During the 1999 Texas legislative session, a legislator shamefully withdrew his
photo enforcement bill after his colleagues suggested each mailed citation be emblazoned
with big red print saying, “Big Brother is watching you.”
Behind the scenes, Dallas metroplex ticket camera companies Affiliated
Computer Services (ACS) and Electronic Data Systems (EDS) were busy influencing
new friends ($$$$$) to help establish highly profitable red-light camera programs.
The 2001 legislative session was no more friendly toward Big Brother than in
1999. It was becoming clear that RLTCs would not be welcomed through the front door.
Later that year, on behalf of the city of Richardson (Dallas) Representative Tony
Goolsby asked then Attorney General John Cornyn if a home-rule city could adopt an
ordinance to change a red-light violation from criminal to a civil penalty and allow
camera enforcement? “Absent specific legislative authority” Cornyn said no to the civil
penalty. However, despite his job to protect the Constitution, the AG said it was
permissible for RLTCs to “identify criminal RLVs.” [Opinion No. JC-0460, February 8,
2002]. Criminal RLV tickets would have created a tornado of controversy.
By 2003, the ticket camera companies gained influence ($$$) in the 31 member
Senate. The much larger 181 member House still remained 4-1 against cameras. A trick
play was crafted. Late in the 2003 session, exhausted legislators struggled with multiple
bills and approaching deadline. “Representative” Linda Harper Brown (Dallas area,
again) attached an unexplained rider to a trucking bill. The bill rider would allow cities
to change traffic violations from a criminal to civil penalty. No mention of red light
ticket cameras was spoken of, or stated in the bill.
The legislature unknowingly passed a bill that opened the door to camera
enforcement, a practice they opposed by a 4-1 margin. Many still feel betrayed. Wasting
no time, Garland began exploiting their citizens with ticket cameras on September 17,
In 2005, House legislators voted overwhelmingly to ban ticket cameras. Camera
company influence ($$$$$$$) again stymied Senate consent.
In 2006, with revenue minded cities clamoring to install RLTCs, Attorney
General Greg Abbott ignored proven rights violations and gave his official approval of
these crash causing devices. I sent him a letter questioning his unjust decision. No
Houston’s new Police Chief Harold Hurtt couldn’t install RLTCs fast enough.
ATS (American Traffic “Solutions” – of Scottsdale, Arizona [Phoenix area]) runs
Houston’s camera program. Previously, as police chief, Hurtt used ACS to install RLTCs
in Phoenix, Arizona and Oxnard, California. A recent study declared Oxnard as having
the worse traffic safety of all comparable cities. I refuted the 2001 Oxnard “study”, by
the ticket profiting Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which falsely claimed that
RLTCs reduced crashes and injuries.
In 2007, Representative Carl Isett (Lubbock) submitted a bill to ban ticket
cameras. Compromised (camera $$$$) reps from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio –
knowing it would pass a full house vote – killed it in the Urban Affairs Committee.
Representative Vicki Truitt (Southlake) sponsored a bill to ban cities from using
speed enforcement cameras – a worse extortion racket than RLTCs. The bill passed. Yet,
only days later, DOT Chairman Ric Williamson declared his intention to install speed
camera demonstration sites. Truitt, along with about 20 other legislators, sent him a letter
asking him to refrain. He postponed the plan until 2009.
A ticket camera restriction bill (S.B. No. 1119 by Senator Carona, Dallas) passed
and became law on September 1, 2007. Highlights from the changes to chapter 707,
Photographic Traffic Signal Enforcement system, include: requiring engineering studies,
a citizen advisory board, crash data and capping tickets at $75.00 with half of the city’s
revenue to be sent to Texas trauma centers. This law will greatly reduce city profits, but
maintain little effect on camera companies.
The law has merit, but RLTC companies have circumvented similar laws around
the globe. Furthermore, the law is NOT retroactive and allows all camera programs prior
to September 2007 to operate without restrictions.
Allowing ticket cameras in any way, shape or form is wrong! They still violate
your rights (due process, facing accusers, burden of proof and fair trail), encourage
engineering malpractice, usurp your money and worst of all, CAUSE more crashes,
injuries and fatalities. Camera promoters know these facts, but continue to deceive the
public – while extorting their cash – with fantasies of safer intersections.
