Redflex Driver Shooting Not the First Van Attack!

The April 19 shooting of a Redflex mobile speed van operator was tragic indeed. But did Redflex know about this potential danger? Did Redflex prepare, train, or arm their drivers for potential van attacks?

About 5 weeks prior, Redflex was “surprised” when a speed van was attacked (link) by an angry man in Lafayette, Louisiana. The man rammed his truck into the van and pushed it into a ditch. The van’s operator was able to escape unharmed. The only comment from Redflex was expressed relief that no one was hurt.

Despite this attack and prior attacks on Redflex equipment including a pick-axe attack on a fixed camera last year, Redflex was unable to anticipate subsequent attacks on mobile vans and properly train, prepare, or at least warn their drivers of these possible dangers. It is clear to us that Redflex is exploiting its van operators by placing them unknowingly in the line of fire. They are required to impersonate peace officers by operating a vehicle adorned with DPS insignia, they are unarmed, the are untrained as peace officers, and they are illegally parked on the side of high-speed roadways. This is a recipe for disaster if I’ve ever seen one, and it’s unfair to Redflex van operators if they were not made aware of the dangers of the job including incidents such as the one in Louisiana so that they could make the choice whether to put themselves in that much danger for ~ $17/hour.

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4 Comments

  1. Stephanie Scovell
    Posted April 22, 2009 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    This has been a horrible tragedy. These men and women are doing a job, one that has proven to slow people down, and reduce the number of accidents. The man that committed this horrible murder will face judgement when he faces God.
    Doug Georgianni was a good man, one who taught Golf, and in an attempt to protect the community, was gunned down. The family is heart broken, and the comments that several Heartless people have made, are un-called for and should have been kept out of the ears of the family.
    For those that wrote or said those horrible things, I hope that you never face the same judgement of your peers as you have judged Doug. You didn’t know him, you don’t know his wife, who is devestated and grieving and heard her husband die.
    Police Officers defend you every minute of every day, and one day, your time will come. When it does, I hope that God does not give you mercy, but an eternity in hell.
    The horrible comments and words MUST STOP. How would you feel if you were in his family’s shoes? Think before you speak, for once in your useless, horrible existence.

    I’m unaware of the horrible comments you are referencing, I assume you are not talking about this site. If so, let me know and I will take care of it.

    But to address a few comments you’ve made – The cameras have NOT been proven by independent third parties to save lives. The studies that show safety improvement are all sponsored by motivated third parties like insurance companies and equipment makers. There are some independent studies that show that cameras COST lives and INCREASE accident rates. This information is available on the main website (PhotoRadarScam.com), or even reference the previous blog post which shows Tempe data showing a 43% increase in fatalities in Tempe due to cameras. Going slower does not equal safer. Try driving down the freeway at 40 while everyone else is going 65 and see how safe that is. There are so many more safety factors than just speed, but it’s the only technicality that we have machines capable of detecting so the public is unduly fixated on it. Exceeding the speed limit causes less than 5% of all accidents according to the NHTSA, yet people think and act like it’s far more important.

    Finally, I will remind people that photo van operators are NOT peace or police officers and they are NOT performing any kind of heroic job. They are no different than a utility worker at the side of the road working on power lines or something. Photo van workers are just contractors working for a for-profit company taking pictures as private investigators. If anything, they make our freeways MORE dangerous due to the increase accident rates that photo enforcement has been shown to cause. –admin

  2. Photo Radar 101
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    RE: Laurie Robers column, AZ Republic, 4/22/2009

    What do the final two sentences in columnist Laurie Roberts column (http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/04/21/20090421roberts0422.html)in April 22, 2009 Arizona Republic mean?

    Column quote: “But the ironic thing is that this guy’s tragically misguided act of protest – if that’s what it was – will likely build support for photo enforcement.

    The cameras didn’t just nab a speeder, after all. They caught a suspected murderer.”

    Does she mean that the life of an individual is worth the trade off of having the photo radar camera vans in hazardous locations on the freeways?

    Or, does it mean that the cameras are good because they can catch suspected murderers? Would there have been a suspected murderer of a mobile camera van on the freeway if the mobile camera vans were NOT on the freeways?

    How does this unfortunate event “build support” for photo enforcement? If anything, this unfortunate death should be a signal to get those mobile vans off of the freeways.

