Camera Enforcement Questions & Answers

Photo Enforced Stop Light

Photo Credit: Tony Webster [CC BY-SA 4.0]

The ongoing conversation over the role of enforcement in creating safe streets and cities has raised a number of important points, both on streets.mn and elsewhere.  I believe camera enforcement is a key component in creating safe streets and can be done without sacrificing our commitments to equity, privacy, and safety through better design.  To continue this conversation I’ve put together a Q&A of common concerns for people who may still be wary of supporting enforcement via cameras.

Q: Do red light and speeding cameras remove racial bias?

A: How we choose to use red light and speeding cameras will determine their effect on racial bias. Almost anything, including funding for bike lanes and sidewalks (or for early childhood education, or for parks) can exacerbate racial inequality unless those funds are spent in an equitable way, and the same holds true of red light and speeding cameras.  If we commit to using cameras fairly they can be a tool both to increase safety and to reduce biases in enforcement, but nothing about camera enforcement is inherently biased or inherently reduces racial bias in society.

 

Q: How do we equitably use speed and red light cameras, given the decades of racist policies that have concentrated poorly designed streets in communities of color?

A: First, we recognize that not providing impartial enforcement in those communities is also inequitable, given that people of color are much more likely to be killed by reckless driving and many people of color do support camera enforcement.

Second, we change the consequences of a traffic violation: instituting income-based fines, providing for escalating fines for repeat offenders, adopting a fine-and-dividend policy that reinvests the money in the community, avoiding creating criminal records for traffic violations, and developing diversion programs for drivers, to name a few ideas.  These policies would prevent fines from forcing already struggling individuals into even more difficult situations, while still increasing safety for everyone.

Third, we work with communities to determine where the cameras will go in their communities. Locating the cameras should be informed by both community knowledge and data on traffic accidents.

 

Q: Does opposing camera enforcement mean you’re encouraging lawlessness?

A: No, but if we want our streets and cities to be safe for everyone we need a response to the reckless driving behaviors that aren’t curbed by better street design. Red light and speeding cameras are a nondiscriminatory, safe, and provably effective way to reduce speeding and light running.

 

Q: Isn’t camera enforcement just another version of broken windows policing?

A: No, no more than adding bike lanes is just another version of adding a cloverleaf interchange to the highway system. Camera enforcement doesn’t need to be zero-tolerance and it doesn’t need to result in a criminal record.  Importantly, camera enforcement can replace a huge number of police interactions.

 

Q: Isn’t it a due process violation to use cameras?

A: No. The government still has the burden of proof to show that the car was driven faster than the speed limit or ran a red light, and will have to prove the validity of the camera evidence in the same way we have to do for radar guns or breathalyzers.

 

Q: What if the car owner isn’t the one driving the car?

A: If the owner wasn’t driving the car then we can change state law and hold them responsible for lending their car to someone who broke the law, just like we already do for car owners who lend their car to people who don’t yield to emergency vehicles or gun owners who negligently store firearms. The owner can either accept responsibility for having lent their car to someone who broke the law or can provide evidence showing they weren’t the ones driving, allowing us to hold the actual driver responsible.  We don’t need to implement facial recognition technology to identify the car, and the state already collects data regarding car ownership.

 

Q: Why can’t we just reallocate street funding to fix street designs and avoid using camera enforcement?

A: Even places that have been redesigning their streets for decades, like the Netherlands, still use enforcement as a key component of ensuring their streets are safe for everyone. We have a long way to go before we’d be able to consider eliminating enforcement from the toolkit of interventions for safer streets.  To commit to a design-only policy as a way to build safe communities is to commit us to a strategy that hasn’t been successful yet anywhere.

 

Q: Won’t cities just use cameras to maximize revenue?

A: We can prevent cameras being used to maximize revenue by paying vendors on a per-camera basis, rather than as a percentage of fines, and by adopting policies like fine-and-dividend. We’ll still need to work to hold elected officials accountable for the policy choices that go into camera enforcement, but that’s true of any policy.

 

Q: Won’t using camera enforcement mean we’ll stop trying to improve our streets or move away from police enforcement?

