come. Obviously it’s not (or wasn’t in 2015) used to clock expired MOTs. I drove even more carefully and defensively than usual as I was unsure about whether I would be insured with no MOT.

    b) we were on holiday in what for England is a fairly remote place (top left of Northumbria) and a child was driving up to meet us there, we’d arranged to meet at a major junction about 40 miles away. She didn’t turn up, after three hours we headed off, but first we rang the police giving her details. They were able to tell us what time she’d been clocked on the motorway and that she’d been on an A road close to our holiday spot half an hour before. We found her in the village with an empty petrol tank (the place had no mobile coverage).

  65. El Dato says:
    @petit bourgeois

    This all sounds like antivaxx arguments applied to traffic cameras though. Conspiracies, hidden documents, the whole shebang.

    The cameras don’t work.

    They work very well. It’s not as if measuring car speed with radar is particularly magic.

    They are there to generate revenue for the municipal entity.

    Yes but this is not the complement of “they work”.

    You are confusing digital evidence with the fact the prosecuting entity is not a human being

    You are not being prosecuted by the camera.

    Your reasoning would immediately invalidate any case against porch pirates caught on Nest or whatever.

  66. In Denver, the left hand lane is reserved for the wealthy. They purchase some kind of “Speed Pass” to use it (I don’t remember exactly what it’s called). The entire thing is monitored by cameras, and anyone using that lane without a pass is ticketed. There didn’t seem to be a speed limit in that lane. I saw people doing 90 in that lane while cars in the other four lanes were nearly at a standstill. The whole thing seemed pretty dangerous to me. I figured the entire world was like that by now, but I don’t get out much.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  67. Unit472 says:
    @The Alarmist

    I enjoy watching an old A&E TV show called “Parking Wars” which follows, mainly, the Philadelphia and Detroit Parking Authorities. It deals mostly with parking violations, towing/impounding and booting cars with a few so called ‘live stops’ where police seize a car when the driver has a suspended license, no registration or insurance.

    In these cities the violation attaches to the registered owner so you see more than a few, mostly black women, having their cars getting booted, e.g. unpaid parking tickets that their children or baby daddy received and ignored. The cities leave it up to the registered owner to work that out but if they want their car back they’ve got to pay the fines.

    This is one area where its black run cities oppressing blacks because, let’s face it, blacks live in more congested areas where parking is at a premium and run a foul of parking violations more frequently. I used to warn people in San Francisco to beware of thinking they found a good deal on apartment rent to check the street cleaning schedule for that area first. It might be Saturday between 7 and 8:00 AM so if they weren’t prepared to get up and move their car the city would move it for them and hit them with a ticket and towing charge. Even if you did get up to try and move it there would be nowhere nearby to park so either go get breakfast or spend an hour wandering about until you could return to your street and legally park.

  68. @Mike Tre

    “following too close (tailgating)”

    Asian drivers in the UK are catching up on the black population (to be fair, the “single-car” accidents where a number of young people are killed driving too fast and end up in a tree or stone wall seem to be a phenomenon of youthful bravado/testosterone rather than race).

    But what possesses a 38 year old mother of two to start racing one of her co-religionists?

    https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/19845618.diamond-mum-of-two-died-car-crash-aggressive-combative-driving-another-motorist/

    Judge Rose was shown CCTV clips which showed Mrs Nawaz driving closely behind Abbas’ Audi A3.

    In his basis of plea Abbas said he had been “tailgated” by the Astra and Mrs Nawaz had also tried to undertake his car.

    In jailing Abbas Judge Rose said there was no doubt that Mrs Nawaz’s death was “entirely avoidable and entirely unnecessary”.

    He said neither driver had any reason to be driving at excessive speed on their way to work that early morning nor was there a reason for “racing or challenging” each other.

    “The driving of each of you, I must say, was wholly without justification,” he said.

    The judge said on a two-lane stretch of the road they had driven in an “aggressive and combative manner” with another motorist describing them as “idiots”.

    Abbas claimed that he had been dabbing his brakes to get the Astra to slow down, but Judge Rose suggested that at some point that may have caused Mrs Nawaz to make a sudden steering manoeuvre causing her to lose control and crash.

    And of course Mr Abbas turned out to be driving without insurance.

    • Replies: @SZ
  69. Gamecock says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Yes. Years ago, South Carolina had a prima facie speed limit, not absolute.

  70. Gamecock says:
    @Chris Mallory

    Most speed limits are artificially and arbitrarily low for the sole purpose of raising revenue for the state.

    I quibble with “most.”

    I can point to places where the limit is arbitrarily low, but “most” is wrong.

