SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENTRED LIGHT CAMERAS
HIGHWAYS AND TRANSPORTATION
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
JULY 31, 2001
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
STEPHEN HORN, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
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Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Chairman
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota, VICE-CHAIR
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
DON YOUNG, Alaska
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERROLD NADLER, New York
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P.McGOVERN, Massachusetts
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Barr, Hon. Bob, a Representative in Congress from Georgia
Harper, Jim, Editor, Privacilla.Org
Hedgecock, Roger, Radio Talk Show Host, KOGO Radio, San Diego, California
Hurley, Marshall, Attorney at Law, Greensboro, North Carolina
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Livesay, Chief G. Wayne, Howard County Police Department, Howard County, Md, accompanied by Lt. Glenn Hansen
Stone, Judith Lee, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Armey, Hon. Dick, of Texas
Barr, Hon. Bob, of Georgia
Coble, Hon. Howard, of North Carolina
Costello, Hon. Jerry F., of Illinois
Filner, Hon. Bob, of California
Rahall, Hon. Nick J., of West Virginia
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Livesay, Chief G. Wayne
Stone, Judith Lee
SUBMISSION FOR THE RECORD
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Coble, Hon. Howard, of North Carolina, City of High Point, North Carolina, Fred P. Baggett, City Attorney, letter, August 2, 2001
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Institute of Transportation Engineers, Inc., Thomas W. Brahms, Executive Director (contained in the subcommittee file):
A History of the Yellow and All-Red Intervals for Traffic Signals, report, by Kimberly A. Eccles and Hugh W. McGee, July 2001
Improving Traffic Signal Operations, report
Determining Vehicle Signal Change and Clearance Intervals, report, August 1994
Automated Enforcement in Transportation, report
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT-RED LIGHT CAMERAS
Tuesday, July 31, 2001
House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Thomas E. Petri [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. PETRI. The subcommittee will come to order.
Today's hearing will focus on automated enforcement, specifically cameras at intersections that photograph cars as they illegally pass through a red light.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me begin by saying that I think we all agree with safety being the first principle of our discussion today. With some 900 Americans killed in accidents associated with red light running, I am confident that we are all interested in punishing those who illegally run a red light.
That said, the question today is whether or not red light cameras are a valuable safety tool or an attractive revenue stream for the cities that use them or both. Maybe the answer is both.
Additionally, issues such as privacy and legal implications are intertwined with red light cameras. My hope is that today's hearing will review all of these concerns.
Red light cameras have been around for some 40 years. They were first used in Europe and are now found in 30 American cities. Nineteen States already use or are planning to install red light cameras. Another 11 States specifically prohibit or do not have a law allowing their use.
Washington, D.C., being one of the most recent cities to use red light cameras, has certainly raised awareness here on Capitol Hill. Having the cameras in use within our Nation's capital has made many lawmakers who do not have cameras in their home State take an interest in this issue.
Some, like myself, have found a new appreciation of the science, if not the art, that goes into timing traffic signals, in particular, how interdependent a series of lights are and what proper timing can accomplish in moving cars and providing a safe environment for motorists. Many do not appreciate that simply changing the timing on a single light can disrupt traffic within the larger systems and make that specific intersection unsafe.
So much of the debate around red light cameras is focused on the timing of the light, how much time is enough to give motorists time to safely clear the intersection. Also, are cities putting cameras at intersections to capture a new stream of revenue, or making engineering improvements to enhance safety? The overall question is whether enforcement is a sound first effort or a means of last resort.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I look forward to hearing from our distinguished panelists and yield to the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee, our colleague from Pennsylvania, Bob Borski.
Mr. BORSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding these hearings on the use of cameras at intersections as a means of enforcing our traffic laws. Today's witnesses will address the privacy implications of red light cameras, as well as the use of cameras as a safety and law enforcement tool. I look forward to their testimony.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 1999 fatal accident reporting system, 23 percent of fatal crashes and 58 percent of all crashes occur at intersections. In 1999, 9,560 people died in intersection highway crashes. These disturbing highway safety statistics cry out for solutions.
One way to attack the red light running problem is through the use of technology. According to the Federal Highway Administration, automated red light enforcement using cameras has proven to be effective in reducing the incidence of red light running and the number of red light running crashes.
I note from the witness list, Mr. Chairman, that FHWA will not be testifying at these hearings, so let me say a few conclusions from their September, 1999 report. Based on a review of five electronic enforcement programs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Polk County, Florida and Howard County, Maryland, the report concludes that programs implemented in other areas should show at least a 20 percent reduction and as much as a 60 percent reduction in traffic violations. Crashes in Howard County and Polk County were reduced when crash data from the year before were compared to the year after red light cameras were introduced.
However, more data needs to be collected over a longer period to validate the safety impacts of these programs. A separate report on San Francisco's project showed a 9 percent reduction in injury collisions caused by red light violators one year after implementation of the program.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In New York City, rear end crashes held steady or increased slightly, but total intersection crashes were down. What is clear is that intersections must be designed with safety in mind.
I am troubled, however, Mr. Chairman, by the charges in Majority Leader Armey's report, the Red Light Running Crisis: Is it Intentional?, that some communities may have timed their traffic signals to increase revenues from traffic fines to the detriment of highway safety. If even remotely true, these are concerns that need to be addressed.
I am interested in hearing testimony on the effects of yellow light timing, whether lengthening yellow lights will reduce red light running, as the Majority Leader's report suggests, whether lengthening yellow lights will encourage motorists to try to beat the red light and actually create a more hazardous condition, and whether lengthening yellow lights will increase traffic congestion.
I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses.
Mr. Chairman, in closing, I would like to recognize the work of one of our most able staff members, Mark Kreskowski. Mark will be leaving the Subcommittee staff to head off to Columbia Law School in the fall. This is his last day with us, and before he departs, I just want to thank him publicly for the great job he has done. Good luck at Columbia, Mark, we will miss you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Opening statements, if any, by the Chairman of the Full Committee, Mr. Young of Alaska, and the Ranking Democrat of the Committee, Mr. Jim Oberstar of Minnesota, will be made a part of the record.
Any other opening statements? Mr. Coble.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Chairman, I will be very brief, and I thank you. I thank you and the Ranking Member for conducting this hearing.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you know, Mr. Chairman, North Carolina is one of the States where red light cameras are currently being used at intersections. Not unlike many of my colleagues, especially those of us who have had the opportunity to serve on this Committee, I am very concerned about the increased number of fatalities on our Nation's roads and highways and what we can do as a Committee to improve safety and save lives. As you have pointed out, there is a very high premium on safety.
At the same time, however, Mr. Chairman, I do not believe that improved safety should come at any cost. I sit on the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Chairman, as you know. And there we consistently struggle with issues relating to the rule of law. And one of the features that concerns me most about the use of red light cameras is the presumption of guilt that accompanies these citations.
This appears to me, Mr. Chairman, to turn our system of justice on its head, where presumption of innocence, not presumption of guilt, has been the cornerstone of our legal system since the days of our founding fathers.
And returning once again, Mr. Chairman, to the issue of safety, I am concerned that the tremendous revenue raising potential of these cameras will provide a great temptation for municipalities to ultimately reduce the yellow light times in an effort to nail more violators. Needless to say, in this situation, if it does in fact occur, the safety of our citizens would be greatly jeopardized, along with the sanctity of their wallets.
Again, Mr. Chairman, I thank you and the Ranking Member and look forward to the testimony that will be forthcoming.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. FILNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this hearing.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have a full statement for the record. We will hear on our second panel what I could only consider some horrifying testimony from Mr. Roger Hitchcock, and I will be there to introduce him. But I hope the Committee will listen very closely to his testimony. We're all interested in safety, but the horror story that Mr. Hitchcock will tell about San Diego, I think, will give us great pause.
And I would hope, Mr. Chairman, also, as I was reading his testimony and listening to others, it would seem to me that the manufacturers of the technology might be called at some point to this Subcommittee, because not only the technology ought to be looked at, but the contract terms with various cities. Because there seems to be a, what shall I say, an incentive to give out tickets. In San Diego, at least, as we will hear, they get a percentage of the ticket.
And also the use of the information that they gather, the contractor has full access, apparently, to DMV lists. We ought to be able to talk to them about how they use these lists, are they for sale, etc. So I hope at some point that we might get the folks who are involved in the technology and manufacture and distribution of these systems before us.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and Ranking Member Borski for holding this very important hearing.
Let me just say, you can never satisfy government's appetite for money or land. If we gave every government agency twice what they are getting, they would be happy for only a short time and then they would be coming back to us crying about a shortfall.
This in my opinion is not about safety, it is aboutit is primarily about money, ways for government to get more money from the citizens of this country. And already, the government at all levels is taking about 40 percent of the average person's income, and costing another 10 percent in regulatory costs that are passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I noticed in the paper that the District of Columbia, just that one jurisdiction expects to raise about $160 million a year, and so I think primarily that is what it is about. Also, there are people concerned about the invasions of privacy. The computers have made our lives better in many, many ways, but they also have taken away a great deal of our privacy. So maybe to some people, this is a very small thing, but I can see those who do have those concerns.
But as I said before, I think this is primarily about money, and using safety as a cover, just in an effort to try to take more money from the citizens of this country. Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Are there any other opening statements?
Mr. JOHNSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member.
I too want to thank you for this opportunity to hear from the distinguished Congressman, Mr. Barr, as well as the Majority Leader, Mr. Armey and others on this critically important issue. Let me say, this is a matter that both by way of occupational and professional background, as well as representing the people that it represents, is an issue that I feel very strongly about. I would like to commend Congressman Barr, Congressman Armey and others for their outspokenness on what I consider to be a very real and omnipresent threat to our personal privacy.
In my judgment, red light cameras are not in any way used or being used or really purported to be used, other than through the most dramatic stretch of the imagination, to make our streets safer. They are being used to generate revenue for cities and camera contractors at the expense of citizens' civil liberties.
As a result, drivers are put in the dubious and clearly unconstitutional position of being guilty until proven innocent. These cameras violate our right to privacy and our constitutional right to face our accuser. I strongly believe that these personal freedoms and the goals of making our streets safer are not mutually exclusive. The former do not have to be sacrificed for the sake of the latter.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, and I look forward to working with you as well as Mr. Barr, Mr. Armey and others on this issue, and hope that we have a chance after hearing from the distinguished gentlemen what in my case may be rhetorical questions, but at least in the case of the Committee, other questions and comments with what I consider to be a very, very critical area, not in the area of safety, but in the area of civil liberties. I think that is something we are all sworn to uphold in the most pure manner.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Without objection, Ms. Norton, the delegate from the District of Columbia, who is not a member of the Subcommittee, will sit with the Subcommittee with the rights of a member today.
Any other opening statements? If not, we go to our first witness, our distinguished colleague from the State of Georgia, Mr. Barr.
TESTIMONY OF HON. BOB BARR, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM GEORGIA
Mr. BARR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your allowing me and the other members of this distinguished Subcommittee to allow me to testify briefly here today and answer whatever questions you might have within the sphere of my interest in and background relating to the important constitutional issues that you are about to jump into.
First, Mr. Chairman, let me commend you for holding this hearing today. The technical aspects of government surveillance are reaching the point, given the capability of government to gather, manipulate, store and use information, is progressing behind the scenes in ways that the vast majority of American citizens have no earthly idea.
What we see is the tip of the iceberg. For example, as the subject of this hearing today, the issue of cameras at intersections, is visible, and thank goodness that it is, if it weren't, if there had not been some stories written about this recently and some studies regarding abuses in the area of using these cameras had not come to light, we probably would not even be here today.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I think this is a very, very important issue, an issue, Mr. Chairman, that will really be a focal point for much constitutional consideration throughout this coming century. Probably the most important currency of the 21st century, in a way, is information. It is much more valuable than money, it is much more valuable than physical assets, even. That company, that government that is first to be able to gather more information than another entity, and to be able to manipulate that in one more way than another entity, and to be able to store one more megabyte than another entity, is that company or that country or that government that moves to the forefront of power.
And trying to get a handle on exactly how we as a society, given the constitutional constraints within which we have always required our government to operate, deal with these emerging questions of technology, and whether or not technology or the foundational concerns of our bill of rights shall continue to be the loadstar, the guiding star for our society, is a question for which there are no more fundamental questions. It is that important, what you and hopefully what other committees, including, as the gentleman from North Carolina said, the Judiciary Committee, on which I also have the honor of serving, will be looking at in the years ahead.
I do not think that there is anything good about the use of surveillance cameras. They fly in the face of virtually ever constitutional guarantee that we have. They take away, as the gentleman from North Carolina indicated, they take away your ability to effectively confront an accuser. They take away the ability to question, they take away, because of the seeming invincibility and truthful imprimatur that is given to technology in today's society, they take away your ability to do anything other than basically subjugate yourself at the rule of this technology law that we are developing and walk away paying a fine, and be happy that you get out of there without being sent to jail.
There was a recent decision in the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, it was a five-four decision, but thankfully it was five on the side of the right to privacy, a recent decision written by Justice Scalia that began, I think, and begins to develop a Supreme Court dialogue on this important issue. While this case was not specifically related to surveillance cameras, rather, it was related to another technological area, that is thermal imaging devices that can pick up heat radiation from the exterior of a building, the opinion, written by Justice Scalia, starts to ask some of the questions in a legal setting that this Committee and this Subcommittee is beginning to ask from a legislative setting. Hopefully we will develop and we will see more interest on the part of legislators, more interest on the part of lawyers, and on the part of judges, to begin grappling with these foundational questions in the coming months and years.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Technology has the very, very real potential, indeed likelihood, Mr. Chairman, of eviscerating the Fourth Amendment and other amendments that are portions of our Bill of Rights as well. It used to be, Mr. Chairman, that a police officer would have to establish and would be required under the constitution to establish some articulable suspicion and articulable reason that could be articulated to an independent magistrate before gathering information from a person, from his or her clothing, from a car, from inside the glove box of a car, from inside the package of a card.
But nowadays, with technology being what it is, and with government showing no hesitancy whatsoever to push that technology to the furthest limits, establishing that is no longer necessary. We also know, Mr. Chairman, that governments do not always do what they say. There are some jurisdictions in which these surveillance cameras have been set up and the assurances at the outset have been, all these cameras are going to do is photograph a person's or a vehicle's license plate.
Well, then we find out as we get down the road and as we start to see some of these cases develop that not only does the camera photograph the license plate, it photographs the car, it photographs the person in the car and it photographs the interior of the car, giving rise to the gathering of all that sort of information for which heretofore there was an expectation of privacy, and which was covered by the Fourth Amendment which would have required going in before a neutral magistrate and establishing that cause, or at least having a police officer on the corner.
As Mr. Johnson pointed out, I think it was he, but a number of members have also, there is another very, very troubling aspect to these surveillance cameras that we are seeing, and that is providing part of the revenue, a hefty portion of the revenue that is gathered as a result of citations or tickets given out as a result of the use of this technology at intersections and other locations along the public roadways to the companies that develop and/or install the equipment. This smacks, Mr. Chairman, of the old speed traps that were outlawed as unconstitutional several decades ago, allowing and providing a financial incentive for an entity, whether that entity is a governmental entity or private entity, to go out and catch people and get them convicted so that the coffers for either the outside entity or the government are increased thereby should not be something that any government would want to do.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The glee with which some jurisdictions, such as the District of Columbia, seem to be embracing this notion, raises some fundamental questions about whether or not people who are pushing the use of this technology for this purpose and in these ways have any regard whatsoever for the Constitution. Of course, they always say this is intended to save lives, this is intended for public safety, and that is very important. But we should never forget that simply making the trains run on time, as Mussolini was proud to say, apparently, making the job of law enforcement easier and more efficient should never be the end of the argument.
Trying to protect our constitutional guarantees in this country, which are unique, balance that against the need for effective and efficient law enforcement, is an issue that we have to grapple with. Mr. Chairman, if we don't tackle this, as you are beginning to very, very quickly, we will have effectively forsaken the ability to do so in the future. The technology and the precedents that are being set already will have advanced so far it will be literally impossible to put the horses back in the barn.
We've seen that in a number of areas, such as the government snooping on the internet in Project Carnivore, and now we're seeing it in both the Federal Government and local and State governments, using modern technology to eviscerate and otherwise avoid the requirements of the Fourth Amendment which have served our Nation so well for well over 200 years.
I'd be happy to answer questions, Mr. Chairman, and would appreciate if I could submit my written statement in its entirety for the record.
Mr. PETRI. Your written statement will be made a part of the record, without objection, and as well, a statement by the majority leader, Mr. Richard Armey, who wished to be here this morning, but could not, since he can't be two places at once. Other demands were placed on his time.
Are there questions of the witness? Mr. Isakson.
Mr. ISAKSON. Bob, welcome to the Committee. I am no match, and I know it, for your constitutional knowledge, and I learn from it all the time.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have a question for you, just really a comment. I've read all the problems with the use of cameras at red lights and in traffic and for their enforcement and I understand the danger of constant monitoring of everything a citizen does, and we must be ever vigilant.
We have a situation in my district where those cameras are used in another way that facilitates traffic, specifically tollways, where the people with the automatic technologically read disk that's on their windshield can go at normal speed through the tollway, but they film the license plate and it's synchronized with the sticker, so if somebody's running through there that hasn't paid the annual fee, they then catch them the same way I assume you catch them with the red light camera.
My question is this. When we regulate this use, so as to not have a constitutional abuse, are we better off to do it by establishing what is and is not legal, versus outlawing a technology?
Mr. BARR. I think you're absolutely correct. Just as we should not allow technology to get so far out in front of Fourth Amendment and other constitutional concerns, it becomes the tail wagging the dog, I don't think that we should have a knee jerk reaction against any use of technology. In the example that you've cited, there are a number of factors, I think, that make it very different from what we're talking about, or at least what I was talking about in terms of general surveillance cameras or use of specialized technology, such as that that some law enforcement officials want to start using at airports to x-ray people as they go through or which was already attempted in the case I cited regarding thermal imaging.
In the case that you cited, I think some of the factors that make a difference are, it's very limited, very specific. The person essentially has consented to the use of the technology by virtue of the fact that they have bought into the ease of having that sticker or that bar code or whatever it is on the car so that they don't have to stop each time at the toll booth and pay the fine.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think though that even in that situation, whatever governmental authority it is, and the courts certainly need to be involved in this, need to constantly make sure that the technology is being utilized in the very specific and very limited way that it was intended, and not as we've seen in some other jurisdictions where, as I mentioned, the jurisdiction will say, well, we set up these cameras, and they will only photograph the license plate, and then we find out that something quite different is being done.
It requires not only very strict limitations being placed on the use of the technology when the program is set up, but constant monitoring to make sure that it is not being abused and broadened during the course of its use.
Mr. ISAKSON. One further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Yes.
Mr. ISAKSON. On that point, you raise an excellent point, you are correct that in the case of the disk going through a toll booth, the person who is obeying the law has consented to be filmed, because they bought the disk. Just like when I go to the ATM machine and use my ATM card, I guess I'm affirmatively consenting that that little camera that's filming me is okay.
But in both those cases, for the violator who runs the toll booth, they didn't consent, and in the case of the ATM machine, if somebody attempts to rob somebody, the use of that film could be used to collect them. My point is this. I concur completely with what you're saying from the standpoint of the government going too far and being too pervasive in the private lives of individuals.
My only point I want to make is, as we go through this, and those of you that are attorneys and know this far better than I, I don't want us to throw the baby out with the bathwater with regard to uses that are reasonable and not invasive, and are in the interest of the health, safety and welfare of the people. That was kind of my point.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I hope we'll legislate use of technology rather than prohibit use in general of technology.
Mr. BARR. And the gentleman is, despite his professed lack of legal background, has really done an outstanding job of identifying the balancing act that we ought to be engaged in. And I think part of that also, part of that balancing act ought to be also, are there less intrusive means of accomplishing the goal.
For example, the District of Columbia is saying, aren't these machines wonderful, they can not stop, but they can cite many more thousands of people. And some jurisdictions that have been trying this for a while are saying, isn't it delightful, isn't it wonderful, isn't it laudable, because we're catching these people and we're seeing the number of accidents at intersections go down, for example.
Well, I think that before any jurisdiction, and I think this is the only responsible way to do it, before any jurisdiction rushes in and just throws this technology out because, in part at least, some of these companies are saying, hey, it's not going to cost you anything, it's a freebie, just give us a cut, 40 or 45 percent of the money down the road, that's a great incentive for some jurisdictions, that those jurisdictions, and we insofar as Federal jurisdiction is concerned, ought to say, fine, we want to stop accidents at intersections, or we want to stop accidents from occurring on Federal roadways.
But are there other, less intrusive, less, and to use your term, which is a better one, invasive ways of accomplishing it? There are police officers that can be stationed at particular points. Maybe it might cost a little bit more, but this is part of a very, very important balancing act that my colleague has indicated.
Mr. ISAKSON. Thank you very much.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Are there other questions? Ms. Norton.
Ms. NORTON. Well, the gentleman mentioned the District of Columbia, and so I feel compelled to respond. I take seriously the issue that is raised here. I was assistant legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union as a young woman. And I do regard any invasion of privacy as anathema to American values, and if it goes deep enough, to our Constitution.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Therefore, I think this is a serious issue, and I think Mr. Barr is correct in asking the question, is there a less intrusive way to accomplish the goal. And if he has one, I'd like to hear it. Because stationing a police officer on every corner is an impossible and impractical way, so I haven't heard it yet.
But I do think that it is important to note that when one gets a driver's license, one has to, one takes on the responsibility of operating that vehicle in conformance with law.
With respect to the District of Columbia, and the allegation that any jurisdiction, but especially the jurisdiction in a big city, would install traffic lights just to make money, I believe that that deserves a response, and I have sought statistics. Because if that were the case, then I would have to oppose this notion.
I do want to note in passing that we inquired of the ACLU, which is quick to stand up for invasions of privacy, where are you on this one. And they noted that indeed, because the film taken is of the license plate, and must be of the license plate, I agree with Mr. Barr, if in fact there's an abuse here, then we're talking about something else. But let's talk about what we're talking about. If in fact you're doing what, you're using the equipment properly and you're taking a picture only of the license plate, then it seems to me that you do not have an invasion of privacy, you're not taking pictures of the person or the inside of his car.
Even so, I do think it is appropriate to say, is there a compelling need for the use here. And I want the member to know that the police, before they use these cameras at all in the District of Columbia, did a survey to back up their own safety data. It asked people who live in this city where there's a lot of crime, as there is in every large city, it wasn't looking for an answer on this particular issue, it simply was putting out its survey to say, please tell us your primary safety issues in the District of Columbia. They did not name murder, they did not name robbery, and they did not name drugs. They said their number one issue was aggressive driving and running red lights.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the reasons that the police in the District of Columbia were concerned to use something other than our police we need in our neighborhoods to deal with the crime and the drugs and the guns. One of the reasons that our police were looking for something to do is because of fatalities, mostly women and children who were being struck and killed by cars.
In the first year that this technology was used, the fatalities were reduced from 16 to 2. Last year the fatalities were reduced from two to none. The police department in the District of Columbia has 10 times more requests than they can handle for a light near a school or near an intersection. AAA reports that in this entire region, 77 percent of the people in the Mid-Atlantic region approve of these cameras.
