Monday, June 28, 2010

Vehicle Insurance Ticket? Talk To Camera Company

From Traffic Technology Today (UK) ~ The US state of Oklahoma is preparing an unprecedented statewide deployment of automated ticketing machines designed to generate US$95 million in revenue. Instead of using red light cameras and speed cameras, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) is preparing to sign a contract with a company that will track all passing motorists with a network of at least 20 ALPR cameras. The devices would also generate additional revenues by issuing US$250 citations for expired insurance using the Oklahoma Compulsory Insurance Verification System (OCIVS) database that went live in July 2009.

The proposal includes a requirement for the ability to keep daily statistics and related data on vehicles for which license plate data was captured, which could include logging the date, time, and location any particular vehicle passes a stationary camera. The two largest red light camera vendors, Australia’s Redflex Traffic Systems and American Traffic Solutions (ATS), offer a nationwide tracking service that uses automated ticketing machines. ATS has filed a bid for the Oklahoma contract along with several other companies including InsureNet.
6th Amendment Violation?
“It poses a serious threat to privacy and civil liberties whenever the government compels private companies to turn over customers’ personal information,” one expert said. “It is not inherently troubling that police raise revenue from law enforcement activities. Fines help deter illegal behavior, and increased revenue can help motivate officers to do their job well.

“But the Bill of Rights keeps a motivated police force in check,” he added. “And I believe that the cameras likely violate a citizen’s Sixth Amendment right to confront his accuser. Absent an actual witness, the accused cannot cross-examine a camera.”
The winning company would install, test, maintain and operate the cameras. It would mail tickets to vehicle owners. It would run a toll-free hotline and conduct hearings where motorists would contest camera tickets before a camera company employee instead of a judge. It would also collect fines and generate statistics. In return for the right to issue tickets, the company would pay DPS a bounty on each citation collected.

Hat tip: Kaye Beach

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