Tag Archives: enforcement

REAL ID Fright Fest 2015, Oklahoma Edition

Headlines 2015

Kaye Beach | Oct. 6, 2015

The headlines are scary.

Vaguely worded policies issued by the federal Department of Homeland Security and sensational headlines have allowed misconceptions about the actual consequences of not having a REAL ID to grow.

The very worst possible consequences of not having not having a REAL ID card are actually quite minimal.

To refresh your memory- the REAL ID Act was passed with little to no debate in Congress in 2005 as a rider to a ‘must pass’ military and disaster relief funding bill.  The most controversial portion of the law imposes federal standards upon state driver’s licenses and ID documents.  And contrary to media reports, the REAL ID Act does require the collection and digital retention of every driver license applicants’ biometric facial image.  This fact is acknowledged by the National Conference of State Legislatures as well as other policy professionals so you don’t have to take my word for it.

nscl

The biometric and other personal information is required to be shared among the states and is accessible to the federal government.
The consequences for having a REAL ID are far more disturbing than the consequences for not having a REAL ID  which can be summed up like this; Someday, if you do not have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or one of the umpteen acceptable alternatives, the TSA will look you up in their database to make sure that you are really you and you may be subject to a secondary screening which generally means you will be asked to either go through the naked scanner or get a pat down and they will look in your bags. That’s about it so why are we being treated to this over the top fright fest?
Because fear is one of the only tools DHS has to get the states to comply

Jim Harper at Cato explains:

Right now, the Department of Homeland Security is sending out emissaries to tell state leaders that their residents might soon feel the TSA’s wrath. State motor vehicle bureaucrats and pro-national ID groups are joining them in the effort to herd state leaders over the national ID cliff.
But the threat of TSA enforcement is an empty one. REAL ID “deadlines” have come and gone many times. No state has ever come into compliance with REAL ID. No state will be in compliance in 2016. And the TSA will not begin a program to prevent Americans from traveling by air.

The adoption of the REAL ID standards is (by law) is voluntary for the states. This is not a mandate so implementation can only be accomplished gradually by persuading (or intimidating) the states into compliance. Since the law is so controversial (not to mention convoluted and costly!) states have little incentive to adopt the REAL ID standards.
No one really seems to want a REAL ID — unless they think that the consequences for not having one might be dire.

“. . .by requiring Real ID-compliant licenses to board commercial aircraft, the law could put a lot of public pressure on states to issue licenses that meet its standards.”
Source: USA Today, Real ID is slowly changing state drivers’ licenses, Jan. 22, 2014

Oklahoma has been granted an extension by the Dept. of Homeland Security. An extension means that the state’s driver’s license and ID cards will be accepted just as if the ID was fully REAL ID compliant.
From the Dept. of Homeland Security, REAL ID Enforcement in Brief:
“Individuals holding driver’s licenses or identification cards from these jurisdiction may continue to use them as before.”
The jurisdiction referred to are states where their licenses have been “(1) determined to meet the Act’s standards; or (2) that have received extensions.”

This means that Oklahoma ID’s are acceptable for flying, entering specified federal buildings and entering a nuclear facility, 3 of the four “official purposes” that will require a REAL ID.  There are FOUR official purposes that require a REAL ID but I have yet to hear the media cover the fourth purpose even once.

The REAL ID final rules require a REAL ID complaint driver’s license or ID card for certain specified “official purposes” (defined in Sec 201 of the Act.)
#1 Entering Federal facilities
#2 boarding a Federally-regulated commercial aircraft
#3 Entering a nuclear power plant
and
#4 Any other purpose established by the Secretary of Homeland Security
(Real ID Final Rules http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2008-01-29/pdf/08-140.pdf)

The fourth official purpose is what a good friend of mine refers to as the “dictator clause”  It means just what it says.  The Secretary of Homeland Security can add any other purpose he or she wisher.  No congressional review – no nothing.  Would it bother you if you were required to present your biometric national ID for say….ammo?

That fourth purpose could come in handy for just about anything that needs to be monitored, rationed or controlled.  Ask Oklahoma media to cover THAT!

The DHS will be reviewing the progress of states that have received extensions this month. I predict that Oklahoma will be granted another extension.

