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The Action/Legislation page

ďA nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.Ē
Edward R. Murrow, Journalist 1908 - 1965

Please start by reading the What's Hot box on the Home page.

On this Action page - scroll down, or click on these links:

1.  Recent, Current & Future Legislation:  2010 - 2015
1.5  Info About Contacting Your Legislators
2.  An Initiative
3.  You Don't Have to Shop There... (Boycott!)
4.  More Things You Can Do
4.5  Info for Journalists / Industry PR
5.  No $ Donations Accepted
6.  Older Legislation:  1994 - 2009
7.  The Guru Club
8.  Ticket Questionnaire and Email Address

highwayrobbery.net is a free-of-charge public service.


1.  2010 - 2015 Legislation & Politicians
The most recent two-year session ran from Jan. 2013 to Sept. 2014.
The next session, 2015 - 2016, is starting soon!
Legislation from previous years is discussed further down this page.



LA - Area Voters:

Sheila Kuehl is your new county supervisor.

If you live in LA County and Zev Yaroslavsky was your county supervisor, he has "termed out."  (He represented the Third District, which includes the central and western San Fernando Valley, Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, Beverly Hills, the City of West Hollywood, and part of Hollywood.)

 Sheila Kuehl won the Nov. 4, 2014 election to succeed Zev, by a narrow margin.

Sheila Kuehl authored 3 speed
camera bills
Sheila Kuehl, in 2007

During her career in the California Legislature, Kuehl made three attempts to pass legislation ( SB 1325 of 2008  SB 1300 of 2006  SB 466 of 2005 ) to allow the use of automated speed enforcement (photo radar) in California.

As a supervisor, she will have a seat on the MTA/Metro board and she will be a vote to continue and expand their huge (101 cameras, so far) red light camera system.
She will be up for re-election in 2018 and 2022.




East Bay Voters:

Do you live in the South end of Alameda County or the North end of Santa Clara County - State Sen. Ellen Corbett's former District?

In 2014 Sen. Corbett "termed out," and has been replaced by this person

Wieckowski, author anti-motorist bill AB 666
 
R. A. Wieckowski, Author of the anti-motorist bill AB 666

who will be running for re-election in 2018 and 2022.

Please don't vote for him.

Send him back home to his bankruptcy law practice.



OC Voters:

Do you live in Orange County, in or near Tustin, Orange, Lake Forest, Placentia or Yorba Linda?  Is Donald Wagner your State assemblymember?

Wagner, who probably will be running for a Senate seat in 2016, was the sponsor of AB 2487, a 2014 bill which would have taken away your right to a Trial de Novo.

Cal. Asm. Donald Wagner,
                sponsor of AB 2487
Asm. Donald Wagner

Please don't reward him with your vote.

 


Shop peanuts.com
Our Legislature is just pretending to want reform.



You are on the Action/Legis page.

How To Influence Legislators


The Annual Bill Cycle in Sacramento, in Brief

New bills are introduced in December thru February each year.
Once they are 30 days old, they can be amended.  Most bills are amended multiple times.  Some are amended to deal with an entirely different subject (called "gut and amend"), thus allowing the creation of a "new" bill weeks or months after the February deadline.
Bills can be amended as late as Aug. 20 in even-numbered years and Sept. 4 in odd-numbered years.
The governor has until Sept. 30 to sign the bills into law.   (If the governor has vetoed a bill, a 2/3 vote of the legislature can override that veto, and that vote can occur as late as early March of the following year.  But this is a rare occurrence.)
The new laws usually go into effect on Jan. 1 of the following year.


Phoning

"No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."
Edmund Burke 1729 - 1797

Please phone your legislators in Sacramento, the governor, and the auto club.

Calling a legislator's office is easy.  They answer their phones after just a few rings, a live staff member answers (there's no "menu" to navigate), and you can tell the staff member what your positions are on the bills.  Then you're done!  It takes just two or three minutes.  Be sure to call both your assemblymember and your state senator.

Call the assemblymembers and state senators who represent the districts in which you live, work, or shop.  I recommend using the phone, not email, and calling their offices at the Capitol in Sacramento (area code 916) rather than the satellite office in the district.

You can find their phone number at: 
http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov, or in the government section of your phone book.  Also, call any nearby assemblymember or state senator who is on the Transportation Committee.  My list of the members of those committees is at committee members.

Governor:  After Aug. 1 is the best time to tell the governor what you think, but contact him no matter what time of year it is.  He is at (916) 445-2841.  Or you can email him, via the
form on his website www.gov.ca.gov.
(The last date for the legislature to pass bills is Aug. 31, and then the governor has all of September to act on those bills.  Bills not vetoed by the governor go into law, whether he has signed them or not!)

Calendar of Legislative Deadlines

Auto club:  You could also ask the auto club to designate "your" city as a "strict enforcement area," which they did with the whole State of Arizona in early 2009.  Their phone numbers are below.

When you are stuck in a long line at the courthouse, ask the other defendants you meet there to make calls too.


Auto Club Phone Numbers

Our legislators pay attention to what the California AAA auto clubs say - if the clubs choose to speak up.  But lately the clubs have been "sitting it out," taking a neutral position on important bills.  (One legislator went public with his criticism of the California AAA clubs.)   If you are a member, call or fax your club at one of the following numbers.  Emailing is much less effective. (And talk to them about designating "your" city as a "strict enforcement area," like they did in early 2009 with the whole State of Arizona.)

CSAA - Northern California:
CEO Paul Gaffney (510) 596-4840
Director of Corporate Affairs Robert (Bob) Brown (510) 596-5347
CSAA email addresses:  Robert_Brown@csaa.com, letters to editor to viamail@csaa.com
CSAA company overview: On CSAA Site Archived Copy May 2012

ACSC - Southern California:
CEO Bob Bouttier (714) 885-1222
Board's fax: (714) 885-1280 and 885-1888
VP Legislative Affairs Alice Bisno (714) 885-1253
Legislative Counsel Tim Chang (916) 594-7348.
ACSC email addresses:  Finnegan.Steve@aaa-calif.com, letters to editor to westways@aaa-calif.com
ACSC Officers: Board

AAA National Headquarters (in Florida):
CEO Bob Darbelnet (407) 444-7000
Board's fax: (407) 444-8416
VP Public Affairs Kathleen Marvaso (202) 942-2050.
Manager, Public Relations Michael Green (202) 942-2082 mgreen@national.aaa.com




2015 - 2016 Legislation, # 1 of  2
Rumored for 2015:  Speed Cameras / Photo Radar

New 8-14-14

We are hearing rumors that in 2015 there will be another attempt to approve the use of photo radar in California.

There's been six previous attempts, just in the last ten years.

Let your legislators know that you are opposed to photo radar.

Phone numbers and info about the legislative process, are available in the big purple box, above.



2015 - 2016 Legislation, # 2 of  2
Likely in 2015:  Push for Collection of Unpaid Fines

New 12-8-14

In late 2014 a new effort began to start a pilot program to give the courts a greater incentive to pursue the collection of fines.

Phone numbers and info about the legislative process, are available in the big purple box, above.




Previous Legislation - 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 & 2010

Legislation from 2009 and before is discussed in
Section 6, further down this page.



2013 - 2014 Legislation

2013 - 2014 Legislation, # 1 of  7
Introduced 2014:  AB 2487 - No More Trial de Novo (After Trial by Declaration) (Opposed - Bill Failed)

New 6-11-14, updated 7-5-14

AB 2487 (Wagner) would have eliminated the right to a Trial de Novo after a Trial by Declaration.

AB 2487 was actively moving through the legislature until June 24 when a 3 - 4 vote by the Senate Public Safety Committee stopped it.

Assemblymember Wagner's 6-11-14 Fact Sheet said:

"Rather than providing a convenient way for a traffic violator who lives an impractical or inconvenient distance from the court to contest matters, the process is being used to give a second bite at the apple to win a case."

"AB 2487 increases the efficiency of traffic courts by amending CVC 40902 to require defendant accused of most CVC infractions to choose either a trial by written declaration, or a hearing, but not both."


Phone numbers and info about the legislative process, are available in the big purple box, above.



2013 - 2014 Legislation, # 2 of  7
Introduced 2014:  AB 1767 - Higher Fines at MRCA Stop Sign Cameras (Strongly Oppose) - Signed by Governor

New 5-10-14, updated 6-24-14, 7-2-14, 9-5-14 and 9-30-14

AB 1767 (Holden) will allow the MRCA parks district to increase the fines from their LA area stop sign cameras - presently $100 - to as much as $500.  And then if that wasn't bad enough, a last minute (July 2) amendment will change the MRCA's stop sign tickets from an infraction to a misdemeanor.  (You can get jail time for a misdemeanor, and having one on your record can affect your ability to get a job, or keep the one you have.)

AB 1767 was launched in Feb. 2014 and was signed into law by Gov. Brown on Sept. 25.

Go
here for more info about the MRCA.

Phone numbers and info about the legislative process, are available in the big purple box, above.



2013 - 2014 Legislation, # 3 of  7
Introduced 2013:  AB 612 - Longer Yellows (Supported - Withdrawn by Author, Then Changed to Non-Red Light Camera Subject)

Updated 6-5-14

AB 612 (Nazarian) would have added 1 second to the length of yellow lights.

AB 612 was launched during the 2013 session, but did not pass.  In June 2014 the author changed the bill to deal with a non-red light camera subject, the rules governing charter-party carriers.

(For more info about longer yellows, see the
Alternatives page.

Phone numbers and info about the legislative process, are available in the
big purple box, above.



