Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

It's easier to pay than fight

I read your editorial in the July issue [Page 12] and had to offer what I think is a bit more insight into traffic cameras. I don't have a problem with cities installing cameras at stoplights. However, the mere fact that 90 percent of ticket recipients pay their fines without question does not mean the system works.

Cities, I believe, purposely make it extremely inconvenient to challenge any traffic violation. Those who get tickets typically pay the nominal fines because it is easier than dealing with the city. If you do happen to have the time and patience to go to court, traffic judges routinely ignore the ticket recipient in favor of law enforcement, regardless of evidence.

My wife is in law enforcement and has stated that judges believe they cannot side against the authorities in traffic cases because they do not want to give the impression that law enforcement is wrong.

Fast-forward to cameras and you can see that a traffic ticket resulting from a camera shot would be virtually impossible to dispute, regardless of whether the camera was operating properly.

Just try to get law enforcement to release maintenance and calibration records of the camera prior to a hearing before a judge. And how can the average citizen with limited knowledge of technology argue intelligently before a judge about the faults of the camera? For the average driver, a $50 or $100 fine is far more convenient.



David Frediani

Senior engineer

County Sanitation Districts

Los Angeles County

Cannot face an automated accuser

Sorry, but I disagree with you on stoplight cameras. Our system of government allows a day in court, and part of that day in court is the right to question your accuser, normally an officer of the law.

It's not possible to question a camera and the supporting automated equipment. What if the traffic light was malfunctioning and the supporting equipment took a picture of someone trying to get through a malfunctioning light? A law officer could see if a traffic light system was malfunctioning, but it's doubtful that a camera could.

I think we need the human touch to completely evaluate the situation and to answer questions in court.



Richard C. Scholl

Electronic systems engineer

Milwaukee Public Museum Inc.

Milwaukee

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