On Dec. 29, 2014, the Dept. Of Homeland Security extended the deadline for enforcement upon states that have an extension or are deemed compliant with REAL ID until Oct. 1, 2020. Oklahoma appears to exempt from enforcement until 2020.

In the worst-case-scenario, one where the DHS refuses to grant our state and extension and we become subject to enforcement in order to board a plane “no sooner than 2016,”  it’s still not going to be a big deal for Okies.

Not once has it been publicly asserted by the Department of Homeland Security or the TSA that not having a REAL ID compliant license would ever be a basis for denying a person the ability to board a commercial aircraft or that a U.S. Passport is the only accepted alternative to REAL ID
Clarifying statements have been made by DHS officials though, they just aren’t the ones that make the headlines.
For example, Darrell Williams, former Senior Director, Office of State Issued ID Support, Department of Homeland Security, testified before a Congressional subcommittee that there are a variety of identification alternatives to a REAL ID and that not having a REAL ID compliant license will not prevent a person from boarding a plane. He went on to say to say that even individuals with NO FORM OF ID at all can still be permitted to fly.

Williams TSA REAL ID

Mr. Williams as the former Director of the REAL ID program for the Department of Homeland Security with (which directs the Transportation Security Administration) is very familiar with the policies of both agencies. No publicly available official statement on the matter of REAL ID and boarding a federally regulated commercial aircraft refutes Mr. Williams’ testimony.

Here is the TSA’s list of preferred ID documents:
• Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
• U.S. passport
• U.S. passport card
• DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
• U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
• Permanent resident card
• Border crossing card
• DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
• Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
• Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
• HSPD-12 PIV card
• Foreign government-issued passport
• Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
• Transportation worker identification credential
http://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification

Here the TSA goes into a bit more detail regarding its identity verification procedures:

“TSA prefers that passengers use an acceptable ID at the checkpoint and only publishes the acceptable forms of primary ID, such as a driver’s license and passport on its website. However, we understand that, due to extenuating circumstances a passenger may not have an acceptable form of ID when attempting to travel on a commercial aircraft. Therefore, TSA has alternate means to verify identity in order to allow a passenger to travel and may rely on a variety of government-issued documents, commercial databases, and other agencies to verify passenger identity. The alternative means to establish identity are not published on the website in part because TSA prefers that passengers use acceptable ID.

The TSA website informs passengers that, if they do not have acceptable ID, they can alternatively provide additional information and undergo additional screening in order to be cleared. Specifically, the website informs the public that: “If you are willing to provide additional information, we have other ways to confirm your identity, like using publicly available databases, so you can reach your flight.”
(TSA response to congressional inquiry Aug. 7, 2014
https://www.scribd.com/doc/237497624/TSA-Doc)

No one is going to have to get a passport or be barred from flying due to the REAL ID Act.

Sparks Real ID

This press released today by the Oklahoma Senate certainly sounds dire.

Can you imagine if people were unable to enter the Social Security office?  What if you were asked to appear in Federal Court and you don’t have a REAL ID?  What would happen?

Apparently nothing.

REAL ID Act of 2005 Implementation: An Interagency Security Committee Guide
Aug 2015, Interagency Security Committee
“…there is no requirement to produce a REAL ID Act compliant ID to enter a Federal facility for accessing health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement (including participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations), participating in constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s or spectator’s access to court proceedings, access by jurors or potential jurors), voting or registering to vote, or applying for or receiving Federal benefits…”
https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/isc-real-id-guide-august-2015-508_0.pdf

According to the Department of Homeland Security
REAL ID does NOT apply to the following:
• Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification
• Voting or registering to vote
• Applying for or receiving Federal benefits
• Being licensed by a state to drive
• Accessing Health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
• Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations

There is too much fear, uncertainty and doubt being pumped out by the media and state officials for me to address in just one post so expect more posts soon.  Until then – don’t let them scare you!

Okla. Texting Ban: The questions we weren’t supposed to ask (but did anyways)

Kaye Beach

Jan. 22, 2011

Based upon the complaints about enforceability coming from law enforcement officers nationwide and the fact that Oklahoma passed a pretty tough distracted driving law recently,  I asked Rep. Morgan some questions regarding  the necessity of  this bill and how it might address the enforcement issue.