Results from ticket camera programs all over Texas are developing into a dire
picture. A plan hatched in deception can only foster more dishonesty.
yet they ignore honest research, failed to consult a no charge safety expert and rushed to
acquire a camera company sales presentation.
Reflex’s video demonstration showed Abilene incurred a mere 121 violations, at
14 traffic signal sites, in 4.6 days. These results are excellent – way better than average.
Mayor Archibald’s statement of an “epidemic” is ludicrous. Furthermore, Redflex
showed crashes from other cities. None were recorded in Abilene. Like in Killeen, no
mention was made of targeting right turns on red.
were dismissed. Oftentimes, camera company “mistakes” go unreported for months or
years costing thousands of motorists millions of dollars [Washington, D.C. ; OR, TN].
minimum prescribed by Tx DOT (Law), which is an already inadequate 3.5 seconds.
Short yellows greatly increase money (RLVs) but unfortunately decrease safety.
Entrapment for profit.
Later, in 2008, lengthening of the illegally short yellow lights made the suspect
cameras unprofitable which caused their removal. A Dallas official lied to MSNBC
saying that the cameras worked too well. The truth is: ticket cameras economic viability
requires unethical/illegal engineering malpractices. That-in and of itself-makes camera
enforcement a fraud. Also see: Humble.
Harper-Brown’s deception. Second, the RLV accident “problem” was greatly
exaggerated (SOP since 1993). RLV accidents/fatalities comprise ONLY 2% of ALL
U.S. crashes/fatalities (925 of 43,000 fatals). They claimed “85% injuries” and “vast
majority red-light running” (page 26, propaganda from Camera Companies Joint Meeting
in Florida on October 12, 2007). Thirdly, RLTCs were placed at intersections with below
average crash rates, but high traffic volume and short yellows. Three of the original four
approaches chosen for ticket cameras incurred less than one RLV crash per year.
Recently, KTVT-TV reported that Garland moved the violation lines further into
the intersections to snag more RLVs ($$$$). This violates law established by TxDOT,
requiring the visible stop bar as basis for a violation. City Attorney Brad Neighbor
defended the unethical practice. No wonder. Neighbor is on camera company payroll.
He was seen and documented, even gave a camera sales pitch, at the Florida meeting.
Camera company documents reveal that they own engineers, attorneys, politicians, police
chiefs, DOT leaders, public relation firms, and some media.
Integrity challenged Garland expects you to believe their own fabricated study,
which claims RLTCs reduced crashes by -25% (injuries -27%). My analysis found
numerous problems that render their tiny 4 intersection study inconclusive at best,
deceptive at worse.
Note: Garland’s yellows are so short it required 16 months of ticketing to reduce
violations by -30%. One second of added yellow drops RLVs by 40 – 75%, with the
consistent benefit of reducing crashes by 30 – 50% (TTI, Detroit, San Francisco, Mesa,
etc.). These benefits occur immediately. About 30% of those entrapped by these
fraudulent devices are protesting their existence by refusing to pay their fines. Ditto for
Lubbock and other cities. Garland still manages to extort over $10 million annually.
mail. The photo clearly shows his car angling right with the turn-signal on. He wrote a
letter to the police, fully expecting to rightly be declared “not guilty”. Instead they
required this dying man to attend a hearing, where they forced him to pay the fine. These
kinds of rights violations and injustice are occurring everywhere cameras operate.
The Monitor (12-7-07) “Dangerous Results” reported that accidents increased
from 43 before RLTCs to 57 in the same 6 month after period, for a +33% increase. A
claim (by Police Chief Danny Castillo) of reduced injuries was not substantiated by
documented as the worse (comparable) city for increased traffic crashes.
After RLTCs, about half of the intersections showed decreases in accidents while
others showed large increases. Certainly not a safety success story.
KPRC-TV checked numerous Houston camera sites for proper/legal yellow
timing. ALL failed to provide safe yellows. One site with an approach speed limit of 50
MPH, contains a dangerously/illegally short, 3.6 seconds yellow interval. The
proper/legal yellow should be at least 5.0 seconds. Another short yellow RLTC site near
the bus terminal is entrapping school bus drivers who are under threat of losing their jobs.
For the record: yellow times do not account for large trucks or buses, even when properly
set. Other signal-related problems abound.