2013 - 2014 Legislation, # 4 of  7
Introduced 2013:  AB 487 - Reforming "Protected Plates" (Support - Withdrawn by Author)

Updated 4-13-14

AB 487 (Linder) was the fourth attempt to require the holders of 1.5 million "protected plates" to give the DMV a service address for the mailing of toll and red light camera violations.  AB 487 was launched in 2013, but did not pass.

The California AAA clubs took a neutral position on the 2012 edition of this bill.  Please urge them to stand up for motorists.  Phone numbers and info about the legislative process, are available in the
big purple box, above.

"When a few leaders are so able to insulate themselves from everybody else... that has a corrosive effect."
Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, on Tavis Smiley show, 6-15-12.

(For more info about protected plates, see
AB 2192 in the 2012 Legislation section, further down this page, and FAQ # 22.)




2013 - 2014 Legislation, # 5 of  7
Introduced 2013:  Assembly Bill 666 - The Ultimate Industry Bill (Opposed & Defeated)

Updated 4-13-14

AB 666 (Wieckowski), was advertised as red light camera reform but actually would have made things much worse for motorists, and much better for the Industry.  Read about it on the SaferStreetsLA.org website - and call your legislators - just so this bad idea won't come back as part of another bill.

And if you live in the East Bay or Northeast Santa Clara County, please don't vote for Wieckowski in the Nov. 4, 2014 election.   He is looking to become a State Senator.




2013 - 2014 Legislation, # 6 of  7
Introduced 2014:  Assembly Bill 2724 - Changes Rules on $300 Failure to Appear Fine (Failed)

New 4-13-14

AB 2724 (Bradford), is advertised as making it easier for defendants to resolve their cases after the $300 Failure to Appear fee has been added, but could be amended into a bill like AB 2147 of 2012 (described below) which if it had passed would have required the court to issue bench warrants.  This bill must be watched, carefully.




2013 - 2014 Legislation, # 7 of  7
Introduced 2013:  SB 71 - An Attack on the Public Records Act (Oppose - Resolved by Prop. 42) (Watch)

New 6-17-13, updated 6-5-14

SB 71 (Budget Committee) was a 2013 attempt to reduce the State's spending via many small cuts.  And one of the ways the State hoped to cut spending was by reducing the amount it was required to pay cities to compensate them for the costs of responding to records requests made by the public.  A section of SB 71 was written to reduce the cities' costs by cutting the extent to which cities must respond to requests.  For example:

1. Cities would not have been required to respond to requests within 10 days.
2. Cities would not have been required to tell requesters why a request was being denied.

Most of the information posted on the highwayrobbery.net website was obtained via public records requests.

SB 71 moved really fast.  The language attacking the public records act was added to the bill on June 12.  Then, after the public and the press complained loudly, that language was removed on June 19, and the bill passed five days later!

Then the Legislature wrote Proposition 42, to shift the entire cost to the cities.  We voted on Prop. 42 in the June 3, 2014 Primary election, and it passed with more than 60% of the vote.  But the cities don't like having to bear the cost of records requests, so there could be a new attack in the future, sponsored by them, and it could be just as sudden.  So when you contact your legislators and the governor, please remind them to leave the Public Records Act alone!

To read more about SB 71 and Prop. 42, click on these articles:

CalAware: Legislature Moves to Neuter the Public Records Act
Cal. 1st Amendment Coalition: Brown's Budget Cuts Access to Public Records
LA Times: Proposed Budget Would Weaken California's Public Records Laws
LA Times: Legislators, Brown backpedal on public records bill
Sac Bee: Prop. 42 Wins



Contact info for your legislators and your auto club, plus other info about how the legislative process works, is available in the big purple box, above.



2012 Legislation

2012 Legislation, # 1 of  8
2012:  Senate Bill 1303 - Destroys Hearsay Defense, Sows Confusion, Helps Scofflaws (Opposed) (Signed by Governor on 9-28-12)

Updated 9-29-12

"SB 1303 is a vote by the California legislature in favor of automated traffic enforcement systems.  The changes enacted by this legislation overrule Borzakian [view case] and expressly reject the most commonly used (and commonly litigated) challenges to the admission of ATES-generated evidence.  SB 1303 also expressly allows, for the first time, notices [Snitch Tickets] encouraging registered owners to identify the driver who committed the infraction."
From post-passage RedFlex memo to its client cities

SB 1303 (Simitian), which was signed by Gov. Brown on Sept. 28, was advertised as red light camera reform but actually will make things much worse for motorists, and much better for the Industry - and scofflaws.  It is a Trojan Horse bill:  It was presented as a gift to California motorists but actually lets the enemy (the Industry) storm the castle.

A May 29 amendment - prompted by the fact that earlier in May
two red light camera cases reached the California Supreme Court - will block a defendant's hearsay objections.

"(e) The printed representation of computer-generated information, video, or photographic images stored by an automated traffic enforcement system does not constitute an out-of-court hearsay statement by a declarant under Division 10 (commencing with Section 1200) of the Evidence Code."

Sen. Simitian's willingness to add this last minute "hearsay is OK" amendment to his bill will save RedFlex a lot of money - they won't have to pay lawyers to fight the two cases at the Supreme Court.

An Apr. 12, 2012 RedFlex
memo revealed that RedFlex wrote the amendment and provided it to the Senator - at his request.

Redflex Apr. 12, 2012 memo re Calif. SB 1303
In this memo, "Cal Chiefs" is the Cal. Assn. of Chiefs of Police, "AOC" is the Administrative Office of the Courts, and "TVN" is Traffic Violation Notice, one of the Industry terms for what the public calls a Snitch Ticket


"To my friends everything, to my enemies the law."
("Para mis amigos, todo, para mis enemigos, la ley.")

Attributed to Marshal Oscar R. Benavides Larrea, Peruvian President, 1876 - 1945, and Getulio Vargas, Brazilian President, 1882 - 1954

As was made clear by the nature and source of the hearsay amendment, SB 1303 is an "Industry" bill.  Even before the "hearsay is OK" amendment Simitian had filled the bill with changes favoring the Industry.  It will reduce the number of warning signs, which will provide less warning to motorists, thus more intersection incursions.  The bill's change to the location of warning signs will help scofflaws run red lights (explained in the box below).  The bill legitimizes Snitch Tickets.   The bill may allow a delay, beyond the present 15-day deadline, of the mailing of a real ticket (a Notice to Appear).  The bill appears to contain a number of protections for motorists, but in reality the protections - heavily touted by Simitian - are toothless and ineffective (see why, below), "sheep's clothing" added to the bill to disguise its pro-Industry nature.


On Sept. 28 Governor Brown signed SB 1303.  If you have a comment for him, he is at (916) 445-2841.  Or you can email him, via the Contact form on his website
www.gov.ca.gov.


SB 1303 in Detail

SB 1303:  The Cast of Characters

SB 1362 of 2010, the first version of the bill (killed in the Appropriations Committee)
SB 29, the 2011 version of the bill (vetoed by Gov. Brown)
SB 1303 of 2012 (signed 9-28-12)


SB 1303:  Warning Sign Requirement Helps Scofflaws

SB 1303 started in 2010 as Simitian's SB 1362, which - before a May 2010 amendment - actually would have increased the number of warning signs.  As shown below, it required signs in all four directions at the intersections and at the entrances to town.

"(1)  Identifies the system by signs that clearly indicate the system's presence and are visible to traffic approaching from all directions, and post signs at all major entrances to the city, including, at a minimum, freeways, bridges, and state highway routes."
[Emphasis added.]

2010's SB 1362 failed to pass, even after the removal of the passage which would have required more warning signs.  So, going into 2012, California law remained as enacted in 1995 by SB 833:  A city shall post the entrances to town or all four directions ("approaches") at photo enforced intersections.

2012's SB 1303 removes the option to post the entrances to town, and requires signs only at intersections and only on the one or two approaches (of the four) actually having a camera;  many cities will have fewer warning signs than currently.  In some towns which have just two cameras (examples: Belmont, Grand Terrace, Highland, Lynwood) there will be just two signs, while under present law those towns are likely to have substantially more than two signs if they have chosen to post the entrances to town, or eight signs if they have chosen to post the intersections.

Unforeseen Consequence - SB 1303 Helps Scofflaws

When a city has posted only the entrances to town - an option that SB 1303 takes away - drivers who are new to town are left uncertain about where the cameras actually are.

If you think about it, that uncertainty is actually a good thing.  How so?

Now that SB 1303 has changed the law to require a warning sign near each camera, drivers new to town will no longer have to guess where the cameras are, and the scofflaws among them will know for certain that if there isn't a big warning sign right in front of them, there's no camera at that intersection and they can blast through without risking a ticket.

We will be telling scofflaws exactly where red light cameras are, so why not require cities to post this sign too?
We will be telling scofflaws exactly where red light cameras are - and are not - so why not require cities to post this sign too? (Click on picture to enlarge)


The Industry has been claiming that there is a Halo Effect - that the presence of cameras at just a few intersections leads to better behavior all over town.  If the Halo Effect does exist, SB 1303 will put an end to it.



SB 1303:  Snitch Tickets

"Prohibits Snitch Tickets" - Not Ever !

In his interviews and press releases about the 2011 version of his red light camera bill, Sen. Simitian claimed that the bill (SB 29 - later vetoed by Gov. Brown) would prohibit Snitch Tickets.