More about problems with this legislation here

The Red Dirt Report reports:

OKLAHOMA CITY —  It appears that Oklahoma is poised to be the next state to ban texting-while-driving, at least if State Rep. Danny Morgan (D-Prague) has anything to do with it.

At a press conference held Wednesday afternoon at the State Capitol, Morgan, surrounded by a coalition of folks representing everything from AT&T to Triple A to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, said texting-while-driving is “a difficult task at best and dangerous at worst.”

He [Rep. Morgan] said his proposed legislation, HB 1316, co-authored by Sue Tibbs (R-Tulsa) has bipartisan support and would specifically prohibit not only texting while driving but also talking on cell phones while driving through school zones and construction zones.

. . .Interestingly, Oklahoma already has a distracted driving statute in place. However this would be more specific and give a chance for law enforcement to be “pro-active.” Read more from the Red Dirt Report

Oklahoma Legislative Lu Lu’s or ‘Lets Play Cell Phone Follies!’

Kaye Beach

Jan 19, 2011

No one will argue that texting while driving is a good idea, it’s not.

When I started EMT school the first heartbreaking wreck I was exposed to was caused by a young driver fiddling with her phone.  Naturally my immediate reaction was “there ought to be a law….”

While my views about texting or talking and driving have not changed since 2007, my views about lawmaking have.  I have been educated over the last 3 years that I have spent primarily trying to put a damper on intrusive legislation.

Here are a few things I have learned in that time that has cured me of the “there ought to be a law…” type thinking.

  • Bills promoted for one reason may actually be intended or used for an entirely different purpose.
  • Bills passed in haste by our legislators will be repented at leisure . . by the constituents.
  • Unnecessary or poorly thought out legislation contributes cumulatively to undermine the strength of the rule of law.

There were no less than 8 bills offered last session that proposed to ban texting while driving in some fashion, at least three were submitted in 2009 and five bills before that. link

Morgan’s Folly

Already this year, Rep Danny Morgan has announced that he will run another bill  proposing to do the same.

Jan 18, 2011

Lawmaker Wants Complete Ban On Texting While Driving

Rep. Danny Morgan: ‘It Will Be Complete Texting, E-Mail Ban On Adult Drivers

link

So before we get carried away here and confuse the fact that abstaining from texting while hurtling down the road at 60 mph is a really good idea with the enshrining of this good idea in law, let’s examine the issue a little deeper.

Video from the Jan. 18th press conference for Morgan’s unveiling of his bill, HB 1316.

Perspective

While every single life lost to a cause that could have been prevented is unquestionably, a tragedy, it is helpful to try and put the problem into perspective especially with alarmist claims that there is an “epidemic” of digital mayhem in progress.

Oklahoma Highway Safety Office interim study, 2009 reports that in “2007, there were 10 fatal crashes in our state involving a driver distracted by an electronic device; in 2008, there were 13.

Despite the dramatic proliferation of cell phones over the last decade—more than 80 percent of Americans now use them—driving in America is safer than it has ever been.  Link

Source: Oklahoma Highway Safety Office

Is this law really necessary?

First of all, the free market actually has a fix for this.  You can use speech recognition technology to dictate texts, emails and internet searches.  It works amazingly well and is getting better all the time.  This same technology translates text to speech so you can hear rather than read any material that you like.

The most powerful arguments for draconian restrictions on cell phone usage are based on limited or dubious studies.

The Oklahoma’s Highway Safety Office’s interim study on Distracted Driving in 2009 overall found the studies used by texting ban proponents to be less than compelling pointing out flaws in methodology and other weaknesses.  The Office did note however, that among young drivers, the issue was a matter of concern but also noted that distraction from sources other than cell phones was an even greater problem. link

As it stands now, Minors are prohibited by law from using a cell phone while driving in Oklahoma.

As a matter of fact, since Nov 1 2010, anyone caught driving without giving due attention to the task at hand can be stopped on the spot and fined $100.

This law states;

“The operator of every vehicle, while driving, shall devote their full time and attention to such driving.”

“No law enforcement officer shall issue a citation under this section unless the law enforcement officer observes that the operator of the vehicle is involved in an accident or observes the operator of the vehicle driving in such a manner that poses an articulable danger to other persons on the roadway that is not otherwise specified in statute.”  link

Bad Driver’s get tickets in Oklahoma!