Civil Rights Attorney Randall Kallinen helped a client beat three right turn on red
camera citations. The judge agreed that photos are merely hearsay evidence, not
convicting proof. IIHS’s own research revealed that at least 29% of ticketed vehicle
owners did not commit the alleged red light violation. Most Texas cities force these
innocent citizens to pay the fine anyway.
The Houston Chronicle revealed its lack of journalistic integrity by censoring 15
showing cameras shortcomings. Complaints to the Editor (Jeff Cohen) were also
MPH require, by law, minimum yellows of 4.3-5.0 seconds. The yellows provided are
dangerously short 3.6 seconds.
Three months of ticketing snared 9,216 “red light runners” for a potential windfall
of $700,000. If proper, legal yellow times were set violations would realistically number
about 3,000 or $225,000 in fines. Consequently, over 6,000 people were illegally
entrapped and forced to pay. Camera promoters encourage and reward dishonesty.
Editor attended the January meetings and Redflex video sales presentation. The Herald,
like the Houston Chronicle, parroted camera sales propaganda (like a paid promoter),
provided no counterpoint and misled the citizens/soldiers of Killeen with biased articles
and editorials totally lacking objectivity.
Redflex’s deceptive video claimed 7-8000 violations bi-weekly at 5 intersections.
Actual numbers revealed only 4000 RLV’s of which a “significant number” resulted
from, the never before mentioned, legal right turns on red-the latest scam. The video also
showed 26 or so dramatic crashes in 24 hours attributed to Killeen intersections (KDH
reported). Like Abilene, these crashes were most likely photographed in some huge city,
like Los Angeles, not Killeen, Texas, population: 98,000.
Again, the honest safety researcher was censored.
Texas legislature in favor of cameras. Lobbyists get paid by someone.
KCBD-TV discovered the city shortened yellow times at 8 intersections
scheduled for RLTC installation. Like Garland (and most cities) cameras were placed at
less dangerous intersections with high traffic volumes and inadequately short yellows.
Entrapment for profit. These common RLTC company practices make the intersections
very dangerous, causing significantly more crashes, injuries and fatalities. Sure enough
that’s what happened. Lubbock’s six month study documented a 52% increase in ALL
crashes after RLTCs. Equivalent before periods show 2005 at 188 total crashes and 2006
at 192. In 2007, the after RLTC period incurred 286 total collisions. Red-light violation
crashes showed similar increases from 28 in 2005 to 31 in 2006 up to 44 in 2007. Rearends
also rose more than 50%. Allegedly injuries did not increase? Injury crash is a
more reliable and accurate term. But, 94 more crashes, involving 188 vehicles, should
cause at least 25 more injuries (NHTSA).
Still, the cameras are a total failure. Ironically ATS is not only exploiting citizens
but appears to be short-changing the government as well – a loss of $20,000 monthly.
The citizen’s committee voted 4-2 to remove the cameras. On February 14, the
mayor/city council voted 4-3 to dismantle the ticket camera program.
“significantly reduce deaths and injuries” camera promoters have been claiming since the
1990’s. Nothing could be further from the truth. Examples: Charlotte, NC cut RLVs by
70%. Obfuscation. Reduced violations (by cameras) do NOT equal reduced crashes
(FHwA, Mauz). Cameras cause – on average – +70% increases in rear-end collisions.
Washington, D.C. cut RLV crash fatalities by half or more. Lie. Analysis by the
Washington Post revealed that injury/fatal crashes increased +81% from 144 to 262, after
RLTCs. Red-light violation crashes rose +30% (81 to 106).
rogue agency. A new DOT Chairperson was selected – Dierdre Delisi.
One of the Sunset Commission goals is for the DOT to provide a better website
with access to independent research. In regards to red-light (ticket) cameras, the web
pages appear to have been written by camera companies-the very people most profiting
from their installation. The statistics (Overview) are deceptive and inflated to create a
“need” for cameras. “More than 7,000 fatal crashes…within intersections” should read:
There occur about 2,950 signal-related fatal crashes per year nationwide. For the record:
RLV fatalities comprise ONLY 2% of all U.S. fatalities (925 of 43,000).
Under FAQ, the author totally misrepresents and down-plays the vital importance
of yellow timing’s role in creating safer signalized intersections. To promote RLTCs?
