8/28/2010Cameras Falsely Accuse Motorists of Driving Crimes Worldwide
Cameras in the District of Columbia, Oregon, Virginia and France try to collect fines from innocent drivers.
Red light cameras have returned to Virginia, and Newport News kicked off its automated ticketing program by falsely accusing hundreds of innocent motorists of running red lights. The automated ticketing machine at Oyster Point Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue malfunctioned and bogus warning letters were sent out after the camera went live July 31. Officials blamed "wiring problems," according to the Newport News Daily Press.
Bogus citations are nothing new in the Old Dominion. Salem resident Bob Archer owns a light green 1998 Volkswagen Beetle with the license plate BUG IN, but he continually receives red light camera and parking tickets from 240 miles away in Arlington, Virginia and Washington, DC. Archer's car has never been that far north.
The Roanoke Times reported that the District sent the first ticket in May 2000. The photograph on the ticket showed a dark Beetle with the plate BUG 1N -- with the numeral one appearing where the letter 'I' is found on his plate. Neither the private vendor in charge of the program nor the city had any interest in clearing up their mistake. They just wanted him to pay up. He was forced to hire an attorney to prove his innocence.
A speed camera in Milwaukie, Oregon demanded that 65-year-old motorist Glenn Nickelson hand over $288 for allegedly speeding in February, The Oregonian reported. Nickelson lives in Vancouver and has not stepped foot in Milwaukie for several years. Although Nickelson drives a Kia, the vehicle in the photograph is clearly a Pontiac. Despite claims that every ticket is reviewed three times by a human being, no one bothered checking the accuracy of the information on the ticket itself.
In Arnold, Missouri a man attending his sister's funeral on August 6 was mailed a $94.50 ticket for driving in a funeral procession that legally went through a red light, KSDK-TV reported. Arnold police ignored Michael Daniels, who called to have the citation canceled. Officials relented only after the local news became involved.
In Toulouse, France someone changed the speed limit signs on a highway from 90km/h (55 MPH) to 110km/h (68 MPH), directly in front of a speed camera that ticketed people for exceeding 90km/h. After the change was discovered on Tuesday last week, officials were forced to refund the tickets issued, AFP reported.