I don't know if there's a better way. I do believe that whenever you take a picture of somebody, you ought to see if there's a better way. You ought to see if there's a better way when you go in a department store to do something other than put a camera on all of us, by the way. Because everybody who walks in a department store now has a camera looking at you everywhere you go. Is there a better way? I hope so. I haven't heard any hearings on that. I'd like to.
So I just want to indicate that this is a difficult issue. I don't believe that Mr. Barr is raising a frivolous issue or that his testimony is anything but an important notion for us to consider. I do think that there are very important public safety issues to be measured against the usual constitutional matter that is raised, and I don't see how, in areas where there's a compelling need, one can say that one would never use this technology.
I thank you, sir.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. JOHNSON. Congressman Barr, like all of us in this room, you took an oath and have taken it regularly to uphold the Constitution when you became a member of the Congress. Would you agree that this ''technology,'' that's the politest way I can think of to describe this mechanism that we're talking about, has clear, almost overwhelming evidence that there are clear implications for and probable violation of numerous provisions of the Fourth Amendment and numerous provisions of the due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, which incorporate those provisions of the Fourth Amendment? Would you agree that's an accurate statement of our legal framework, constitutional framework?
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARR. It is.
Mr. JOHNSON. Would you also agree that, among other things, the ability to face your accuser, search and seizure implications, are clearly at issue here and in fact, I think at least in my judgement, I think a lot of constitutional scholars, and I give you deference in that respect, are overwhelming issues that seem to me to wind up on one side in an overwhelming manner?
Mr. BARR. Well, the gentleman is correct there, also. If you see this, I know the gentleman has done and I have done, looked at some of the recent cases that are starting to work their way up through our judicial systems. It's very disturbing, because you see some judges refusing to entertain literally any defenses to the technological evidence that's being introduced.
Mr. JOHNSON. I come from a law firm, I suppose similar to yours, where we defend cases and actually have done special prosecution in cases so that the practical aspects of trying these cases are relevant, too. Would you also agree that reliability in terms of one's ability to, as either a prosecutor or defense counsel, to deal in a courtroom sense, with this kind of testimony, is clouded at best and probably a deterrent to effective use in the courtroom?
Mr. BARR. The gentleman is correct.
Mr. JOHNSON. Am I correct that there at least, and maybe we'll find out through later testimony, that there is actually evidence that private corporations derive some portion of their income based on the number of successful prosecutions and revenues received from the use of these mechanisms?
Mr. BARR. This is correct. There are companies, subsidiary or a division of Lockheed Martin, which I believe is the company under contract with the District of Columbia to install the surveillance cameras in D.C., gets a very large percentage of the money, the revenues that are generated. There, I think, is also an Australian company that has been doing this out West, perhaps in Arizona and perhaps in California as well, that is deriving a substantial percentage of the revenues that are generated by the camera shots of cars that are then introduced as evidence if they result in a conviction and/or a fine being paid.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JOHNSON. So at least in some cases, there is apparently a relationship between the revenues derived and the success or failure of prosecutions under the use of these devices?
Mr. BARR. A very clear and apparently deliberate link. And we're also starting to see some evidence, I think, from out West, perhaps in San Diego, where the technology was being manipulated and inaccurate information was being given to the court by the company that was in charge of the machinery itself.
Mr. JOHNSON. I guess I could conclude then with a combination statement and question. First of all, I appreciate and commend the witness in bringing this to our attention. I am absolutely stunned and outraged that this society of ours that purports to have a commitment to constitutional guarantees, would actually countenance, at any level, a bounty system where we're going to reward private sector, or for that matter public sector, private sector manufacturers for their success or failure in deriving prosecutions from what are clearly unconstitutional, or at least arguably unconstitutional, mechanisms.
I find that absolutely outrageous. Anybody in this room, whether you're going to come before us later on and tell us what a great device this is, or whether you're in opposition to it, to countenance that kind of a bounty hunting system has a clearly different outlook on our Constitution and our system than I do.
And Mr. Barr, I just want to, at least on my own behalf, and I'm sure some of the members of this Committee and the American public, commend you on bringing this to our attention. This is absolutely an outrage.
Mr. BARR. The gentleman gives me too much credit, but I appreciate the honor of being here to represent some views and answer questions of the Committee. Thank you.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Other questions of this witness?
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Yes, Mr. Brown.
Mr. BROWN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm sorry I was late, and maybe this might have been addressed, but has there been any evidence that the information that's been captured on those cameras as motorists pass through has been used for any other invasion of privacy?
Mr. BARR. There are some cases that are starting to work their way through. I'm not aware of any in the District of Columbia yet. That isn't to say there are, I'm just not aware of any. But in some other jurisdictions, yes, there is evidence that that is starting to happen.
There's one jurisdiction that I've read about, I believe it was actually down in my home State of Georgia, in which the promise was made initially that only license plates would be captured on film, and then later on it was discovered that far more than license plates were in fact being captured. That's why in response to the question from Mr. Isakson, we discussed the need to not only look very carefully at the parameters that were set up when this sort of technology is approved and put in place, but also it requires constant monitoring to make sure that those parameters and those limitations are not being exceeded or abused.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Other questions? Mr. Otter.
Mr. OTTER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, Mr. Barr.
Following up on what my colleague, freshman class colleague, Mr. Johnson pursued, isn't it true that we have a bounty system in many of the agencies of government? Isn't there a bounty system in the IRS? Isn't there a bounty system in the EPA? The National Marine Fisheries?
Mr. BARR. I certainly think so. There is, and where you have a jurisdiction relying on those funds that are generated, those revenues that are generated, it provides an inherent constitutional conflict of interest, and that's why we had a series of cases back a few decades ago looking at so-called speed traps in different parts of the country. And they were stricken down for the very reason that you have that inherent constitutional conflict between enforcement of the law and respect for constitutional rights versus the need to generate revenue.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OTTER. Well, I just mention that, because in a court case in Idaho last June, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fishers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, that whole myriad of operatives, agents in the Federal Government in Idaho, admitted that 85, 90 percent of their lawsuits resulted from neighbors telling on neighbors or family telling on family. I was kind of surprised when Mr. Johnson brought up the fact that perhaps we've gone to a bounty system here. We've had a bounty system alive and well in our Federal Government for some time.
Mr. BARR. Well, the gentleman is absolutely correct, and that's why I again commend the Chairman for initiating this hearing, which hopefully will be followed by others by this Committee, and we plan some hearings in Judiciary Committee as well. Because at virtually every way and from every angle at which you look at this problem, more constitutional concerns are evident as you peel away each level of the onion, each skin of the onion.
Mr. OTTER. I think we're coming onto something here not even George Orwell dreamed would happen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Other questions?
Thank you, Mr. Barr, and we look forward to working with you in this important area as we move forward.
Mr. BARR. Likewise, Mr. Chairman, thank you. And thank you to the members of the Committee.
Mr. PETRI. The second panel consists of Mr. Roger Hedgecock, who is a radio talk show host of KOGO Radio in San Diego; Ms. Judith Stone, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety; Mr. Jim Harper, Editor, Privacilla.org; Chief G. Wayne Livesay, accompanied by Lt. Glenn Hansen, Howard County Police Department; and Mr. Marshall Hurley, who's an attorney in Greensboro, North Carolina.
And we have several members of Congress who would like to introduce the witnesses, Duke Cunningham and Bob Filner. Duke, would you like to start?
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, from his days as a San Diego elected political leader, to his 14 years at a local radio show, Roger Hedgecock has reached out to speak and influence millions of people. Each year, he brings a couple of groups back here called Hold Their Feet To The Fire, for citizen politicians, and after visiting Congress, they go up to the White House.
But I also know that in one case, there's nothing too small. There was a group of bureaucrats in San Diego that were trying to stop kids from washing cars to earn money. Roger got the citizens behind that, and those bureaucrats were put down, the kids were able to wash their cars. So he'll take on anything, as you see.
I think you're going to find he's one of the most well informed radio talk show hosts that you've ever had before you. His knowledge, he doesn't do things lightly. In this particular case, Mr. Filner and myself and Mr. Hunter sat down last night, and I am not an expert on this issue, but some of the information that I heard, for example, when you have a private company accessing DMV records, even Social Security numbers for marketing, if you have a city that reduces yellow lights so that they can increase revenue, and there's evidence of that, that kind of information, I hope the panel will listen to Mr. Hedgecock, because he is understood and I think respected by most all of San Diegans for his activist role.
He's had Mr. Filner and I up a tree many times. He's not afraid to go after anybody. But he's honest and he's fair and he'll listen, but he's real knowledgeable. With that, I'd like to introduce Roger Hedgecock.
Mr. PETRI. Okay, Mr. Filner.
Mr. FILNER. I want to join my colleague, Mr. Cunningham, in introducing Roger Hedgecock. He knows our business very well, he's a former mayor of San Diego and member of our county board of supervisors. He moved to the talk show business, where he makes a lot more money and is a lot more influential than a politician.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But as Congressman Cunningham said, what he does on the air is to bring people into the political process and get people involved. I don't often agree with Mr. Hedgecock, but I will be a strong proponent of his bringing people into the political process. When you hear what he has to say today, I think you will be as shocked as I was on hearing this story. I certainly associate myself with the remarks that he will make today.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. Hedgecock, if you could suspend for just one minute, a member of our panel, Mr. Coble, would like to introduce an other distinguished member of the panel.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll be brief. Marshall Hurley is no stranger to Capitol Hill. He served as a legislative director and an administrative assistant here. He is now a practitioner of law in Greensboro, North Carolina, my district, Mr. Chairman. He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina and a law degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law.
Mr. Hurley comes to us today, Mr. Chairman, and Ranking Member Borski, with more than a casual interest in this subject. He's initiated a lawsuit back home, perhaps he'll tell us about that.
It's good to have you with us, Marshall, and I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you, Mr. Coble.
TESTIMONY OF ROGER HEDGECOCK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, KOGO RADIO, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA; JUDITH LEE STONE, PRESIDENT, ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY; JIM HARPER, EDITOR, PRIVACILLA.ORG; CHIEF G. WAYNE LIVESAY, HOWARD COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT, HOWARD COUNTY, MD, ACCOMPANIED BY LT. GLENN HANSEN; AND MARSHALL HURLEY, ATTORNEY AT LAW, GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEDGECOCK. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And I thank Members Cunningham and Filner for their very generous introductions. I appreciate the opportunity to be with you today.
I want to summarize, you have my statement in more detail, including exhibits in your backup, and I'd like to have that made part of the record, obviously, and summarize it as well.
Mr. PETRI. Without objection, and we look forward to your summary.
Mr. HEDGECOCK. We in San Diego have been fighting these red light cameras for a variety of reasons. And for reasons that have been discovered most recently, we were more right than we knew to start this fight.
I want to make three basic points today, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. In San Diego, this red light enforcement program is about money, not safety. In San Diego, even if there are safety corollaries involved, it is a huge invasion of privacy which I want to detail to you and which I think will shock you.
Finally, we give up major liberties if this is the way the program is to be administered elsewhere. We come to you, we think today, with the kind of program you would not want in your community.
Let's start with the first point, money not safety. As practiced in San Diego, there is a contract with Lockheed Martin IMS. They paid for all the machinery, they set it up, they run it. They control 19 intersections with their computers.
The City of San Diego, when this program started, did a survey of the 10 most dangerous intersections in San Diego in preparation for this program. Lockheed Martin did not choose a single one of those intersections to place a camera. They placed a camera, as it turned out later, at intersections in which they were most easily able to trap motorists through shortened yellow lights and even moving of the sensors pads, which happened on three of these intersections, in order to get the maximum number of people ticketed.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We believe the reasons are pretty clear. Lockheed, under the contract, is entitled to a commission, a percentage of the $271 fine, the highest in the Nation, Mr. Chairman. This has all come about, not because I did anything, but because people who listen to the radio show started to fight back against these tickets. They demanded their day in court and in some cases, were prepared by their background and training to make a credible challenge to the technology involved.
Mr. Chris Allhusen, for example, at the intersection of Grand Avenue and East Mission Bay Drive in the Pacific Beach community in the City of San Diego, was turning left and was photographed and cited. And by the way, the photograph unfortunately takes not just the license plate, but the individual driving, the entire inside of the car and for that matter, things surrounding the car. And by the way, of the thousands of photographs that have been taken over the last couple of years in San Diego, not one shows a collision underway, not one.
At this intersection, which by the way had not had a red light running caused collision in seven years prior to this incident, Mr. Allhusen was ticketed. He was an engineer, and he started going over the intersection controls, finding that the yellow light was a normal, I say normal because it confirmed to the specifications of CalTrans and the City of San Diego, and for that matter, the Federal Government, in that it had about a second of yellow light for every 10 miles an hour of speed limit.
So in this area, at 45 miles an hour, most of the other yellow lights were 4.5 seconds, 4.7 seconds, in that area, except the one, the left turn where the camera was. It was 3 seconds.
Now, you have, as the engineers will tell you, a moment of decision to make as a motorist when you approach an intersection. The yellow goes on, under our vehicle code, you're supposed to clear that intersection safely, and you may enter it when it's yellow when you feel you can do that. That is a legal entry into the intersection. If you feel it is unsafe, then you should stop and allow that to clear.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I noticed in D.C., by the way, walking over here, that you have reds all the way around for a second, for a heartbeat, before you go to the green, which is a good idea.
In this intersection, Mr. Allhusen found that the company and/or the city had manipulated the intersection so that the yellow light was in fact shorter, trapping motorists against their expectation in that intersection. Over 2,000 citations a month were issued at that one intersection of the 19, at $271 per, with the contractor getting $70, or half of the fine, whichever was smaller, according to the terms of the contract.
When this was pointed out to the city, the city increased the yellow light to 4.7 seconds at this intersection. The citations dropped from over 2,000 per month to just about 200 a month, the real number of people attempting to actually go through the red light, Mr. Chairman. And Mr. Chairman, this is the worst part. This picture that is taken, under the contract with Lockheed and San Diego, the contractor, Lockheed, has the power and ability to access the Department of Motor Vehicles computer with their computer in order, under the contract, to match the license plate to the driver and send out the citation.
Unfortunately, they're also accessing the entire DMV record of that driver, including the Social Security number. I would say to you, Mr. Chairman, this is a huge and unwarranted invasion of privacy, and an unwarranted delegation to a private corporation of that which under California law certainly is supposed to be kept in government hands and not available to private citizens.
And Mr. Chairman, just briefly, this part of it leads me to believe that at least this Committee ought to be looking at this MUTCD, the Millennium UTCD, where you have the situation where they have backed off these yellow light interval standards, and that shouldn't happen.
But I think that most are looking at the broader picture. Because of the way this has been administered in San Diego, I believe you now have a clear warning of where this kind of technology will lead you, down a path where I don't think any of us as American citizens, regardless of race, creed, color or partisan affiliation, want to go. And that is to a Big Brother, I'm sorry, it's cliche to say, but an Orwellian place to be where you are constantly under surveillance.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If we're against red light running, Mr. Chairman, I'm sure we're against spousal abuse, I'm sure we're against a whole host of crimes that we would want to catch more people doing with cameras in the appropriate locations. This, Mr. Chairman, is not only a slippery slope, we're sliding down fast.
I appreciate the time.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Ms. STONE. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. I'm Judith Lee Stone, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. I appreciate being here today.
Advocates' board of directors adopts a program each year that includes public policy initiatives in Congress, the Executive Branch and in State legislatures. Positions we take are based upon hard data and inform us about the possibilities to improve highway and auto safety, should the regulation or legislation be adopted.
We added red light cameras in the past few years as the need to address the epidemic of red light running grew, the effectiveness of cameras became well documented and their use became more widespread. Specifically, we advocate laws that authorize cities and counties throughout a State to use cameras to supplement ongoing police enforcement aimed at curtailing red light running.
The problem with red light running is rampant in the United States, and it is growing. Every year an estimated 260,000 crashes are caused by red light running, and more than 750 of these crashes are fatal. Nationally, fatal motor vehicle crashes at traffic signals increased 18 percent between 1992 and 1998, compared to a 6 percent increase in all other types of fatal crashes.
Running red lights and other traffic controls is the most frequent type of urban crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Their research shows that motorists are more likely to be injured in crashes involving red light running than in other types of crashes. Occupant injuries occurred in 45 percent of the red light running crashes compared to 30 percent for other crash types.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On average, at one local intersection, a motorist ran a red light every 12 minutes. During peak travel times, it increased to every five minutes. Clearly, red light running is a serious public health crisis, and too often results in death, injury and destruction of families. Fortunately, we have a simple, relatively inexpensive and effective way to augment law enforcement's efforts to combat red light running, the use of photo enforcement technology.
Red light cameras are not complicated. There's a sensor in the roadway that detects when a motorist runs a red light, the sensor triggers a camera to take a picture of the vehicle. The photograph is typically reviewed by a law enforcement official and the violator receives a citation in the mail.
Cameras are also cost effective, each costing approximately $50,000, and accompanying sensors are approximately $5,000. These costs are minimal when considering that just one red light running crash with serious injuries costs society an average of $32,000, and according to the Federal Highway Administration, the annual cost to the public of red light running crashes exceeds $7 billion.
There's a significant body of evidence from this country and others that proves photo enforcement technology works extremely well. A few examples include a violation rate reduction of 68 percent in San Francisco and a 92 percent drop in violations in Los Angeles. After one year of camera enforcement, Charlotte, North Carolina, experienced a more than 70 percent cut in red light running violations, and in Fairfax, Virginia, a 44 percent decrease.
In the most extensive study on red light camera programs by IIHS, it was determined that in Oxnard, California, front into side crashes at intersections with traffic signals fell 32 percent. And front into side crashes involving injuries were reduced by 68 percent.
Furthermore, crashes throughout Oxnard declined even though only 11 of the city's 125 intersections with traffic signals had cameras. Similar city-wide results have been found in other communities.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This outcome demonstrates the strong deterrent value of red light camera systems and their ability to change driver behavior. Internationally, photo enforcement has been used extensively for years in many countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Results are similarly impressive.
Strong public support for the use of red light cameras has been demonstrated time and time again. The levels of support are growing. I have brought a list of major public opinion surveys from the last seven years. There's a chart over there, including two conducted by Lou Harris for my own organization and several taken in cities and towns where cameras are used. It's important to note that in addition to consistently high levels of approval over time, support for photo enforcement often increases after the enforcement program has been in place for some time, indicating public acceptance and even demand for the technology.
In a 1998 survey, 68 percent of the American public favored State laws allowing use of cameras to enforce red light running laws. One year later, this support increased to 74 percent. And an April 2001 survey of residents in cities without red light cameras showed that 76 percent of those polled were favorable toward camera use. In cities where red light cameras are in use, 86 percent of drivers polled favored the cameras.
Advocates has worked in the recent past with middle school and high school students in several cities in pursuit of State highway safety legislation, and red light camera bills are among the issues for which these student lobbyists have advocated. Young people, especially in cities, are highly supportive of red light cameras, because they are most often pedestrians and potentially the victims of red light running, whether it be walking to school, a bus stop, a local grocery store or after school activities or jobs.
Upon introduction to the issue of reducing red light running through the use of photo enforcement technology, these young adults immediately understood that it was a good idea for them, their families and friends, and they lobbied in State legislatures. People are really listening to their message.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The most compelling case for red light cameras is made, however, not by me, or others in any of our coalitions representing public safety and law enforcement interests, but by people who have been victimized by red light running. We work closely with survivor advocates throughout the country to pass laws, because their stories about how motor vehicle crashes have negatively affected their lives bring into clear perspective the necessity for action. They are highly motivated to prevent similar tragedies from happening to other families.
When Ann Sweet, from Warsaw, Indiana, talks to legislators or to a television network about the loss of her beautiful daughter, Shawnee, and I brought a picture today of Shawnee, I thought you might like to look at that, and she lost Shawnee to a red light runner, her vivid but very educational message that Indiana needs to allow red light cameras throughout the State is much more persuasive than mine or anyone else. Ann flew in from Indiana today just to attend this hearing. She's in the audience right there.
And Barbara Blaustein, who is also in the audience, from Maryland, who was a pedestrian crossing University Boulevard on her way to the Wheaton Metro, was struck by a red light runner and was injured. This crash took place in 1997, and her diagnosis is paraplegia. She is still in active physical therapy. In fact, right after today's hearing, she'll be going up to Johns Hopkins for another physical therapy session.
The American public understands immediately what these two remarkably strong women are talking about. They are highly supportive and they want policy makers to do something about it. And somehow, Ann's and Barbara's tragedies have a way of focusing the issue on the real reason we strive for improved highway and auto safety. After all, it could have been my daughter or your son or your spouse whose life was needlessly snuffed out or who sustained debilitating and costly injuries.
Mr. Chairman, we do not always have such an incredibly clear road map to solving a major public health problem as we do with this balanced combination of human and technological approaches. I seriously doubt anyone in this hearing room would ever question or oppose proven technology that would help eliminate near misses or mid-air collisions by airplanes. Yet we have such technology working for us at intersections, where more than 750 people are killed every year, the equivalent of four major airline crashes.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Opposition to red light camera systems seems like a double standard to me. We know red light cameras work, they are cost effective and the American public is both ready and anxious to have us act on its behalf to keep families safe as they travel through intersections every day of their lives.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. FILNER. Mr. Chairman, since the witnesses seem to be running through the red lights that we have, I wonder if you'd remind them, or we'll take a picture of them.
Mr. PETRI. Congressman Filner, we have cameras around the ceiling here that I think are probably taking care of that.
Mr. HARPER. Congressman Petri, Congressman Borski, members of the Subcommittee and Congresswoman Norton, it's a pleasure to appear here today to discuss the privacy implications of red light cameras with you. I'm Jim Harper, editor of Privacilla.org, a web-based think tank that's devoted exclusively to privacy. I'm also an adjunct fellow with the Progress and Freedom Foundation, which I think does top-notch work on a variety of telecommunications and high tech issues, including privacy.
The Privacilla website attempts to capture privacy as a public policy issue from top to bottom. With nearly 200 pages of material, I think the site is still woefully inadequate to cover this very complex public policy issue. It's also, I'll admit, a woefully unattractive site. I do the coding for it myself, and if you look at the site, you'll see clearly that I'm a lawyer and not a computer guy.
Increasingly as Americans travel the streets and highways, they see cameras bristling from stop lights and street lights. Many people are bristling back. They find these cameras offensive, insulting and an invasion of their privacy. It's incumbent on Congress and policy makers at the State and local levels to examine whether red light cameras are being used fairly and appropriately or whether they are better regarded as an intrusion into our private lives and routines.
Red light cameras are only the first installation of the Big Brother infrastructure. There's very much more to come, and very soon, too. Optical character recognition, for example, may already allow red light cameras to read license plates and scan for specific cars. Networked cameras will be able to track cars as they travel through a city and on the highways. Database technology will make it possible to record the movements of cars and make a permanent record of them if they've been captured on camera.
Certainly these technologies can be used for good, improving safety and reducing crime. For this reason, they are quickly making their way into our Nation's public safety and law enforcement arsenal.