  71. Jack D says:
    @petit bourgeois

    There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the red light cameras – it is just that they are tuned to generate maximum revenue. They shorten up the yellow times so they can get more people going thru red. They ticket people for making lefts when it is customary that you can complete a left at the end of the green cycle.

    As a practical matter (even though it’s not the way it should be) drivers waiting at the opposing red always wait a couple of seconds after the green in order to allow stragglers thru (it’s gotten worse lately – people will enter the intersection and zoom thru after it is fully red) so no accidents are caused.

    If they would allow a reasonable amount of yellow time (and maybe even a bit of red, especially for those making lefts) then they would lose most of the revenue (which is the real goal) but if you blast thru a fully red light then you deserve to be fined whether it is by a cop or a camera.

    • Replies: @petit bourgeois
  72. anon[192] • Disclaimer says:

    This is a simple case of the unwillingness of the black to admit he’s at fault and correct his behavior. After 70 years of government propaganda telling negroes that they’re not the cause of their problems and that racism is the cause, most of them see speed enforcement as targeting them personally and not the fact that they’re speeding. In addition to this, most of them are too dumb to understand why speeding enforcement is done in the first place.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  73. Jack D says:
    @anon

    We’ve also had 50 years of teaching blacks that disparate impact is prima facie evidence of racial discrimination. So when speed camera ticket blacks more than whites, the assumption must be that the cameras are racist, not that blacks speed more.

    If you can’t see how it is that a robotic camera triggered only by a velocity sensor is racist, you just haven’t tried hard enough. Just squint hard enough and you’ll see the systemic racism that is built into every camera. It’s built into color film, it’s built into every fried chicken leg, it’s built into EVERYTHING concerning black lower performance or misbehavior (if they could still advertise, they’d sell “Newport Cigarettes, now with more Systemic Racism”) so if you don’t see it that’s your problem right there.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  74. anon[192] • Disclaimer says:
    @El Dato

    The only reason that we have the term “Professional Engineer” as opposed to the generic term “engineer” is for liability purposes. When a professional engineer certifies something such as a bridge, he’s taking personal liability for it, he can be sued if it fails. Having a professional engineering license allows you to make a lot of money and it carries a lot of prestige in many circles, hence the oregon society of engineers jealously guarding their turf, like a dog guarding not just the ground where he buried his bone, but the ground around it for a hundred feet in every direction.

  75. @Jack D

    I disagree with you counselor. There is something fundamentally wrong about having machines do the job that human beings should be doing when you’re going to criminally prosecute people.

    If the city cannot afford to hire enough motorcycle cops to police intersections then they should not be installing cameras in the first place.

    If you want robots to be cops then you’re pro-Orwellian and not on the side of a free society.

    I have spent enough time in criminal court to know that you have the right to confront your accuser. Perhaps where you live in Philadelphia it’s a very different attitude.

    I always appreciate your comments and keep up the good work counselor. Where I live there are no red light cameras for left turns, only the right turn lane. This is to maximize revenue for those sleazy city entities.

    By the way I am a motorcycle safety inspector for the Southern California timing association. I don’t know everything but I know motorcycle safety and I would be riding today except it’s raining here in Southern California and I don’t feel like getting wet. Riding a motorcycle in the rain on public streets is not really fun for me even though I’ve done it many times over many years. Be safe out there counselor.

  76. I have a modest proposal for how we can do away with the injustice of “blacks and browns” becoming pauperized by accumulation of speeding tickets.

    We need a large research budget so that various teams of law professors and social scientists can test the effectiveness of the remedy with randomized controlled trials. We take two large enough random samples of the driving population. In the control group, blacks and browns do whatever they want. In the experimental group, the blacks and browns refrain from violating the speed regulations. Then we measure the life outcomes of each group to see if those in the experimental group fare better.

  77. Anonymous[786] • Disclaimer says:
    @Veteran Aryan

    There’s a similar system in Russia where wealthy/connected people are allowed to use the lanes normally reserved for emergency vehicles. This is controversial as there have been several incidents of emergency workers being struck and killed by such VIP cars.

  78. SZ says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Asian drivers in the UK are catching up on the black population

    South Asians you mean (and the Muslim variant), not East Asians!

  79. @Gamecock

    When I got one of these tickets in Oregon, the law was that the camera had to be manned by a LEO for citations to issue. That was a long time ago, so the lure of revenue has probably overcome all such limitations by now.

  80. @The Wild Geese Howard

    Ok, that was excellent. You have to admire the stupid exuberance of young men.

  81. @Rob

    Ferguson, MO, land of Michael Brown, raised 25% of its municipal revenue from police fines. There’s a legitimate reason why Michael Brown was ornery towards the police, even though it was not in evidence the day he died.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  82. @Woodsie

    I actually favor the 25yo h speed limit, not because I favor 25mph, but because I favor 30. At 30, 35mph was enforced, and at 25, 30 is enforced. You have a pretty good chance of surviving being hit at 30 and a VERy low one at 40 as a pedestrian.