A: No. Camera enforcement advocates know that there are lots of situations where enforcement, even impartial enforcement through cameras, is the wrong tool for the job. Switching to camera enforcement does allow us to begin moving away from police enforcement, while relying on police to stop speeders and red light runners obviously does not. On the other hand, making it safer to walk and bike does encourage more people to walk and bike, and those people may become advocates for even better streets. Safer streets can start a virtuous cycle of better, safer cities.

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69 Responses to Camera Enforcement Questions & Answers

  1. Nicole Salica
    Nicole Salica September 5, 2019 at 12:18 pm #

    Let’s do it!

  2. Mark September 5, 2019 at 12:19 pm #

    Let’s not!

  3. Kyle O September 5, 2019 at 12:23 pm #

    One common concern that is not listed here but which I think is a common argument against red light cameras is the idea that they lead to an increase of crashes because the companies that run the camera system would shorten yellow lights. I feel like I see this argument less often now, but it still is fairly prevalent.

    I concede that this could have happened, and indeed it’s easy to find evidence online of it occurring. But this too seems like an easy thing to overcome – the city/state that implements them just puts a prohibition on that practice when they award the contract. This ties into your Q about ‘maximizing revenue’ but I raise it because it is such a common point raised in these debates.

    • Monte Castleman September 5, 2019 at 2:03 pm #

      Companies colluding with cities to shorten the yellow time in order to increase violations is one issue. The other issue is that drivers have a tendency to slam on the brakes when the light turns yellow at photo enforced intersections even with MUTCD compliant yellow times, increasing rear-end type collision.

      • VeloMike2017 September 6, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

        Drive slower. Or at least the speed limit. Couple ever red light camera with speed camera.

        • Mark September 6, 2019 at 3:53 pm #

          That completely ignores what Monte said. There have been numerous documented instances where companies actively colluded with cities to alter the timing it takes between a green-yellow-red sequence. The goal wasn’t to increase safety, it was to increase profits. The yellow light should be set to a certain minimum based on the speed limit of the street. It’s a known fact the average human reaction time from seeing a light change to applying your brakes is 1.5 seconds. Shortening below this threshold generated millions in profits.

    • Zachary Wefel
      Zachary Wefel September 5, 2019 at 7:09 pm #

      That is a great point. I don’t know if any jurisdictions that operate the cameras directly instead of hiring a vendor, but requiring them to be operated by the county or municipality also could be a way to prevent revenue-maximizing gaming of the systems.

  4. Harrison September 5, 2019 at 1:39 pm #

    “decades of racist policies that have concentrated poorly designed streets in communities of color”

    This is, honestly, an assertion that too often is trotted out to excuse any policy outcomes that people are uncomfortable with. How many communities of color were, originally, more white, more wealthy? Did we tear up the street design upon the demographic shift to make it worse? Or is it the density of activity that has changed over time? Are the speed limits on the way into town from all directions the same and independent of the average home price?

    If you put cameras for example in South Minneapolis and North Minneapolis, and one captures predominately white violators and one predominantly black violators, does that mean the cameras have a racial bias in their use or are they just reflecting local demographics?

    A significant increase in multi-family homes with associated traffic and activity can lead to the impression of a “dangerous” street independent of race and income – however the overlap of income (and subsequently race) creates a linkage that may not trace back to the underlying issue.

    There are so many confounding variables that contribute to a neighborhood, to ascribe everything to “decades of racist policies” is a good public talking point for a political trying to win over progressive audiences, but it should not be always trotted out as an excuse to avoid discussing other factors.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller September 5, 2019 at 1:54 pm #

      “Did we tear up the street design upon the demographic shift to make it worse? Or is it the density of activity that has changed over time? ”

      No, but we’ve improved, for example, Lyndale south of 31st Street, but not, for example, North Lyndale or Olson Memorial Highway.

      That said, we have made significant recent improvements on Plymouth (curb protected bike lane!) and Emerson/Freemont on the north side so that while I think the general observation is likely still correct, there’s been some progress very recently.