These benefits do not dispose of the issues, though. Technology will soon give governments many capabilities of Orwell's Big Brother.
Our elected officials and public servants make enormous sacrifices for little reward and even smaller thanks. The people in government are honorable, dedicated and well meaning. At the same time, the government sector represents more important threats to privacy than individuals and businesses in the private sector. Orwell wrote about Big Brother as a warning against the power of governments. Protecting privacy in the commercial world is often difficult. Protecting privacy from government is usually impossible.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In recognition of this, the Framers of the Constitution included the protections of the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights. In my written testimony, I've described how the instinct of the American people, that traffic cameras offend privacy, is correct if cameras are used to monitor those not suspected of crime.
As soon as red light cameras are used for anything other than snapping suspected law-breakers, and soon they will be, these cameras should be shown a red light themselves. We're a free country, and we're a free people who reject the idea of being monitored by government.
I believe that people have an expectation, a reasonable one, as innocents, that governments will not compile investigative information about them. Surveillance technology should be used to monitor only people reasonably suspected of crime. Law enforcement should be required to dispose of surveillance data that is not related to a pending investigation.
Congress should protect privacy and reassure the public, with a law articulating appropriate and inappropriate uses of red light camera data.
Mr. Chairman, I have to confess one thing at this point. After several days working on my testimony, I sat bolt upright in bed last night, recognizing that I actually don't own a car. I do hope that this makes my testimony more dispassionate and doesn't disqualify me from testifying today.
Red light cameras are one of the first in what will be a long succession of technologies that raise important issues like privacy.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Borski, for having this hearing. Through your leadership, privacy from government surveillance will be recognized as an issue that deserves the full attention of the country and protective action by Congress.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you, Mr. Harper.
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Chief LIVESAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Wayne Livesay, I'm Chief of Police for Howard County, Maryland. Howard County, as some of you know, is located directly between Baltimore City and Washington, D.C. To my left is Lt. Glenn Hansen, who's the Administrator for our red light camera program.
I want to take you through some Power Point, I think that will be easier for all of us. Please bear with me, I'll try to adhere by the time rules.
As you've heard today, the red light collisions are the most injury causing collision type in existence. The leading cause of urban crashes and frequent violations are constantly brought to our attention through our citizens demanding we do something about people running red lights.
The picture you see here is really what propelled us to start this movement. This crash occurred in 1993 in Howard County. It left a mother dead and left her child in a vegetable state. We had started looking at some alternatives for red light running at that time. But I truly think this was really the impetus that got us going.
The traditional enforcement methods, we've tried them all before we resorted to the cameras, we tried to use police officers at intersections. We found this almost impossible. If you notice, the intersections seldom have shoulders any more to help control the traffic to get it through very quickly. So the officer ends up running the red light in most cases trying to catch the violator on the other side.
We also tried to use helicopters. We made an agreement and did a pilot project with the State Highway Administration where they actually put lights on top of the red lights that would indicate to the aviation unit when the light had turned red. The observer in the helicopter would radio the violations to a stop team of police officers down the street. It was, as you can imagine, just not cost effective. So we abandoned that very quickly.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The other thing that we had difficulty with, you've heard that mentioned a couple times today, we simply do not have the resources to put officers at every intersection. That's not practical. There are many things to do, but that should not diminish the problems that red light running is causing all agencies and the citizens.
We very much believe in what we call the three E approach: engineering, enforcement and education. Our first priority is to make engineering changes. If that can be done, then that lessens the need for cameras or anything else, if we can provide safe intersections through our department of public works. But that's not always the case.
Education, we've had education programs for the last six or seven years, before we went to the technology, trying to impress upon our citizens the need to stop for red lights and asking for feedback from them. And I can tell you today, every survey we did with the citizens in Howard County demanded us to do something to curtail red light running. It was a big, big problem.
The alternatives that we researched during some of our talks and discussions and pilot programs, the Federal Highway Administration funded some research pilot projects, the ones I just mentioned about aviation. We used team enforcement, that means using officers at different intersections. We teamed up with different entities, trying to make impacts on engineering and so forth. As I mentioned, we did the public awareness campaign, and we looked at successful programs from across the country. I can assure you, there were very few that we considered successful.
So we went to the legislature of Maryland. What we tried to achieve through the legislature and what we eventually achieved was enabling legislation allowing us to start testing red light cameras at major intersections, or at selected intersections. We determined there was a need for the State law, and the reason is this, you've heard this today also, the normal traffic stops means you stop a violator and issue the citation. You have to identify the violator. We needed legislation to allow us to cite the owner of the vehicle, much like a parking ticket. So that's the legislation we sought.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The rear photography, and you're going to see that in just a second, we do not photograph the inside of the car, we do not photograph a person in a car, we photograph the rear of the car, there are two pictures taken simultaneously, which I'll show you. There are no points when you get a red light camera citation, it does not go to your insurance company, it's prohibited in Maryland to impact your insurance. And it's a $75 civil citation, much like a parking citation.
Let me skip along, because I'm going to run out of time. One important part I do want to mention, the police operate our center. It is not controlled by vendors. We approve every citation that goes out. A police person has to sign off on every citation. If there's a problem with the citation, it does not go. The vendor has no control whatsoever on the citations that leave our facility.
This is a copy of our automated enforcement center. We have 14 police agencies in Maryland joining us in the center. It's probably the largest one in the country as far as we can determine. The vendors work with us. But I'll highlight it again, we run the program. We get final say-so on everything, including the intersections. The vendor does not, the police department does.
We base our sites for the red light cameras on collision data, on citation data, where we're having the most violations, on complaint data, where we're getting complaints from our citizens, and the violation studies. They include all this obviously in the accidents that are occurring at a particular intersection.
The camera does not stay on. It is not a surveillance camera. The camera activates 1/10th of a second after the light turns red. So as you hit the sensor, what we call the stop bar at the front of the intersection, you get another 1/10th of a second, and then the camera activates. It is not on when it's green, it is not on when it's yellow. It is not a surveillance camera.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We do two photos. The first photo, as you'll see in just a second, is before the stop bar, the second photo as the vehicle continues through the intersection. This would be the first photo, this is an intersection in Howard County. He's tripping the sensor, the camera is activating, it's taking the first shot. As the vehicle continues through, there's a second shot as the vehicle goes through the intersection. I think it's very clear that the red light is there, it's visible and the vehicle is proceeding through the red light.
We have several private companies that work with us in this program. One company, for example, gets the supplies and retrieves the film, another maintains the cameras, another digitizes the violation images, another one previews the incidents, data entry and so on. We have a lot of people working with us. But it is a police-run program. It is not a vendor-run program.
The county police manage the entire process. We review every citation, as I mentioned. We approve each violation notice before it goes out. We are the quality assurance, we are responsible for the court presentation if you do not elect to pay the $75, you're entitled to go to district court and have your case heard before a judge just like any other traffic citation.
If you go to court and you're found guilty, the money goes to the State. It does not go to Howard County. If you prepay the fine, the fine comes back to the general fund in Howard County and is reinvested into the program.
This is what I just said about court and a $75 fine. We have seen an 18 to 44 percent collision reduction at every location where we've installed a red light camera. We currently have 24 cameras in operation in Howard County. Red light running incidents have fallen 66 percent since we started the program. That is tremendous.
Let me just finish with this. There have been some issues raised about the amber lights. We do not set the amber lights. Traffic engineers, who set all amber lights and all red lights in Howard County are responsible for setting the lights at any intersection. The lights are no different at a camera intersection than they are for a non-camera intersection. It doesn't matter. They are set according to ITE, which is the Institute of Transportation Engineers. That's a national standard for setting the timing on lights.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And they're also set by MUTCD, which is the manual of uniform traffic control devices. These are the national standards, as most of you probably know. The traffic engineers do the timing. We have nothing to do with it. And no determination is made to put a camera at an intersection, whether it has a different time than any other else, we simply make the decision based on our data for collisions, incidence of violations and other traffic data that I explained to you just a minute ago.
And I just want to emphasize this, then I'll be finished, there is no correlation where we put cameras and the timing of the lights, none whatsoever.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you.
Mr. HURLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of this Committee.
Red light cameras combine the worst traits of government arrogance and corporate greed, where the grab-happy hand of the bureaucracy is strengthened by the insatiable appetite for money.
In North Carolina, red light cameras are relatively new, and we're just getting a chance to assess the implications of this radical development in commercialized law enforcement. Most systems involve the use of private contractors who install the cameras at high volume intersections in exchange for a guaranteed percentage of the fines. In one sense, the camera schemes are based on the concept of the government kickback, where a contractor gets a guaranteed cash flow while giving a portion back to the government.
In North Carolina, a company with the delightful Orwellian name of ''Peek Traffic,'' and Mr. Chairman, that's spelled P-E-E-K, Peek Traffic, currently receives $35 of each $50 fine. And that is a nice 70 percent cut.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, this system has now been in place in Guilford County, which is in Congressman Coble's district, for less than six months, and the gouging has begun. Thirteen thousand citations have generated more than $600,000 in fines. At this rate, nearly 30,000 citations and at least $1.5 million in fines will be generated in just one North Carolina county.
The threat to our citizens is not merely financial. In fact, it really pales in comparison with the real problem with these cameras. The fatal flaw in the North Carolina system is the presumption that an owner of a motor vehicle is guilty of an offense if his or her car is photographed by a red light camera. Thereafter, a financial penalty is imposed, and based on an absolute presumption of guilt, there is no judicial review.
This system strikes at the heart of 800 years of Anglo-American jurisprudence. A system that presumes guilt, Mr. Chairman, even on a $50 traffic ticket, violates due process. Senator Daniel Webster said, across the way, once upon a time, ''Ours is a system of law which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry, and renders judgment only after trial.'' In sharp contrast to these principles, red light camera programs condemn vehicle owners behind closed doors and denies them a trial. Frightening throwbacks to the days of the divine right of kings. The techno-tyranny of red light cameras invites continued erosion of individual liberties.
In a civilized society where ordered liberty must prevail, unreasonable government regulations and police powers must be limited by the Constitution. If necessary, these limitations and protections should be enforced by this Congress. Many observers, and you've heard it today, laud the safety record of cameras, and every rational driver wants safe roads. But not every safety benefit befits a free society.
The word safety is not a magical incantation that permits government functionaries to do as they please. In plain southern English, when the government puts its hand in the pocket of a citizen and extracts a monetary fine, the government must follow the rules. With red light cameras, both the government and its contractors have an immense financial stake in the violation of traffic laws. What fuels this flawed system is not a desire for safety, but a hunger for profit at public expense.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Based on history, the inevitable technological advances of the future will only lead to greater erosions of fundamental rights, unless we put safeguards in place now to control the use of invasive equipment.
In conclusion, I borrow the words of one of our most thoughtful founders, Benjamin Frankly, who opined, ''They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.'' My time has expired, and I thank the Chairman and this distinguished Committee.
Mr. PETRI. I thank you for your testimony.
Are there questions? Mr. Borski.
Mr. BORSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me thank all of our guests, and Chief, let me start with you if I may. That was very impressive testimony that you gave us. One of the things I've often wondered about in our society is law, the basis law of running a red light.
We have full belief that when we're going through an intersection, that the other guy is going to stop if that light's red. If he doesn't, we've got a problem. It seems to me that your system works and works pretty well. I know one of the big concerns we've had here are over so-called bounties. I didn't hear that in your testimony. Do the vendors share in the revenues from this operation for you, and if so, do you see anything wrong with that?
Chief LIVESAY. Yes, they do share in the revenue. And obviously, they're in a business. Our payments to the vendors are not based on volume. We control the volume. So if we do not send out the citations, they're not going to make any money.
Currently, I can tell you, just as an example, a company called EDS, you've heard Lockheed Martin a lot today, they do not work for us, we use a company called EDS. They get $11.08 per citation. And Traffic Packs is another company, they get $9.86. So those are probably the two biggest companies.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But we are currently in negotiations, matter of fact, where we're discussing whether to just set up flat fees, so there is not even a taint of what you refer to as a bounty. We don't use that word, but we're having that discussion now with both of these companies, whether to just set flat fees per month or per quarter or whatever, for the program.
But I'd like to emphasize again, sir, we make all the decisions. We decide where the cameras go, we decide what citations go out and what does not go out. They can't profit on their own. It's not possible. They don't have any control.
Mr. BORSKI. Let me ask about using false cameras. Do you use them, and how successful are they?
Chief LIVESAY. We're still pretty new at that. I mentioned 24 cameras, we have 30 sites. We're starting to move the cameras around a little bit. Our goal is to not have any violations. That's the ultimate goal for all of us. And as our violations start dropping at intersections, we can better use that camera somewhere else. So that's why we would move it to a higher accident location or a higher violation location.
Mr. BORSKI. If the program continues to be successful, you have less accidents and you have less violations. Will the vendors still be interested at that point? Is there a profit still to be made?
Chief LIVESAY. Well, obviously they have to make a profit to stay in business. I don't know. I'm a human being also, and I think I realize, we're never going to omit it completely. I just don't think that's realistic thinking. The best thing we can do is shoot for that goal and hope to reduce the accidents and violations as we're doing.
Will there every come a time when they say, it's not profitable for us any more? Sir, I honestly don't know that.
Mr. BORSKI. Tell me again, I believe you said in your testimony, but tell me again about the public. How have they responded?
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chief LIVESAY. The surveys we've done have been overwhelming from the citizens of Howard County to enforce the red lights. They recently did a survey, and I'll ask my lieutenant to help me, about the cameras themselves. I don't remember how long ago it was.
Lt. HANSEN. Back in 1998, we asked our community several questions about the automated enforcement cameras, whether they thought it was appropriate, and the responses were that they thought it would save lives and they thought it was something they were interested in. We asked them how serious they thought the red light running problem was, and they thought it was very serious.
Mr. BORSKI. Okay. Ms. Stone, let me ask you if I may, first, I want to thank you for your testimony and also for the women that you brought to us. They do send a powerful messages to us.
I was surprised myself to learn that 23 percent of all fatal crashes and 50 percent of all crashes occur at intersections. That's an absolutely staggering statistic. Obviously you support the use of the cameras. Do you have other suggestions, other strategies that can be employed to reduce accidents at intersections?
Ms. STONE. Yes, we do. Actually, I want to make the point that photo enforcement is really just a supplement to ongoing enforcement. This doesn't mean that there will no longer be red light running enforcement on the part of police officers. And so that's one thing to keep in mind.
There are also many things that you can do at intersections. Sometimes very simple, cost effective measures: lane width, creating left turn lanes, making the intersection easier to use, narrowing the lanes if you're trying to cut down on the speed of people approaching the intersection, sometimes that works. A lot of these fixes can be expensive, but there also are some that are not.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We feel that there ought to be a unified approach to trying to cut down on crashes at intersections. Certainly that includes a lot of education and policy changes and enforcement being done together.
Mr. PETRI. Mr. Coble.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from San Diego referred to the red lights that appear before us. I promise you, when I see that red light illuminate, I will cease and desist. I'll shut up, in other words.
Good to have you all with us. Mr. Hurley, you mentioned in North Carolina that the red light system provides no judicial review. What recourse do citizens then have to challenge these citations?
Mr. HURLEY. Absolutely none. Mr. Coble, if you have a red light camera citation waiting on you when you get home in your mailbox, you are obligated to pay that fine. If you want to appeal it, you are obligated to pay the fine for the privilege of that appeal. Your appeal lies before an employee of the city, whose only authority is to make a recommendation back to the camera company as to your guilt or innocence, and then the camera company decides if you must pay. There is absolutely no appeal.
Mr. COBLE. Let me put this question to Mr. Hurley and to others, after he answers. What do you say, Marshall, to people who say, well, after all, this is a local issue. This is better addressed at the State and local level rather than the Congress. What say ye to that?
Mr. HURLEY. Mr. Coble, the temptation is to agree with that on the surface. But there are some important Federal overlays and Federal considerations. There's use of Federal funds, there's Federal highway and traffic standards. There's how and if we use these types of technologies on Federal lands, on military installations. There are concerns, perhaps more of your other Committee than this Committee, on due process standards, which I have addressed in my prepared remarks.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And also just a big issue for the Congress to help decide what kind of country we live in. Do we live in a police state, where there is presumption of guilt, or do we live in a place that is ruled by the rule of law?
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, sir. Mr. Editor, you look like you want to weigh in.
Mr. HARPER. Chairman Coble, section five of the Fourteenth Amendment gives Congress authority through appropriate laws to enforce the protections of the Fourth Amendment's, search and seizure provisions. To the extent that red light cameras implicate constitutional privacy, and I think they do, Congress has clear authority under the Constitution to act.
Mr. COBLE. Well, one thing, I don't want anybody leaving this hearing room believing that anyone who is challenging the validity of red lights is opposed to safety. I'm afraid that may end up being the perception, and that clearly is not the case.
My friend from San Diego, what do you say about this?
Mr. HEDGECOCK. Mr. Chairman, I would echo what has been said, that the Fourteenth Amendment gives this Congress the clear responsibility not to allow local governments to do things that are not allowed under the Constitution. We have similar problems to South Carolina, what Mr. Hurley has described, with respect, for instance, to Lockheed Martin in our case in San Diego, actually choosing the cases that will go to prosecution, where the tickets will be sent. We have law enforcement contracted out to a private corporation which is making money based on a percentage of the number of citations issued.
Mr. COBLE. Anybody else want to weigh in? Ms. Stone.
Ms. STONE. I would like to mention, and I would like Chief Livesay to back me up on this, because I have had a tour of the Howard County program. I remember at that time, it was a few years ago, and I believe that this is true for a number of the other programs across the country, that there is an affidavit that can be signed when you receive the ticket that allows you to say that somebody else was driving and that you are not responsible for the ticket. That's simply signed, sent in and the ticket is not issued.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COBLE. Well, now, apparently, Mr. Hurley, we don't have that flexibility in North Carolina.
Mr. HURLEY. Yes, sir.
Ms. STONE. Am I correct about that, Chief?
Chief LIVESAY. Almost. If you choose to go to court, you appear in court and you can transfer the responsibility to someone else, if you name that person. It transfers over automatically.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Chief. And that red light is about to come up, and in view of my promise, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
It's a very interesting hearing, a subject that we don't normally encounter in this Subcommittee, and one that does merit some consideration.
But I'm reminded of the 1950s, when radar was first introduced as a traffic speed enforcement device. Time Magazine ran an article entitled, Big Brother Is Driving. There were many of the same fears and objections raised in the 1950s that are being raised now in the new millennium to red light enforcement.
Just think of the stakes. Half of all accidents in the whole country occur at intersections. And red light running results in fatalities. Nine hundred fifty fatalities, 90,000 injuries, $7 billion cost to the economy. Medical costs, lost productivity, property damage. And as we heard from the very compelling testimony from Chief Livesay, in Howard County's experience, traditional traffic enforcement alone that relies exclusively on traffic officers is less effective than the new technology.
For those who have objections to a short yellow light or the manner in which the program is run, contracting it out to private operators, there's a remedy. Fix it with local government. This is not for the Congress to fix.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I say, Judie Stone, and Chief Livesay, your compelling, enlightened testimony stands in refreshing counterpoint to the alarmist incantations we've heard this morning. How can you measure lives of lost loved ones and the pain of families, the pain of injury? And the nonsensical attitude of people who run a red lightI saw the yellow, I've got a right to run through the red. I'm late for something, I've got to get there, damn the red light. That's what's going on in the minds of people.
Yes, this is a free country, but I remind all those who object to these devices, that this is refereed freedom. We all have to have respect for our fellow citizens. It's not me first in America. It's safety first.
Just this morning as I was out cycling, going through an intersection that I frequently cross, watching people come to a rolling stop and then just careen around the corner, it's not a red light, not a traffic light, it's a red stop sign, by damn, stop. That's what it says. And if you get caught violating the law, don't object. You thought you could get away with it. And when you get caught, then you should pay the consequences.
If there's something unfair in the way it's set up, fix the unfairness. But don't stop sensible use of technology to save lives.
When I chaired the Aviation Subcommittee and we held hearings on traffic collision avoidance systems, our colleague from Southern California represented Cerritos, California, and advocated that Congress enact legislation requiring the installation of TCAS on major aircraft and Mode C transponders on general aviation aircraft. There was a hew and cry from the general aviation community, from the airlines, don't make us do this.
Well, then there was another crash, one over Cerritos, that I mentioned. And the Congress enacted it, and made the airlines do it. Somewhere along the line, you do have to impose solutions. And we've saved lives. TCAS and Mode C transponders in the terminal area of airports, save lives. So will these devices.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETRI. Thank you. Without objection, the opening statement by our colleague, Mr. Rahall, will be made a part of the record.
Other question? Mr. Brown?
Mr. BROWN. Mr. Hedgecock, I was just wondering, in your testimony you said that the frequency of the light was changed. Did anybody have a repeal to go back and try to get a recourse from the tickets that were issued under the shorter span?
Mr. HEDGECOCK. Yes, sir. There has been a class action suit filed in San Diego to represent those motorists who have been cheated, who have in fact been manipulated and whose pockets have been filched by this system.
Mr. BROWN. Lt. Hansen, is there a larger charge for, say, second or third offenses of running a red light?
Lt. HANSEN. No, sir, there's not. It was considered at one point, but we have a very low rate of recidivism, and we've never pursued that.
Mr. BROWN. And in effect, you've seen a tremendous cutback on the number of fatal accidents because of the red light surveillance, or in effect, have you caught any of the accidents on film itself?
Lt. HANSEN. Yes, sir, we have. The State of Maryland, the privacy provision is so strict that we're not allowed to use those images for anything other than the red light camera civil violation purposes, but we have captured those images on film, yes, sir.
Mr. BROWN. In making your determination of which intersections to put the cameras on, was that based on prior records of accidents?
Lt. HANSEN. That is correct. That's the primary purpose, is to reduce those crashes. So we meet quarterly, myself with the traffic engineers from the State and from the county, and we review all the high collision locations. We determine if an engineering change should be made, and if we can't find an engineering fix, then we explore the use of cameras.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BROWN. Thanks for coming.
Lt. HANSEN. Thank you, sir.
Mr. PETRI. Mr. Rahall?
Mr. RAHALL. No questions.
Mr. PETRI. Mr. Filner.
Mr. FILNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We get two different worlds here of testimony. And I want to see if we can reconcile them at all.
Ms. Stone talked about polls which generate support and evidence of decreased accidents. The stuff I've seen in San Diego, Roger, seemed to indicate the reverse on both counts.
Mr. HEDGECOCK. That's true. Mr. Filner, what we have in our situation is not one single shred of evidence, not one paper, not one case, not one documentation whatsoever of any kind that there has been a life saved, a life saved, in this situation. Moreover, we have documentation, and I'm afraid I'm in this category, and I have been in an accident in an intersection, and unfortunately, that accident was when the truck in front of me slammed on the brakes because of an impending yellow light and caused me to run into the back of the truck.
This kind of increasingly unsafe situation does occur, and has increased the rear-ending collision rate, which was not addressed, in the City of San Diego, and I suspect in other places as well.
