Minnesota Supreme Court strikes down red light scameras!

Great news for Minnesotans–their Supreme Court has just struck down the red light scameras!

The Minnesota Supreme Court today delivered the highest-level court rebuke to photo enforcement to date with a unanimous decision against the Minneapolis red light camera program. The high court upheld last September’s Court of Appeals decision that found the city’s program had violated state law.

The supreme court found that Minneapolis had disregarded a state law imposing uniformity of traffic laws across the state. The city’s photo ticket program offered the accused fewer due process protections than available to motorists prosecuted for the same offense in the conventional way after having been pulled over by a policeman. The court argued that Minneapolis had, in effect, created a new type of crime: “owner liability for red-light violations where the owner neither required nor knowingly permitted the violation.”

Gee, you mean if you want to charge someone with breaking the law, you have to charge the person who actually broke the law??? Radical!

You can read the entire article here, and the court’s opinion here.

It’s interesting the transparency you see often with these scameras. Here’s an article showing the Mayor of Albuquerque’s attitude regarding the scameras (emphasis mine):

Richardson also signed legislation yesterday, SB 861 (bill text), mandating warning signs in advance of red light camera locations along with either rumble strips in the pavement or a warning beacon that flashes a yellow light in advance of the signal light changing to red. The measure, opposed by the Albuquerque mayor, is designed to provide extra notice to motorists so that they are not trapped by short yellow times at intersections.

Oh, no! We can’t have people actually being aware that the light’s about to turn red! What would happen to our boondoggle then?

It becomes even more transparent when you look at the findings of the National Motorists Association:

The answer to the “rash” of red-light violations is relatively simple. Increase yellow light duration. Almost 80 percent of red light entries occur within the first second of the red light indication. Studies in Arizona, Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland have shown a reduction of 73 percent to nearly 100 percent in red light entries after an increase in yellow light duration. Several cities have dropped their red-light camera programs after adding only one second to yellow light durations at intersections because infractions were “virtually eliminated.”

Man, only government could scam people this outright and get away with it. Okay, well, maybe Sylvia Browne, but even then it’s a tough call…

Edit: Solitaire over on the JREF Forum posted a link to this study (PDF format):

The results do not support the conventional wisdom expressed in recent literature and popular press that red light cameras reduce accidents…there has been no demonstrable benefit from the RLC program in terms of safety. In many ways, the evidence points toward the installation of RLCs as a detriment to safety…We had expected that upon seeing the signs for red light cameras, drivers may panic and try to stop, thus increasing rear-end collisions. The failure of a reduction in severe or angle accidents comes as somewhat of a surprise.

1 thought on “Minnesota Supreme Court strikes down red light scameras!

  1. What annoys me even more than red-light cameras is the automated speeding cameras. I got zapped by them twice when we lived in DC. The worst part is that they always set them up on roads that were heavily used small streets with really low (25) speed limits. Oh, did I mention that they would set them up at the bottom of a hill! It was a revenue stream, pure and simple.

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