TeeJaw Blog

Surprise, Surprise — Photo Radar Cameras Making Millionaires

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Saturday, November 27, 2010, 10: 29 AM

This story today tells us that the principals of a company that make photo speed and red light ticket cameras are becoming mulit-millionaires from their share of the fines paid to them by city and state governments. American Traffic Solutions (ATS Consolidated, Inc.) makes photo speed and red light cameras that issue tickets automatically. They don’t sell the cameras to the cities and states that use them, they just take a cut of the profits, that is the fines that are levied by the city or state government. This must be the perfect public/private partnership at least from a politicians or bureaucrats point of view.

Any government that wants to increase its take from traffic fines can just authorize ATS to install the cameras without any initial outlay and pretty soon they’re singing, “My god, how the money rolls in!” The take by ATS can be as much as 40% I’ve heard, and of course, it’s just a dream for bureaucrats at all levels.

What if everyone slowed down so they were not exceeding the already under-posted speed limits where these cameras are posted? Would that dry up the money train? Nah, they’d just lower the speed limit even more.

The fix for this is state laws that prohibit any government entity from sharing traffic fine revenue with any private company or person, and making all traffic fine revenue go straight into the state general fund with an annual sharing of the revenue with all government entities in the state according to a formula that is based solely on their ordinary and necessary expenses (and not on the number of tickets they write). That is the only way traffic enforcement will ever be based on achieving traffic safety and not solely on money. When there is a financial incentive, especially a direct and immediate one as now exists, enforcement will always and everywhere by about money and nothing else.

Voters and taxpayers may not need to wait for politicians to do it. Voters in Houston did something that is even more direct. They flat shut down the cameras completely. Hooray for them!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My, my…when the teat is pulled from the pig’s mouth there is going to be a whole lot of squealing going on!

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