I would also point out that we've had a horrible problem of selective enforcement. Our contractor, in fact, did not cite any government vehicles that were caught in the program. And after I discovered that and talked about in on the air, the city manager backpedaled and said, well, we're going to cite everybody. Then they started citing police officers in the course of duty. The police officer's union, the police officer's association, got very upset. And I have in your packet for you an analysis made by the president of the police officer's association that the entire camera situation is illegal. His analysis is appended to my statement.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FILNER. When Mr. Oberstar talks, we all listen. He suggested that this is a local problem, and I was trying to think about that and think about the experience we had in San Diego. One thing that struck me, Mr. Oberstar, and maybe Roger can relate this, the vendor in this case, Lockheed, it's called
Mr. HEDGECOCK. Lockheed Martin IMS.
Mr. FILNER.has sold or has contracted to sell their operations. And as I understand it, and Mr. Hedgecock can relate it, the buyer of that, one of their chief areas in business is to sell and market lists. And this technology, because of the way it's run in San Diego, I'm not sure if it's elsewhere, they access, as Mr. Hedgecock related earlier, as to all the DMV files, including Social Security numbers, etc. And they're selling now this information or this ability to get the information to another company.
Do I have that right?
Mr. HEDGECOCK. Yes, sir. In fact, this was AP news last Friday, that the Lockheed Martin Corporation announced its sales of the subsidiary to a company called Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. for $825 million the company estimated it would net after taxes over $500 million in that transaction because of the value of, not only, one presumes, the many, many jurisdictions that are now buying this equipment and contracting with Lockheed, but also because a very key part of the contract in San Diego.
I'm not aware that it's in other jurisdictions. But in our jurisdiction, a key part of this, it's the Lockheed computers that access the DMV, the Department of Motor Vehicles computers, in order to verify whether that license plate is in fact that person and so forth, and then to send out the citation based on the information on home address and so forth that comes up.
Well, there's a lot of other information on that same file as it comes up. Presumably, Lockheed Martin has access to all of it, and has it. This is in contrast to California law which prohibits and individual or corporation or any private entity from accessing DMV files.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FILNER. Seems to me that's where we need to look at. I had suggested to the Chair earlier that we also have another panel where we have those vendors in here.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Would the gentleman yield just briefly?
Mr. FILNER. Happy to.
Mr. OBERSTAR. The State of Minnesota has a checkoff box on your auto license renewal that you can check if you do not choose to have your name included in any list distribution or selling by the State of Minnesota. You check that off, you name doesn't go onto any list. So get back to the State of California and fix it.
Mr. FILNER. I understand, but even with the checklist, as I understand the technology, this private company has access to it. And that seems to me something that we ought to at least be cognizant of and aware of.
Mr. BROWN [ASSUMING CHAIR]. Mr. Johnson.
Mr. JOHNSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Interestingly, I have I believe examined as thoroughly as I can in this short time the written testimony that's presented to us. I note that in the testimony of Ms. Stone, the Advocates of Highway and Auto Safety, and the testimony of the distinguished representatives of the Howard County Police Department, there is no reference anywhere within the context of your testimony to anything to do with the constitutionality of this, any of the legal aspects of this, anything other than pure get the trains to the station on time.
I find that an incredible, glaring omission on your part and your part, and I find your written testimony questionable from that basis, if no other basis in addition to that.
I also found interesting, Ms. Stone, I guess this is a form of a rhetorical question, that you talk about costs and the cost effectiveness. Perhaps what we should just do is eliminate trials altogether in any kind of cases, then we'd have a tremendous savings to our judicial system. That would a very efficient manner of doing things but I don't think you would advocate that, and I don't think these gentlemen would, either.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You talk about results in your testimony. You don't talk about the results of mistakes that are made. You don't talk about any empirical evidence that would indicate upon what basis you purport that these results are reliable. You talk on page four about other nations that have gone to this system, Singapore, South Africa, those are two great examples of countries that have strong commitment to our bill of rights. And I would suggest that those are at best inapt analogies to our system.
Gentlemen, I guess we have a vote, but that's all right, we've got 15 minutes, Mr. Livesay, is that correct, Mr. Hansen, you talk about, and Mr. Oberstar did as well, technology, reliability. No one questions that people run red lights and commit traffic violations that they ought to be convicted. But are you suggesting, and I ask this with not false naivete, but fortunately, these Orwellian tactics haven't reached the 15th District of Illinois now. So you have to forgive my ignorance.
Are you suggesting that the way you use this system is that you actually send a citation to individuals based on red light photography, rather than sending a citation, calling that person in and then having a trial based on that? You simply send a citation?
Chief LIVESAY. Yes, sir, we do send a citation based on the registered owner of the car.
Mr. JOHNSON. That is incredible to me, an incredible violation of every concept of ordered liberty that I learned when I taught and went to law school and practiced law for 32 years. I just find that unbelievable.
No one questions, as I said, the viability of convicting guilty drivers. But Mr. Oberstar makes the analogy to radar. Radar is very useful. These things are probably very useful. But in conjunction with a trial, in conjunction with eyewitness testimony, radar can be very reliable. If you want to bring an individual in, Mr. Oberstar, and convict an individual for going 55 in a 35 mile an hour zone, then you have the individual officer come in, testify about the calibration of the radar, testify that they were clocked at going 55 in a 35, and you convict them. But you don't do it in absentia.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You talk about your technology and its juxtaposition with our trial system, and I find that just incredible. Are you also suggesting, Mr. Livesay and Mr. Hansen, that, you said that the results don't depend on volume, the volume results to the vendors don't depend on volume because you set the volume. Now, let me understand this as clearly as I can. I understand that you determine how many citations are sent out. I know the vendors don't determine that. But is their income either directly or indirectly affected by the number of convictions that you obtain as a result of those citations that you send out?
Lt. HANSEN. Not by convictions. It's not connected at all
Mr. JOHNSON. What's it based on?
Lt. HANSEN. We base on work completed, so the more citations
Mr. JOHNSON. Here's the question. You do a flat fee, you just pay them for technology, which is find, that's a bid system and so forth, or do you do it where their income, their net income, varies according to the number of convictions that are obtained?
Lt. HANSEN. Neither. We pay some of the services outright, we do a lot of the services ourselves, we manage the entire process. We do out-source parts of it.
So while we control how many citations are issued, because we're there for the entire approval process, when a citation is issued, we pay the vendors for that completed work. It has nothing to do with whether the individual pays the citation, goes to court. They have the opportunity to go to court on these cases, just like they do on speeding cases.
Mr. JOHNSON. Well, maybe you have a different definition of bounty hunting in Maryland than we do in Illinois, but that seems to me to be about as blatant a violation of any kind of decency standards that I can imagine.
Unfortunately now, we have to go vote. But I commend the Chairman, Mr. Petri, the members of the Committee, who I guess in some cases with whom I disagree, on bringing to our attention something that frankly I wasn't even aware existed, and I think represents and incredible threat to our concepts of civil liberties in this country. And I know you're speaking from the standpoint of sincerity and you are as well, Ms. Stone. But you're both, and all three of you are dead wrong.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BROWN. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
I recognize Ms. Norton. Ms. Norton, we've got about nine minutes left before we have to vote.
Ms. NORTON. Well, thank you. I want to say that none of you is dead wrong. And I want to say how much I appreciate your testimony. Because you have given testimony about important issues of surveillance, where indeed, at least local communities, I think most of us would say that a bigger brother would be the Federal Government reaching down to tell localities how to manage traffic in communities.
But I do think these are very serious questions, and I very much appreciate the testimony each and every one of you has given. I do want to say for the record, the notion of hearing in this Congress, particularly members on the other side, rail against contracting out and privatization, boggles my mind. These are folks who are privatizing everything from Social Security and Medicare to virtually everything that civil servants do, including huge blocks that they do that are entirely controversial.
So if you want to roll us back here, roll back the other side on privatizing out the entire Federal Government.
Let me get down to how I think we can reconcile some of this. I think the safety notions are irrefutable now. I think that question has been made. That would not decide it for this constitutional lawyer who spent her entire early career arguing, including in the Supreme Court of the United States, for constitutional rights. I think we can all agree, can we not, that even the right to privacy, like every other constitutional right, even equal protection, I say as a black woman, the right to privacy is not absolute. Can we all agree at least on that?
That being so, we should not engage, when it comes to constitutional rights, in a utilitarian notion of how to make choices. Although, since it's not absolute, we've got to waive considerations on both sides.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'd like particularly to ask the three people who testified very thoughtfully on constitutional issues or privacy issues this question. Bearing in mind that I assume that it was not absolute, there are some circumstances in which we could do at least some things, for example, 60 percent of the people I represent are black, 40 percent are white. A lot of the black people have a real history of being against police brutality.
I can tell you this much, they're not for throwing out the police. They're for getting rid of the brutality.
So I want to ask you if there's a way to throw out the privacy invasion and keep the extraordinary statistics we've heard from some of you, I gave you some of them from the District of Columbia, going to safety. Would you be in favor of some kind of surveillance if it were triggered only when definitively running a red light, there were no fast lights, there was immediate disposal of data after the fine was paid or when it was challenged, there was judicial review, there was no continuing footage, there was no scanning of anything but suspected violators who had triggered the violation?
If cases were chosen by the police department, if there was continuous monitoring of the contract, so that there were no abuses, could you conceive of a situation, given the safety aspects, where this could be done within your concerns about privacy? Yes, sir.
Mr. HEDGECOCK. Well, Ms. Norton, just the list that you gave us indicates to me the tremendous difficulty of drawing an appropriate line. To trust all of those things be done, and then our constitutional liberties would be protected, assumes an awful lot about human nature that we wouldn't now.
Ms. NORTON. Yes, but I wouldn't trust anybody. I would monitor these things. I'm saying, and I'm asking for an answer, if in fact these safeguards were in place, could you conceive of a system which would meet your concerns?
Mr. HEDGECOCK. I cannot, because I come from a situation in which the abuse was there from day one. It was part of public policy. It was ingrained in the system that was used. And our attempts to do just what you're suggesting, to introduce safeguards into it, have been rebuffed most recently, a couple of days ago on my program, by the current mayor of the city, who said we should give up our liberties in order to feel a little safer, actually paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin in the most outrageous way.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I'm sorry, I have seen it too close up, to see these abuses become so immediate, because the money is so good.
Ms. NORTON. Okay, I understand, so there's nothing we can do for you. Let's try Mr. Harper. I'm trying to get a reasonable man interpretation in a society that has to make tough choices. Mr. Harper, I found your testimony sensitive in the constitutional sense. Could I ask you to answer that question?
Mr. HARPER. Thank you, Congresswoman Norton. I think as a constitutional legal matter
Mr. BROWN. I'm sorry to interrupt you, but time has expired, and I appreciate very much all of you coming. We've got five minutes to vote, less than five minutes now. We thank you for coming, appreciate very much this testimony. This tells us how complicated this issue is and how sensitive it is to a lot of people, and thank you for sharing your different views.
[Whereupon, at 12:00 noon, the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
Prepared Statement of Congressman Bob Barr
Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
Good morning, and thank you Mr. Chairman and Members of the committee for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts and many concerns with the increasing prevalence and reliance on red-light surveillance cameras in Washington, D.C. and around the country; concerns that present squarely one of the seminal constitutional questions of this new century: shall we allow the promise of modern technology to trump the Bill of Rights and to erode whatever privacy is left to our citizens?
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Mr. Chairman, in recent years, advances in technology have been a driving force behind the unprecedented economic boom our country enjoyed. America's future is more secure because of advances in communications, medical research, high-tech weaponry, and innovative ways to protect our environment. Unfortunately, in our quest to put new technologies to use, we are beginning to seriously ignore basic, fundamental notions of privacy that underlie our Bill of Rights and the freedoms they guarantee.
America's Founding Fathers sought freedom from a tyrannical and oppressive government. They devised a system of government based on individual rights and freedomsincluding the right to keep and bear arms, freedom of speech and association, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, and so on and so forth, as set-forth in the Bill of Rights. All of these are based on a fundamental right to personal privacy; to be left alone by government. These freedoms were designed to be overridden or ''trumped'' only for good, and specific reasons, and always respectful of explicit limitations. The new technology eviscerates those guarantees.
How quickly we are forgetting this. At no point in the past two centuries has Americans' right to privacy has been more threatened. It is happening so quickly, and so pervasively, many are not even aware of the increasing intrusions into their lives by modern technology.
One of the most egregious and telling examples of this growing problem, and the reason why we are here today, is the red-light surveillance cameras sprouting up across the American landscape. At traffic intersections in cities large and small, from Washington, D.C. to Marietta, Georgia in my own district, Americans are being watched, their movements recorded, their persons and surroundings photographed, and their actions documented by their government; even as they are often unaware they are being monitored by their government and unable to do anything about it even if they are.
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In almost every case, the purported goal of these probing eyes is to increase public safety and deter crime. While it is very questionable to what level crime deterrence has been achieved, at what price do we seek to ''make the trains run on time?'' A much more important question remains: Where will the line be drawn? Can it be drawn? Has government gained so much power to snoop, that we have already lost the ability to fight it?
At the 2001 Super Bowl in Tampa, for example, every person entering the stadium was secretly photographed, and their images digitally transmitted and compared to a computer database housing the images of thousands of known criminals. Last year, government officials monitoring motorists traveling on Maryland's 195, a stretch of road where there is more than one traffic camera per mile, identified 26,000 Maryland residents and sent them letters asking where they were going that day, why, and with who, as part of a mass transit survey. In such instances, lawful citizens were unwittingly captured on video, monitored by government bureaucrats, and had their lives either questioned or examined, without ever having consented to such intrusions.
Most recently, it has been reported the city of Washington, D.C. has entered into a partnership with a private corporation to install surveillance cameras at traffic intersections around the city. Unfortunately, as in many instances, the public was not made aware of this assault against its civil liberties, until the I's were dotted and the T's crossed on a contract that would reap millions of dollars not only for the Washington, D.C. government, but for the private corporation as well. In fact, over the next five years alone, it is estimated more than 80,000 tickets a month will be issued; compared to only 10,000 speeding tickets issued in all of last year by the District of Columbia. Aren't machines wonderfully efficient? These tickets would result in the collection of more than $160 million from the pockets of citizens; $44 million of which would be given to the private corporation that installed the cameras. This sounds like a high-tech version of the small-town speed trap outlawed as unconstitutional decades ago.
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Mr. Chairman, it should be of grave concern to all of us when government and financial corporations have such a clear and potentially lucrative interest in people breaking the law. Many questions have already been raised in other areas where traffic cameras have been placed. I commend Majority Leader Dick Armey for his work on bringing this issue to the forefront of public attention. His May 23rd report unearthed very troubling and significant evidence that municipalities are manipulating the timing devices on traffic cameras to artificially raise the number of red-light violations, and increase the revenue sent into government and company coffers. While I will let the Majority Leader's report speak for itself, and encourage all citizens to go to his website and read it online, I will say thisI believe his findings and the stories we have heard so far are just scratching the surface of the potential implications for abuse. Government bureaucrats are armed with the ability to watch us, and put us in jail, but who is watching them? Each day the threat of Big Brother is becoming more and more real. The question is whether we will continue on the path of quiet acceptance or start asking some pretty serious questions and taking some steps, right now.
Fighting crime and promoting the growth of technology are two areas in which government must play a role if our nation is to continue to grow and succeed. However, when these two priorities are combined, and the Fourth Amendment ignored, serious and frightening abuses of power result. Our nation is at that point right now.
The question is whether we will choose the future of American society to be an Orwellian one; a society in which our images are scanned and run through computer databases each time we step outside our homes, or with infra-red and x-ray technology already available to law enforcement without even leaving our homes? Achieving a high degree of public safety is a fundamentally important goal; a goal I set for myself when I served as a federal prosecutor. However, it is time to seriously consider the freedoms we are sacrificing for what, until this point, have been very questionable results. It would serve us well to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin, who once wrote, ''[t]hey that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.''
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It has been estimated Americans are being photographed an average of 30 times each day. Three years ago, in researching a paper on privacy, I read that on a single day in New York, a researcher counted 2,400 surveillance cameras. What will that number be just a few years from now? The city of Los Angeles has already started placing small microphones at high crime spots around the city, in order to capture sounds in public areas; to pinpoint the source of gunfire. How long will it be until such sound monitors become the norm? These are extremely serious questions, raising federal constitutional concerns, and they require a very serious review and response from the federal government, rather than leaving it solely to local governments from Washington, D.C. to Marietta, Georgia unilaterally deciding to technologically eviscerate the Fourth Amendment by installing surveillance cameras wherever and whenever they and the companies with which they contract choose.
21st century technology is on the verge of destroying our Bill of Rights. We had better wake-up and stop that train before it's too late. As we ponder this great question, it behooves us to keep in mind the works of Ayn Rand, writing in ''The Fountainhead'' in 1943: ''Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savages' whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of the tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.'' Thank you.
Prepared Statement of Hon. Howard Coble
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for conducting this hearing today. As you already know, North Carolina is one of the states where red light cameras are currently being used at intersections.
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Like many of my colleagues, especially those of us who have the opportunity to serve on this committee, I am very concerned about the increased number of fatalities on our nation's roads and what we can do as a committee to improve safety and save lives. At the same time, however, I do not believe that improved safety should come at any cost.
Mr. Chairman, I also sit on the House Judiciary Committee where we consistently struggle with issues relating to the rule of law, and one of the things that concerns me most about the use of red light cameras is the presumption of guilt that accompanies these citations. This appears to me to turn our system of justice on its head where a presumption of innocence, not a presumption of guilt, has been the cornerstone of our legal system since the days of our founding fathers.
Returning to the issue of safety, I am also concerned that the tremendous revenue-raising potential of these cameras will provide great temptation for municipalities to ultimately reduce the yellow light times in an effort to catch more violators. Needless to say, in this situation, the safety of our citizens would be greatly jeopardized along with the sanctity of their wallets.
I look forward to hearing from the witnesses today and want to thank you again Mr. Chairman for conducting this hearing.
|House of Representatives,|
Hon. TOM PETRI,
|Washington, DC, August 3, 2001. |
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Chairman Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC.
DEAR CHAIRMAN: Enclosed is a statement from the City of High Point, North Carolina, regarding its use of red light cameras. I would appreciate your including this statement in the official record for the hearing on ''Automated EnforcementRed Light Cameras'' which was held on July 31, 2001.
Thanks again for all your assistance in accommodating our constituent, Marshall Hurley, as a participant in this hearing. I hope that you found his testimony useful. If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me or my Legislative Director, Missy Branson, at x53065.
To the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives
|City of High Point,|
|North Carolina, August 2, 2001.|
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC DEAR CHAIRMAN PETRI AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE: The City of High Point, North Carolina requests this letter be made part of the Subcommittee's record of the hearing held on July 31, 2001 concerning the use of cameras to detect red light violators.
Certain Statements made at the hearing concerning High Point's red light camera enforcement program are inaccurate and the Subcommittee is respectfully requested to consider the clarifications in this letter.
The purpose of the red light camera enforcement program in High Point is traffic safety, not revenue. Every dollar generated by the program is earmarked by City Council order and budget line item exclusively for driver safety education and intersection safety improvements (signage, crosswalk signals, etc). To date, the City has received a total of $183,062 in penalties, and none of that amount will be used for anything but traffic and pedestrian safety. The City's annual budget is approximately $366 million. The camera contractor, Peek Traffic, Inc., receives a portion of the penalties paid because it makes the investment in installing, operating, and maintaining the cameras. If the City could have negotiated from the prospective camera vendors less remuneration for this investment, or could impose less of a penalty to have a deterrent effect, it would have.
The $50.00 penalty is civil, not criminal, and does not affect the car owner's traffic record or insurance premiums. More significantly, as a civil penalty, it cannot be collected by the City except through a civil action brought in small claims court where the owner can put forward a defense or explanation. In addition, the owner can pay the penalty and request a hearing before an administrative hearing officer (each of whom is a professor at a local university paid $25.00 per case), who can dismiss the citation and refund the penalty. Since the program began in February there have been 80 such appeals, and 17 of the cases were dismissed against the alleged violator. From this administrative hearing, common law permits an appeal to state superior court for judicial review of the proceedings. To say that a person who receives a citation has no appeal or access to the courts is simply untrue.
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Most people who receive the citation do pay the penalty without a court hearing or administrative appeal because the photographs which accompany the citation clearly show the violation. The citations which are actually sent out clearly show a violation because the ones that do not are rejected. Your Subcommittee heard testimony that in High Point the cameras ''fail'' 59% of the time. This misstates the facts. Of the photographs automatically made by the cameras in High Point, those rejected for citations are the ones where the license plate is obscured by dirt, weather conditions, or on purpose; where the car is in a funeral procession; or any other case where the violation is not clear-cut. This screening process is two-step. First, the camera contractor rejects all cases where the license plate is obscured or the violation is unclear. Next, a regular High Point Police traffic patrol officer reviews each remaining case before a citation is issue, and rejects other cases which the officer deems uncertain. Only after this two-step screening process are citations issued. This screening process in not a ''failure rate.'' In fact it is the oppositea process to insure that only clear violations result in citations.
Concerning the timing of the ''yellow'' or caution sequence on stoplights, it has been suggested by critics that the yellow signal time is reduced to increase violations. High Point has not modified its yellow signals in the least in connection with this program, and will not. The yellow signal times are a function of standard traffic engineering analysis at each intersection, conform with the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and are not affected by High Point's red light camera enforcement program.
People can disagree on the merits of High Point's program, but the discussion should be based on facts, not exaggerations, hyperbole, or references to other uses of traffic cameras. Our program is simply an attempt to reduce injuries and property damage caused by red light violators by deterring such behavior, and to free up police officers for other law enforcement activities. Results in other cities and preliminary results in High Point show that the red light camera enforcement program is effective.
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|Fred P. Baggett,|
Prepared Statement of Congressman Jerry F. Costello
Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling today's hearing on red light cameras. I would like to welcome today's witnesses.
Beginning in the 1980's red light cameras have been installed in the United States. Currently, there are approximately 345 cameras used at intersections in 30 cities. While typically red light cameras are not funded by Federal funds, Federal funds could be used to install these cameras.
The primary reason for use of red light cameras is to catch those individuals who run red lights. In 1999, there were 92,000 crashes and 950 deaths attributed to red light running. If the cameras do improve intersection safety, that is a worthy goal.
However, the cameras have come under some scrutiny lately. One reason for this is because the contractorswho install the camerasreceive a portion of the revenues generated from the fines. An additional concerns consists of ensuring privacy rights of the driver.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Given these concerns, I think it is prudent to move forward carefully regarding red light cameras. I look forward to today's hearing as we discuss this issue.
Prepared Statement of Congressman Bob Filner
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing to examine the use of automated enforcement devices at intersections. First, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Roger Hedgecock from KOGO Radio in my hometown of San Diego. Roger is a former Mayor of the City and has become an authority on the issue of red light cameras due to the amount of attention they have received in San Diego.
From the time that they were first installed in San Diego the red light cameras have generated a great deal of controversy. A fair amount of the concern can be laid directly at the feet of city officials who appear to have developed a system that was designed to generate the most revenueregardless of right or wrong. Additional concerns stem from the legitimate fears of individuals about the direction that this system heads us, and where it stops.