      “A significant increase in multi-family homes with associated traffic and activity can lead to the impression of a “dangerous”…”

      Nah, homes are a not a significant generator of traffic. Destinations are.

      • Jeff L. September 5, 2019 at 2:06 pm #

        Homes aren’t destinations, got it.

        • Adam Miller
          Adam Miller September 5, 2019 at 3:44 pm #

          I don’t know what’s going on at your house, but at mine the number of people attracted to drive to it is pretty small.

          • VeloMike2017 September 6, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

            Ha! Loved this reply.

        • Andrew September 6, 2019 at 9:01 am #

          Even in a huge apartment building, each unit will only generate a handful of trips per day. 100 units, 400 trips. How do you think that compares to a Wendy’s drive through (with a much smaller footprint)?

          • Mark September 6, 2019 at 9:17 am #

            Well we banned drive thrus, so that problem is solved.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke September 5, 2019 at 3:21 pm #

      It’s neither one thing nor the other here, in my opinion. Neighborhoods without much agency, political, or economic capital were often chosen for road expansions, freeway construction and other so-called “improvements”. There are many examples of this right here in the Twin Cities, and certainly around the country. (see also https://streets.mn/2016/03/14/prior-avenue-and-the-merriam-park-freeway-fight/) Wealthy, connected neighborhoods were often able to prevent these destructive changes.

      At the same time, places with dangerous streets or areas next to polluting freeways or arterial roads are more affordable precisely because they are more dangerous, loud, and cause pollution. This feedback loop becomes a vicious cycle that harms communities of color and the poor.

  5. John W September 5, 2019 at 2:46 pm #

    I’ve twice been the victim of a red-light runner. My car was totaled a few years ago by a non-stopper; and once when I was a child, our minivan flipped thrice after being hit by a red-light-running truck. I think that red-light cameras probably save lives. The increase in rear-end accidents will be more-than-offset by the decrease in more-dangerous T-Bones. Also, prevailing legal thought squares the red-light cameras with constitutional guarantees of due process.

    But I’m opposed to red-light cameras because I disagree with the convoluted legal logic that is required to allow a privately-owned machine which can’t be properly confronted in court to issue a legal sanction. The farce of a law-enforcement officer –absent from the scene– issuing a ticket after-the-fact and based wholly on a traffic camera is mere theatre to maintain the veneer of constitutional compliance. In reality, the ticket passes directly from the opaque brain of the corporate machine to an uncontestable blemish on your record. But still more legal slash-and-burning is required to clear the path for traffic cameras: we need to create a ‘lender’s liability’ which smells of collective guilt, or guilt-by-association whereby a person is pseudo-criminally liable for someone else’s unforeseeable and unpreventable action.

    Someday we may have red-light cameras that operate perfectly and never issue an undeserved citation, but I’d still oppose them. A crimeless society achieved through fear of omniscient law enforcement is not desirable. A surveilled life might be safer for the individual, but it is dangerous to free society. We act differently when watched. Boundaries go untested and the status quo remains. Red-light cameras work, and that is what makes them dangerous. With such success, how difficult will it be to oppose the next incremental step of automated law enforcement? If there is some level of automated law enforcement that you find unacceptable, (perhaps mandatory in-home cameras?) then wouldn’t it make sense to oppose the incremental steps that are likely to lead us there?

    The benefits of red-light cameras are real, measurable and immediate but the insult to our free society is hard to quantify and perhaps remote. Someone told me recently that the differentiator of a successful society is its ability to eschew the short term for the long. Police-state-enforced conformance to desired social norms through surveillance technology appears to create a more civil society, but it is illusory –like a sugar high. Citizens should be stopped at red lights by the love of their fellow man, not by their fear of the state.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller September 5, 2019 at 3:43 pm #

      We issue legal sanction against illegal parking all the time and no one believes there is a due process issue.

      But hey, people should die because your personal notions of freedom and fairness requires it…

      • John W September 5, 2019 at 4:28 pm #

        Fair point on the parking ticket, but I’d note that parking tickets are still issued by a person.

