Cities Rush Into Trouble When They Rush Photo Enforcement

Several Washington cities have gotten themselves into trouble by rushing a photo enforcement program to the streets. (Article) It’s rather interesting how after a camera vendor solicits a city or state council/board, they suddenly develop a safety emergency that needs immediate attention. Suddenly, they can’t have cameras fast enough, and they rush to get photo programs implemented.

In the sudden need for “safety,” government officials always seem to fast track revenue generating cameras without doing proper engineering studies, without doing proper legal reviews to ensure that the programs are legal, and without adequately reviewing processes and procedures and establishing adequate oversight programs. It’s clear that the motivation is revenue, as these officials know what will happen if the program is opened to public scrutiny and engineering studies. It’s the same mistake that Abilene, TX made when they hired an engineering firm that concluded that cameras were unnecessary, and that simple engineering solutions would increase their safety, much to the city council’s disappointment.

It will be interesting to see how this develops, and how the cities will end up paying the large judgment as a result of their carelessness. We can only hope that this will be a lesson to other entities that are considering photo enforcement.



  1. NO tp 4 Me
    Posted June 25, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    did i miss something? i did not see anything about judgements. are you speculating? which is the same as guessing

    There hasn’t been a judgment and I never claimed there was one. The cities are in trouble regardless because now they have a legal battle on their hands, which can get expensive regardless. We’ll have to see how it turns out, but the lawyers probably have a decent case if they’ve decided to proceed with these class action suits – which are almost always done on contingency. They wouldn’t wastes their time if there wasn’t a great chance of being successful. –admin

    • NO tp 4 Me
      Posted June 25, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      so are they lagging red light arrows or arrows first in Abilene?

      you certaily make it sound like there is legal action that is pending… when in reality there is none and nothing in that article points to a group that would bring suit… and just what would they be litigating for? texas law says that they have to have the study done, it did not say that they had to follow the advise of the study… one could make a claim that adding another second to a yellow before turning red….. in time, when the community surrounding the light gets used to the longer yellow , the numbers of red light runners will go up again… if they actually would ever go down as it is just a study…..

      adding time to an arrow would move more traffic through and in many cases the numbers would go down due to just the fact that the yellow was longer and there were no cars moving through to run the yellow !! this is a victory for inconclusive !!!! luckily in arizona we dont allow stupid laws to get in the way of good laws…. no ridiculous studies about the effects of what a longer yellow will yield !!

      Another article has come out ( with more information. It’s a proposed lawsuit because it is a class action lawsuit. They will have to certify a class, and that is a long process, but it will be not be difficult in this case.

      You’re right, they don’t have to follow the advice of the study in Abilene, but it would be political suicide for elected officials to ignore the advice of an engineering firm, in my opinion. Why do a study if you’re not going to follow the advice? How do you explain the logic of that one during the re-election?

      As for light timing, you need to do more research on the issue instead of speculating, as you have falsely blasted me for doing. Studies have found that drivers DO NOT “get used to” longer yellows and take advantage of the extra time. The effects are permanent. –admin

      • NO tp 4 Me
        Posted June 30, 2009 at 2:17 am | Permalink

        did i miss something? i dont think so…. i am pretty sure that this study done in abilene made the recommendation that extending the lights is all that needs to be done…

        You did miss something. Read the study. –admin

  2. NO tp 4 Me
    Posted June 25, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    my vote , if i had one in abilene is extend the yellows and throw up the cameras !!!

    Why would you want to increase the accident and fatality rates in that city? –admin

  3. photoradarscam
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Update: An additional article with more information:

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