We all want a safer society and certainly improving the safety of our roadways is a top priority in this regard. Photo enforcement of traffic violations has some positive aspects, and may indeed have a positive future, but at this time red light cameras cause as many problems as they seem to solve.
I think a main concern that must be addressed in order to determine whether or not these systems are in the public's best interest is: are the developers of this system trying to protect the public or just make money?
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The problems that arose from San Diego's experiment with red light cameras will probably become a case study for how not to implement a new technological tool for law enforcement purposes, and they are likely a root cause of why many San Diegans feel we must move very cautiously now.
When making money becomes the bottom line, as it appears to have been in the San Diego case, the public can rapidly lose confidence that the system is in their best interest. Reports of installing the cameras at high volume intersections and cutting the times of yellow lights short have led to lawsuits, and obviously upset motorists.
Many people simply pay the fees because photo enforcement leaves drivers with the feeling that they have been labeled guilty until proven innocent. People are not confronted by their accusers in court, and they are presumed guilty. Even though the system was set up for them to fail in this case many drivers did not take the time to argue their innocence.
Another problem is created because many people believe that this type of system violates our Fourteenth Amendment by not providing immediate notice that an offense is alleged. This is significant because the photo enforcement cameras are known to make mistakes, and there is not always confirmation of who is actually driving the vehicle at the time of the offense. Even if this is not a violation of the Constitution these problems remain.
Looming doubts about this most basic form of automated law enforcement lead to natural concerns about the future of these systems. In San Diego, we could not count on the establishment of ''fair'' photo enforcement practices. What if the next step is more drastic? Will we be faced with the government acting as ''Big Brother'' continuously spying on law-abiding citizens? I realize this might seem far-fetched to some, but we must remain vigilant against these types of abuse.
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I think it would be best to look at our experiences in San Diego as a cautionary tale. Technology changes faster than most of us can keep up with at this point. We must continue to try to use its benefits to better our society, but it must not be at the expense of fairness or freedom.
Prepared Statement of Jim Harper, Editor of Privacilla.org
Chairman Petri, Ranking Member Borski, and Members of the Subcommittee: It is a great pleasure to appear before you to discuss red-light cameras and their implications for privacy. I am Jim Harper, the Editor of Privacilla.org, a Web-based think-tank devoted exclusively to privacy. I started the Privacilla project a little less than a year ago to help improve the quality of the privacy debate in Washington and in capitols around the country. Privacy is one of the most complex and difficult public policy issues around today. I am pleased to lend what knowledge I have to your consideration of red-light cameras.
Privacilla takes a free-market, pro-technology approach to private policy. There certainly are other views, and you should consider them all. Please also be aware that Privacilla is currently a project of my lobbying and consulting firm, PolicyCounsel.Com. My firm does not represent anyone on privacy specifically, but nearly all issues touch on privacy in some way, so you should consider my potential for bias, as you would with any privacy advocate.
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Chairman Petri, I salute you for holding these hearings. Increasingly, as Americans travel the streets and highways of the nation, they see cameras bristling from stoplights and streetlightsand many people are bristling back. They find these cameras offensive, insulting, and an invasion of their privacy.
It is incumbent on Congress and policy-makers at the state and local levels to examine whether red-light cameras are being used fairly and appropriately, or whether they are better regarded as an intrusion into our lives and routines. You are brave to take on this challenge because it is not a small one. The issues are difficult and the balances to be struck are delicate.
Red-light cameras are only one, highly visible example of the rapid advance of technology in law enforcement and government. There is no question that technology in the hands of both government and the private sector has provided us enormous benefits and will continue to do so. We must be vigilant, however, to make sure that we enjoy as many of the benefits as we can while minimizing the costs and drawbacks.
A significant cost posed by many information technologies is the threat they pose for privacy. The challenge is particularly difficult while we as a society learn how these technologies work. At this early point in the Information Age, we are particularly prone to overreacting either against or in favor of information technology.
I am happy that you recognize the importance of privacy as a significant consideration regarding red-light cameras. This technology represents only the tip of an iceberg. Beneath the water lie many questions about Americans' privacy interests and expectations as all elements of society incorporate digital technology in to their basic function.
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RED-LIGHT CAMERAS RAISE A HOST OF ISSUES
Red-light cameras raise a whole host of issues in addition to privacy. They may be cash cows for governments and the technology companies that design, build, and install them. Their use may be unfair if they are not reliable, or reliably checked. There are important due process questions, too, such as whether a person is denied the right to confront his or her accuser when an automated system purports to discover and record the only evidence of crime.
And there are problems of proof. As you know, criminal responsibility attaches only to people. Evidence of a car passing through an intersection does not prove who drove it unless the driver is photographed too.
There is a lot to be said for law enforcement by men and women in uniform. More often than not, they are members of the community. Through in-person contacts, they help make clear that the traffic laws reflect society's collective judgment about the safety of people. Traffic laws are not just technical rules that take a bite out of us when we are tripped up by an in different machine.
One can only imagine what investigative tangles could arise from red-light cameras. It is a fair guess that some portion of the population will deny that they were driving the cars photographed by red-light cameras, because they actually were not driving or because they think the authorities will not press these cases. From time to time, jurisdictions may seek to prosecute ''false deniers'' and mete out large punishments to ''teach them a lesson.'' This could create an atmosphere of widespread disrespect for law combined with sporadic and draconian enforcement.
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Importantly, post hoc investigations into red-light running may mean that citizens have to submit alibis in response to automatically issued summonses for traffic violations. These alibis may be investigated and turn a traffic violation into a privacy-invading inquest. We clearly start down a path where what should be ordinary traffic enforcement can become a legal and investigative mess.
''BIG BROTHER'' TECHNOLOGIES ARE UPON US
Red-light cameras are only the first installation of the Big Brother infrastructure. There is much more to come.
Little technical difference separates a digital camera that takes occasional snapshots from one that records continuous footage. With optical character recognition, there will soon be the technical capability for nominal red-light cameras to scan for the license plates of specific cars. Networked cameras will soon be able to track cars throughout a city and on the highways. And database technology will make it possible to create permanent records of the movements of all cars captured on camera.
It should not go without saying that these technologies can be used for good. And there is a lot of good to be gotten from them. Known or visible red-light cameras will tend to deter red-light violations among the small number of people who consciously run red lights or push the limits. Red-light cameras can improve safetyas long as they are not used in conjunction with shortened yellow-light times. When traffic cameras can be used to find stolen vehicles, the effect on car-jacking, for example, may be dramatic. Criminals will know that they have only minutes from when they steal a car to when that car effectively turns them in. These technologies may allow the last movements of missing persons to be more easily learned thanks to records of where their cars were.
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When it was revealed that face-scanning technologies were used at the Super Bowl earlier this year, the crime-suppression benefits were obvious. This type of surveillance may make air travel and any large public event eminently safer because terrorists or rioterseven pickpockets and purse-snatcherswill be aware that they could be identified and apprehended even before they act.
For these reasons, these technologies are quickly being incorporated into our country's public safety and law enforcement arsenals. These benefits do not dispose of the issues, though. We have important crime-control and public safety benefits arrayed against important values like the legitimacy of law enforcement, fairness, and, of course, privacy.
Technology will soon give governments many capabilities of Orwell's ''Big Brother.'' But, as lawmakers, you have the capability to make sure that governments throughout America use technology only for good and not for invading privacy.
''BIG BROTHER'' GOVERNMENT IS WHAT TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT
As Members of Congress, your proper focus, the area where you can do the most productive work, and the area where you are most responsible is privacy from government.
Everyone owes their respect and gratitude to our nation's elected officials and public servants. They work hard, make enormous sacrifices, and devote themselves to the betterment of societyoften for little reward and even smaller thanks. Government officials have the best of intentions and they do the best they can to cope with enormous problems and strongly competing demands. There is no question that the people in our nation's government sector are honorable, thoughtful, and well-intended.
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At the same time, it is my strong conclusion that the government sector presents more significant threats to privacy than individuals and businesses in the private sector. More so than the private sector, governments have the capability and the incentive to take, use, and abuse the personal information of citizens. George Orwell wrote 1984, bringing us the infamous concept of ''Big Brother,'' as a warning against the power of governmentsnot the private sector.
Many privacy advocates overlook the differences between government and the private sector, and their advocacy suffers because of it. They use wordplay like ''Big Browser'' and invite Congress to replace consumer choice and the power to contractbacked up by state privacy tort lawwith top-down, one-size-fits-all federal regulation of the private sector. And they do this while government itself is not subject to sufficient privacy-protecting limits.
Government and the private sector have radically different incentives relating to personal information about consumers and citizens, and they operate in entirely different legal regimes. The government sector does not lose customers if it collects too much information or if it uses it in offensive or harmful ways. Businesses do. The fact that governments collect information using the force of law cannot be emphasized strongly enough. When a government agency or program needs personal information to carry out its mission, that information will be collected. Individuals have no choice in the matter. This is not the case with businesses, who must bargain in one way or another for the information they want.
An important upshot of this is that consumers are more often allowed to remain anonymous or use fake names when dealing with businesses. As long as one is not committing fraud, the penalty for lying about one's identity to a business may be, at worst, that a transaction is not completed. When dealing with government, however, anonymity or pseudonymity is often impossible, illegal, or, at the very least, suspicious.
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The accountability we require of government also gives rise to privacy problems that are not found in the business world. The public can and should have access to public records in order to hold officials accountable and because the information was collected using public funds. Open records, a hallmark of open government, can often mean that information citizens were compelled to disclose becomes public.
In lieu of a healthy system of incentives, governments respond to a patchwork of privacy laws imposed on themselves. Most importantly, at the federal level we have the Fourth Amendment, which limits the power of governments to collect information in some respects. It only applies, however, in the criminal context. It does not prevent government from taking information for ''administrative'' purposes.
The Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act strike some balance between privacy and open government. But these laws are a confusing welter of definitions, exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions. As Privacilla revealed in a March, 2001 report, federal agencies constantly share personal information about American citizens; new information sharing programs are introduced more than once every other week.(see footnote 1) The Privacy Act does not reassure Americans that their information is confidential, safe, or private in the hands of the government.
The laws controlling government do not evolve and respond to change as the law governing the private sector cansuch as contract rights and the privacy torts in common law courts. Government information practices move in fits and starts as new uses of information expose loopholes in government privacy protections. Hopefully, red-light cameras will prompt such a change in our laws as Congress considers reducing the demands programs across the board make for citizens' personal information.
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Also, because governments are only subject to the laws they make for themselves, information held by governmentseven if confidential ''by law''is not as well protected as information held under similar restrictions by businesses. Governments are sovereigns that can change the laws that apply to the information they hold, and they often do.
Government and the private sector are made up of vastly different entities with dramatically different incentives, and who operate under different laws. Protecting privacy in the commercial world is often difficult, but protecting privacy from government is usually impossible.
Again, there is no question that public servants in all branches and at all levels are dedicated to the best interests of citizens. In their focus on efficiency, law enforcement, or other good-government values, however, officials far too often ignore privacy. The
founders of our nation recognized this, which is why they included the protections of the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
THE FOURTH AMENDMENT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO PROTECT PRIVACYEVEN IN PUBLIC
To get at the privacy implications of red-light cameras, we have to dig deeply. The Fourth Amendment says: ''The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. . . .''(see footnote 2) This is the primary, essential limit on the power of American governments to inquire into people's lives, arrest them, and seize their property for criminal investigations.
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It is important to note that the Fourth Amendment does not protect privacy per se. By providing Americans with a protected zone, though, it allows them to maintain privacy as they see fit. Affirmatively creating privacythe subjective condition of having control over information about one's selfis the responsibility of individuals acting in the shelter of their legal rights. Every day, Americans make highly individual privacy judgments based on culture, experience, and the perceived costs and benefits of interacting and sharing information. This is why broad private-sector legislation aimed clumsily at ''protecting privacy'' for consumers is doomed to fail.
The Fourth Amendment requires a search to be based on probably cause. That is, government investigators must have a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed and that evidence or fruits of the crime can be found. The first question a court will ask when a citizen claims to have been unconstitutionally searched is whether that person had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place, papers, or information that government agents have examined or taken. This is one of the primary questions raised by red-light cameras.
Until 1967, the Fourth Amendment was largely regarded as protecting placesnamely the home and the areas closely surrounding the home. When the Bill of Rights was drafted, ours was a low-tech, mostly agrarian, and relatively immobile society. The home really was a person's castle. As America has become more mobile and technological, this early interpretation has had to change. Katz v. United States(see footnote 3) is the landmark Supreme Court decision that updated Fourth Amendment law in light of our advancement.
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In Katz, FBI agents placed electronic eavesdropping equipment on the outside of a telephone booth where the defendant, a bookmaker, conducted his business. The Court held that eavesdropping on Katz in this way without a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights because he justifiably relied on the privacy of the telephone booth.(see footnote 4) The Court stated, in a famous passage, ''[T]he Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public . . . is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. . . . But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.''(see footnote 5)
Justice Harlan's influential concurrence described a two-pronged test to determine when a person is entitled to assert Fourth Amendment protection. Harlan suggested, first, that a person should have exhibited an actual, subjective expectation of privacy. Second, the expectation must be one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.(see footnote 6)
Under cases like Katz, the first reaction of constitutional scholars to red-light cameras may be that people do not have a subjective expectation of privacy when they drive their cars on public streets. Therefore, people can not object based on the Fourth Amendment if government-operated cameras routinely capture the images of their cars or license plates on public streets.
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Yet the instinct of many Americans is that this offends privacy. I think that instinct is correct. To understand why, we have to parse out the red-light camera interaction a little more carefully.
''ANTI-PRIVACY'' LAW SHOULD NOT PREVENT EXPECTATIONS OF PRIVACY IN TRAVEL ON PUBLIC STREETS
For good reasons, people often refuse to disclose information about themselves and their identities, or they give others fake information. This maintains privacy at the levels people want. It is a common and appropriate social behavior.
But anonymity and pseudonymity are rarely an option for people when they deal with government, which regularly makes these things illegal in the name of crime control or for other important programs and policies. Governments particularly threaten privacy through law and regulation that prevent people from remaining anonymous or pseudonymous.
The Social Security Number, for example, was devised because anonymity, pseudonymity, and financial privacy from government were inconsistent with the demands of the Social Security system. A similar byproduct of the income tax is that citizens have to reveal a great deal more about themselves to employers and the government than they otherwise might. The federal Bank Secrecy Act authorizes the Treasury Department to require financial institutions to maintain records of personal financial transactions and report them to the government. The Federal Communications Commission's E911 program requires mobile phone services to be able to track and communicate the locations of users. The list goes on and on.
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A large swath of law and regulation is fairly regarded as ''anti-privacy'' because it prevents people from protecting privacy as they see fit. Such laws are not automatically ''bad'' because of it, but we should recognize that they subsume individual privacy to collective social goals.
In this sense, the requirement in all fifty states that cars must exhibit license plates linked to their owners is ''anti-privacy'' law, as would be a law requiring people to wear name tags in order to walk on public sidewalks. Mandatory license plates prevent citizens from exhibiting the expectation of privacy that Justice Harlan wrote about in Katz. Roughly speaking, they require people to expose their identities to police as a condition of driving on our roadways.
Because the law has deprived people of the ability to protect privacy, the better view is that there is a Fourth Amendment search when law enforcement notes the license plates on cars. This search is inherently unreasonable if they do so when they do not suspect crime. As soon as red-light cameras are used for anything other than snapping suspected speedersand they soon will bethese cameras should be shown a red light themselves.
Though some of the people who object to red-light cameras do so because they do not want to get caught, the rest deplore the idea that their movements are potentially subject to monitoring thanks to new technology. We are a free country and a free people who reject the idea of being monitored by government when we are going through our daily lives peacefully and lawfully.
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Eliminating the automobile license plate is obviously not the appropriate response. The slight threat to privacy embodied in the license plate pales in comparison to the benefits we enjoy in terms of safety and crime control. License plants make drivers appropriately accountable to each other and to law enforcement.
KYLLO V. UNITED STATES PREVENTS GOVERNMENT FROM USING ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY TO INVADE PRIVACY
Getting rid of the license plate would be the equivalent of lining the walls of our homes with asbestos if the U.S. Supreme Court's Kyllo decision had gone the other way.
In Kyllo v. United States,(see footnote 7) decided in June, the Supreme Court issued an important opinion in the development of Fourth Amendment law. Agents of the U.S. Department of the Interior, suspicious that Danny Lee Kyllo was growing marijuana in his home using high-intensity lamps, had aimed an Agema Thermovision 210 thermal imager at his triplex on Rhododendron Drive in Florence, Oregon. The imager detected significantly more heat over the roof of the garage and on a side wall of Kyllo's home than elsewhere on the premises. Using this information, the agents got a warrant, searched the home, and found the drugs they suspected.(see footnote 8)
The war on drugs has pushed law enforcement to test the limits of its search and surveillance powers in many respects, and the Supreme Court has not always defended Americans' privacy rights as it should. In this case, however, the Supreme Court reversed Kyllo's conviction, finding that when a novel device like the thermal imager is used ''to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a 'search' and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.''(see footnote 9)
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There are many ways to distinguish the facts in Kyllo, and future cases will decide its meaning better than I know how, but the case does have substance for red-light cameras and other surveillance technologies. The case required the Court to confront ''what limits there are on [the] power of technology to shrink the realm of guaranteed privacy.''(see footnote 10)
In remanding Kyllo's conviction, the Court essentially found that the reasonableness of a search is to be judged in light of common privacy-protecting practices, not in light of privacy protection from the best technologies available. Thermal imagers are not in general public use so people desiring to keep the hours of their sauna private from neighbors do not line their walls with asbestos. Likewise, digital video of streets is not in general public use, so a person desiring to keep private his or her trip to the psychiatrist's office does not have to remove or cover the license plates on his or her car (and, legally, one can not).
Soon, Big Brother cameras will enable law enforcement to record or track the movements of cars driven by people not suspected of crime. Used without a warrant or in the absence of exigent circumstances, these would be a grave threat to privacy interests that are protected by the Fourth Amendment.
CONGRESS SHOULD PROTECT PRIVACY AND THE BENEFITS OF RED-LIGHT CAMERAS
Because of their benefits, red-light cameras and other surveillance technologies can not be dismissed out of hand. At the same time, their privacy-invading potential demands a firm response. The correct response strikes a balance between the privacy costs and law-enforcement benefits of surveillance technology.
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People have a reasonable expectation, as innocents, that governments will not compile investigative information about them. No surveillance technology should be used to monitor anyone other than people reasonably suspected of crime. Law enforcement should be required to dispose of surveillance data about innocents that is not relevant to a pending investigation of crime.
Congress should protect privacy and reassure the public with a law articulating appropriate and inappropriate government uses of red-light camera dataand all forms of surveillance dataalong these lines. This is a clear prerogative of the federal government, which has authority to enact law such as this under section five of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Congress should avoid dictating to states on local law enforcement issues or coaxing them with conditional spending. As long as they do not cross clear Fourth Amendment lines drawn by Congress, states should be free to incorporate technology into law enforcement and use it however their citizens desire. They should be able to experiment and learn from each other how best to respond to the varied, competing, and quintessentially local demands of their citizens.
Chairman Petri, again thank you for conducting this hearing. Red-light cameras are one of the first in what will be a long succession of technologies that raise issues like this. Through your leadership, privacy from government surveillance will increasingly be recognized as an issue that deserves the full attention of Congress and the country.
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Technologies like the Internet have started a useful civic discussion of privacy. Much of what has consumed Congress of late is a reexamination of private-sector information practices that have been evolving for decades. Too often, these discussions tend toward sloganeering by advocates and hysteria in the press. Pro-regulation privacy advocates have yet to articulate any harm to consumers that would justify additional regulation of the private sector.
Red-light cameras are the beginning of the Big Brother infrastructureand the term ''Big Brother'' has always referred to intrusive government. Despite the pure intentions of the people in them, governments at all levels pose the greater threat to privacy than the private sector. On privacy from government is where the focus of our public policy should be.
The rapid growth of digital technology is testing Fourth Amendment privacy protections because sensory enhancing, optical character recognition, networking, and database technologies can be so powerful. As the powerful forces of government and technology combine, the results may be very bad for Americans' privacy and freedom. Governments are the only entities in society with legal power to enter our homes without permission, take our possessions, and imprison us.
Our public policy relating to privacy has not been explored well enough. All facets of this issue need to be considered seriously, and I know your committee will do so. Happily, thanks to your work, Congress can ensure that we enjoy the many benefits of technology in the hands of government without suffering the sinister possibilities.
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Prepared Statement of Roger Hedgecock
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to address the Subcommittee oversight hearing on automated enforcement cameras which ticket motorists who run red lights.
At the Red Light Camera enforced intersection of Grand Ave. and East Mission Bay Drive in San Diego, the driver of the commercial truck in front of me jammed on his brakes as the traffic light turned yellow and he was entering the intersection. I could not avoid a rear end collision which turned my brand new car into a wreck. From where I sat, dazed but unhurt, the Red Light Cameras had caused the accident!
Richard Retting of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has stated that yellow light intervals which are too short may contribute to increased rear end collisions. This indeed was my experience.
I am a former mayor of San Diegoa city suffering with a $100 million backlog of ''deferred maintenance''. City revenues are important for our quality of life.
And traffic safety is a high priority for your Subcommittee and for all motorists.
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However, under the guise of traffic safety, the City of San Diego contracted with Lockheed Martin IMS Corp. to install red light photo enforcement automated cameras at 19 intersections where the prime objective was increased revenues to the City and its contractor despite evidence of decreased safety at these 19 intersections since the cameras were installed. Increased revenue to the City can never be justified by decreased safety.
The City of Tempe, Arizona also contracted with Lockheed Martin. Tempe did a study which showed that simply increasing the yellow light interval cut photo enforcement citations by 50%. But here's the rub: The Lockheed Martin contract prevents the City of Tempe from extending the yellow light interval where Lockheed's cameras are in place. Profits over safety?
Finally, Mr. Chairman, my ingrained American instinct finds these camera crime accusers repulsively unconstitutional, Orwellian intrusions into liberty.
For reasons set forth below Mr. Chairman, I believe this committee should exercise its oversight authority and order a review of the FHWA's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to ensure that a minimum yellow light interval standard apply whenever red light automated photo enforcement is used at an intersection. Safety must come first.
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Mr. Chairman, on July 7, of 1997, the City Council of San Diego accepted a recommendation by the City Manager to begin an 18-month pilot program of 19 red light automated intersection photo enforcement (per Cal Vehicle Code S21455.5).
On April 29, 1998, San Diego entered into a contract with Lockheed Martin IMS Corp. which provided that Lockheed would pay for, install, and operate the system and would be paid 50% of any fine/bail revenue or $70.00 per citation, whichever is smaller.
Lockheed Martin had an economic incentive to increase the number of citations; its incentive was reinforced in another provision of the contract, which allowed Lockheed martin to remove equipment from any intersection where the citation count dropped by 25%.
Lockheed Martin sold the Red Light Cameras to the City claiming they would ''save lives''. No one can find a single report or document by Lockheed Martin or the City of San Diego which substantiates this claim. Not one of the thousands of intersection photos shows a collision caused by the pictured red light runner.