So,  no matter if you are distracted because you are putting on mascara, changing a CD or refereeing a fight between two kids, the fact that you are not giving you attention to the road thus endangering everyone else, is the focus and for this you can be stopped and ticketed.

Isn’t it the hazardous driving that is the problem?

Another problem-the law is unenforceable.

There are many difficulties with this kind of a law in a strictly practical sense;

Officer Jeff Sulewski said the law is too tough to enforce.

“You have to have a search warrant to access the content of a phone, access somebody’s private cell phone,” he said. “In order to prove someone was texting, we’d have to get a search warrant.

Ok. So what’s the problem?  Get one.  Isn’t that what warrants are for?

The truth is that cops find getting a warrant to prove that someone is guilty of this type of violation to be too much trouble which indicates to me that the problem is really being blown out of proportion.  I think the police are in one of the best positions to judge.  To them, texting while driving is either not enough of a threat to the public at large or (for you cynics out there) not profitable enough to bother with.

In Toledo Ohio nine months after the ban went into effect just 6 tickets for texting while driving had been written.   What police say they are doing instead is issuing tickets for distracted driving, a law that was already in effect before the texting ban was issued.

Texting-while-driving ban tough to enforce

Jan. 10 2011

The less-than-a-year-old ban on texting while driving in Michigan is a difficult law to enforce, according to Livingston County law enforcement officials.

The ban, which took effect July 1, hasn’t had an effect on the county, as area police chiefs say they haven’t written any tickets for texting while driving.

“It’s really tough to tell if someone is texting while they’re driving because there’s no device for us to tell. Everything is visual,” Howell Police Chief George Basar said. Link

More on the enforcement issue further down.

Does the law work?

The good news first;

One study shows found that bans did seem to lower the number of people visibly handling their cell phones while driving.

Other studies do not.

As noted by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office;

It is also unclear whether laws against hand-held cell phones have a marked effect on phone usage by drivers of any age. In New York, the number of drivers using hand-held phones 15 months after legislation took effect was only slightly lower than drivers using the devices before the law took effect. In Connecticut, the number of users was actually slightly higher 15 months after the law was in place. LINK

Now the bad news;

ARLINGTON, VA — It’s illegal to text while driving in most US states. Yet a new study by researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) finds no reductions in crashes after laws take effect that ban texting by all drivers.  LINK

The same study done by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that, strangely, crashes were NOT reduced after the ban went into effect.  Even weirder, in 3 out of the 4 states examined crashes actually increased!

That doesn’t mean, of course, that banning texting while driving causes more crashes.  It does indicate that a law passed for the sole purpose of improving safety has, so far, not worked as intended.

“Whatever the reason, the key finding is that crashes aren’t going down where hand-held phone use has been banned”

http://www.iihs.org/news/2010/hldi_news_012910.pdf

One theory to explain this phenomenon is that people still text (surprise!) but when they do they try to hide it making the practice more hazardous than before.

This study is limited in scope by the short time frame it covers but it does demonstrate the fact that merely passing a law doesn’t mean much. Officials concede that it will require steeper fines and additional penalties such as offenders losing points off their license along with costly public awareness campaigns to really show results.

But we still have a big problem with enforceability.  You can’t impose stiff fines if you can’t catch them.

The problem of enforcement was apparent before the first law banning texting was ever issued.  If lawmakers insist upon treating the cell phone as the source of all evil instead of emphasizing the responsibility of the individual to control the vehicle they are driving, we can look forward to a whole new set of problems.

State Police Sgt. Lance Cook, a former traffic law expert with the state who works at the state police Bay City Post, said the only way to prove someone was reading or sending a text message is to look at the digital time stamp on their device.

“The problem is, a police officer is not going to have probable cause to go into somebody’s phone and look at that stuff unless there’s been some type of crime committed,” he said.