Simitian on KCBS-2 2-13-11
"My bill specifically prohibits so-called Snitch Tickets."
Sen. Simitian interviewed on KCBS-2 (Los Angeles) Feb. 13, 2011

That claim was in his press releases on the 2011 bill,

Clip from 10-7-11 Simitian Press Rel on SB 29
From Oct. 7, 2011 press release

and his press releases on the 2012 bill repeated it.

May 31, 2012 press release
Aug. 27, 2012 press release

Simitian has been making - and repeating - this claim despite the fact that his bills have never contained such a ban.   His current bill actually legitimizes the fake tickets, which - here - he called a "notice of nonliability."  (Later on, he gave them an additional name, "Courtesy Notice.")

"(c) (1) This section [CVC 40518] and Section 40520 do not preclude the issuing agency or the manufacturer or supplier of the automated traffic enforcement system from mailing a notice of nonliability..."

Sen. Simitian:  Lying, or Losing It?

"That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation."
(Ret. Gen.) Alexander Haig, Nixon's Chief of Staff, Secretary of State to Reagan, 1924 - 2010

Even though it couldn't be called a "prohibition" of Snitch Tickets, for a period of time it looked like the Senator was trying to give motorists substantial additional protection.  Until Aug. 26, 2011 that year's version of his bill (SB 29) required cities to modify their Snitch Ticket forms to make it clear that responding was not required.  But then he made a deal.  The bill, which at that time was stalled ("on suspense") in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, was allowed to move ahead in exchange for the stripping of the warning language.

"(e) If the issuing agency or the manufacturer or supplier of the automated traffic enforcement system contacts the registered owner of a vehicle prior to issuing a notice to appear in an effort to determine the identity of the driver, the registered owner shall be made aware, in a clear and prominent fashion, that the registered owner is not required to provide the information and that failure to provide the information will not result in additional responsibility or liability associated with the alleged violation."

(The 2012 bill, SB 1303, never included the clause above.)

Even in 2011, the bill was one of Simitian's most prominent ones, so he should have remembered making that deal, and that with the stripping of the warning his bill would impose no limitation of any kind upon the issuance of Snitch Tickets.  But did he remember?  Six weeks later he issued the erroneous Oct. 7 press release, and then in a Nov. 3 KTVU-2 (San Francisco)
interview we saw him talking tough about Snitch Tickets, giving us the impression that he is doing something about them.

Simitian interview with KTVU aired 11-3-11
"People get a ticket in the mail, or a Courtesy Notice as it is called, and they're told, 'You have to fill this out or else you're gonna get the ticket.' "

In the photo above, he is showing the KTVU reporter a document, which in the close-up (below) appears to be the Oct. 7 press release.

Simitian on KTVU aired 11-3-11 re SB 29, now SB 1303
Click image to enlarge.

And then, eight and eleven months later, Simitian put out more press releases with the same false claim of a prohibition.

Clip from 5-31-12 Simitian Press Rel on SB 1303
From the May 31, 2012 and Aug. 27, 2012 press releases (links above)

Simitian's press releases were regurgitated almost verbatim by reporters, including a San Jose Mercury reporter whose Aug. 28, 2012 article repeated Simitian's false information about Snitch Tickets.

"The legislation is also intended to prevent so-called "snitch tickets" and establish a less cumbersome process for a person to overturn a wrongful citation, according to the senator."

From 8-28-12 article by Jason Green

The article was reprinted in at least four other newspapers.  On Aug. 30 we asked the Mercury to print a correction.  They - including their publisher - refused to do so.


Sen. Simitian did finally change SB 1303 to aid motorists... maybe.  On Aug. 6, 2012 he amended the bill to formalize the format of a Snitch Ticket and to require a heading saying, "Courtesy Notice: This is Not a Ticket."  The new heading may turn out to be a "mixed blessing."  See "Sowing Confusion," below.




SB 1303:  Sowing Confusion - Now a Snitch Ticket is to be a "Courtesy Notice"

Those of us who have received a traffic ticket or two have learned that a Courtesy Notice is the
reminder/bail notice that the court mails to us a week or two after a real ticket has been filed with them.

San Diego Courtesy Notice, portion
Heading, Courtesy Notice Sent Out by San Diego Superior Court

2012 San Mateo Citation, mentions Courtesy Notice

Real ticket from City of San Mateo, mentions Courtesy Notice


In the past, when we heard Sen. Simitian mistakenly call a Snitch Ticket a "Courtesy Notice" (in the 2011 KTVU interview above, and elsewhere), we assumed that the Senator's misuse of the title was innocent error by a man who may never have had to deal with a traffic ticket.  But, on Aug. 6, 2012 Simitian formalized the mistake.  Now the bill requires that "
COURTESY NOTICE:  THIS IS NOT A TICKET" be printed top center on the front and back page of each Snitch Ticket.

Simitian added the Courtesy Notice heading after heavy Industry opposition forced him to remove, from that back page, a check box saying "None of the above."

Form from SB 1303 of 2012, as of 5-29-12
Form specified by SB 1303 of 2012, prior to Aug. 6 amendment.


SB 1303:  Sowing Confusion - The Mailing Deadline

The same section that legitimizes Snitch Tickets also clouds the present 15-day deadline for the mailing of a real ticket.

"(c) (1) This section and Section 40520 do not preclude the issuing agency or the manufacturer or supplier of the automated traffic enforcement system from mailing a notice of nonliability [a Snitch Ticket] to the registered owner of the vehicle or the alleged violator prior to issuing a notice to appear."
[Emphasis added.]

A careful reading of the passage above suggests that if the police mail a "notice of nonliability" (which the Senator now is calling a Courtesy Notice and which the public calls a Snitch Ticket) to someone, they can wait a full year - the Statute of Limitations - to mail out a real ticket (a Notice to Appear), which can go to an entirely different person - who will be unable to defend himself.


SB 1303:  The Timing

The timing of the "hearsay is OK" amendment is significant.  Simitian first added that section on Tuesday, May 29, just three days before the deadline for bills to clear the Senate.  That was also just seven days before June 5 when he was up for election for Santa Clara county supervisor.  (He is termed out of the Senate.)  Simitian must have reasoned that local voters would not find out about the big favor he did for RedFlex until well after election day.


SB 1303:  The "Protections" are Sheep's Clothing

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
(Gospel of Matthew 7:15, King James Bible)

The numerous "protections" this bill promises to motorists are there to hide the real bite in the bill - the many things helping the Industry.  The "protections" also were designed to lull Simitian's constituents into thinking that the Senator is helping them, so that they would vote for him for supervisor.  In reality, the "protections" are toothless and won't help motorists because in a June 2010 amendment the Senator removed the consequences that were to apply to cities and/or camera companies ignoring the protections.

"(2) Any citation issued by a governmental agency is null and void if it violates or engages in a contract that violates any of the activities described in paragraph (1) of, or subparagraph (A), (D), (E), or (F) of paragraph (2) of, subdivision (c).
(3) Any citation issued by a law enforcement agency shall be dismissed if the court finds that the governmental agency has failed to operate the automated traffic enforcement system in compliance with the requirements of this section or any other law applicable to automated traffic enforcement.
(4) If a court finds that the governmental agency has failed to operate the system in compliance with this section or any other law applicable to automated traffic enforcement, a law enforcement agency shall not issue any citations until the governmental agency demonstrates to the satisfaction of the court that it is in full compliance with the requirements of this section or any other law applicable to automated traffic enforcement.
"

In a recent Appellate Division decision in Napa, the judge summed it up pretty well:

"A statute violation does not render evidence inadmissible unless the statute so provides...."

Anything else is just pretend.


For the Future:  How to Recognize a Genuine "Reform" Bill

A real reform bill will have teeth.  If it requires (or bans) certain actions by a city, it will specify what is to happen if the city ignores the requirement (or ban).  California's Speed Trap Law is an example.

CVC 40803. (a) No evidence as to the speed of a vehicle upon a highway shall be admitted in any court upon the trial of any person in any prosecution under this code upon a charge involving the speed of a vehicle when the evidence is based upon or obtained from or by the maintenance or use of a speedtrap.

CVC 40804. (a) In any prosecution under this code upon a charge involving the speed of a vehicle, an officer or other person shall be incompetent as a witness if the testimony is based upon or obtained from or by the maintenance or use of a speed trap.



SB 1303:  Is It Constitutional?

Simitian and Karen Finley, From Palo Alto Free Press
Imagined meeting of Simitian, (former) RedFlex President Karen Finley, and typical city representative

In a June 2
article, the Palo Alto Free Press questioned the constitutionality of the May 29 "hearsay is OK" amendment.
The article was the source of the illustration above.


SB 1303:  In Summary...

If Simitian's heart was in the right place, to be fair to motorists while maximizing safety, he would have let the Supreme Court decide what is hearsay and what isn't, he would not have tampered with the (17-year-old) warning sign requirement, and he would have reduced the fine for rolling right turns.  Instead, SB 1303 interferes with the Court, tampers with the sign requirement and will do nothing about the fine, so we have to assume the worst of motives on the part of the Senator.
If these things are not enough confirmation about Simitian's motives, consider his voting record.

SB 1773 of 2006 (added 20% to all fines statewide):  Yes
AB 117 of 2008 (would have added $20 to all fines in Santa Clara County):  Yes
SB 1325 of 2008 (would have allowed speed cameras):  Yes
SB 570 of 2009 (would have gutted the protection the Speed Trap Law provides to motorists):  Yes
ABX 8-3 of 2010 (effective June 2010, added 20% to all fines statewide - an additional $20 on a camera ticket):  Yes
AB 909 of 2010 (if signed by the governor [he vetoed it], would have reduced the fine for rolling rights):  No
AB 529 of 2011 (lowered speed limits, thus permitting shorter yellows):  Yes


SB 1303 was signed by Governor Brown.  If you have a comment for him, he is at (916) 445-2841.  Or you can email him, via the Contact form on his website
www.gov.ca.gov.