The San Diego City Manager justified the ''pilot program'' as a ''safety'' measure, promising an 18 month report on the effectiveness of the cameras to lower red light running and the accidents red light running caused.
No such report has ever been done. The ''pilot program'' continues without City Council approval beyond the 18 months.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC2. Operation of the San Diego program
In fact, in 1997, 1998 and 1999 San Diego conducted extensive surveys of intersections in the City to determine the top ten accident frequency intersections. Not one of those intersections was selected by Lockheed Martin for a Red Light Enforcement Camera.
Of the 19 installations which were selected by Lockheed, the intersection of Grape St. and Harbor Dr. showed the most citations (3,0005,000 per month @ $271 per citation) but City records indicated not one accident due to red light running in the previous seven years!
Mr. Chairman, to this date no report has ever been made (as promised) by the Manager to the City Council on the promised ''safety'' gains of this ''pilot program''. Published reports have indicated that the City has received nearly $7 Million during the program!
In response to legal challenges and revelations that Lockheed had moved the sensors at four intersections, on May 30, 2001, the Chief of Police ordered four systems shut down. (Chief Bejerano's press release Ex.A). The City Manager subsequently shut down all 19 intersection cameras.
3. Challenges to the program
A. In April, 2000, Robert Trigg Stewart was issued a citation at Harbor Dr. and Grape St.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Stewart demanded a trial and prevailed at that trial as the Judge ruled that the time/distance measurement taken by the ''True photo'' Red Light Enforcement system was a ''speed trap'' in violation of Cal Vehicle Code SS40802(a) and 360.
Mr. Stewart also challenged the legality of a private entity (Lockheed) enforcing the law when Cal Vehicle Code S23455/5 required enforcement by a government agency. Mr. Stewart also challenged the accuracy of the methodology used by Lockheed. The Court did not rule on the latter two points but they would come back to stop the program.
Mr. Stewart's lawyer, Judith Litzenberger, can be reached at (619) 7023226.
B. On May 1, 2000, following caller interest to my talk show, I held a press conference at Harbor Dr. and Grape St. with dozens of motorists who had received citations.
Based on their testimony of being ''trapped'' in the intersection by a ''short'' yellow light, I demanded the city shut down these Red Light Enforcement Cameras until ''safety'' could be proven, and the technology audited for accuracy and fairness. The City refused. (Press Release Ex. B)
C. On May 28, 2000, Chris Allhusen was photographed and later cited for running the red left turn signal at Grand Ave. and E. Mission Bay Drive.
The speed limit at that intersection was 45 mph. Chris demonstrated at trial that the yellow light interval was set at three seconds. Chris showed the court San Diego's Yellow Light Phasing Standards, Cal Trans Standards for Signal Light Phasing, and the Cal DMV 2000 Driver's Handbookall listing braking distance and reaction times that equated to from 4.7 to 5.6 seconds of yellow light for that intersection. On appeal, Chris won and the court ordered his citation dismissed.
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D. Shortly thereafter, San Diego lawyers Colleen Cusack and Arthur Tait began defending motorists ticketed by cameras at these intersections. I urged over the radio that all such tickets be fought. Hundreds of motorists took their tickets to trial, some using Mr. Stewart's brief which I made available to listeners at www.rogerhedgecock.com and I referred many more to Cusack and Tait at www.redlightlawyers.com
E. Swamped with this unexpected challenge to the citations, the County of San Diego budgeted an additional $100,000 for a special Court to hear the cases.
F. On June 1, 2001, a class action lawsuit was filed in San Diego against the City, County and Lockheed Martin (Ex. C) seeking annulment of all citations, refund of all fines paid, and punitive damages.
Information on this lawsuit is available from plaintiff lawyer Brian Burdett (619) 2334100.
G. Sources in City government confirmed on my radio show that Lockheed was not issuing citations to city workers, on or off duty. This revelation prompted the City Manager to reverse the policy and require citations be issued even to police officers on duty. The San Diego Police Officers Association president opposed the Manager's decision in an editorial in the POA publication ''The Informant'' (Ex. D) arguing that the Red Light Photo enforcement program was illegal.
H. Opposition to the Red Light Cameras (now called SCAMERAS) was heightened by further startling revelations.
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(1) When the yellow light interval at E. Mission Bay Dr. and Grand Ave. was finally increased from 3.0 seconds to 4.7 seconds, the photo citations dropped from average 2,265 per month to 205 per month.
(2) Red light lawyers Cusack and Tait, through discovery in their cases, found evidence that Lockheed Martin had moved the sensor used to determine violations in three of the 19 intersections. The San Diego Chief of Police ordered the cameras at these three intersections shut down.
(3) Further evidence that Lockheed Martin had not selected the 19 intersections based on ''safety'' but based on revenue potential caused the City Manager on May 30, 2001 to order all 19 cameras shut down pending ''an independent audit''.
(4) San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy in an interview on my talk show in June, 2001, repeated his pledge of an ''independent audit'' of the program.
(5) In June, San Diego Traffic Court in San Marcos was still accepting payment of the $271 fine unless the motorist challenged the citation by demanding a trial, at which the citation was dismissed. Caught doing this on my show, the court ordered all pending citations dismissed.
(6) The City Manager advertised for consultant assistance on ways to ''enhance the credibility of the program'' and pave the way for an ''expansion of the program''. There has been no independent audit. (Ex. E).
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LOCKHEED MARTIN SELLS OUT
On July 19, 2001, Lockheed Martin sold its subsidiary IMS Corp to Affiliated Computer Services for $825 Million.
Lockheed Martin IMS, with 250 offices in the US and 4,800 workers is the photo enforcement red light contractor pushing these systems throughout the country.
Lockheed, in the sale announcement, estimated the deal would net the parent company $500 to $550 Million in cash after taxes!
On July 26, 2001, parent company Lockheed Martin reported second quarter net earnings of $144 Million or 33 cents per share, compared to $42 Million, or 11 cents per share in the same quarter last year.
In a quarter characterized by disappointing corporate profits over all, Lockheed Martin was a standout performer. How much of this profit came from what we see in San Diego as an old fashioned shakedown? In how many other jurisdictions have Lockheed and local government teamed up to fleece motorists at intersections where the short yellow light creates a safety risk?
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, we are doing everything we can in San Diego to fight this scam. I believe an appropriate federal role in this controversy is to reinforce the rule of ''safety first'' and require a minimum standard of yellow light interval based on speed and braking distance considerations.
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The City of San Diego Police Department News Release
CHIEF ADDRESSES DISCREPANCIES IN RED LIGHT PHOTO ENFORCEMENT
San Diego, CA . . . Chief David Bejarano today called for an audit of all 19 red light photo enforcement cameras in the City of San Diego. The action comes after department personnel discovered discrepancies in the internal settings of three of those cameras (16th St. & F St., Mira Mesa Blvd. & Black Mountain Road, and Ingraham St. & Grand Ave).
During the course of gathering information for an ongoing trial, SDPD officers discovered that the underground sensor loops at three intersections had been relocated approximately one year ago by Lockheed Martin, the private company that operates the system. Although this relocation was not in itself a problem, Lockheed Martin admits that it failed to readjust the internal mechanisms that operate the camera, which resulted in a slight misreading of the speed and location of some cars that entered the intersections when the lights were red. Once the officers discovered the discrepancies, Lockheed Martin engineers corrected the settings of the three cameras, and they are now measuring accurately.
A preliminary review of the nearly 5,000 citations generated by the three affected intersections did not identify any citations issued to motorists who did not violate a red light. However, open cases from those three intersections will be dismissed until the independent audit is completed.
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The purpose of the auditto be conducted by an independent third party not affiliated with either Lockheed Martin or the City of San Diegowill be to determine whether the camera systems are installed and operated in a manner that ensures that only motorists violating red lights will be issued citations.
In the meantime, Chief Bejarano has ordered that all red light photo citations will be held, pending completion of the independent audit.
In addition to the independent audit, Police Department traffic investigators last night began their own check of all 19 cameras and their underground loops to determine whether any of the remaining intersections have been altered or are otherwise inaccurate. At this time, ten of the 19 have been checked and have been cleared by traffic investigators. The remaining nine intersections should be completed sometime tonight.
''I continue to believe in the Red Light Photo Enforcement program,'' said Chief Bejarano. ''National data show that intersections with these cameras are safer than before those cameras were installed. Our own statistics show reductions of 40% to 60% in the number of red light violations at San Diego intersections with cameras. But with safety must come public confidence in the reliability of this technology and that is why I want an independent audit.''
For further information, contact Kathleen Dezio of Lockheed Martin at 2024143688.
Press Conference Statement of Roger Hedgecock
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I ask today that the San Diego City council take down the ''Big Brother'' cameras at San Diego intersections.
These cameras are abusive, intrusive, and wrong.
We all want more safety at our intersections. The cameras do not make intersections safe. And we do not want to give up important constitutional rights for an illusion of better intersection safety.
We all want vehicle safety laws enforced. In the name of enforcement, these cameras are a ''shakedown'' of San Diego motorists. The basic fine of $271 is the highest in the nation; increased at the request of the City by legislation carried by Assemblyman Howard Wayne.
We have evidence that the City or the private contractor have altered conditions at this intersection (Harbor Drive and Grape Street) to trap more cars in the intersection as the light turns red. We have a speaker today who will elaborate on this point.
In fact, a traffic court judge last week found these cameras to be a ''speed trap'' and therefore illegal under the California Vehicle Code. The attorney who brought this case is here to explain.
In summary, there is no study that shows these cameras make intersections safer, the cameras, to the contrary, make a ''speed trap'' that merely generates revenue to the City out of the pockets of San Diego motorists.
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Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Diego
MARK GLICKMAN and CHRISTINE BALLON, on behalf of themselves and the General Public. Plaintiff, v. THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO; LOCKHEED MARTIN IMS CORPORATION, a New York corporation; THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, THE COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.
CASE NO. 767025: FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (1) TO DETERMINE THE LEGALITY OF SAN DIEGO'S PHOTO-ENFORCED TRAFFIC SIGNAL PROGRAM; (2) FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF BARRING FURTHER OPERATION OF THE PROGRAM, VACATING OF THE ILLEGAL CONVICTIONS OBTAINED THEREBY, AND RESTORING THE ILLEGALLY RETAINED FINES; (3) FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF; (4) FOR UNJUST ENRICHMENT, ACCOUNTING AND IMPOSITION OF A CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST; AND (5) FOR VIOLATION OF BUS. & PROF. CODE §17200
Plaintiffs, by their attorneys, bring this action on behalf of themselves and the general public, and on information and belief, except for those allegations which pertain to the named plaintiffs on their attorneys (which are alleged on personal knowledge), allege as follows:
INTRODUCTION AND IDENTIFICATION OF PARTIES
1. This is an action to determine the legality of the automatic photographically-enforced traffic signal violation detection system (''automated enforcement system'') as it is operated in the City of San Diego. Plaintiffs contend that the automated enforcement system in San Diego is operated illegally, in that it is operated by Lockheed Martin IMS Corporation rather than by a governmental agency in cooperation with a law enforcement agency, as is required by law. Plaintiffs contend further that the operation of the automated enforcement system in San Diego violates the anti-speed trap law of the State of California. Plaintiffs also contend that the automated enforcement system as operated in San Diego infringes on the accused drivers' rights against self-incrimination, to due process and equal protection, to be free from unreasonable fines and bail, and unconstitutionally shifts the burden of proof, all in violation of the United States and California Constitutions. Finally, plaintiffs contend that the automated enforcement system violates the drivers' and passengers' right to privacy under the California Constitution.
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2. Plaintiff Mark Glickman (''Glickman'') is a person interested in the subject matter of this lawsuit because he is a San Diego resident who was cited for failure to stop at a red traffic signal through an automated enforcement system intersection on March 3, 1999. To avoid the imposition of ''points'' against his driver's license by the Department of Motor Vehicles, Glickman forfeited $271 ''bail'' and attended a private traffic school at his expense. The charge was then dismissed by the City of San Diego. Plaintiff Glickman is a proper party to bring this action because he is subject to conviction, fine or ''bail'' forfeiture if the automated enforcement system is determined to be legally operated and is entitled to have his $271 ''bail'' refunded, plus interest thereon, if the automated enforcement system is determined to be illegally operated.
3. Plaintiff Christine Ballon (''Ballon'') is a person interested in the subject matter of this lawsuit because she was cited for failure to stop at a red traffic signal through an automated enforcement system intersection in or about February, 2000. Ballon pled guilty to the offense, was fined $271 and had ''points'' assessed against her driver's license by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Ballon is a proper party to bring this action because she is subject to conviction, fine or ''bail'' forfeiture if the automated enforcement system is determined to be legally operated and is entitle to have his/her conviction annulled and his/her $271 fine refunded, plus interest thereon, if the automated enforcement system is determined to be illegally operated.
4. Defendant City of San Diego (the ''City'') is a municipal corporation in the State of California. The City is authorized by Vehicle Code §21455.5, as a ''governmental agency'' to operate an automated enforcement system.
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5. Defendant Lockheed Martin IMS Corporation (''Lockheed Martin'') is a New York corporation with its principal place of business located in Teaneck, New Jersey. Lockheed Martin is the corporation which operates the automated enforcement system in the City. Lockheed Martin assumed this position when it acquired U.S. Public Technologies L.L.C. in December, 1998. U.S. Public Technologies entered into a contract with the City to operate the automated enforcement system on or about April 29, 1998.
6. Defendant State of California (the ''State'') receives, and has received, portions of fines unlawfully collected for citations issued through the automated enforcement system.
7. Defendant County of San Diego (the ''County'') receives, and has received, portions of fines unlawfully collected for citations issued through the automated enforcement system.
8. Plaintiffs are unaware of the true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate, associate or otherwise of defendants Does 1 through 100, inclusive, and therefore sue these defendants by fictitious names. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that the Does defendants, and each of them, are in some manner responsible for the illegal activities described in this Complaint. Plaintiffs will amend this Complaint to allege the Does defendants' true names and capacities when ascertained.
9. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that, at all relevant times, defendants, and each of them were acting as agents, servants, employees and/or representatives of each other, and were acting within the full course and scope of their agency and employment with full knowledge, consent, permission and ratification, either express or implied, of each of the other defendants in performing the acts alleged in this Complaint.
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10. In 1995 the California Legislature passed Vehicle Code §21455.5 and amended Vehicle Code §210 to authorize ''a governmental agency, in cooperation with a law enforcement agency'' to operate an automated system that ''photographically records a driver's responses to . . . an official traffic control signal . . . and is designed to obtain a clear photograph of a vehicle's license plate and the driver of the vehicle.''
11. The automated enforcement system operated in San Diego is designed to take photographs of vehicles entering the intersection after the traffic signal has turned red. Computer equipment at each intersection linked with the City's traffic signals ''tells'' the automated enforcement system when the traffic signal has turned red. Pairs of electromagnetic sensors placed in each lane at the entrance to the intersection and separated by precisely measured distances ''tell'' the automated enforcement system when a vehicle enters the intersection. The system also calculates the speed of the vehicle by measuring the time it takes the vehicle to traverse the precisely measured distance between the electromagnetic sensors in the road.
12. A flash camera is mounted in a box on a pole across the intersection from the target area so that the camera can photograph the front of the target vehicle as it proceeds through the intersection.
13. If, after the traffic signal has turned red, the automated enforcement system detects a vehicle crossing the first sensor located at the edge of the intersection, the system is activated and a photograph is taken when the target vehicle crosses the second sensor located just inside the intersection. The automated enforcement system takes a second photograph as the target vehicle proceeds further through the intersection, closer to the camera.
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14. This critical second photograph is the photograph which contains the license plate number of the target vehicle and the face of its driver. The camera location is fixed and immobile. Consequently, the automated enforcement system must determine when the target vehicle will be in position for the immobile camera to photograph the license plate and driver's face. The automated enforcement system's computer at each intersection makes this determination by calculating the target vehicle's speed using the vehicle's travel time between the two marked sensor locations in the roadway. The system computer then uses the speed calculation to estimate when the vehicle will be at a position on the road that is in the camera's field of view for the second photograph.
15. At least once per week and typically every two to three days, a technician goes to each automated enforcement intersection to pick up the exposed film, load new unexposed film, change a computer memory card and check the operation of the system.
16. The exposed film from each intersection's camera is developed. Other technicians analyze the photographs, rejecting those which are of insufficient quality to detect the license plate number or identity of the driver. The technicians screen the photographs to determine those photographs which appear to indicate a red light violation.
17. After screening those photographs with recognizable license plates and drivers who appear to have run a red light, the technicians contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain the confidential registration information regarding the target vehicles. Having obtained the identity and address of the registered owner from the registration information, the technicians prepare traffic citations on the citation form designed for the automated enforcement system. The citation forms are signed by a San Diego police officer and then the technicians mail the citations to the registered owners of the vehicles.
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18. The technicians make the photographs available for review upon request by alleged violators. Where the citations are contested, the technicians prepare evidence packages consisting of enlargements of the photographs, copies of the citation, papers with various time and distance calculations showing the estimated location of the vehicle at the instant the signal turned red along with standardized information regarding stopping distances, and a business records authentication declaration from the records custodian. The technicians also supply expert testimony where necessary and train San Diego police officers who testify at trials of automated enforcement system citations.
19. Approximately 5,000 citations are issued monthly through the City's nineteen automated enforcement intersections. Roughly 80% of the recipients plead guilty and pay the $271 fine or attend traffic school and forfeit $271 ''bail.'' The vast majority of the remaining 20% are found guilty of the offense, having neither the expertise nor the skill to properly challenge the illegal citations. Those who attend traffic school to avoid the imposition of points against their driver's licenses by the Department of Motor Vehicles also must pay $200$500 to the traffic school.
20. The primary motivation for installation of the automated enforcement system was revenue generation. Lockheed Martin touts the revenue generating potential of the system when marketing it to municipalities. The contract between Lockheed Martin's predecessor and the City authorizes Lockheed Martin to remove the equipment if the citation count drops by 25% or more. This right enables Lockheed Martin to move its equipment to more profitable intersections.
21. The program has been quite lucrative for the City. It has raised millions of dollars in revenue since the automated enforcement program began in 1998.
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22. To operate the automated enforcement system, Lockheed Martin is paid 50% of the fine/bail revenue or $70 per citation, whichever is smaller.
Vehicle Code §21455.5
23. Vehicle Code §21455.5(a) provides that, ''Only a governmental agency, in cooperation with a law enforcement agency, may operate an automated enforcement system.'' The legislature limited the operation of automated enforcement systems ''only'' to governmental agencies because, historically, minor offenses such as traffic offenses could not be charged unless the offense was witnessed by a police officer. Furthermore, a local government cannot legally contract away its police powers.
24. Under an automated enforcement system, the offense is witnessed not by the officer issuing the citation, but by an automated camera. If the operation of the automated enforcement system is not limited to governmental agencies, then the initiation of the charge of failing to stop at a red traffic signal under such a system is done by a private party, not by a sworn peace officer.
25. Lockheed Martin (or its predecessor, U.S. Public Technologies, L.L.C.) performs or performed the following functions in connection with the issuance of citations under the automated enforcement system in San Diego:
(a) designed the automated enforcement equipment;
(b) designed the operating computer software;
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC (c) installed the equipment at each intersection;
(d) installed statutorily required warning signs at each intersection;
(e) conducted a public education and awareness campaign in advance of commencement of operation of the system;
(f) performs all maintenance and repairs on the automated enforcement equipment;
(g) supplies all film used in the automated enforcement cameras;
(h) removes exposed film and replaces with new, unexposed film at each intersection at least once per week, or more frequently as is necessary;
(i) removes and replaces computer memory card at each intersection at each intersection at least once per week, or more frequently as is necessary;
(j) checks functioning of the automated enforcement system at each film pick-up;
(k) maintains logs of film and computer chip exchanges and routine service checks;
(l) develops exposed film;
(m) screens photographs for quality;
(n) screens photographs of adequate quality for violations;
(o) contacts Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain confidential registration information concerning potential violators;
(p) designed citation form;
(q) prepare citations for alleged violations;
(r) delivers citations to police department for signature;
(s) retrieves citations from police department;
(t) prepares and provides automated enforcement system information packet concerning operation of the system, viewing for photographs and responding to the citation to accompany each citation;
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC (u) mails citations to alleged violators;
(v) schedules appointments for alleged violators to view photographs;
(w) prepare and provides computer-generated color enlargements for viewing by alleged violators;
(x) provides personnel to meet with alleged violators who wish to review the photographs;
(y) prepares table of time-distance calculations based on vehicle speed calculated from the travel time between measured points on the roadway to estimate vehicle position at traffic signal change and stopping distances; and
(z) prepares evidence packages consisting of enlargements of photographs, maintenance logs for the immediate time frame of the alleged violations, time-distance calculations table, and business records declaration.
26. The City performs the following functions in connection with the issuance of citations under the automated enforcement system in San Diego:
(a) signs Lockheed Martin's citations.
27. Lockheed Martin provides expert testimony in court where necessary. It also trains San Diego Police officers who testify in connection with contested citations. The officers essentially recite Lockheed Martin's script based on the evidence package that Lockheed Martin prepares and submits to court under subpoena with a business record declaration. After the police officer puts on the Lockheed Martin ''dog and pony show,'' the City collects the fine and pays half or $70 per citation (whichever is smaller) to Lockheed Martin.
28. Lockheed Martin retains ownership of all automated enforcement equipment and technology. Lockheed Martin has the option to remove equipment if there is a greater than 25% reduction in the number of citations, thereby reducing revenue.
29. The City of San Diego does not ''operate'' the automated enforcement system in place in the City as required by Government Code §21455.5(a). Therefore the system is operated illegally and the prosecutions thereunder invalid.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSpeed Trap Evidence
30. In prosecutions of contested automated enforcement system citations, a police officer presents evidence of the location of the alleged violator at the time the traffic signal turned red and the photographs of the license plate and driver's face. This is unlikely to be the same officer who signed the Lockheed Martin-prepared citation. The officer ''identifies'' the alleged offender by comparing the second automated enforcement system photograph to the defendant, whom the officer normally has never seen before. This evidence is obtained through use of a ''speed trap.''
31. A speed trap is defined in Vehicle Code §40802(a)(1) as: ''A particular section of highway measured as to distance and with boundaries marked, designated or otherwise determined in order that the speed of a vehicle may be calculated by securing the time it takes the vehicle to travel the known distance.''
32. Vehicle Code §40801 prohibits the use of a speed trap to ''secur[e] evidence as to the speed of any vehicle for the purpose of an arrest or prosecution under [the Vehicle] Code.'' Thus, evidence of vehicle speed derived from a speed trap cannot be used in a prosecution for a failure to stop at a red traffic signal under Vehicle Code §21453(a).
33. As described above, Lockheed Martin secures evidence of the target vehicle's speed through calculation by securing the time that the target vehicle took to travel the known distance between the marked, electromagnetic sensors embedded in the roadway by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin then performs a time-distance calculation using the calculated speed to estimate the distance from the intersection of the target vehicle at the moment that the traffic signal allegedly turned red. That position, determined through use of a speed trap, is presented in evidence at trial.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 34. the automated enforcement system also uses vehicle speed calculated through use of a speed trap to determine when the vehicle will be in the field of view for the automated enforcement camera to snap the second photograph recording the face of the driver and the license plate number of the target vehicle. This position could not be known, and the crucial identity evidence obtained, without the use of a speed trap.