“The bottom line is, we had enough laws on the books to handle the results of bad driving from text messaging, eating a burger or changing the radio station anyway,” Cook said. “And to just keep enumerating new distractions to outlaw don’t really give us any new tools.

http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2010/06/law_enforcement_and_saginaw_re.html

Current law that protects our few remaining rights will have to be retooled to accommodate more intrusive means to enforce bans on texting or cell phone usage.  There are a number of ways they could go about it but the  short answer is that in order for officers to be able to effectively enforce a texting ban there must be a way to either

A.  Control when and where you use your cell phone.

B.   Be able to gain access to your cell phone data or phone records in a way that is fast and efficient

Our cell phones nowadays are personal computing devices that hold an amazing amount of personal information about us. Pictures, emails, calendars and appointments are obvious but the possibilities are endless.  Allowing instant, on demand or warrant less access to this data would be an astonishing breach of the 4th Amendment.  I’m willing to go on record with an educated hunch that if this law passes whatever new access to our cell phone tracking devices that will eventually be granted in order to aid enforcement will also be put to use in some other creative way.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has made the banning of texting and cell phone usage while driving his personal crusade.  This fall he upped the ante by suggesting motorist habits might be controlled with by application of some sort of cell phone kill switch.

Making the cable TV rounds to unveil a public service announcement campaign against “epidemic” cell phone use and texting on the road, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood revealed bizarre and alarming plans on Wednesday to install devices in cars that would block a driver’s ability to communicate. link

When asked about another of his authoritarian-style plans,

the “Partnership for Sustainable Communities’ his department had formed with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing—sometimes known as the “livability initiative”–was designed to “coerce” people out of their cars. link

Secretary LaHood replied

“About everything we do around here is government intrusion in people’s lives,” said LaHood. “So have at it.”

If state legislators are determined to make the specific uses of certain devices while driving their focus rather than the easily identifiable, dangerous actions of the driver that put others at risk then they will find Secretary LaHood’s comments to be bracing but how Oklahoma’s will feel about that attitude being imported and applied to them even if they accept the argument that it is “for their own good”,  remains to be seen.

Personally speaking, I think it is reasonable for the police to be able to intervene by stopping and citing me if I am driving in a hazardous manner but as to this ongoing crusade against personal electronic devices, I have only this to say;

Rep. Morgan, would you please Get Off My Phone!!

.

Random Red Light Camera News and Views

City Wants to Add Red Light Cameras Outside of Downtown
NBC4i.com
By Steve Wainfor Videos of accidents and near misses that have been caught on photo red light cameras from around the city are the very reason the city is

About Face on Red Light Cameras?
WashMo.com (blog)
In tonight’s hotly debated City Council meeting, the Washington Chief of Police ( Chief Hahn) has apparently done an about face on Red Light Cameras in the

Two More California Cities Reject Red Light Cameras
TheNewspaper.com
Red light cameras are nowhere near as popular as they once were with Golden State municipalities. Loma Linda and Whittier became the most recent examples of

More than a third of red light camera citations go unpaid
Franklin Park Herald Journal
By MARK LAWTON mlawton@pioneerlocal.com More than a third of drivers who are cited in Northlake via red light cameras are not paying their fines.
See all stories on this topic »
Running Reds: The Camera Cash Cow
The Atlantic
[O]verall collisions are up at the intersections where Clarksville has installed red light cameras (a result we’ve seen nearly everywhere they’ve been
See all stories on this topic »

Red Light Runners
WREG
What really floored him was a burgundy car…rocketing through a red light on Millbranch. It lost control, cutting off a van before wiping-out.


Speed camera becomes a lottery
Greater Greater Washington
From your description, it sounds like you’re referring to the red light cameras in Rosslyn instead. by Froggie on Dec 7, 2010 2:28 pm My favorite part is

Talk of the County
Chicago Sun-Times
Regarding redlight cameras. I wonder how many frames of that film are wasted on police cars that don’t stop and run through the lights?

Clearwater pushes ahead with red light cameras – St. Petersburg Times
The City Council votes 3-2 to install the devices to record and fine red light runners. CLEARWATER — One after another, people came before the City Council
www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/…/1137840

Random Red Light Scamera News

Redlight cameras going in at Ogden-Eola
Chicago Sun-Times
AURORA — The intersection with the highest number of crashes in the city last year will soon have red light enforcement cameras. Installation of the
See all stories on this topic »

 

Albuquerque’s redlight cameras to return Friday
LubbockOnline.com
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) — The redlight cameras in Albuquerque will be turned back on early Friday morning. They were turned off on Oct. 26 when a contract
See all stories on this topic »

 

Letters: Redlight cameras angst
Houston Chronicle
The city officials responsible for the redlight cameras are either arrogant or incompetent (or maybe both). They should have sent a letter to ATS giving
See all stories on this topic »