CalPIRG Supported the Bill!

Simitian's Sept. 28 (post-signing)
press release revealed that CalPIRG was a supporter of the bill.


More contact info, for your legislators and your auto club, plus other info about how the legislative process works, is available in the
big purple box, above.




2012 Legislation, # 2 of  8
2012:  AB 2128 - Red Light Camera Reform (Support) (Failed)

Updated 5-26-12

AB 2128 (Cook) would have lowered the fine for rolling right turns, and lengthened yellow lights by one second.

On April 9 this bill was approved, unanimously, by the Assembly Transportation Committee.  Then it was sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee which, on May 2, put it in their "suspense" file.  The bill died when the Appropriations Committee failed to take action on it by May 25.

The California AAA clubs took a neutral position on this bill.  Please urge them to stand up for motorists.  Phone numbers and info about the legislative process, are available in the
big purple box, above.


The longer yellows would have reduced collisions by about 40%.

Texas Trans. Inst. report
Source: "Development of Guidelines for Treating Red-Light Running," Texas Transportation Institute, pg 2-20.


California's minimum yellows are significantly shorter than those in Oregon.

Posted Speed
Min. Yellow
Oregon
Min. Yellow
California
25 (and left turns)
3.5
3.0
30
3.5
3.2
35
4.0
3.6
40
4.3
3.9
45
4.7
4.3
Source:   "Yellow Change and Red Clearance Intervals," Oregon DOT


AB 2128's proposed longer yellows were an attempt to respond to the shorter yellows that resulted from AB 529 of 2011 (discussed below).
AB 2128's lower fine for rolling rights was a repeat of
AB 909 of 2010 (discussed below).



2012 Legislation, # 3 of  8
2012:  AB 2192 - Reforming "Protected Plates" (Support) (Failed)

Updated 6-15-12

AB 2192 (Miller) was Miller's third attempt to require the holders of 1.5 million "protected plates" to give the DMV a service address for the mailing of toll and red light camera violations.

On April 23 this bill was approved, unanimously, by the Assembly Transportation Committee.  Then it was sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee which, on May 9, put it in their "suspense" file.  The bill died when the Appropriations Committee failed to take action on it by May 25.

The California AAA clubs took a neutral position on this bill.  Please urge them to stand up for motorists.  Phone numbers and info about the legislative process, are available in the
big purple box, above.

"When a few leaders are so able to insulate themselves from everybody else... that has a corrosive effect."
Capt. Chesley Sullenberger on Tavis Smiley show, 6-15-12.

The state will get a lot of additional income if the holders of protected plates are required to pay their tickets, so why did Appropriations kill this bill?  In the past (2010 and 2011) the opponents have pointed out that it will cost $1 million or more for the DMV to collect the addresses, while failing to mention the additional income from fines.  This ruse is understandable, as they are protecting a privilege that saves themselves and their families hundreds of dollars per year.

(For more info about protected plates, see
AB 2097 in the 2010 Legislation section, further down this page, and FAQ # 22.)

If all these bill numbers are beginning to circle around in your head, I suggest that you go to the Site Index and print out the 'Cheat Sheet' available there. That way, you will have a ready reference to refresh your memory. I use it too!



Inspired by illustration in Smile for the Speed Camera

2012 Legislation, # 4 of  8
2012:  Bill # ??? - Speed Cameras (Oppose) (Bill Failed in 2011 - Watch in 2012)

Updated 5-15-12

Proposals to legalize the use of speed cameras in California have been before the legislature in six of the last seven annual sessions.  2011's speed camera bill AB 1311 (Miller) failed to make it out of the Assembly by the deadline, so it died.  But a new speed camera bill could be launched any time during the 2012 session.



To help get photo radar's foot in the door, the 2011 bill (AB 1311) restricted the use of the cameras to school zones.

Details about the 2010 and earlier speed camera bills are available in the Previous Legislation sections, below.



2012 Legislation, # 5 of  8
2012:  Assembly Bill 2147 - Bench Warrants for MTA/Metro Camera Tickets (Failed)

Updated 5-15-12

AB 2147 (Cedillo) dealt with tickets issued by the Los Angeles County MTA, or "Metro," at 47 red light cameras it has installed along its busways and light rail lines.  Buried just below the middle of the bill's 1500 words is this:

"(5)  If a law enforcement agency does not notify a registered owner that the notice of violation is rescinded pursuant to paragraph (3) prior to the noticed hearing date, the failure by the registered owner to do any of the actions listed in paragraph (4) shall result in the court issuing a bench warrant to compel the registered owner's appearance in court."

AB 2147 failed to make it out of the Transportation Committe by the May 11 deadline, so it is dead - unless it can get a 2/3 vote to waive the deadline.  Such waivers are rare, but we will continue to watch this bill.



2012 Legislation, # 6 of  8
2012:  Assembly Bill 539 - $565 Fine for Speeding in School Zone (Subject Changed to Toll Info) (Watch)

Updated 6-16-12

AB 539 (Williams), was introduced in Feb. 2011 to raise the fine for speeding in a school zone from $465, to $565, plus the cost of traffic school.  In June 2011 it was held up in a Senate committee, but came back alive in June 2012, amended to deal with the sharing and selling of license plate data obtained by toll road operations.  The bill could change subject area again, so we will continue to watch it.



2012 Legislation, # 7 of  8
2012:  Assembly Bill 432 - Tickets Must Be Mailed in Official Envelope (Subject Changed to Transit Funding) (Watch)

Updated 6-27-12

AB 432 (Hall), introduced in Feb. 2011, was a "spot bill*," or a "place holder," as its most significant requirement was for red light camera tickets to be mailed in an official envelope.  In June 2011 the author chose to put it on hold, but brought it back to life in June 2012, amended to deal with transit funding.  The bill could change subject area again, so we will continue to watch it.

*Spot bill:  A bill that proposes nonsubstantive amendments
to a code section; introduced to assure that
a bill will be available after the deadline to introduce bills,
for revision to cover any subject matter.



2012 Legislation, # 8 of  8
2012:  Senate Bill 1071 - Minor Changes to CVC 21455.5 (Spot Bill) (Failed - Watch)

Updated 6-12-12

SB 1071 (Harman), is a "spot bill*," or a "place holder."  The Legislative Analyst described SB 1071 as making "...technical, nonsubstantive changes...."  SB 1071 failed to make it out of the Senate by the June 1 deadline, so it is dead - unless it can get a 2/3 vote to waive the deadline.  Such waivers are rare, but we will continue to watch this bill.





Previous Legislation - 2011 & 2010

Legislation from 2009 and before is discussed in
Section 6, further down this page.

2011 Legislation

2011 Legislation, # 1 of  8
2011:  AB 529 - Lower Posted Speeds, Shorter Yellow Lights (Strong Opposition Needed) (Signed 10-7-11)

Gatto Yellows: In honor of Asm. Mike Gatto

Updated 10-9-11

AB 529 (Gatto), will allow cities to reduce many posted speed limits by 5 mph.  The lower speed limits will, in turn, allow the cities to shorten their yellows lights by 0.3 to 0.4 second.  Shortening a yellow light by 0.35 second raises the rate of severe accidents by about 30%.  Gov. Brown signed AB 529 on Oct. 7, 2011, and it will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

Texas Trans. Inst. report
Source: "Development of Guidelines for Treating Red-Light Running," Texas Transportation Institute, pg 2-20.


Even without AB 529, California's minimum yellows are already significantly shorter than those in Oregon.

Posted Speed
Min. Yellow
Oregon
Min. Yellow
California
25 (and left turns)
3.5
3.0
30
3.5
3.2
35
4.0
3.6
40
4.3
3.9
45
4.7
4.3
Source:   "Yellow Change and Red Clearance Intervals," Oregon DOT

Why then, if California's yellows are already shorter than in a neighboring state, and shorter yellows are known to make intersections more dangerous, did our Legislature take steps to make them even shorter?  It could be money.  Four of the sponsoring cities have red light cameras, and shorter yellows produce a lot more red light camera tickets.

The lower speed limits also will make it easier for California cities to issue speeding tickets.

AB 529 - In Detail

AB 529 changes how speed surveys determine the speed limit that is to be posted on a street.

Every seven to ten years the city traffic engineer goes out to the street and uses a radar gun to measure the speed of 100 cars.  Then he discards the 15 fastest cars.  The speed of the fastest car remaining is the "85th percentile speed."  (AB 529 does not change this part of the survey process.)

Under pre-AB 529 law, the engineer then rounds the 85th percentile speed to the nearest 5 mph increment, which can be up or down depending upon what the 85th percentile was found to be.  That 5 mph increment will become the posted speed limit, unless the engineer is able to cite a dangerous road condition that would not be visible to a driver (Cal. Vehicle Code Sec. 627 uses the phrase "conditions not readily apparent to the driver"), such as a higher-than-average accident rate or a hidden driveway.  If the street is a dangerous one, the engineer can lower the posted limit to the next-lower 5 mph increment.  Thus, an 85th of 33, normally posted as 35, can be lowered to 30 if there is a hidden danger or a high accident rate.