        I’m curious: Is there any notion of fairness or freedom for which you would risk of life or limb? And if so, couldn’t your mocking words apply to notions you hold dear?

        • Andrew September 6, 2019 at 9:05 am #

          Also, the IRS doesn’t have to literally watch you sign a check to a shell company in order to prosecute you for tax fraud. The check is just evidence. A photograph from a camera is just evidence that can be used for prosecution.

          • Mark September 6, 2019 at 9:16 am #

            Yes, these are clearly the exact same

            • Andrew September 6, 2019 at 2:10 pm #

              Excellent analysis of the argument, you’ve convinced me that I’m wrong.

              • Mark September 6, 2019 at 2:29 pm #

                Oh, sorry, I just assumed you were being facetious.

      • Monte Castleman September 5, 2019 at 4:38 pm #

        Parking tickets are a lower level of offense than moving violation so due process protections are less. Chicago avoids the issue by treating them as non-moving violations.

        • Mark September 5, 2019 at 7:35 pm #

          That’s exactly it and a huge point that Adam refuses to acknowledge. Stop light violations have a criminal level offense associated with them, associating the offense to the owner of a car will indiscriminately affect people on the edges, but if you mention the downsides to anything you’re immediately met with screams of ‘you just want pedestrians killed!’

          • Zachary Wefel
            Zachary Wefel September 5, 2019 at 7:43 pm #

            The post itself acknowledged that we don’t have to treat these violations as criminal, as did the post it linked to in the first line. There are a number of ways to write our laws that do not have a disproportionate impact on the poor, such as income based fines.

            Cars are dangerous, which is why we require testing to operate them, regulate their use, and mandate they come with seat belts and airbags. Holding owners accountable for what they permit others to do with their cars is a reasonable extension of that regulatory framework, especially considering we have precedent of doing that and can offer owners a way to avoid liability by providing evidence of who was actually driving.

            • Mark September 5, 2019 at 8:27 pm #

              The problem is we require testing to operate a motor vehicle once, when someone first becomes a driver. The subsequent tests are basic and just check to ensure an operator isn’t blind.

              And I wholeheartedly disagree with holding an owner responsible for what a driver does. That should 100% fall solely on the driver and anything else is nothing more than an overreach.

              • Zachary Wefel
                Zachary Wefel September 5, 2019 at 9:22 pm #

                The owner is only responsible for if they 1. Lent the car to someone; 2. That person sped or ran a red light; and 3. The owner refused to sign an affidavit saying who was driving the car at that time.

                The owner wouldn’t be responsible for all driver behavior and they could avoid liability completely if they choose.

                Why is the owner’s right to not be nonliable for any actions done with property they willingly lent to someone given greater weight than our collective right to safer streets? Do you think the same for things like guns?

                • Mark September 6, 2019 at 8:41 am #

                  Ah yes, the classic pivot to gun safety. What’s next, statistics about how many children have been killed? I’ll stick to the actual topic, thank you very much.

                  • Monte Castleman September 6, 2019 at 9:01 am #

                    The other problem with this analogy is that if you don’t take adequate precautions with your gun,yes that can be a crime in itself. But someone uses it to commit a murder; you’re not the one legally presumed guilty of that murder unless you can provide evidence to the cops that it wasn’t you that had the gun at the time.

                    Currently unlike a gun it’s not illegal to be careless about who uses your car. Should that be a crime, say you knowingly loan it to someone with a bad license or has a tendency to run red lights?

                    • Nicole Salica
                      Nicole Salica September 6, 2019 at 12:07 pm #

                      and why shouldn’t that be a concern? If I lend you a book or a sweater even I’m going to think about “how likely is this book going to come back in one piece?” Same question for a car but even moreso.

            • VeloMike2017 September 6, 2019 at 2:46 pm #

              I wholeheartedly agree with holding owners of vehicles accountable for things done with their property while be operated by a person. Only except: theft.

              If it’s your friend… Get better friends.

              • Jeff L. September 6, 2019 at 3:36 pm #

                That’s an absolutely horrible sentiment. What about first time offenses? Are you supposed to just foresee that your friend was going to do something wrong when there is no history of poor behavior? Mistakes happen, penalize the person who commits, but to go scorched earth on truly innocent people is a poor reflection on you as a human being.