On the Links page, the ONLY links provided are to those who profit from camera
enforcement, like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Campaign
to Stop Red Light Running (a phony advocacy group owned, operated and funded by
camera companies- Redflex, ACS, Gatso, etc.). IIHS profits from cam ticket surcharges
in CA and AZ, plus other ways.
A DOT statewide camera report is due out in December ’08. They obviously
cannot be trusted to tell the objective truth. Cities, like Houston and Dallas are suspect as
well. Therefore, I have requested to see the data before it goes public to check for
objectivity and accuracy. Plus, I asked the DOT to link mine and other independent
These Texas deceptions are nothing new, just standard operating procedure to
extort more of your hard-earned money. These dishonest camera promoters have been
caught in all manner of fraudulent business practices around the globe.
Unethically/illegally short yellows have surfaced in Arizona, California, Oregon,
Maryland, New York, Virginia, etc. Violation lines were moved in Mesa, Arizona. ACS
of Dallas reportedly bribed officials in Edmonton, Canada and is under FBI investigation
in Memphis. Lawsuits abound. A photo enforcement official in England admitted – on
hidden camera – that camera enforcement was a “scam” and “caused more crashes”, but
created “buckets of money”. Other examples of camera promoter fraud include:
violating state laws, contract scandals, not checking tickets, mailing tickets on a guess,
using illegal equipment and falsifying documents [
To pave the way for ticket cameras, proponents lowered yellow times (Institute
for Transportation Engineer’s Journals, 1989 – 1994) then promptly blamed drivers for
the increase in red light violations. Next, they greatly exaggerated the RLV crash
problem, bought a multitude of officials and covered-up a comprehensive, 11 year
Australian study (1995) which showed all crashes (includes RLV) increased over +70%
at 41 sites after camera installation. Before RLTCs, there occurred a -20% drop in
crashes. Human welfare would not stand in the way of corporate profits. For the whole
story read: “Camera Enforcement – How the Fraud Developed” which includes 36
charted camera promoter deceptions used to “sell” these fraudulent devices
One of the biggest deceptions claims that camera enforcement only targets
dangerous, deliberate “red light runners.” Data obtained from many camera sites reveals
that 70% plus of violations occur less than one second into the red signal. These RLV’s
are neither dangerous nor deliberate, but showcase a national epidemic of engineering
malpractice (short yellow times) to entrap people for profit. [See: Humble]. Honest
police would not ticket these invisible violations. The latest scam involves ticketing
more non-dangerous motorists who come to a debatable stop before legally turning right
Currently, more than 20 studies – even some camera financed ones (VA, FHwA,
Oxnard, England) – show increases in crashes, injuries and fatalities. “Camera
Enforcement – A Picture of Fraud” proves through studies, plus six other analyses, that
ticket cameras cause more fatalities. This definitive research covers new ground.
Camera companies begrudgingly admit their devices CAUSE rear-end collisions
(+70% on average). Purposely causing crashes is against the law. ITE admitted to
engineering malpractice by grading themselves a D in 2004. Camera proponents own
[unpromoted] research shows that added yellow time seriously trounces cameras in safety
and reducing violations (Mesa, San Diego, San Francisco). Their own control sites [no
cameras] reveal that DOING NOTHING results in better safety and violation rates than
employing ticket cameras (Oxnard, FHwA, Fairfax).
Camera enforcement remains a total fraud designed to deceive people into
surrendering their guaranteed rights, money and safety to provide billions of dollars in
It’s time for citizens to fight to protect their rights, money and lives. Contact all
elected officials. I have sent a detailed complaint to the Attorney General, State
Representatives, the Governor and others. Camera companies should be prosecuted for
false advertising, fraud, defective product and causing crashes, injuries and fatalities.
Over 500 more people (and counting) have died in signal-related fatal crashes since the
proliferation of these enforcement for profit devices (NHTSA, 2001 – 2006). Isn’t it time
people’s lives become more important than corporate/government profits? ALL ticket
camera programs must be dismantled permanently.
Greg Mauz is an honest traffic safety researcher and volunteer activist for the National
Motorists Assn. He has done extensive research on ticket cameras
(motorists.org/mauz.php or 325-896-2595).