Under AB 529, the engineer will not be required to round to the nearest 5 mph increment.  He will be allowed to round down, anytime he wishes, even if the street is a safe one; He will not need to cite a dangerous condition as justification.  Thus, the speed limit on any (and potentially every) street having an 85th of 33 or 34 could be lowered from 35 down to 30 Ė in spite of a very low incidence of accidents.  The same would apply to every street having an 85th of 38 or 39; The speed limit could be lowered from 40 down to 35.


 
85th Percentile Speed
Low Accident Rate & No Hidden Hazards High Accident Rate or Hidden Hazards
Before AB 529
AB 529
Before AB 529
AB 529





39
40
35*
35
35
38
40
35*
35
35
37
35
35
30
30
36
35
35
30
30
35
35
35
30
30
In this example, AB 529 would take a street which has been operating safely at 40,
and reduce the speed to 35.

*Now that this bill has been enacted into law, I suggest that a new lower speed limit instituted on what was a safe street should be called a Gatto Trap, and that a new shorter yellow on that street should be called a Gatto Yellow.


What Honest Engineers Think


In its publication "Realistic Speed Zoning" the AAA warned about:

"...widely held misconceptions, such as:
•  Speed limit signs will slow the speed of traffic.
•  Speed limit signs will decrease the accident rate and increase safety.
•  Raising a posted speed limit will cause an increase in the speed of traffic."


---

In a June 22, 2011 interview the Public Works Director of a California city which once had red light cameras explained - very well - why the arbitrary lowering of speed limits does not work:
"The speed limit is what you, the motoring public, based on your behaviors, have determined is appropriate. Itís not the speed limit sign that controls the speed of traffic. Itís the speed of traffic that controls what the posted speed limit sign is going to say."
"Studies have shown that accidents are lower when drivers are driving in a uniform manner at about the same speed. When thereís a larger differential in speed where some people are driving slow and some people are driving fast, that can cause some drivers to make sudden lane changes because faster drivers want to get around the slow-driving person."
"If a public agency chooses to (decrease) a segment of roadway, that can cause friction in the flow of traffic because the majority of traffic will continue to drive what they feel is a prudent speed."
"But we may get a few overly conservative drivers that force themselves to comply with the sign, and that will cause them to drive significantly slower than the rest of traffic, which can cause accidents."


---

On June 14 a traffic engineer wrote the following to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee:

"Please note that the City of Fountain Valley's chart below addresses the common myth that drivers increase their speed if limits go up. This simply is not true as the below chart illustrates..."

Driver's don't increase their speed if limits go up
Click on the image, for larger size.

"I urge this committee, in the interest of safety and just fairness to the public, to respect the work that was done over many years between the State, local agencies, traffic engineers and the CHP & to not subvert engineering practice and safety through this legislation."

---

For much more info about speed surveying, read the informal discussion on this site.



2011 Legislation, # 2 of  8
2011:  Senate Bill 29 - Reduces Number of Warning Signs (Oppose)
(Vetoed 10-7-11)
(Attempt to Override Veto Failed)



3-25-12

Simitian's SB 29 (discussed below) was vetoed by Gov. Brown on Oct. 7, but there was still the possibility that the legislature could vote to overturn the veto.  The deadline to take that vote, March 1, 2012, passed without a vote, so the veto was "sustained."  When you call your legislators to let them know how you feel about AB 529's shorter yellows (above), the legislature's failure to reduce the fine for rolling rights (# 3 of 8, below), and their failure to do anything about the 1.5 million protected plates (# 6 of 8, below), please also thank them for putting an end to SB 29.

SB 29 (Simitian, with Huff and Anderson) was sold as red light camera reform, but actually would have made things worse for motorists.  Among other things, it would have reduced the number of warning signs, from four per intersection to one or two.  (See the bill's version of 21455.5(a)(1).)  Fewer signs would have meant (a), less warning to motorists, thus more tickets issued and (b), a reduction in safety, discussed in the box, below.  SB 29 also would have legitimized Snitch Tickets, and may have allowed a delay, beyond 15 days, of the mailing of a Notice to Appear.  (See the bill's version of 40518(c).)  The rest of the bill's 1855 words did little more than "rearrange the furniture."  Perhaps the purpose of the extra verbiage was to hide the portions of the bill that would have reduced warning signs and extended the mailing period for tickets.

SB 29 originated as SB 1362 of 2010, which failed when on Aug. 13, 2010 the Assembly Committee on Appropriations killed it.  (See detailed info about SB 1362, and the senators, in the 2010 Legislation section, further down this page.)  The original version of the 2010 bill actually increased the number of warning signs.  Had the original version of SB 1362 passed, signs would have had to be posted in all four directions at the intersections and at the entrances to town.  (Present law gives the city the option to post the intersections or the entrances.)

The Consequences of Fewer Signs

Under SB 29's (proposed) new language, there will be fewer warning signs.  Cities will no longer be required to post signs at the entrances to town or on all four sides ("approaches") of the intersections having photo enforcement.  Signage will be required only at the photo enforced intersections, and only on the one or two approaches (of the four) actually having a camera.


The Effect on Intentional Running

With few signs, a scofflaw inclined to run the red lights in town will no longer be unsure about which intersections he can run through.  After reading SB 29 he will know that if there isn't a big warning sign right in front of him, he can blast through without risking a ticket.

The Industry has been claiming that there is a Halo Effect - that the presence of cameras at just a few of the intersections in town leads to better behavior all over town.  If the Halo Effect does exist, SB 29 will put an end to it.


As had happened to the 2010 bill, SB 29 was stalled (on "suspense") in the Assembly Appropriations Committee until Aug. 26, 2011 when a dirty deal was made - SB 29 was allowed to move ahead, in exchange for the striking-out (removal) of a section which would have required cities to modify their Snitch Ticket (fake ticket) forms to make it clear that no response is required.

(e) If the issuing agency or the manufacturer or supplier of the automated traffic enforcement system contacts the registered owner of a vehicle prior to issuing a notice to appear in an effort to determine the identity of the driver, the registered owner shall be made aware, in a clear and prominent fashion, that the registered owner is not required to provide the information and that failure to provide the information will not result in additional responsibility or liability associated with the alleged violation.



"Prohibits Snitch Tickets" - Not !

Sen. Simitian's interviews and press releases claimed that SB 29 would prohibit Snitch Tickets...

Simitian on KCBS-2 2-13-11
"My bill specifically prohibits so-called Snitch Tickets."
Sen. Simitian interviewed on KCBS-2 (Los Angeles) Feb. 13, 2011

Clip from 10-7-11 Simitian Press Rel on SB 29
From Oct. 7, 2011 press release

...despite the fact that the bill never contained such a ban.
The bill actually would have legitimized the fake tickets:

"(c) This section and Section 40520 do not preclude the issuing agency or the manufacturer or supplier of the automated traffic enforcement system from mailing a courtesy notice or any other notice other than a notice to appear to the registered owner of the vehicle..."

Sen. Simitian:  Lying, or Losing It?

"That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation."
(Ret. Gen.) Alexander Haig, Nixon's Chief of Staff, Secretary of State to Reagan, 1924 - 2010

SB 29 was one of the Senator's most prominent bills, so he should have remembered that on Aug. 26 he stripped-out the language requiring that a Snitch Ticket include a "clear and prominent" notice to the registered owner.  And he should have remembered that with that stripping his bill would impose no limitation of any kind upon the issuance of Snitch Tickets.  But did he remember?  On Oct. 7 he issued the erroneous press release, and then in a KTVU-2 (San Francisco) interview aired Nov. 3, we see him talking tough about Snitch Tickets, giving us the impression that he has done something about them.

Simitian interview with KTVU aired 11-3-11
"People get a ticket in the mail, or a Courtesy Notice as it is called, and they're told, 'You have to fill this out or else you're gonna get the ticket.' "

In the photo above, he is showing the KTVU reporter a document, which in the close-up (below) appears to be the Oct. 7 press release.

Simitian on KTVU aired 11-3-11 re SB 29
Click image to enlarge.



If the three senators' hearts had been in the right place, to be fair to motorists while maximizing safety, they would have reduced the fine for rolling right turns and they would not have tried to tamper with the (17-year-old) warning sign requirement.

They did not propose a reduced fine, and they did try to reduce the number of warning signs, so we have to assume the worst of motives on the part of the senators and their supporters.

If you see Governor Brown, thank him for vetoing this bill.  And ask your Sacramento legislators to vote against any attempt to override Brown's veto.


For the Future:  How to Recognize a Genuine "Reform" Bill

A real reform bill will have teeth.  If it requires (or bans) certain actions by a city, it will specify what is to happen if the city ignores the requirement (or ban).  The Speed Trap Law is an example.

CVC 40803. (a) No evidence as to the speed of a vehicle upon a highway shall be admitted in any court upon the trial of any person in any prosecution under this code upon a charge involving the speed of a vehicle when the evidence is based upon or obtained from or by the maintenance or use of a speedtrap.

CVC 40804. (a) In any prosecution under this code upon a charge involving the speed of a vehicle, an officer or other person shall be incompetent as a witness if the testimony is based upon or obtained from or by the maintenance or use of a speed trap.

Anything else is just pretend.



2011 Legislation, # 3 of  8
2011:  Bill # ??? - Reduce the Penalty for Rolling Rights (Missing - No Bill Submitted) (Push for Bill in 2012)

Updated 9-8-11

During the 2010 session there was AB 909 by Assemblyman Jerry Hill of San Mateo, which would have cut the fine almost in half.  It passed thru the legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger.  (More info about AB 909 is in the 2010 Legislation section, further down this page.)  In Dec. 2010 our legislators began submitting bills for consideration during the 2011 session, and by Feb. 18, 2011 they had submitted over 2300 new bills, but no bill to reduce the penalty for rolling right turns.