35. Accused drivers such as plaintiff Glickman can avoid formal conviction and the assessment of points against their driver's licenses by attending a certified traffic school. If they do so, the charges are dismissed. However, even though the charges are dismissed, these drivers still must forfeit the ''bail,'' which coincidentally is the same amount as the fine, $271. In addition, these individuals are required to pay the charges for traffic school which range from $200 to $500.
36. The purpose of bail is not to punish the accused or to provide revenue for the government. Instead, it is to assure the appearance by the accused in court. With the charges dismissed, there is no reason for the accused to appear in court, nor is there any conviction for which the accused might legally be fined. Thus, the dismissal/bail forfeiture scheme for accused violators electing to attend traffic school violates the 8th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article 1 §12 and 17 of the California Constitution prohibiting unreasonable fines and bail. Furthermore, these drivers are effectively fined without having been convicted of an offense, in violation of their constitutional rights to due process under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1 §7 of the California Constitution.
37. Vehicle Code §21453(a), the red light statute, is violated when, ''a driver facing a steady circular red signal alone'' fails to stop. Under the automated enforcement system, however, it is the registered owner of the vehicle who is charged with the violation, regardless of whether that individual was driving the target vehicle at the time of the alleged offense.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 38. The Lockheed Martin-designed citation form directs the registered owner cited for the offense to provide information regarding the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation, if the driver is someone other than the registered owner. By directing the accused to provide this information, the citation compels the accused to provide evidence to the prosecution, violation the 5th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution and Article 1 §15 of the California Constitution prohibiting compelled self-incrimination. By lightening the prosecution's burden, this procedure also improperly shifts the burden of proof.
39. The determination of whom shall be issued automated enforcement system citations is made not by sworn peace officers, but by private citizens employed by Lockheed Martin.
40. There is a substantial risk of selective enforcement by these private citizens. For example, two prominent state senators and a staff member of one of these senators each triggered the automated enforcement equipment at the intersection of North Harbor Drive and Grape Street on different occasions. The two state senators were driving vehicles registered to the state senate and the staffer was driving a privately registered vehicle. Lockheed Martin decided not to issue citations to senate-registered vehicles, but did issue a citation to the privately registered vehicle.
41. This selective enforcement by private citizens without recourse through the court system for those charged violates the accused drivers' state and federal constitutional rights to due process and equal protection (United States Constitution, 5th and 14th Amendments; California
Constitution, Article 1 §7).
42. The identity of the Lockheed Martin technician who screens the photographs and determines whether a citation will issue is not revealed to the accused. Thus, an accused driver is denied the opportunity to confront his or her accuser and to cross-examine that individual concerning bias or other improper motive in selecting those drivers to whom that particular technician chooses to issue citations, in violation of the 6th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution.
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43. Article 1 §1 of the California Constitution protects the people's ''inalienable'' right to privacy.
44. Lockheed Martin monthly takes thousands of photographs of drivers in San Diego and of the occupants of their vehicles. Data recorded with the photographs by the automated enforcement computers at each intersection indicates the date, time and location of the photograph. Lockheed Martin has access to confidential Department of Motor Vehicles identification information (name, address, date of birth, race, telephone number, social security number, physical description, physical disability, etc.) about the registered owners of the thousands of vehicles photographed. The 5,000 citations issued per month represent only about 40% of the vehicles photographed by the automated enforcement system operated by Lockheed Martin in the City. While those to whom citations are issued would learn that they had been photographed, the majority of the photographic subjects would never know that Lockheed Martin has that private information about them.
45. Thus unknown to the majority of the thousands of people concerned, a private company, Lockheed Martin, has photographic and other evidence of confidential personal information, including their locations and whom they were with at particular times during the month. The securing and compiling of this information violates these people's inalienable rights of privacy under Article 1 §1 of the California Constitution.
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
(For Declaration of Invalidity of Automated Enforcement System and Injunctive Relief Against Defendants City of San Diego, Lockheed Martin and Does 1100)
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46. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege paragraphs 1 through 45 as though set forth herein in their entirety.
47. The automated enforcement system operated by Lockheed Martin in the City of San Diego is illegal and violates Vehicle Code §21455.5(a) and 210 because the automated enforcement system in San Diego is operated by a private company and ''only a governmental agency, in cooperation with a law enforcement, agency, may operate an automated enforcement system.'' Vehicle code §21455.5(a).
48. The traffic school/dismissal/bail forfeiture scheme violates constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable or excessive fines or bail and the right to due process in that an accused forfeits bail, effectively paying the $271 fine, even though the charges are dismissed. (United States Constitution, 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments; California Constitution, Article 1, §7, 12 and 17).
49. Selective screening of potential violators and the preparation and issuance of citations are done not by sworn peace officers, but by privately employed civilians who are not identified to the accused driers or subject to cross-examination, thereby violating the accused drivers' right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses under the confrontation clause, the equal protection clause and due process clause of the United States and California Constitutions (United States Constitution, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments; California Constitution, Article 1 1§7). The automated enforcement system also violates the federal and state constitutions' prohibitions against compelled self-incrimination (United States Constitution, 5th and 14th Amendments; California Constitution, Article 1, 1§15), in that the citation directs the accused vehicle owner to provide offender identification information, lightening the prosecution's burden of proof.
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50. The automated enforcement system utilizes a speed trap to secure evidence of vehicle speed which in turn is used in prosecutions under the automated enforcement system i
violation of Vehicle Code §40801.
51. Therefore, this Court should enter an injunction ordering defendants to: (a) immediately cease and desist all prosecutions based on the automated enforcement system operated by Lockheed Martin; (b) annul all convictions for failure to stop at a red traffic signal entered through the automated enforcement system; (c) notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the annulment of the convictions so that any points assessments made against drivers' licenses because of those convictions can be withdrawn by the Department of Motor Vehicles; (d) refund all fines and bail forfeitures paid to the City under the automated enforcement system; and (e) the City should be ordered to give such notice and adopt such procedures, at its expense, as may be deemed reasonable and necessary to fulfill the requirements of this injunction.
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
(Declaratory Relief Against All Defendants)
52. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege paragraphs 1 through 51 as though set forth herein in their entirety.
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53. Based upon the facts alleged above, there is in existence an actual controversy relating to the legal rights and duties of the respective parties, in that plaintiffs' claim that the automated enforcement system, as operated in the City of San Diego, is illegal and defendants contend that it is legal. In addition, there is great probability of future challenge if the automated enforcement system challenged herein continues to be operated in the present manner, which could materially affect the rights and claims of plaintiffs and of the general public.
54. Plaintiffs have performed all acts and conditions required on their part to be performed and have fully paid all fines and forfeitures which are the subject of this action.
55. Accordingly, plaintiffs request that the following judicial determinations and declarations be made with regard to the rights of plaintiffs and the general public and the responsibilities of all defendants:
a. Issuance of an order declaring that the automated enforcement system is operated illegally in the city of San Diego; that all convictions obtained under the automated enforcement system were obtained illegally, and that all fines and bail forfeitures collected under the automated enforcement system were collected illegally;
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCb. Issuance of an order declaring that defendants be enjoined from failing and refusing to establish appropriate Court-approved procedures to annul all illegally obtained convictions under the automated enforcement system, notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the annulment of said illegal convictions and refund to the appropriate parties all illegally collected fines and bail forfeitures; or alternatively, adopting procedures to ensure that all persons who have paid illegal fines or bail forfeitures assessed under the automated enforcement system are informed that they possess the right to claim refunds of said fines or bail forfeitures, plus interest thereon, along with the establishment of an appropriate refund scheme;
c. Issuance of an order declaring that a constructive trust be imposed on all such fines and bail forfeitures, or any portion thereof, received by any defendant and that such monies be paid into a separate, interest-bearing escrow account monitored by the Court pending disposition of these claims by this Court;
d. Issuance of an order that the contract between the City and Lockheed Martin's predecessor, U.S. Public Technologies, LLC, is illegal and unenforceable; and
e. Issuance of an order declaring that defendants be held financially responsible for all costs and expenses of compliance with this order, including but not limited to the costs and expenses of notice and/or claims administration procedures as well as the obligations to repay plaintiffs and all persons who paid the illegal fines and bail forfeitures, plus interest, as well as the payment of appropriate attorneys' fees and costs of litigation.
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THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION
(Unjust Enrichment, Accounting and Imposition of Construction Trust Against All Defendants)
56. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege paragraphs 1 through 55 as though set forth herein in their entirety.
57. As a result of the relationship between the parties and the facts as stated above, a constructive trust should be established over the monies that were paid by plaintiffs and all similarly situated persons as fines or bail forfeitures under the illegal automated enforcement system. Such monies are traceable to the City's and County's general fund and to particular funds of the State or to Lockheed Martin, who are the current possessor of said monies. If such a constructive trust is not imposed, the monies will be dissipated by the time relief can be afforded to all interested parties to this Court.
58. Defendants will be unjustly enriched if they are allowed to retain these funds and not required to pay such funds to persons wrongfully charged fines or bail forfeitures under the illegal automated enforcement system.
59. The Court should, therefore, order an accounting of such monies and the imposition of a constructive trust over said funds.
FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION
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60. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege paragraphs 1 through 59 as though set forth herein in their entirety.
61. As set forth in detail above, Lockheed Martin has operated an automated enforcement system in violation of the laws and constitution of this state and the constitution of the United States.
62. Lockheed Martin has secretly manipulated the automated enforcement equipment at several photo-enforced intersections within the City to cause the automated enforcement system to activate even though no traffic signal violation has occurred and issued citations based on the false violations.
63. Lockheed Martin and the City have collected millions of dollars in fines and bail forfeitures through these unlawful, unfair and fraudulent practices in violation of California Business & Professions Code §17200.
64. As a direct and proximate result of defendant Lockheed Martin's violations of California Business & Professions Code §17200, Lockheed Martin has been wrongfully enriched in an amount currently unknown but to be proven at trial, and plaintiffs and the general public are entitled to restitution of that amount.
65. The actions of defendants Lockheed Martin and Does 150 described herein, including but not limited to the misrepresentation and concealment of material facts with intent to collect illegal fines and bail forfeitures from plaintiffs and the general public, were fraudulent and malicious thereby justifying an award of punitive damages in an amount sufficient to deter such conduct, commensurate with defendants' net worth and financial resources.
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PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, plaintiffs pray for judgment against defendants and each of them as follows:
1. For an order and declaration that the automated enforcement system as operated in the City of San Diego is illegal and unconstitutional;
2. For the immediate imposition of a constructive trust to insure that all unlawfully collected fines and bail forfeitures can be traced and returned to the persons who paid such amounts;
3. For an order requiring the annulment of all convictions obtained under the automated enforcement system and notice to the Department of Motor Vehicles of the annulment of said convictions;
4. For an order directing the refund of all fines and bail forfeitures paid under the automated enforcement system, or alternatively, for an order requiring notification to all persons who have paid fines or bail forfeitures under the automated enforcement system of the pendency of this action and of their right to obtain a refund of the fine or bail forfeiture, and the establishment of an appropriate court-supervised program to make said refunds;
5. For an order of restitution against Lockheed Martin directing it to disgorge all benefits conferred upon it, plus interest, and preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting Lockheed Martin from continuing its acts of unfair competition under the Fourth Cause of Action;
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6. For an award of punitive damages against defendant Lockheed Martin in an amount appropriate to punish Lockheed Martin commensurate with its misconduct, net worth and financial resources under the Fourth Cause of Action;
7. For costs of suit and attorney fees pursuant to statute including, but not limited to, Code of Civil Procedure §1021.5; and
8. For such other relief as may be just and proper.
Dated: June 1, 2001, SULLIVAN, HILL, LEWIN, REZ & ENGEL, A Professional Law Corporation, By Brian L. Burchett, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.
Draft legal argument that contract between City and Lockheed Martin is illegal under California statutory scheme:
I. LOCKHEED MARTIN'S CONTRACT WITH THE CITY IS ILLEGAL, AND THEREFORE ''NO SAFE HARBOR''
Historically, minor offenses such as traffic offenses could not be charged unless the offense was witnessed by the citing police officer. See, e.g., People v. Hart (1999) 74 Cal. App. 4th 479, 492; Johanson v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1995) 36 Cal. App. 4th 1209, 12161218. The legislature created an exception to this procedural requirement in 1995 when it enacted Vehicle Code §210 and 21455.5 authorizing enforcement of traffic signal violations by means of automated photographic enforcement systems.
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A violation of Vehicle Code §21453(a) (the red light statute) is an infraction. CITATION Pursuant to Penal Code §19.7, the provisions of law relating to misdemeanors also apply to infractions.
The enforcement and suppression of crimes is active law enforcementthe province of police officers. Boxx v. Board of Administration (1980) 114 Cal. App. 3d 79, 86; Neeley v. Board of Retirement of Fresno County (1974) 36 Cal. App. 3d 815, 820821. Generally, a local government cannot contract away its police powers to private parties. Avco Community Developers v. Southcoast Regional Comm'n (1976) 17 Cal. 3d 785, 800; Caminetti v. Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co. of Cal. (1943) 22 Cal. 2d 344, 362; Consaul v. City of San Diego (1992) 6 Cal. App. 4th 1781, 1795.
However, the California State Legislature has authorized local governments to contract with other local governments for ''municipal services,'' which include police protection. Government Code §54981 provides: ''The legislative body of any local agency may contract with any other local agency for the performance by the latter of municipal services or functions within the territory of the former.''
In connection with this authority, Government Code §54980 defines ''legislative body'' as the city council of the city. It goes on the define ''local agency'' and ''municipal services or functions'' as follows:
(b) ''Local agency'' means any county, city, city and county, or public district which provides or has authority to provide or perform municipal services or functions.
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(c) ''Municipal services or functions'' includes, but is not limited to, firefighting, police, ambulance, utility services, and the improvement, maintenance, repair and operation of streets and highways. [Emphasis added.]
Moreover, the state legislature has specifically authorized local governments to contract with other local governments for the furnishing of police protection. Government Code §55632 provides: ''The legislative body of any local agency may contract with any other local agency for the furnishing of fire or police protection to such other local agency.'' [Emphasis added.] Government Code §55631 defines ''local agency'' as ''a neighboring city, county, fire protection district, police protection district, federal government or any department or agency.''
On the other hand, the legislature has authorized local government to contract with private companies for the ''processing'' of parking tickets (as opposed to their issuance). Vehicle Code §40200.5(a) provides in relevant part that: ''. . . an issuing agency [the governmental entity issuing the parking citation] may elect to contract with the county, with a private vendor, or with any other city or county processing agency, other than the Department of California Highway Patrol or other state law enforcement agency, within the county, with the consent of that other entity, for the processing of notices of parking violations and notices of delinquent parking violations, prior to filing with the court pursuant to Section 40230.'' [Emphasis added.]
Thus, it is clear that a city has the right to enter into contracts for the furnishing of police services. However, in apparent recognition of the exclusively public nature of law enforcement, the state legislature has prohibited local government from contracting for police services with anyone other than public agencies. That is, local government may not contract with private companies for police services. With respect to municipal government functions for which the legislature has determined that private contracting is appropriate, the legislature has authorized it with great specificity and detail, as in the case of parking ticket processing.
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In the traffic enforcement area, a law enforcement function, the legislature has prohibited private contracting for the operation of an automated enforcement system. Vehicle Code §21455(a) provides in relevant part: ''Only a governmental agency, in cooperation with a law enforcement agency, may operate an automated enforcement system.'' [Italics and boldface added].
Ignoring this specific prohibition, Defendant claims that Vehicle Code §21455.6(a) expressly authorizes its contract to operate the automated enforcement system in San Diego. Defendant is wrong.
Vehicle Code §21455.6(a) provides: ''A city council or county board of supervisors shall conduct a public hearing on the proposed use of automated enforcement systems authorized pursuant to Section 21455.5 prior to that city or county entering into a contract for the use of those systems.'' [Emphasis added.]
An interpretation of statute that would render other statutory terms surplusage must be avoided and every word of a statute should be given significance, ''leaving no part useless or devoid of meaning.'' California State Employees' Association v. State Personnel Board (1986) 178 Cal.App.3d 372, 378; City and County of San Francisco v. Farrell (1982) 32 Cal.3d 47, 54. Furthermore, unless it would create an absurd result, ordinary rules of grammar and syntax may not be avoided. California State Employees' Association v. State Personnel Board, supra.
The statutory interpretation urged by defendant violates both of these rules. Vehicle Code §21455.6(a) requires a local government to conduct public hearings before making any contracts to ''use'' an automated enforcement system. Section 21455.5(a) unambiguously requires that the automated enforcement system be ''operat[ed]'' ''only'' by a governmental agency. If defendant's interpretation were adopted, the requirement of section 21455.5(a) that ''Only a government agency . . . may operate an automated enforcement system'' would be rendered surplusage, useless and devoid of meaning and the word ''use'' in section 21455.6(a) would essentially be converted to ''operate,'' torturing the grammar and syntax of both statutes.
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The statutory scheme relating to local governmental contracting for police and municipal services also points to a contrary legislative intent. The issuance of citations for traffic violations, including red light violations, is the exclusive province of law enforcement. The legislature authorized local governments to contract with other local governments for the furnishing of law enforcement services. Conspicuously, the legislature has not authorized local government to contract with private companies for the furnishing of law enforcement services.
Consistently with that scheme, the legislature has required by Vehicle Code section 21455.5(a) that automated enforcement systems be operated ''only'' by ''governmental agencies.'' That is, the police function of issuing red light citations through an automated enforcement system must be performed by public agencies, not by private companies.
Had the Legislature intended to allow private companies to operate automated enforcement systems, it is clear that it could have done so. It specifically authorized local government to contract with private firms for the furnishing of parking ticket processing services. Of course, even with parking violations, the statute does not authorize the private firms to issue the citations, but merely to process tickets issued by appropriate personnel of the issuing governmental agency.
Section 21455.6, enacted two years after section 21455.5, addresses what must occur before an automated enforcement system is put in operation (i.e., put to ''use''). The city or county must hold a public hearing. If the public hearing convinces the city or county to go forward with the system, the equipment must be acquired. Automated enforcement systems necessarily involve the use of sophisticated electronic equipment which it is not unreasonable to expect a governmental agency could not develop internally. Consequently, the automated enforcement equipment to be operated by the government must be purchased under contract from a private vendor.
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All section 21455.6(a) requires is that the city or county have a public hearing before entering into a contract to buy the equipment that the city or county will use to issue photo-enforced red light citations. Its language falls far short of that necessary to effectively repeal the prohibition of section 21455.5(a) against private operation of an automated enforcement system, especially in light of the exclusively public nature of law enforcement as reflected in the statutory scheme discussed above.
Considering the statutory scheme, the reference to ''contract for the use of those systems'' in section 21455.6 is most likely a reference to a contract with another public agency for installation of the equipment, not an accidental repeal of section 21455.5(a).
[From the Informant]
Red Light Cameras
(By Bill Farrar)
Most of you are aware that the department began issuing red light camera citations to on-duty officers in marked and unmarked vehicles several months ago. This was part of a policy of issuing citations to all City vehicles. I met with Chief Bejarano in an effort to persuade him to not issue criminal citations to on-duty police officers for a variety of obvious reasons. I pointed out that officers technically violate the vehicle code regularly in the course of a shift. Every time you pace a vehicle for speeding without going Code 3 you are in violation. Every time you cruise a street or alley with your lights off at night looking for a bad guy, you are in violation. You can all recite other legitimate examples.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The chief felt that by questioning the officer as to the reason for going through the red light, legitimate police techniques could be sorted from inappropriate ones. The POA has been providing representation through attorney Everett Bobbitt's office. The first case to go to trial presented a number of legal issues.
You may recall that when the administrative admonishment is read to an officer, the officer is told that the answers to the questions can't be used against him/her in a criminal matter. This point of law is derived from case law such as Garrity v. City of Los Angeles, Kastigar v. United States, and United States v. Oliver North.
Both sides of the issue frequently debate the definition of ''use.'' We believe that ''use'' of immunized statements includes not only evidentiary use, but also non-evidentiary use of the immunized statement. '''Such [nonevidentiary] use could conceivably include assistance in focusing the investigation, deciding to initiate prosecution, reusing to plea bargain, interpreting evidence, planning cross-examination, and otherwise generally planning trial strategy.'' United States v. Crowson (9th cir. 1987) 828 F.2d 1427, 1430 quoting, United States v. McDaniel 482 F.2d 305, 311.
The department's approach to evaluating an on-duty police officer's conduct (at a photo red light) for prosecution includes an administrative interview with the officer. This raises all of the above issues about ''use'' of the answers the officer gives. Other issues include admissibility of Lockheed Martin's business records through testimony of a police officer rather than a Lockheed Martin custodian of records, and the Vehicle code requirements that the system be operated by a governmental agency and that there be proper signage.
The on-duty police officer issues are in addition to the well publicized attacks on the accuracy of the system. Legitimate questions in this area and recent revelations by Lockheed Martin have caused Chief Bejarano to suspend the issuance of citations. This was followed quickly by the City Turning the cameras off for now.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you have received a citation or are to be interviewed for an alleged red light camera violation while driving on duty you should contact attorney Bobbitt's office at 8584671199.
Photo Red Light Enforcement Evaluation
|The City of San Diego, |
|San Diego, CA, June 12, 2001.|
The City of San Diego may require consultant services for the project(s) listed below. Consultants wishing consideration should submit the following for Nominating Committee review: fifteen (15) copies of each (1) Letter of Interest; (2) Statement of Qualifications questionnaire; (3) Work Force Report; (4) Architect-Engineer Form 255 and (5) Architect-Engineer form 254. No supplemental information will be accepted. Submittals should be stapled, not bound. Neither plastic covers nor dividers are acceptable as part of your submittal. Your Statement of Qualifications Questionnaire must include a Professional Registration Number. All proposed Suconsultants must be listed on Page 4 of the Questionnaire.
COMMITMENT TO EQUAL OPPORTUNITY:
It is the policy of the City of San Diego to encourage equal opportunity in its professional services contracts. Toward this end, proposals from small businesses, disabled owned businesses, women owned businesses, firms owned by African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Filipinos and Latinos, and local firms are strongly encouraged. Prime Consultants are encouraged to subconsult or join venture with these firms. The City endeavors to do business with firms sharing the City's commitment to equal opportunity and will not do business with any firm that discriminates on the basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition or place of birth.
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Architect-Engineer Form 255: If a firm has an office located outside San Diego County, the staffing of the San Diego office must clearly be indicated separately from the firm's total staffing. THE OFFICE LOCATION OF ALL PERSONNEL PROFILED IN BLOCK SEVEN (7) MUST BE CLEARLY INDICATED WITHIN THE BLOCK SEVEN. ALL PERSONNEL PROFILED MUST BE LISTED WITHIN THE PROJECT ORGANIZATION CHART. THE CHART MUST BE INCLUDED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE FORM 255. Separate Architect-Engineer Forms 254 and 255 should not be submitted for Subconsultants. However, additional Subconsultant information can be provided within the proposer's Architect-Engineer Form 255. All pages profiling subconsultant information should be clearly marked ''Subconsultant Information''.