        • Adam Miller
          Adam Miller September 6, 2019 at 11:46 am #

          Right, and we should do the same.

      • Mark September 5, 2019 at 9:35 pm #

        You do realize that when the red light camera spots a violator that the car keeps going, right? A citation in the mail, a week later isn’t the immediate safety enforcement you get with a patrol officer.

        • Zachary Wefel
          Zachary Wefel September 5, 2019 at 9:37 pm #

          Yeah, also that it doesn’t seem to matter that there is a delay since we have lots of evidence that camera enforcement is effective and saves lives. Check out the link in the first sentence of the post.

    • Zachary Wefel
      Zachary Wefel September 5, 2019 at 7:02 pm #

      It’s easy to oppose the next incremental step in automated law enforcement because we can show different harms for that next incremental step. Cameras in homes would allow state surveillance of private activities, and there is a long history of legal precedent protecting privacy in the home to a higher degree than we do for automobiles. Camera enforcement of traffic activities doesn’t permit surveillance of any activities or areas beyond what is already permitted under the status quo. You have the same level of privacy under camera enforcement or police enforcement of traffic laws.

      You don’t lose the ability to contest a ticket with cameras. You would have to show the camera was improperly calibrated, not tested and maintained, poorly positioned, or some other flaw in its design, maintenance, or use to beat the ticket, but that’s the same reality you face when a breathalyzer shows you’re over the limit. Should we get rid of breathalyzers? And just because the police officer is issuing the ticket doesn’t mean they aren’t deferring to the breathalyzer.

      • Mark September 5, 2019 at 7:37 pm #

        And our judicial system has shown that it isn’t biased against offenders when it comes to low level offenses, right? Clearly the disadvantaged will receive sufficient resolution when they go to court. Right?!

        • Zachary Wefel
          Zachary Wefel September 5, 2019 at 7:48 pm #

          Our judicial system has lots of biases we need to address, including repeated and widespread instances of police officers lying on the stand or planting evidence. Use of camera enforcement is one incremental way we can make our judicial system more fair.

          And as I mentioned in the post, we do not have to address violations through the criminal system at all if we choose not to. There is no reason most offenses can’t be treated non-criminally.

          • Mark September 5, 2019 at 8:34 pm #

            Ah yes, big brother will be completely fair, we should all love big brother, big brother will never be used in a nefarious method or to exploit anyone. Sorry, not buying it. At all. There are other ways to fix the system that don’t resort to this level of overreach

            • Zachary Wefel
              Zachary Wefel September 5, 2019 at 9:25 pm #

              Equating limited-use cameras in public spaces to Big Brother is the overreach here. If you have a specific argument for why camera enforcement is more of a threat to freedom than police you should make it, but so far you’ve only argued that we’re on a slippery slope.

              • Mark September 6, 2019 at 8:48 am #

                Your faith in the systems ability to limit itself to a narrowly defined scope of enforcement is admirable. I don’t share that same view and feel that any movement by groups like you in this direction should absolutely be stopped.

      • John W September 6, 2019 at 10:22 am #

        Zach, thanks for the article and great responses.

        I’m divided on an owner’s liability for loaning a gun. A gun is different from a car as the former’s primary purpose is to inflict carnage in some creature. If there is liability for loaning a gun, it should only follow a facts & circumstances analysis. Did the borrower say, can I borrow your gun for the next round of the marksmanship tournament? Or did he say, “Can I borrow your gun, I’m going to make $name regret offending me? It should matter. [Question to lawyer-Zach: Can I protect myself by transferring ownership of car or gun (I don’t have a gun) to a company? Perhaps one with an opaque ownership structure?]

        The private space has eroded considerably at the bequest of law enforcement. Emails aren’t private because they are on someone else’s server. Your location is not private, your face is not private. Your garbage is not private. Even attorney-client privilege is remarkably fragile these days.