For the 2012 Session...

Contact the staff of your assemblyperson or state senator and ask them to do a bill to reduce the rolling right penalty.  I think that a fine of $25 (total, including all surcharges) would accomplish the safety goal of reminding drivers not to roll around corners.  Fall 2011 is the best time to make these calls.  Phone numbers and info about the legislative process are available in the
big purple box, above.


If all these bill numbers are beginning to circle around in your head, I suggest that you go to the Site Index and print out the 'Cheat Sheet' available there. That way, you will have a ready reference to refresh your memory. I use it too!



2011 Legislation, # 4 of  8
2011:  Assembly Bill 539 - $565 Fine for Speeding in School Zone (Oppose)  (Bill Failed - Watch in 2012)

Updated 9-8-11

AB 539 (Williams), introduced on Feb. 17, 2011, would have raised the fine for speeding in a school zone from $465, to $565, plus the cost of traffic school.

This bill was held up in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.  But it could come back alive, next year, so continued opposition is necessary.



2011 Legislation, # 5 of  8
2011:  Assembly Bill 432 - Minor Changes to CVC 21455.5 (Spot Bill)

Updated 9-8-11

AB 432 (Hall), introduced on Feb. 14, 2011, was a "spot bill*," or a "place holder."  The Legislative Analyst described AB 432 as making "...technical, nonsubstantive changes...."  While it didn't seem to do much, it was fully "alive" - it had been approved by the Assembly and, until Sept. 2 could have been amended in the Senate to become an important bill.  Thus, it had to be watched, carefully.

We encouraged the assemblyman to amend this bill to reduce the fine for rolling right turns, but he did not.

*Spot bill:  A bill that proposes nonsubstantive amendments
to a code section; introduced to assure that
a bill will be available after the deadline to introduce bills,
for revision to cover any subject matter.



2011 Legislation, # 6 of  8
2011:  Assembly Bill 3 - Dealing with "Protected Plates" (Oppose as Amended)  (Bill Failed - Push for New Bill in 2012)

Updated 9-8-11

Now it is dead, but when it was originally filed AB 3 (Miller) was a good bill, a repeat of Miller's 2010 bill, AB 2097, which would have required the holders of 1.5 million "protected plates" to give the DMV a service address, for the mailing of toll and red light camera violations.   Highwayrobbery.net urged strong support for AB 2097 and for the original version of AB 3.  Unfortunately, on Apr. 5, 2011, AB 3 was amended, removing the requirement to provide a service address.  And then on Apr. 14 it was amended to deal only with toll road tickets; all mention of red light camera tickets was removed.  Finally, it failed to make it out of the Assembly by the deadline, so it died, and cannot be revived this year.  But it could be brought back in 2012, as a "Two Year Bill."  So, we will watch it.

For the 2012 Session...

Contact the staff of your assemblyperson or state senator and ask them to do a new bill to deal with protected plates.  Fall 2011 is the best time to make these calls.  Phone numbers and info about the legislative process are available in the
big purple box, above.

(For more info about protected plates, see AB 2097 in the 2010 Legislation section, further down this page, and FAQ # 22.)

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box below during the time when the bill dealt with red light camera tickets.

Until the recent amendments AB 3 was a repeat of a good bill, Miller's AB 2097 of 2010, which required the holders of 1.5 million "protected plates" to provide a service address to the DMV so that those motorists can be sent their toll and red light camera violations.  In 2010 AB 2097 passed through four votes, all unanimously (in three committees and on the Assembly floor), but then was killed by the Senate Committee on Appropriations (on Aug. 13).

Highwayrobbery.net urged strong support for the original version of AB 3.  Unfortunately, on Apr. 5, 2011, AB 3 was amended, removing the requirement to provide a service address.  Instead, the amended bill provides that red light camera violations by vehicles with protected plates are to be reported to the DMV, and the DMV is to place a registration hold on those vehicles - even though their owners will not have been sent a ticket or any other kind of notification at the time the violation occurred.

Common sense tells us that a scheme that notifies you of a camera-enforced traffic violation six months to a year after the fact will not stand up to court scrutiny - because the defendant can argue that the long delay deprived him of any chance to remember the circumstances surrounding the alleged violation, thus affecting his ability to defend himself.  The net effect will be to leave those having protected plates free to run through intersections without penalty.  Common sense also says that the test case will be brought by an organization or union representing a group of government employees at a state agency where many employees have protected plates.  Thus, this bill, as amended, is not likely to curb the abuse of the protected plates.  The bill is now so ineffective (and defective) that it should be withdrawn.  Instead, it is being maintained, to give voters the impression that Mr. Miller is still trying to do something about the problem, when in reality he has been scared off by pressure from powerful government employee groups.

Also see AB 1311, Mr. Miller's bill to legalize speed cameras, discussed next.

(For more info about protected plates, see AB 2097 in the 2010 Legislation section, further down this page, and FAQ # 22.)

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box above during the time when AB 3 dealt with red light camera tickets.

2011 Legislation, # 7 of  8
2011:  AB 1311 - Speed Cameras (Bill Failed - Watch in 2012)

Updated 9-8-11

(This bill failed to make it out of the Assembly by the deadline, so is dead, for now.  But it could be brought back as a "Two Year Bill," during the 2012 session.  So, we will watch it.)

AB 1311 (Miller), would have legalized the use of speed cameras in California.
To help get photo enforcement's foot in the door, the bill restricted the use of the cameras to school zones.

Speed camera proposals have been before the legislature in six of the last seven annual sessions - see details about those bills, below.



2011 Legislation, # 8 of  8
2011:  Assembly Bill 1008 - Ban the Cameras (Oppose)  (Bill Failed - Watch in 2012)

Updated 9-8-11

(This bill failed to make it out of the Assembly by the deadline, so is dead, for now.  But it could be brought back as a "Two Year Bill," during the 2012 session.  So, we will watch it.)

AB 1008 (Cook), was introduced on Feb. 18, 2011, and was a "non-starter" - it failed to gain approval by the first committee to hear it.  While this bill sounded good - it would have stopped the installation of any new cameras after Jan. 1, 2012 - I think that at this point, a ban on new cameras is meaningless, almost an insult to the public.  The main beneficiary of this bill would have been the camera Industry - the pending ban would have sparked a Gold Rush, like the one that occurred in Dec. 2003 just before the AB 1022 ban on pay-per-ticket contracts was to go into effect.  During that month, Del Mar, Emeryville, Escondido, Lynwood, Maywood, Oceanside, Ridgecrest, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, Solana Beach and Vista signed new contracts.  And the City of Upland signed a ten-year extension to the contract it first signed five months before.

Let us encourage Mr. Cook to amend this bill in 2012, or do a new bill, to reduce the fine for rolling right turns.  Phone numbers and info about the legislative process are available in the
big purple box, above.




Previous Legislation:  2010
Legislation from 2009 and before is discussed in
Section 6, further down this page.

2010 Legislation, # 1 of  8
2010:  Gov. Schwarzenegger's Budget Includes Speed Cameras! (Oppose) (Left Out of Final Budget)
Info about the speed camera bills proposed before 2010 is in
Section 6, further down this page.


Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box below during the time when the budget, including possible speed cameras, was not yet final.



Governor wants to catch speeders with red-light cameras to help balance budget
LA Times, Friday Jan. 8, 2010

California drivers could get stuck with speeding tickets even with nary a cop in sight under a proposal tucked deep in the budget Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled today.

The Republican governor wants to let cities and counties install speed sensors in red-light cameras to ticket speeding drivers. Those whizzing by the detectors up to 15 mph above the limit would have to fork over $225 per violation. Those going faster than that would pay $325 under the plan.

Red-light cameras already exist in communities across the Southland, from Beverly Hills to Yucaipa. The governor wants to install speed detectors in 500 of those cameras, which would nab an estimated 2.4 million speeding violators per year, according to the finance department estimates.

That would net cash-strapped California about $337.9 million through June 2011. Every year after that, the program would generate nearly half a billion dollars, the finance department says. Local governments would get a cut of the proceeds.

At page LJE 9 of the budget details, it says,

"The budget reflects additional revenues of $296.9 million from the new Automated Speed Enforcement Program, which allows a commensurate reduction in General Fund support for trial court operations."

In other words, the courts will be expected to process 2 million more tickets, for the same pay!  If we thought that the lines already were too long now, and the court employees already too surly, we have another think coming.

The blog laist.com commented:  "The SacBee duly noted that 'the governor did not propose increasing fines for talking on cell phones while driving or parking in red zones,' both of which his wife was caught on camera doing last year."

Another article.  And another.

This is the fifth attempt in six years to allow speed cameras.  But this is the first attempt having the governor's public support.  (For info about the previous attempts, see way below.)  The AAA opposes this speed camera proposal.

Please call your legislators in Sacramento - and the governor.

For phone numbers, see the
big purple box, [above].

Calling is much more effective than email.

I recommend calling your legislators' offices in Sacramento, not in the district.

After you talk to them (and the governor) about the governor's photo radar proposal, talk to them about the other 2010 bills and fees, below.

Previously (in 2008, see way below) I suggested that we should call the speed cameras, if installed, Kuehl Kams.  Now, I think a better name would be "Schwarzeneggers."  As in, "Look out mom, Schwarzenegger at 200 yards!"


Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box above during the time when the speed cameras were under active consideration.