 

Red light cameras to monitor Ogden at Eola
Chicago Daily Herald
None of the red light cameras will be connected to Aurora’s new traffic control system, traffic engineer Eric Gallt said, because the new system is not
See all stories on this topic »

 

Keep cameras, vans on the job
The Daily Advertiser
For one reason, a popular vote against redlight cameras in Houston and a Louisiana Supreme Court decision not to try to reinstate cameras in New Orleans
See all stories on this topic »

 

Violations generally clear in photos, videos of redlight runners
Colorado Springs Gazette
The officers stationed in an office at the back of the municipal courthouse never see most of the photos taken by the high-powered redlight cameras.
See all stories on this topic »

 

 

Fun! The speed camera that doesn’t just check your speed

CNET
At a stroke this eliminates speed cameras and redlight cameras (which are serviced by third-party operators in return for a cut of the take) as well as
See all stories on this topic »

 

Red light cameras voted out – BaytownSun.com: News
Tuesday night, with early votes, mail-in votes and over half of Election Day votes counted, Baytown’s Proposition 1, limiting the use of red light cameras,
baytownsun.com/…/article_1d7eea10-e705-11df-a2a4-001cc4…

 

Grits for Breakfast: Houston wants to continue redlight cameras
By Gritsforbreakfast
Although voters abolished Houston’s red light camera system Tuesday, the 70 cameras have the green light to keep recording traffic violations for months as the city weighs a legal strategy for exiting its contract with the firm
Grits for Breakfast – http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/

Bring the Scameras Down! » Amber-light scam hidden Database
In some U.S. jurisdictions where redlight cameras were used, they discovered the vast majority of so-called red-light runners are ticketed 0.1 or 0.2 seconds after the light turns red. Some states have mandated longer amber times which
Bring the Scameras Down! – http://naturaltreasure.net/scameras/

Seattle’s KING 5 News Interviews YAL at WCC President | Bastiat
By Mikayla Hall
Making banning local red light cameras a large focus, the YAL chapter at Whatcom Community College (Bellingham, WA) has been at the forefront of the Ban Cams movement. Recently the chapter president, Johnny Weaver, was interviewed by
Bastiat Institute – http://www.bastiatinstitute.org/

Stop Making Sense! Real Red Light Running Solutions

Kaye Beach

June 6, 2009

Have You Hugged an Engineer Today?

Public Safety Perspective vs. Revenue Enhancement Schemes

Photo enforcement is a scam.  If you say otherwise, then you;

A) don’t have the facts

B) Benefit from RED’s (Revenue Enhancement Devices)

or

C) Have Stockholm Syndrome

Exerpts from testimony by Chad Dornsife of the National Motorists Association
in August 28, 2001 before the CA Senate

“What has been lost in the public uproar and debate is the basic fact that for a red light camera or a photo radar speed enforcement system to be viable, there must be an underlying traffic safety engineering deficiency. At every location that we have examined to date, without exception, this has been the case. ”

The compliance situation was summarized in a Highway Research Board paper presented by Burton Marsh in 1930

“The status of traffic law observance in any community is definitely related to a number of … factors. Important among these factors are:2. Effective and sensible signs, signals and markings, wisely used.

Burton Marsh in 1930 lays out these fundamentals in relation to compliance, speaking in DC “Law Observance and Enforcement methods” at the Highway Research Board Proceedings.

1. Reasonableness of traffic rules and regulations. It is well known that good observance can only be expected for regulations which are generally deemed sensible, necessary and reasonable. They should also be as simple and as few in number as possible. The Uniform Vehicle Code and the Model Traffic Ordinance constitute valuable guides to states and municipalities in setting up reasonable regulations.

3. Adequate public understanding and appreciation of traffic regulations, of the reasons for them, of the results to be accomplished, and of methods of proper observance.

4. Uniform, impartial and business-like enforcement.

He further states;

” To enforce traffic laws is to compel obedience of them.”

And

“The fact that so much compulsion seems necessary is a clear indication of serious deficiency in one or more of the first three factors presented above. Thus, although enforcement should only be necessary for a small perverse minority, it is all too much invoked for large proportions … The really needed steps to reduce violations are the effective promulgation of reasonable regulations and the education of the public as to the saneness, necessity and value of them and as to how the individual is expected to act in compliance with the said laws.”