Note that all proposed Subconsultants are listed in the Statement of Qualifications Questionnaire. Firms which are minority or women-owned, and wish to claim that status on City-issued contracts, should contact the City's Equal Opportunity Contracting Program at (619) 5334464.
Submit Information to: John Mendivil, Consultant Services Coordinator, 1010 Second Avenue, Suite 500, San Diego, CA 92101.
Submittals must be received by 4:30 p.m., Friday, June 22, 2001. For Statement of Qualifications Questionnaire or questions regarding submittal packages please e-mail John Mendivil at XXXXXX or call (619) 5333796. All technical questions regarding the project should be directed to the project manager.
Red Light Photo Enforcement Evaluation
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This project evaluation of the Photo Enforcement Program for the City of San Diego is expected to accomplish two main objectives. The first objective is an analysis of the existing program with regard to the performance adequacy and compliance with the original program's design and specification standards. The second objective is to reassess all the functions, technologies and processes of the existing program and identify areas for improvements. The final product of this project will be a report that recommends modifications to the existing program based on analysis of existing programs in other Cities and other technologies that are available.
1. Determine if Photo Red Light enforced intersections are safer since the inception of the program.
2. Determine if the Photo Red Light Program is the most effective way to promote traffic safety, and if so, how the program can be expanded.
3. Determine criteria and selection process for future locations.
4. Survey the current Photo Red Light locations and verify the ''As-Built'' documentation which validates or invalidates the fact that the system is functional.
5. Inspect and verify the workings of the ''Gatsometer'' systems and provide documentation which validates or invalidates the fact that the system is functional.
6. Provide recommendations and cost analysis on ways to improve the system.
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7. Provide recommendations and cost analysis as to the feasibility of continuing with the Photo Red Light Program.
8. Provide information on the most cost effective manner for future deployment of the Photo Red Light Program.
9. Determine if the timing of the cycles of the traffic signals is appropriate for the Photo Red Light location.
10. Survey for public opinion. Determine if the Photo Red Light Program is achieving the goal of reducing collisions and educating the public (i.e., Is compliance with the law based upon an awareness of photo enforced intersections?)
11. Survey the systems protocols and determine if the entire program is effectively managed.
12. Provide a comprehensive report on the Photo Red Light Program to the Chief of Police for the City Manager.
Prepared Statement of Marshall Hurley, Attorney at Law, Greensboro, NC
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to address you today concerning the growing threat of red light surveillance cameras throughout the country.
Red light surveillance cameras combine the worst traits of government arrogance and corporate greed, where the grab-happy hand of bureaucracy is strengthened by the insatiable appetite for money.
In recent years, the State of North Carolina has authorized the installation of red light cameras in certain, specified municipalities. As a result of this enabling legislation, many of the camera systems have become fully operational in our state this year. Only now do we have an opportunity to see how these systems are working and to assess the full implications of this radical development in commercialized law enforcement.
From my observation and research, no two red light camera systems are exactly alike; however, most systems apparently involve the use of one or more private contractors. The contractors typically install the surveillance equipment at high volume intersections in exchange for a guaranteed percentage of the fines and penalties collected.
In one sense, the camera schemes are based on the concept of the government kickback, where a contractor gets a guaranteed, protected, lucrative cash flow, while giving a portion back to the government.
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In North Carolina, a company with the delightfully revealing Orwellian name of ''Peek Traffic,'' currently receives $35.00 dollars of each $50.00 fine collected. That is a handsome 70 percent cut. The municipality gets $15.00 in ''free money'' every time a fine is paid.
The gouging has begun.
The numbers since February of this year already show that the system will strike deeply into the pockets of North Carolina citizens. In Guilford County, North Carolina, in less than six months of operation, approximately 13,000 citations have generated more than $600,000 in fines. That is roughly $100,000 per month. At this rate, on an annual basis, nearly 30,000 citations will be generated in just one North Carolina county. That number of citations will translate to at least $1.5 million in fines in the first year of operation.
Turning to another jurisdiction, the staggering number of dollars generated by the New York City camera program reveals that income, not safety, is the goal of red light camera programs.
During its first 60 months of operation, with 30 cameras in place, the New York program issued more than 790,000 citations and levied more than $37 million in fines. Peek Traffic boastfully presented these figures in its bid proposal to Greensboro and High Point, North Carolina, to lure them into a multi-year contract.
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The threat to our citizens is not merely financial. In fact, the financial impactwhile substantialis only secondary. The fundamental flaw, and the fatal flaw, in the North Carolina system is the presumption that the owner of a motor vehicle is guilty if his or her car is photographed by a red light camera. Thereafter, a financial penalty is imposed, based upon an absolute presumption of guilt, without any judicial review.
This system strikes at the heart of 800 years of Anglo-American jurisprudence that honors the sacred principles of due process of law. A system that presumes guilteven on a $50 dollar traffic ticketdoes not comport with the Due Process Clause under federal law. Our modern concept of due process is directly based upon the law of the land clause first found in Magna Carta and developed in our law.(see footnote 11)
A timeless, eloquent and oft-quoted description of the law of the land was crafted by Senator Daniel Webster in his great Supreme Court argument in the Dartmouth College case. Webster told the justices that the law of the land is ''the law which hears before it condemns; which proceeds upon inquiry, and renders judgment only after trial.'' Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 581, 17 U.S. 518, 4 L. Ed. 629 (1819).
In sharp contrast to these principles, red light camera programs condemn vehicle owners behind closed doors and then deny them a trial. The presumption of guild and a fine without a trial are frightening throwbacks to the days of the divine right of kings. The techno-tyranny of red light cameras invites this very type of erosion of individual liberties.
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In a civilized society, where ordered liberty must prevail, government actionssuch as the issuance of citations and the imposition of finesmay not violate our important due process rights. Unreasonable government regulations and police powers are and must be limited by the constitution. If necessary, these limitationsand protectionsshould be enforced by the Congress.
Observing due process is not negotiable. The failure to afford due process is most emphatically not a simple policy difference. Here, we now have city fathers demonstrating a startling willingness to abandon due process protections in exchange for profits. To put the proposition in plain, southern English: when the government puts its hand in the pocket of a citizen and extracts a monetary fine, the government must follow the rules.
Because most red light violations that do not involve accidents seem trivial, many are tempted to treat the procedural details of enforcement as expendable. Moreover, these violations invite the support of the far leftwho want to impose good upon societyand the far rightwho want to punish. In the middle remain a great number of people sensitive to the need to balance both safety concerns and the protection of individual rights. I hope and I trust that a majority of the members of this great body will be sensitive to the protection of those rights.
Some observers have lauded the safety record of the cameras, but such praise is short-sighted and lacks thorough, thoughtful scrutiny. Every rational driver wants safe roads, but not every safety benefit befits a free society. Mandatory caning in Singapore is no doubt effective in deterring teenaged vandals (remember Michael Fay?). Raising the minimum driving age to 25 would certainly reduce accidents, but these are steps most are unwilling to take in the name of law enforcement and safety. In short, reducing accidentswhile importantdoes not justify ignoring individual rights.
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The word ''safety'' is not a magical incantation that permits government functionaries to do as they please. Necessity does not create power. The police power to enforce our traffic laws exists as it has for generations. The means of enforcement cannot be expanded beyond the constitution, and the recognized limits upon police powers are as ancient and as revered as this republic.
Moreover, the use of these cameras as a revenue source is, itself, an unlawful use of the police power to levy taxes. It is a particularly insidious tax, most often imposed upon innocent owners who lack the knowledge or ability to challenge the presumption of guilt that is also imposed.
With red light cameras, both the government and its contractors have an immense financial stake in the violation of traffic laws. They have every incentive to take steps to enhance the number of violations, by fair means or foul, including reducing the yellow light time.
Reducing the yellow light time, in turn, creates traffic hazards and belies the safety rationale offered in support of the cameras. On the other hand, reliable data suggests that lengthening yellow lights will help to avoid intersection collisions.
What fuels this flawed system is not a desire for safety, but a hunger for profit at public expense. For example, in Charlotte, North Carolina, cameras have consistently gone up at busy, high volume intersections where income will be maximized, and much less often at the intersections which have been consistently designated as the most dangerous.
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There are also extremely serious questions about the reliability of the equipment used to generate citations. Reliable or not, somewhere behind closed doors, in High Point, North Carolina, someone decides that a vehicle owner is liable for a violation. That decision is made in secret, without notice to the owner or an opportunity to be heard. Therein lies the problem and creates the impetus for a challenge. Agents of the government are simply not entitled to determine guilt in secret and then require the citizen to pay a fine and prove their own innocence. Shorn of its much-bellowed ''safety'' rationale, that is all the red light camera system in North Carolina does.
During my involvement in this issue one question has been asked of me many, many times: ''Don't the cameras just photograph the people who are obviously guilty?'' The response to this question is three-fold:
1. The camera equipment is thoroughly flawed technology. According to figures issued by the City of High Point, Peek's traffic cameras fail an astonishing 59% of the time. Because there is no trial, there is no accountability.
2. Some owners are not driving the vehicle at the time of the photograph. They are guilty of absolutely nothing.
3. Most importantly, we cannot allow the idea of ''obvious guilt'' to destroy our system of justice.
Based on history, the inevitable technological advances of the future will only lead to greater erosions of fundamental individual rights unless we put safeguards in place now to control the use of invasive equipment.
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History also shows that we have not lost our freedoms in great gulps to jack-booted hordes. Rather, we have seen freedoms chipped away by the well-meaning when the price seemed low. Lord Halifax said, ''In the contest between ease and liberty, the first hath generally prevailed.'' The ease of automatic law enforcement cannot suffice to destroy the principle of innocent until proven guilty.
In conclusion, I would borrow the words of one of our greatest, most thoughtful founders, Benjamin Franklin, who opined, ''They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.''
In the spirit of Dr. Franklin, let us realize that the streets and intersections of America belong to us. It is time to get rid of the cameras.
Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of this Committee.
1. Many members of Congress may share your concerns about red light cameras, but isn't this a classic local issue, beyond the jurisdiction of Congress?
2. Don't these red light cameras simply take photographs of the obviously guilty drivers? Where is the problem with that?
3. Did I understand you to state during your testimony that the red light camera system in North Carolina provides ''no judicial review'' of the citations?
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4. Is this system being challenged in court?
5. How many cities in North Carolina are using red light camera enforcement?
6. If North Carolina imposes only a $50 fine, isn't that really more like a parking ticket, and isn't the amount really de minimus?
Prepared Statement of Representative Nick J. Rahall
Thank you, Chairman Petri, and Ranking Member Borski, for holding this hearing today on red light cameras.
Back on September 17, 1787, the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention were meeting at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. As the story goes, when they came trudging out of the meeting after a long day, an anxious woman in the crowd approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him: ''Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?
''A republic,'' Franklin replied, ''if you can keep it.''
Mr. Chairman, I thought that story was appropriate for the subject matter before us today. While various cities and states around the nation have permitted red light cameras as busy intersections, some people believe the cameras are a life-saving tool, or at least a disciplinary measure to remind people to slow down and stop, but other people are offended by the cameras. They believe the cameras are an invasion of their privacy. They believe it is a step in allowing government to become ''Big Brother,'' and control the American people, as we saw in George Orwell's book, ''1984.''
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Mr. Chairman, I believe everyone in the nation is gratified by the huge steps we are taking in technology. We have been promoting Intelligent Transportation Systems in this Subcommittee to help people to avoid traffic jams, closed roads or areas with bad weather.
And we have recently looked at cell phone use in cars to determine whether they are a driver distraction that can lead to accidents. The Federal Highway Administration has determined that we need to collect more data on cell phone use in cars before we should take any action at all.
I believe that we need to collect data before we take any steps regarding red light camera use at intersections. Our Subcommittee noted that 19 states have installed red light cameras at certain intersections, or are at least planning to do so, and that eleven states have prohibited their use altogether. My own state of West Virginia is not in either category.
These differences among the states show that red light camera use is something we are still learning about and exploring. It is fair to question how far technology can go in monitoring peoples' actions until it is an invasion of privacy. But on the other hand, it is also fair, for the public good, to deter and punish people who regularly run red lights because they think the world should stop and wait for them.
But where do we draw the line between monitoring bad drivers and respecting peoples' privacy? Privacy is a right we cherish in this country.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that the local and state governments should work with their citizens to determine what they want regarding red light cameras. I believe this issue should be discussed at City Council meetings and in state legislatures, because the needs of every city are different.
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I believe the federal government should take a ''wait and see'' approach at the moment, and make sure that we uphold the Fourth Amendment rights of the Constitution. In this way, we will be protecting our citizens' privacy while we listen to our citizens' views at the local level regarding the use of ride light cameras, before we even consider setting any federal standard regarding the use of red light cameras.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Prepared Statement of Judith Lee Stone, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
Good morning, Mr. Chairman. I am Judith Lee Stone, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates). Advocates is a coalition of consumer, health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance organizations working together to reduce motor vehicle deaths and injuries. Advocates' Board of Directors adopts a broad program each year that includes public policy initiatives in Congress, the Executive Branch, and in state legislatures. Positions we take are based upon hard data that informs us about the possibilities to improve highway and auto safety, should the legislation or regulation be adopted.
We have been working to advance lifesaving legislation on a multitude of highway safety issues since our inception in 1989, and added red light cameras in the past few years as the need to address the epidemic of red light running grew, the effectiveness of the cameras became well documented, and their use became more widespread. Specifically, we advocate laws that authorize cities and counties throughout a state to use cameras to supplement ongoing police enforcement aimed at curtailing red light running.
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II. THE PROBLEM OF RED LIGHT RUNNING
The problem of red light running is rampant in the United States, and it is growing. Every year, an estimated 260,000 crashes are caused by red light running, and more than 750 of these crashes are fatal. Nationally, fatal motor vehicle crashes at traffic signals increased 18 percent between 1992 and 1998, compared to a 6 percent increase in all other types of fatal crashes. Running red lights and other traffic controls is the most frequent type of urban crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Researchers at IIHS studied police reports of crashes on public roads in four urban areas during 1990 and 1991. Of 13 crash types identified, running traffic controls accounted for 22 percent of all crashes, and of those, 24 percent was attributed to red light running. The same study shows that motorists are more likely to be injured in crashes involving red light running than in other types of crashes. Occupant injuries occurred in 45 percent of the red light running crashes, compared to 30 percent for other crash types. Another recent IIHS study conducted over several months at a busy intersection in Arlington County, Virginia, found that on average, a motorist ran a red light every 12 minutes. During peak travel times, it increased to every five minutes. Clearly red light running is a serious public health crisis and too often results in death, injury, and destruction of families.
III. THE EFFECTIVENESS OF RED LIGHT CAMERAS AS A SUPPLEMENT TO POLICE ENFORCEMENT
Fortunately, we have a simple, relatively inexpensive and effective way to augment law enforcement's efforts to combat red light running: the use of photo enforcement technology. Red light cameras are not complicatedthere is a sensor in the roadway that detects when a motorist runs a red light; the sensor triggers a camera to take a picture of a vehicle; the photograph is typically reviewed by a law enforcement official; and the violator receives a citation in the mail.
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Cameras are also cost effective, each costing approximately $50,000, and accompanying sensors are approximately $5,000. These costs are minimal when considering that just one red light running crash with serious injuries costs society an average of $32,000, and according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the annual cost to the public of red light running crashes exceeds $7 billion.
There is a significant body of evidence, from this country and others, that proves photo enforcement technology works extremely well. A few examples of the effectiveness of red light camera systems include a violation rate reduction of 68 percent in San Francisco, California, and a 92 percent drop in violations in Los Angeles County, California. After one year of camera enforcement, Charlotte, North Carolina, experienced a more than 70 percent cut in red light running violations, and in Fairfax, Virginia, a 44 percent decrease. At one red light camera installation in New York City, angled crashes decreased by 6070 percent. Howard County, Maryland, experienced a 60 percent reduction in crashes at one intersection and a 56 percent drop at another.
In the most recent extensive study on red light camera programs which was released in April 2001 by IIHS, it was determined that red light running violations in Oxnard, California, dropped 42 percent. More significantly, front-into-side crashes at intersections with traffic signals, the collision type most closely associated with red light running, fell 32 percent, and front-into-side crashes involving injuries were reduced by 68 percent. Furthermore, crashes throughout Oxnard declined even though only 11 of the city's 125 intersections with traffic signals had cameras. Similar citywide results have been found in other communities at intersections with and without cameras. This outcome demonstrates the strong deterrent value of red light camera systems and their ability to change driver behavior.
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Internationally, photo enforcement has been used extensively for years in many countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Results are similary impressive. For example, red light camera enforcement in Victoria, Australia, was associated with a 32 percent decrease in right-angle crashes, a 25 percent decrease in right angle turning crashes, a 31 percent decrease in rear end crashes, and a 28 percent decrease in rear end turning crashes. South Australia experienced over a 10 percent reduction in fatalities and a 24 percent reduction in injury crashes. In the United Kingdom there was a 55 percent decline in violations, and in Singapore, a 40 percent decline.
IV. STRONG PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR RED LIGHT CAMERAS
Strong public support for the use of red light cameras has been demonstrated time and time again, and the levels of support are growing. I have brought a list of major public opinion surveys from the last seven years, including two conducted by Lou Harris for my organization, and several taken in cities and towns where cameras are used. It is important to note that in addition to consistently high levels of approval over time, support for photo enforcement often increases after the enforcement program has been in place for some time, indicating public acceptance, and even demand for the technology.
In a 1998 survey, 65 percent of the American public favored state laws allowing use of cameras to enforce red light running laws. One year later, this support increased to 74 percent. (1998 and 1999 Lou Harris Polls for Advocates)
An April 2001 survey of residents in cities without red light cameras showed that 76 percent of those polled were favorable toward camera use. In cities where red light cameras are in use, 80 percent of drivers polled favored the cameras. (IIHS)
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A 1996 survey found that the highest support for red light cameras was in large cities, where 83 percent of respondents supported their use. (Insurance Research Council)
In 2000, nearly six in ten respondents said that they favor the use of red light cameras to deter red light running in their communities. (Public Attitude Monitor Survey, Insurance Research Council)
Two nationwide 1995 surveys revealed that 66 percent of those polled said they favor the use of red light cameras, compared with only 28 percent who opposed. (IIHS)
Advocates has worked in the recent past with middle school and high school students in several cities in pursuit of state highway safety legislation, and red light camera bills are among the issues for which these student lobbyists have advocated. Young people, especially in cities, are highly supportive of red light cameras because they are most often pedestrians and potentially the victims of red light running, whether it be walking to school, a bus stop, a local grocery store, or after-school activities or jobs. Upon introduction to the issue of reducing red light running through the use of photo enforcement technology, these young adults immediately understood that it was a good idea for them, their families, and their friends. They have lobbied in state legislatures for state authority to implement photo enforcement in their communities, and their message is being heard. As more communities become interested in deploying photo enforcement, more red light runners are deterred from breaking the law.
Based on this strong public support and demonstrated success of technology, Advocates has aggresively pursued state laws allowing local use of cameras. One of the groups with whom we have worked closely on this effort is law enforcement. They are strongly supportive of red light camera programs because they save lives, and because apprehending red light runners can often be dangerous. Sometimes a police officer must himself run the red light to follow the violator, putting himself and others in the line of fire of oncoming traffic. Additionally, by acting as a supplement to law enforcement, cameras free up police departments to allocate their officers to other duties. In fact, two years ago the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) adopted a resolution of support for the technology as a supplement to ongoing enforcement.
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Advocates also works with a wide range of individuals and organizations who through personal and professional experience, understand the tremendous value of red light cameras, including emergency room nurses and doctors, community associations, law enforcement, consumer organizations, insurance companies, auto industry groups, and survivor advocates. In an attempt to organize the many disparate communities who support this important highway safety issue, Advocates formed a coalition that focuses on supporting adoption of state photo enforcement laws, called the National Organization for Traffic Intersection Safety, or NOTIS. Organizations associated with NOTIS have been active with us in the states pushing for improved laws and policies that will lead to more widespread use of red light cameras.
The most compelling case for red light cameras is made, however, not by me, or others in the NOTIS coalition representing public safety and law enforcement interests, but by people who have been victimized by red light running. We work closely with survivor advocates throughout the country to pass laws because their stories about how motor vehicle crashes have negatively affected their lives bring into clear perspective the necessity for action, and they are highly motivated to prevent similar tragedies from happening to other families. When Ann Sweet, from Warsaw, Indiana, talks to legislators or to a television network about the loss of her beautiful daughter, Shawnee, to a red light runner, her vivid, but educational message that Indiana needs to allow red light cameras throughout the state is much more persuasive than mine or anyone else. Ann flew in from Indiana just to attend this hearing today. And, Barbara Blaustein who was a pedestrian crossing University Boulevard in Maryland on her way to the Wheaton Metro was struck by a red light runner, is also here. This crash took place in 1997, and Barbara, whose diagnosis is paraplegia, is still in active physical therapy. In fact, right after today's hearing, she will head up to Johns Hopkins University for a session.
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The American public understands immediately what these two remarkably strong women are talking about. They are highly supportive, and they want policymakers to do something about it. And somehow, Ann and Barbara's tragedies have a way of focusing the issue on the real reason we strive for improved highway and auto safety. After all, it could have been my daughter, or your son or spouse, whose life was needlessly snuffed out or who sustained debilitating and costly injuries. Unfortunately, there will be others whose stories will be told as they seek public policy improvements so others will not have to go through what they have. We all hope to reduce the number of life-altering or life-ending stories through the use of photo enforcement.
Mr. Chairman, we do not always have such an incredibly clear road map to solving a major public health problem as we do with this balanced combination of human and technological approaches. I seriously doubt anyone in this hearing room would ever question or oppose proven technology that would help eliminate near-misses or mid-air collisions by airplanes. Yet, we have such technology working for us at intersections, where more than 750 people are killed every year, the equivalent of four major airline crashes. Opposition to red light camera systems seems like a double standard to me. We know red light cameras work, they are cost-effective, and the American public is both ready and anxious for us to act on its behalf to keep families safe as they travel through intersections every day of their lives.
(Footnote 1 return)
Privacy and Federal Agencies: Government Exchange and Merger of Personal Information is Systematic and Routine, Privacilla.org (March, 2001); available at <http://www.privacilla.org/Government_Data_Merger.pdf>.
(Footnote 2 return)
U.S. Const. amend. XIV.
(Footnote 3 return)
389 U.S. 347 (1967).
(Footnote 4 return)
Id. at 353.
(Footnote 5 return)
Id. at 351.
(Footnote 6 return)
Id. at 361.
(Footnote 7 return)
No. 998508 (U.S. Sup. Ct. June 11, 2001).
(Footnote 8 return)
Id. at 12 (Slip Op.).
(Footnote 9 return)
Id. at 12.
(Footnote 10 return)
Id. at 6.
(Footnote 11 return)
No one ''shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.'' Magna Carta, Cl. 39 (1215).