2010 Legislation, # 2 of  8
2010:  New $40 Surcharge - (Oppose) (Left Out of Final Budget)
For info about bills proposed before 2010, scroll way down, or click:  Legislation 1994 - 2009

Some newspaper articles, and a May 2010
press release from an assemblymember (see third bulleted point), revealed a proposed $40 surcharge on each ticket, which "will be debated as part of the budget during the month of June."



2010 Legislation, # 3 of  8
2010:  California Assembly Bill 909 - Reducing the Fine for Rolling Right Turns (Oppose in Final Form) (Vetoed)
For info about bills proposed before 2010, scroll way down, or click:  Legislation 1994 - 2009

Updated 10-10-10

Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 909 on Sept. 29.  His veto message:

To the Members of the California State Assembly:
I am returning Assembly Bill 909 without my signature.
A driver running a red-light, whether they are traveling straight, or turning right,
makes a very dangerous traffic movement that endangers the nearby motoring public,
bicyclists, and pedestrians. Modifying existing law to make red-light violations from a
right turn less egregious sends the wrong message to the public that California is
tolerant of these types of offenses. It is our responsibility to protect the motoring
public and not increase the risk of traffic collisions.
Therefore, I am unable to sign this bill.
Sincerely,
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box below during the time when the bill - now vetoed - was under active consideration.


AB 909 (Hill) has been advertised as cutting the fine for a rolling right turn to about half of what it is now.  Unfortunately, it looks like the proposed cut will be nullified by new surcharges:  There is the proposed $40 statewide surcharge - see above - and there is a new 20% surcharge (adding $20 to the cost of a red light camera ticket) which went into effect on June 10, 2010.  So, if AB 909 passes as presently written, a rolling right ticket will cost about $400 when the two surcharges and the cost of traffic school are included.
Prior to a June 14 amendment, the bill was interesting; it would have revised the law to allow a motorist to turn right without having to stop, so long as they did not interfere with a pedestrian's or other motorist's right-of-way.
For more info about this bill, see this
special page.
I think that a $25 fine (total, including all surcharges) would be enough to remind motorists not to swoop around corners.  That's what some cities outside California charge.  (See the expanded version of Defect # 9 for info about those other cities.)


Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box above during the time when AB 909 - now vetoed - was under active consideration.


2010 Legislation, # 4 of  8
2010:  California Senate Bill 1362 - Minor Changes to CVC 21455.5 (Oppose in Final Form) (Bill Failed)
For info about bills proposed before 2010, scroll way down, or click:  Legislation 1994 - 2009

Updated 8-14-10

SB 1362 failed when on Aug. 13 the Assembly Committee on Appropriations blocked it and kept it from reaching the Assembly floor for a vote by the annual deadline.  Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box below during the time when the bill - now failed - was under active consideration.


SB 1362 (Simitian, with co-authors Ashburn & Huff) has been amended five times - most recently on Aug. 2 - and all that is left is a minor restriction on the issuance of Snitch Tickets, buried in CVC 40518(c) - (e) of the bill.

The original version of the bill was weak - the bill has never dealt with the "gorilla in the room," the thousands of $500+ tickets for minor violations like rolling right turns.  (For perspective, in New York City the camera ticket fine is $50.)  And the numerous amendments weakened it further.  Here is what has happened to some key provisions.

Illegal acts by the city:  The original bill made tickets "null and void"
if the city violated the easy-to-follow rules set out in CVC 21455.5.
Then a June 30 amendment removed that language.

Snitch Tickets:  The bill (see 40518(c) in the bill) allows cities to continue
to issue an "other notice other than a notice to appear" (a Snitch Ticket),
but requires that these notices be on an approved form (to be created).  Until the
June 30 amendment the bill said that if the form was "materially altered"
the ticket "shall be dismissed."  Now it says, "may be dismissed."
Then there is the issue of the phone calls some police departments
make to registered owners (see Creepy Phone Calls, on the Your
Ticket page).  While the bill's 40518(e) says that if a city "contacts" the
registered owner, he is to be "made aware" that he is not required to provide
information, how could the registered owner ever prove that the police failed to make
that required disclosure if the contact was by phone?  And even if he was able to
prove that the police failed to make the disclosure, would be ticket
be dismissed?  The bill does not say.
The bill's 40518(e) disclosure requirement also makes us realize that an equivalent
requirement has not been applied to Snitch Tickets.  The bill's 40518(c) lists three
kinds of information that must appear on an "other notice" but it does not include a
disclosure that there is no requirement to provide information.  (If it was addressing
this issue, we would expect the bill to specify things like the size of type
and its position on the page.)

Warning signs:  The original bill required more signs - they would have
to be posted at the intersections and at the entrances to town.
Then a May 11 amendment removed the requirement for signs at the entrances to town,
and the June 30 amendment removed the requirement for signs to face all directions of traffic -
only the directions enforced by cameras need to be posted.

Who can issue tickets:  An early version of the bill changed CVC 40518 so that
only a "peace officer" could issue a ticket, thus promising to end the practice
in some cities of having tickets issued by non-sworn police services personnel.
Then, the June 30 amendment reversed the change, again allowing
so-called "qualified personnel" to issue tickets.
Using clerks to issue the tickets is controversial, even in the Industry - see FAQ # 36.

If it is amended again, SB 1362 should be changed to actually DO something to protect motorists.  Here are some suggestions.

Increase the warning ticket period to 90 days, and clarify
that warning tickets must be issued at each camera, not just the first one in town.

Reduce the fine for rolling rights to a maximum of $25 including all surcharges,
and with no "point." (Compare to AB 909, above.)

Provide for automatic dismissal of multiple rolling right tickets occurring at the same
intersection within the same 30-day period, when the first one is paid (see FAQ # 40).

Require that the yellow for a left turn be at least as long as the straight-thru yellow,
and at least 4.0 seconds if the turn pocket is longer than 200 feet or if it is a double
or triple left turn (see expanded version of Defect # 9 - C).

Restore the provisions removed by the May 11 and June 30 amendments (as discussed above):
"Null and void,"
"intersections and entrances,"
"only a peace officer."

Right now it looks like the three senators are just trying to give the appearance of doing something, to mollify the constituents who are calling their offices to complain about ticket mills.
If you act NOW, you may be able to affect SB 1362's direction.  Contact your local legislators, and if you live in or commute through one of the three senators' districts, contact them.  Their phone numbers are at these links.

Ashburn [termed-out as of Nov. 2010] represent[ed] Bakersfield, Barstow, Tulare, 29 Palms, Ridgecrest, Visalia.

Huff represents Yorba Linda, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, La Habra, Sierra Madre, Walnut, Glendora.

Simitian represents San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino,
Campbell, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos, and part of San Jose.
Going in, know Simitian's voting record:
AB 909 of 2010 (if signed by the governor [he vetoed it], will reduce the fine for rolling rights):  No
ABX 8-3 of 2010 (effective June 2010, added 20% to all fines statewide - an additional $20 on a camera ticket):  Yes
SB 570 of 2009 (would have gutted the protection the Speed Trap Law provides to motorists):  Yes
SB 1325 of 2008 (would have allowed speed cameras):  Yes
AB 117 of 2008 (would have added $20 to all fines in Santa Clara County):  Yes
SB 1773 of 2006 (added 20% to all fines statewide):  Yes

While you are talking to your legislators about SB 1362, please also talk to them about the speed cameras proposed by the governor, the new $40 surcharge, and the other bills described below.  For phone numbers, see the
big purple box, above.

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box above during the time when SB 1362 - now failed - was under active consideration.


If all these bill numbers are beginning to circle around in your head, I suggest that you go to the Site Index and print out the 'Cheat Sheet' available there. That way, you will have a ready reference to refresh your memory. I use it too!



2010 Legislation, # 5 of  8
2010:  Assembly Bill 2097 - Dealing with "Protected Plates" (Support) (Bill Failed)
For info about bills proposed before 2010, scroll way down, or click:  Legislation 1994 - 2009

Updated 8-14-10

AB 2097 passed through four votes, all unanimously (in three committees and on the Assembly floor), but then on Aug. 13 the Senate Committee on Appropriations blocked it and kept it from reaching the Senate floor for a vote by the annual deadline.  Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box below during the time when the bill - now failed and replaced by AB 3 of 2011 - was under active consideration.


AB 2097 (Miller) was filed on Feb. 18, 2010.  The Legislative Counsel's digest says:

"This bill would require a person who requests the confidentiality
of his or her home address to provide the department with a current
employment address for purposes of processing the service and
collection of a traffic, parking, or toll road violation."

Under present law, the 1.5 million private vehicles having "protected plates" are, as reported by the Orange County Register newspaper, "protected from easy or efficient look up, thus are effectively invisible to agencies attempting to process parking, toll, and red light camera violations."  Read more in FAQ # 22.  The AAA supports this bill, and I strongly support it.  But I would like to see one change.  The bill's provisions don't go into effect until April 2012, nearly two years from now.  I think it can and should be much sooner.

I urge everyone to contact their legislators and the AAA about AB 2097.  If this bill does not make it, the bureaucrats will keep laughing at us as we pay our $500+ fines.


Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box above during the time when AB 2097 - now failed and replaced by AB 3 of 2011 - was under active consideration.


2010 Legislation, # 6 of  8
2010:  Assembly Bill 2729 - Outlawing "Right on Green" (Oppose) (Vetoed)
For info about bills proposed before 2010, scroll way down, or click:  Legislation 1994 - 2009

Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed this bill.

Late note: In late 2012 California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued an
Opinion allowing the use of cameras to enforce "No Right Turn on Green" restrictions.

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box below during the time when the bill - now vetoed - was under active consideration.


