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11/27/2010
Texas, Australia: Bogus Photo Tickets Raise Alarm
Australian government conceals speed camera reliability data while Texas city mails ticket for yielding to an ambulance.

Fort Worth, TX ticket
The validity of speed camera readings is under fire in Victoria, Australia. The state government has responded by concealing relevant records and refusing to respond to the freedom of information requests made by the Herald Sun newspaper. Concern over the issue as grown as the paper's online poll showed that only 6 percent of readers were confident in the accuracy of photo enforcement. Among the items officials refused to disclose were the number of faulty cameras discovered in the state.

"You would have thought that if they had nothing to hide that all the information would have been laid out in front of the public," opposition party roads spokesman Terry Mulder told the Herald Sun. "If you are going to have a justice system that penalizes innocent people then the fabric of your democracy is in tatters... If they are going to do this with speed cameras, what are they going to with other forms of justice in the state?"

Four months' worth of repair log information obtained by the opposition uncovered serious errors, especially for the camera at Wellington Road. The paper wants the rest of the logs. The state has issued $4.9 billion in speed camera fines since 1989.

In Fort Worth, Texas the private company American Traffic Solutions (ATS) mailed Stu Cocanougher a red light camera ticket for turning right on red on October 11. Although police and local politicians claim they thoroughly review every ticket before ATS attempts to collect the fine, it is clear in Cocanougher's case that no such review took place.

As the motorist told KXAS-TV, he turned against the red light because there was an ambulance behind him with its siren blaring. It is not illegal to yield to an emergency vehicle against a red light. He called ATS to challenge the citation, and after weeks of waiting he was told to challenge it in court. The city refused to drop the ticket -- until KXAS called to ask what was going on.



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