    I’ve not run afoul of the speed cameras but then I have taken to avoiding the city since Covid. Traffic, because of fear of public transit, has gotten insane, too.

  83. @Tono Bungay

    Everything government touches turns to crap. – Ringo Starr

    Privatize the roads.

  84. @Gamecock

    “Why can’t we be more like socialist Europe and have fewer rights?”

    Since I moved to Europe I have been pleasantly surprised at the many ways life is often freer here on a daily basis than in the USA. The government is technically more restrictive but actually much more flexible. One real difference is the lack of interference from insurance companies. No need to fill out ridiculous forms for every activity, no insane law suits. The lack of puritanical restrictions on alcohol also makes life more pleasant.

  85. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Oh, pull the other one. We both know who isn’t actually taking out any actual library books.

    True dat, but they do borrow dvd movies.

  86. @petit bourgeois

    The other reason is many of these camera data centers are in other states. This was the issue with red light cameras in S. Florida, people were getting tickets issued from the HQ in Atlanta, and tickets in Broward County (Fort Lauderdale area), could only be issued by Broward police.

  87. Art Deco says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Take the keys away from your adolescents if they land you with tickets.

  88. Art Deco says:

    Again, the Pro Publica complaint is that people of lower status (police department employees) are administering sanctions against people of higher status (blacks) as determined by the status allocators (the sort of twits who you find on the board of Pro Publica).

  89. Art Deco says:
    @TomSchmidt

    A state highway was running through Ferguson. There are scores of municipalities in St. Louis County, but only about a dozen intersecting with that highway.

    Missouri could do away with the temptation of local government to do that as follows.

    1. Have fines, Pigou levies, vice levies, and abandoned property (e.g. unclaimed deposits) deposited in holding funds. At the end of the fiscal year, divide the contents of the state’s holding fund equally between each household which filed a state income tax return. Divide the contents of each locality’s fund equally between each party which paid property tax in said locality. Use these levies to change the relative price of an activity, not to raise revenue.

    2. Limit tolls, fares, and fees assessed at all levels of government to (1) charges for services analogous to those people purchase on the open market and (2) filing fees for (a) courts and (b) public registries which delineate property rights. Have these fees deposited in the treasury of government corporations (where applicable) or in dedicated funds which may only be used to provide for the public agency in question (courts, county clerks, &c). All other revenue is from taxation.

    3. Municipal consolidation. St. Louis County has 87 incorporated municipalities and 14 swatches of unincorporated territory which are further subdivided by township. Nearly 40 discrete pieces of territory have resident populations under 2,500.

    4. Distribute a general grant to each municipality from county funds. The distribution would be according to a formula with population and per capita income as determined by the Census Bureau as arguments. The grants might account for about 1/4 of a municipality’s expenditures, on average. The rest would come from municipal taxation and some ancillary fee income.

    5. Likewise, issue from state funds a foundational grant to each county and each school district. The school district formula would have to have general population, per capita income, and youth population as arguments.

    6. Vest the function of tax assessment in county government. Assess in-town properties biennially according to an estimate of their re-sale value. In re country properties, assess at least once every six years the components thereof (the residence, potential arable, potential pasture, woodland, and trashland) as if each was sold separately. Assess all parcels of property bar public thoroughfares, without regard to who owns them.

    7. Require every authority which is permitted to levy property taxes to do so at a common rate for all property bar those in special abatement zones. The abatement zones would be about coterminous with core city slums and would be delineated by the per capita income of given census block groups.

    8. Exempt no party owning property from property tax liability. You couldn’t coerce federal agencies and corporations, but you could every other sort of party. Governments which own property could contest their assessments using the same procedures and institutions as private parties. Governments would satisfy their liabilities to other governments out of general revenues, netting out any reciprocal obligations. Philanthropies could take out a line of credit to pay local governments, then apply for full re-imbursement from the state treasury. Other private parties would pay out of their resources. The state treasury would make payments to satisfy the levies on federal property, state property, and philanthropies, in effect socializing the cost to municipalities of having these properties in their midst. The state attorney-general would be permitted to contest the assessment of any such properties.

    9. Limit the authority to levy property taxes to municipalities, school districts, miscellaneous special district authorities, and non-metropolitan counties. States and counties would have the authority to levy a VAT tax defined by the state constitution, something which would be extended to municipalities and school districts only if they intersected with a property tax abatement zone. Income taxes would be limited to the state government, with the tax base defined by an appendix to the state constitution and not at the discretion of the legislature and rates structured in accordance with constitutional provisions.

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