        The public/private paradigm no longer fits in modern society. It is virtually impossible to be anonymous in public. 50 years ago, one could move about freely and anonymously in private spaces, but now it is possible to track where everyone is (and was!) with information that is “public”. License plates are scanned, faces are recognized; phones are tracked. Perhaps you read the recent NPR article about Hennepin County’s rubber-stamping of broad phone location warrants? E.g. Tell me everyone who was near location X at time Y.

        As a thought experiment, imagine how you might cross a city alone, anonymously and legally. Note that it is illegal to wear a disguise or cover your face in MN for privacy reasons.

        Breathalyzers and the drunk-driving enforcement is another area where we’ve made a constitutional compromise. Implied consent reduces to the presumption of guilt. Behind all the fancy and sometimes compelling legal and practical arguments; drivers are compelled to prove their innocence if accused of driving under the influence. Breathalyzers are another example of an un-confrontable accuser; the accused is not permitted access to the inner workings (source code) we are just told to trust the government. DUI checkpoints are another example where we’ve abridged rights for effective law enforcement

        Resisting the next step is rarely effective. I see new surveillance constantly added but I never see it removed. It seems to be a one-way journey. Usually, it is introduced by targeting an unsympathetic population. (drunk drivers, red-light runners, sex offenders) to solve a serious problem. Usually a private company profits. Once we acclimate, then it can be expanded. I chose cameras in the home as Reductio ad absurdum but we are already on that path. A quick google search will lead you to security camera firms urging law enforcement to place cameras in the homes of criminals on parole. Meanwhile, hundreds of police departments have teamed up with Amazon’s Ring to obtain footage from millions of doorbell cameras.

        Red-light cameras are one small part of a growing law enforcement state that continually increases surveillance of the ever-expanding public space and even intrudes on the shrinking private spaces. The increasingly militarized police show no aversion to constitutional circumvention in the pursuit of crime reduction. We’ve already slipped down the slope; but maybe we don’t have to go all the way down.

  6. John Danielson September 5, 2019 at 5:21 pm #

    Do we not remember when Minnesota had traffic cameras in the past?

    The State ruled them unconstitutional due to the inability to cross examine the accuser.

    PROTECT YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS!!!

    This type of enforcement has already been ruled unconstitutional.

    • Zachary Wefel
      Zachary Wefel September 5, 2019 at 6:49 pm #

      The Minnesota Supreme Court found that camera enforcement violated a state statute, not that it was a violation of any constitutional rights. The statute in question was about the uniformity of laws, not the right to cross examine your accuser. State v. Kuhlman:

      https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12650966570184242155&q=camera+enforcement+Minneapolis&hl=en&as_sdt=4,24

      • Daniel Choma September 7, 2019 at 6:49 pm #

        It was dismissed before even debating the constitutional issues because the MPLS ordinance conflicted with state law. Unanimously. That doesn’t mean there WASN’T constitutional issues. It means that the argument was so poor to begin with for the municipal ordinance they didn’t even get there.

        • Zachary Wefel
          Zachary Wefel September 7, 2019 at 6:57 pm #

          We don’t know how the Court would rule on constitutional issues, but we do know that there is a lot of persuasive authority supporting the constitutionality of camera enforcement from other jurisdictions, and current state statutes that operate in similar ways to how camera enforcement would work.

      • Daniel Choma September 7, 2019 at 6:51 pm #

        “The district court granted Kuhlman’s motion to dismiss without reaching the constitutional issues, holding that the ordinance conflicted with state law.   The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal.   State v. Kuhlman, 722 N.W.2d 1, 2 (Minn.App.2006).   We affirm.”

        • Daniel Choma September 7, 2019 at 6:57 pm #

          AND the judge expressly indicated this:
          “ Overall, our jurisprudence related to preemption and conflict in the context of traffic violations can be distilled into four main points of law:  (1) state law preempts the field of traffic law except for that which is expressly permitted by state statute;  (2) no conflict exists when an ordinance is merely additional and complementary to a state law and covers specifically what the statute covers generally;  

          ********(3) municipalities must provide the same procedural protections as the state when prosecuting offenses that are covered by an ordinance and a statute************

          ;  and (4) a municipality may not prohibit by ordinance conduct that is not prohibited by statute.”