    The freeway roadways, emergency lanes, landscape was NOT DESIGNED for long-term, manned vehicles to remain in a stationary location. Similar to drunk drivers read-ending DPS vehicles stopped for emergencies, traffic citations, etc. on the freeways, these photo radar vans pose as hazardous if not more dangerous situation WITHOUT FLASHING LIGHTS to warn inattentive or drunk drivers.

    If the freeway is covered in heavy rain, a dust storm, or even fog, these vehicles stopped on the freeway where traffic is moving at 55 MPH or faster post a SIGNIFICANT DANGER to even the driver who is paying attention.

    It is unclear what her summary is in her column. Perhaps you could email her and ask what she meant if you are as confused by her conclusion: laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8635.

    The photo radar vans need to get off of the freeways. They are hazardous. They pose dangers to all drivers, including safe and law abiding drivers. They will continue to be the cause of accidents, injuries, or even deaths resulting from the added confusion of these vehicles being placed in random locations without blue and red flashing lights to warn all drivers of their hazards.

    Who insures the photo radar vans and drivers if an accident involves said driver and vehicle? Does the taxpayer pay for any damages, injuries, or deaths because without the vehicles on the roadway, said incidents would not have occurred?

    Who can answer these questions about public safety?

    All good questions, but the author probably won’t answer them. Parking on the side of a freeway is a hazard, and that’s why it is illegal (refer back a few blog entries for the legal stuff). It seems that once or twice a year a DPS officer is injured tending to business at the side of the road. It’s only a matter of time before a photo van is involved in an accident. One was even hit with a tire not too long ago.

    There seems to be a lot of opinion that speed cameras are good because they helped solve this crime so quickly. But to put things in perspective, there are a lot of things we can do in our society if the desire is to solve crimes more quickly. For instance, we could all wear bar codes or wear GPS tracking devices (or have them mandatory in all cars) or have ID chips embedded in our skin. Is this the kind of world we want to live in, just to make crimes easier for the police to solve? I don’t. –admin

  3. Photo Radar 101
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Is the photo radar company being sued by the victim’s family or representatives for failure to assure a safe working environment and failure to inform the victim of the extreme hazards of maintaining a stopped vehicle on a roadway that was not intended to host standing or stopped vehicles in this manner?

    It is too soon to know. I think there is a case here if they want to pursue it. Redflex should have anticipated the dangerous conditions and acted to protect their employees (or at least properly advise them of the risks), but even without that, the prior van attacks should have clued them in to the safety hazards and prompted some action. They are sitting ducks out there. –admin

    • Stephanie Scovell
      Posted April 28, 2009 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      In response to this comment:

      Is the photo radar company being sued by the victim’s family or representatives for failure to assure a safe working environment and failure to inform the victim of the extreme hazards of maintaining a stopped vehicle on a roadway that was not intended to host standing or stopped vehicles in this manner?

      My answer:

      Your at work, sitting at your desk, in the nice cushy office with a window and a view. An earthquake hits, you die. The building was not built to withstand the force of the quake. Does your family sue the company you worked for? Do they sue the builder? No.

      Doug could have just as easily been killed while teaching golf. Would his family sue the golf course? No. Doug’s family would have no leg to stand on. Doug knew the risks of being parked in a van, next to a busy freeway. A vehicle could have just as easily lost control, hit the back of the van, and killed him. The fact that Tom Destories murdered this innocent man, is no reason for Dougs’ family to sue Redflex or any of its representatives.

      Should Dougs’ family sue the maker of the van, because it didn’t stop a bullet? No. Should Dougs’ family sue anybody? Yes, Tom Destories and his estate. Tom is the reason Doug is dead, not Redflex.

      To answer the reply to my first post…I was referring to people who have left comments on this site, and on the news, stating that Doug “got what he deserved”. Any human, any human with a heart, knows that Doug died a horrible and tragic death that should not have happened. Redflex is NOT at fault. Tom Destories is.

      I’m not so sure about that. All a lawyer has to prove is that Redflex was aware or should have been aware of the dangers of the job and properly protected or at least warned the driver. Maybe they warned the drivers, maybe they didn’t. If I have a landscape company and I hire someone to work the weed-eater and I don’t offer them eye protection or at least tell them to wear eye protection and then they lose an eye working for me, I’d have to think that there is grounds for a lawsuit. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve seen “crazier” lawsuits won. You can’t hire someone and then knowingly put them in harm’s way without preparing them for it. It’s called negligence. And with the attack 5/6 weeks prior and the other attacks Redflex has had, the drivers should have been more prepared.

      And again, please point out the specific comments on this site that you are referring to. –admin


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