From the cache of  retired Congressman Dick Armey's former red light camera website

Orwell's Cash Machine Out of Service in San Diego
New Documents Reveal Profit Motive Behind Red Light Cameras
May 25, 2001

Red Light Running Scam

A report released today by attorneys involved in a legal battle against San Diego, California's red light camera program demonstrates how profit is the primary motivation for camera operators. House Majority Leader Dick Armey released a study in May that concluded the concern for profit has kept cities from implementing proper engineering solutions to problem intersections.

"The evidence is clear," said Armey. "The concern for safety has given way to a concern for profit. It's all there in black and white."

Attorneys with the "Red Light Camera Defense Team" obtained thousands of confidential documents from the city's red light camera contractor during court proceedings.

A memo found among these documents outlines the selection criteria used to determine placement of red light cameras in the city. "High traffic volume" is the first criterion listed. Heavy volume ensures a steady stream of profits. According to the document, cameras are only to be used where the yellow signal time is "less than 4 seconds." In other words, find intersections where people don't have enough time to stop. Putting cameras at locations with high volume and inadequate yellow time is not related to safety.

Another document sheds light on the concern with yellow times greater than 4 seconds. The city increased the yellow time at the intersection of Mission Bay Drive and Grand Avenue from 3.0 seconds to 4.7 seconds on July 28, 2000. The document shows an immediate and decisive 90 percent decline in the number of violations recorded.

"They've been caught red-handed," said Armey. "The deck is stacked against the driving public. It's fundamentally unfair."

San Diego officials recently suspended the city's red light camera program after court proceedings forced the admission that camera sensors were being manipulated. Because the local police are not involved in ticket issuance, they had no means of verifying whether tickets were being issued fairly or not.

"They've hung an out of order sign on these Orwellian cash machines," said Armey. "Now it's time to pull the plug for good."