          It’s reaaaaally hard for me to look at #3 and not say “oh darn, procedural due process isn’t a procedural protection” considering procedural due process is one of the most famous procedural protections there is.

          • Daniel Choma September 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm #

            So they weren’t like GAVEL GAVEL that’s the precedent!! But they’re tipping pitches pretty hard.

            • Daniel Choma September 7, 2019 at 7:04 pm #

              So sure: I get other states have persuasive authority. But I would think that the actual case you just mentioned from MN and the state constitution are a little bit more important than “well if you think about it from an Alabama court’s point of view” authority.

              • Zachary Wefel
                Zachary Wefel September 7, 2019 at 7:16 pm #

                Minnesota already has two statutes that impose owner liability, including one that was challenged expressly on due process grounds. They were cited as follows in State. v. Kuhlman:

                We recognize that the Minnesota state legislature has, in two circumstances, made owners liable for the conduct of drivers. See Minn.Stat. §§ 169.20, subd. 5b (owners liable for failure to yield to emergency vehicles), .444, subd. 6 (owners liable for violations of school-bus-safety law) (2004); see also State v. Eakins, 720 N.W.2d 597 (Minn. App.2006) (rejecting due process challenge to § 169.444).

        • Zachary Wefel
          Zachary Wefel September 7, 2019 at 7:01 pm #

          I’m not sure I understand your point. Courts typically take up statutory issues before constitutional ones because of a jurisprudential preference for deciding cases on statutory grounds. The fact that the Court followed that practice in this case says nothing about the constitutional viability of camera enforcement.

          • Daniel Choma September 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm #

            I think it’s silly to assume court procedural guidelines imply that Section 7 of the MN Constitution is not statutory.

            • Zachary Wefel
              Zachary Wefel September 7, 2019 at 7:17 pm #

              What? Sections of the Minnesota Constitution are definitionally not statutory.

            • Daniel Choma September 7, 2019 at 7:19 pm #

              I would assume the due process clause of the statue constitution would be one of the “procedural protections as the state” that that #3 refers to.

              But I mean, I’m not a lawyer or a Supreme Court Justice. I’m just a dude that can read and play drums. This is a citizen opinion, the courts will decide as the courts decide.

              • Daniel Choma September 7, 2019 at 7:21 pm #

                I think the procedural due process guidelines of the state constitution may qualify as “procedural protections as the state.”

                • Zachary Wefel
                  Zachary Wefel September 7, 2019 at 7:35 pm #

                  Oh, I see what you’re saying. No, that’s not what the Court is saying at all. Under this preemption analysis they’re required to look only at the uniformity of procedural protections. The Court was not hinting that they thought the procedures the City used violated due process protections, just that they had a different process.

                  • Daniel Choma September 7, 2019 at 7:46 pm #

                    Yea, I mean I agree with you that the court didn’t rule on it. And I can’t say what the court would or would not say because I wear a cardigan to work and not a robe. But they still haven’t decided it, right? It far from a slam dunk re: due process issues too. The law died in committee 8-7 in 2013, and it was slammed dunked in 2003.

                    Plus, I think public perception of “well we’ll just watch everybody” is a lot different than the public perception from State v. Eakins where it was like “oh yea, look at that dbag speeding by a schoolbus full of children.”

                    At the end of the day, neither you nor I know how the Supreme Court is gonna rule on this because they haven’t yet. Namean?

  7. Nick M September 6, 2019 at 7:07 am #

    It always amazes me when people in positions of privilege are opposed to things like this. It’s as if they are concerned about having something to hide. This isn’t an assertion about any specific commenters, just a general observation that we rarely hear people in communities of color on the forefront of fighting for “constitutional freedom” when the intended outcome is to protect the lives of vulnerable persons.

    • Jeff L. September 6, 2019 at 9:03 am #

      Let’s be honest, communities of color haven’t exactly historically benefited from constitutional protections like privileged classes have, so it’s not surprising that one group is more active than this area than an other.