According to engineers the golden rule of traffic control is what they call  the 85% rule-it is rule of thumb derived from observation of human behavior in traffic/roadway situations;

Since most citizens can be relied upon to behave in a reasonable manner as they go about their daily activities, many of our laws reflect observations of the way reasonable people behave under most circumstances. “

I believe that at least 85% of motorists do Not, in fact, want to die.  These engineers are sharp!

“Traffic regulations are invariably based upon observations of the behavior of groups of travelers under various conditions.”

Invariably-until $$ enters the picture.   to quote the brilliant Cindy Lauper- “Money. Money changes everything”

“Generally speaking, traffic laws that reflect the behavior of the majority of vehicle operators are found to be successful, while laws that arbitrarily restrict the majority of drivers encourage wholesale violations, lack public support, and usually fail to bring about desirable changes in driving behavior.” Source “Establishing Speed Limits – A Case of “Majority Rule”

. . . And also bring Cha Ching! to the coffers of the cities and photo enforcement companies.

Simple, Sane and SAFE. This is the wisdom that has guided traffic engineering from the start.  

Do we really think that the “peverse minority”  has all of a sudden increased?  If so, we are really in trouble! 

That means that the number of people who are too stupid to live has increased which does not bode well for the future of mankind.  In recent years these principles have been subject to some questionable “engineering” that places profit over safety. If you really want to know if Photo Enforcement is a sham-just ask a traffic engineer-an OLD traffic engineer.

Read this; California Senate Hearing Testimony

Chad Dornsife sums up the problem;

Rather than championing best practices and staying true to their charter that only vetted best practice be applied, the FHWA HOTO office routinely allows and or adopts unsafe engineering practices to placate political agendas. In regards to signalized intersections, the situation is further exacerbated by the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ (ITE) adoption of deviant “guidance” for signal timings. Red light cameras are a manifestation of this failure, both the FHWA and the ITE have abandoned best practice to facilitate special interest, those whom profit or derive power and or jobs from these related enterprises, to the clear detriment of safety.

Dick Armey commissioned a study in 2001 that reveals the truth about the situation;

The Red-Light Running Crisis: Is It Intentional?
Office of the Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives

Study quotes;

“And one should ask the question, if there’s a problem with an intersection, why don’t safety engineers in the field just go out and fix the timing?

In fact, before red light cameras arrived in the United States, that’s exactly what our regulations instructed them to do. If too many people enter on red at an intersection, engineers were supposed to lengthen its yellow time. But in the year that red light cameras first started collecting millions in revenue on our shores, those entrusted with developing our traffic safety regulations dropped the requirement to fix signal timing, instructing engineers to “use enforcement” instead. (Emphasis mine)

[. . .]Every study claiming red light cameras increase safety is written by the same man. Before joining the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), he was a top transportation official in New York City at the time the city began looking into becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to install red light cameras. In other words, the father of the red light camera in America is the same individual offering the “objective” testimony that they are effective.

[. . . ]A similar conflict of interest affects those entrusted with writing safety regulations for our traffic lights. The Institute of Transportation Engineers is actively involved in lobbying for, and even drafting legislation to implement, red light cameras. They are closely tied to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which in turn is funded by companies that stand to profit handsomely any time points are assessed to a driver’s license.

In short, the only documented benefit to red light cameras is to the pocketbook of local governments who use the devices to collect millions in revenue.”

PDF of Dick Armey’s requested study

Also, take a look at this site-http://www.hwysafety.com/hwy_intro_redlight.htm

NOTE: I am not an engineer, nor do I have any special expertise on this subject matter.  I can only read what the experts write and compare it to my personal observations.  If I am drawing the wrong conclusion and you can provide some facts to prove it, please do! But, if you just want to drop in to inform me that I am wrong but cannot be bothered to provide any sort of factual correction or if you critique and you haven’t read the material provided -I won’t bother to post or respond to your comments.  I put too much time into doing my research to be sidetracked by kamikaze criticizers.

AxXiom

Relevant posts-  Campaign Funding from Scameras https://axiomamuse.wordpress.com/2009/05/21/scameras-fund-…ampaigns-in-az/