    • Anon September 6, 2019 at 10:29 am #

      “communities of color on the forefront of fighting for “constitutional freedom” when the intended outcome is to protect the lives of vulnerable persons.”

      Isn’t that a description of the civil rights movement?

      • Alessandra September 6, 2019 at 3:54 pm #

        Spot on!

  8. Eric Saathoff
    Eric Saathoff September 6, 2019 at 10:08 am #

    I think this would be a great idea.

  9. Karen September 6, 2019 at 2:23 pm #

    Yes please do.

    To make sure there aren’t perverse incentives, all the money made from red.light cameras should be rebated back to citizens.

    Locations should be based on safety data priorities.

    • Alessandra September 6, 2019 at 3:57 pm #

      If by rebated back to citizens you mean used to expand transit and safe streets, then yes. Businesses and residents shouldn’t profit off of the cameras.

  10. VeloMike2017 September 6, 2019 at 3:03 pm #

    I feel all the ideas presented here will actually reduce serious injuries and death. Accountability is a major form of motivation. The current leadership are not doing enough for #VisionZero to happen. Projects being executed this year, with minimal improvements, will outlast the timeline set by #VisionZero.

    I’ve been a strong believer of all these ideas in this article for about four years.

    I also wish we went to a gross weight and distance-traveled cost basis for vehicle registration. The registration fees should cover all road repair and new vehicle infrastructure. This would be a significant increase in fees but it would be placed on the appropriate citizens. Significant because we current do not cover all the costs and property taxes are used too much

    Damage to asphalt goes up by the power of four based on mass. Unlike the current gas-tax, the revenue doesn’t drop as fuel efficiency improves. Electric cars (heavier) will pay their share.

    In fact, remove the gas tax and property taxes that go to infrastructure to prevent the wrong narrative of “it’s just another tax!”. You want a SUV/lifted truck? Bad choice in my opinion (safety, cost) yet you can still make it. Pay for it.

    • Alessandra September 6, 2019 at 3:47 pm #

      We already have a distanced based tax, it’s called the gas tax. Use more, pay more. And we already have a registration system that charges larger vehicles higher registration fees.

      Using your proposal people would need to have some type of GPS monitoring in their car. Maybe you’re fine living in the post 9/11 hyper-security state the Republicans have created, but I’m not. Plus those fees would inevitably be disproportionate to certain classes. How many immigrants to you see driving Ubers? Oh sorry, gas tax wasn’t enough, now you have to pay even more to try and earn a living. Farmer trying to get his crops to market and he has to pay the delivery driver even more? Who do you think is going to bear that cost? All the consumers.

  11. Mike September 6, 2019 at 6:46 pm #

    Recently this article from AAA about red light running related fatalities got a lot of press. What was interesting is some news coverage there was a single sentence acknowledging that distracting walking pedestrians among other factors could contribute to the fatalities. This perspective was attacked from the perspective that any and all consequences of running red lights sits 100% with the driver who broke the law. Even though there may be other contributors to the chance of a fatality, Twitterverse was not having it – the driver was 100% responsible.

    Fast forward to today and the discussion about cameras, but now it’s a concern that somehow catching a red light runner is clouded under racism – so if a driver of color runs a red light are they as responsible as a white driver? or is it any driver in a predominately minority neighborhood? The answers above doesn’t really address the issue – irregardless of speed limit when the light turns red you are supposed to stop – the faster you are going, the sooner you start braking. The idea that somehow it’s harder to follow this rule in a poor neighborhood with people of color seems insulting.

    https://newsroom.aaa.com/2019/08/red-light-running-deaths-hit-10-year-high/

  12. Andrew Evans September 9, 2019 at 9:44 am #

    It would be nice if we implemented this and did so in a way that passed legal muster in our state.

    My issue though is all of our uninsured drivers and those without current tabs. Taking pictures of them breaking laws really wouldn’t do much if the eventual tickets didn’t have some kind of punishment, more than fines that could be ignored.

    Vision Zero and the push for it has been making some inroads, although it has a way to go. I just wished it incorporated more driver concerns, since removing reckless drivers and enforcing traffic laws makes things safer for everyone.

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