AB 2729 (Ammiano) would allow cameras to be used to enforce a "No Right Turn on Green" restriction at one intersection in San Francisco.  The right turn is prohibited (even on green!) because turning cars have been hitting bicyclists using the parallel bike lane.  I oppose this bill because it proposes an expansion of the use of cameras to deal with a sitation where no one has presented information as to whether it is visitors, or "locals," who are causing the accidents, and I believe that the cameras would be ineffective against violations by visitors.  Further, a City memo indicates that while the City already has accomplished a 93% cut in the number of illegal right turns through the use of signage, that big drop in illegal turns didn't reduce the accident rate at all.  In that memo, City Chief Traffic Enngineer Jack Fleck wrote:  "Despite the decrease in the number of motorists illegally turning right onto the Central Freeway after the installation of the improvements, during the same time period the number of collisions between bicycles and illegally-turning vehicles has actually increased."  Cameras cannot stop ALL of the remaining right turn violations (at least that never happens in other cities), so to stop the accidents, the City needs to try further engineering fixes.  The Auto Club of SoCal submitted a "Letter of Concern" about this bill.

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box above during the time when AB 2729 - now vetoed - was under active consideration.


2010 Legislation, # 7 of  8
2010:  Senate Bill 1318 - Possible Attack on our "Speed Trap Law" Protections (Undecided) (Passed)
For info about bills proposed before 2010, scroll way down, or click:  Legislation 1994 - 2009

SB 1318 (By the T & H Committee) is a huge "omnibus" bill - everything has been thrown in there - 17,034 words!  On Apr. 14 someone added "Section 45" which modifies the speed trap law.  Then, six days later, the Committee voted to OK it.  (An average reader would need 68 minutes to read this bill, so one could wonder just how many of the Committee members actually read the bill before voting on it.)
Until May 1 I was recommending "Oppose unless amended to remove Sec. 45" on this bill.  More recently I have been assured (by AAA staff which deals with legislative issues full-time) that the Sec. 45 changes are necessary, and harmless.  Therefore - and considering all the other bills which require strong opposition or strong support - I am now recommending leaving this bill alone for the time being.



2010 Legislation, # 8 of  8
2010:  Senate Bill 949 - Dealing with Local Kangaroo Kourts (Oppose in Final Form) (Passed)
For info about bills proposed before 2010, scroll way down, or click:  Legislation 1994 - 2009

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box below during the time when the bill - now passed - was under consideration.


SB 949 (Oropeza) Some cities have begun setting up their own Kangaroo Kourts for moving violations - which they cite under their own local version of the California Vehicle Code.  This bill was created to stop that practice.  Until an Aug. 20 amendment making an exception for the stopsign cameras operated by the MRCA, I supported this bill, and so did the AAA.  (I do not know the AAA's position on the amended bill, which is 3600 words bigger, more than quadruple the previous size.  Isn't the legislature supposed to be focusing their efforts on the State budget?)  For more info about Kangaroo Kourts, see Section 8 on the Links page.  (In 2003 Sen. Oropeza was the author of AB 1022, which outlawed pay-per-ticket and percentage-of-revenue contracts between cities and red light camera suppliers.)  [Sen. Oropeza died in Oct. 2010.]

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info in the box above during the time when SB 949 - now passed - was under consideration.


For info about bills proposed before 2010, scroll way down, or click:  Legislation 1994 - 2009



The Action/Legis Page:
2.  An Initiative

The State gets more than half of the fine from your ticket - and it is BIG money.  But they need more money, so the writing is on the wall.  Traffic tickets will become more frequent, and automation will be applied to violations other than red light running.  In 2010 former Gov. Schwarzenegger tried to add speeding ticket cameras, which could issue 2.4 million automated speeding tickets each year (see the Legislation section, above).
Cities also need more money, beyond what they get from camera tickets, so they are raising the cost of parking tickets to amounts that resemble the moving violation fines of a few years ago.
The AAA Auto Clubs, which we formerly could rely upon to oppose anti-motorist laws, have not spoken out about these exorbitant fines.  In fact, they have been the sponsors of some of the legislation that will increase them.
It appears that the citizens of California will have to do a grass-roots initiative to control the cost of tickets - just as they created Prop. 13 to control property taxes.

In the meantime, please make the phone calls suggested in the Legislation section, above.

And, if you can, help with the initiative in Murrieta.  (See the Murrieta Documents page.)



The Action/Legis Page:
3.  You Don't Have to Shop There...
...and You Don't Have to Vote for these Politicians


Let your Vote Count

"Every two years we drive to a fire station and overthrow the government, and there isn't a policeman in the street."
Fictional anchorman Will McAvoy in "The Newsroom - The 112th Congress," by Aaron Sorkin and Gideon Yago, HBO

The Nov. 2009 council elections in two Ohio cities showed what the voters can do to councilmembers who install cameras.  In Chillicothe, candidates opposed to cameras pushed out two incumbents (and 72% voted to end the camera program).  In Heath, a political newcomer who said he would not have installed the cameras defeated the mayor who pushed to install them - and the voters voted to end the camera program.

California cities would not be able to run ticket mills without enabling legislation from Sacramento.  See the Legislation section, above.


Vote with your Wallet, Too


When you spend $100 at the mall, the government of the city in which the mall is located gets $1 of the sales tax. If you buy a $20,000 car, the government of the city in which the dealer is located gets $200.  And then there is "bed tax."  If you rent a $100 hotel room there, City Hall gets $10 - $14.  If you feel that the city that gave you your ticket has taken advantage of you, there's not much you can do about it - except that you don't have to shop there. You can spend your money in towns that value your business and don't surround their malls and tourist attractions with red light cameras.

If you're taking your business elsewhere, I think that it is important (and only fair) to let the city council, the Chamber of Commerce and the merchants in the "red light town" know that.  Even a short email will make a big impact.

Here is an article showing that economic action can work:

"Seidler said for most members of council, the bad impact on business is the deciding factor in not supporting a potential comeback of the camera.  He said business owners complained about the device. 'They felt it was hurting their business.  Many were told by people that they would no longer patronize their business because of the camera,' he said. 'It is hard to attract new business when no one is willing to come in and do business.' Seidler and Councilman Mike Costarella both said the camera also generated unnecessary bad publicity for the city."
Youngstown Vindicator, Aug. 2, 2006.


Stacking the Odds in Your Favor

Even if you're not inclined to do an economic boycott, there is a very practical reason to stop shopping in red light towns.  In the questionnaire on my website, I ask defendants how often they visit the intersection where they got their ticket.  The majority of defendants were caught at intersections they had not previously visited, but a substantial portion were caught at an intersection they often visited.  Conclusion:  Knowing there's a camera there does not protect you from getting a ticket, or getting in an accident.  It is necessary to change your routine, to eliminate repeated visits to camera-enforced intersections.  It's like playing with snakes - no matter how careful you try to be, eventually they will catch you off guard, and you will get bit.  The small amount of money you have saved by shopping at the big box store near the camera will be more than offset by the cost of tickets, rear-ending someone, or being rear-ended.



Are They in It for Safety, or Money?

The public, and the Press, should question the motives of any city that -

(a)  Targets motorists who are turning right or left - a practice which is primarily about ticket volume and money.  While many cities set their left turn yellows at the State minimum of three seconds, I believe that the yellows for lefts should be set at four seconds.  But it's well understood that if you set them at three seconds, tickets increase three-fold, making enforcement on left turns very lucrative.  (See Defect # 9 and the second part of Defect # 2 on the Home page, and the Mesa, Arizona section on the Camera Towns page.)

(b)  Employs the minimum legal yellows for thru traffic - for example, 3.6 seconds in a 35 - not adjusted for the actual speed of traffic (see Defect # 3 on the Home page)
.

(c)  Has no grace period, so issues tickets for a Late Time of as little as 0.1 second.  The 2002 State Auditor's report (page 45, see Links page) said:

"Although the law does not mandate them to do so, five of the seven local governments we visited employ grace periods of up to five-tenths of a second before their red light cameras will begin taking photographs."  "The FHWA [Federal Highway Administration] indicates that a grace period of three-tenths of a second is commonly used and that five-tenths of a second is the international standard."

[As of 2009, nearly all cities have bowed to financial pressure and now issue tickets for as little as 0.1 (one-tenth) second late.]

(d)  Ignores the safety implications of allowing red light running to continue at camera locations that generate disproportionate numbers of tickets - a condition easily cured by engineering countermeasures such as lengthening the yellows and improving the marking of the intersection (but which would also dramatically reduce revenue from tickets).  Federal guidelines (See the big box in Defect # 9 on the Home page) say:

"The installation of a red light camera system at a signalized intersection identified as having a red light running problem should be done when an engineering study of the intersection determines photo enforcement is an appropriate countermeasure to reduce the incidence of red light running."  (See also FAQ # 6.)




The Action/Legis Page:
4.  More Things You Can Do

(Journalists, Bloggers, Webmasters, Activists - Scroll Down a Little!)


When you go to the courthouse to handle your case, warn the other defendants about
Snitch Tickets and ask them to warn their friends.  (Educating the public about Snitch Tickets is the best way to cut off the flow of money to the greedy cities and camera companies.)  If the courthouse is in LA County, tell your fellow defendants that they may be able to ignore their camera ticket - because the LA County courts do not report ignored tickets to the DMV.
Please also ask them to call their Sacramento legislators and their auto club about the current Legislation.
If you are going to hand out any kind of written materials at the courthouse you should do it outside the courthouse, at least ten feet away from the entrance and any line of people, so that you cannot be accused of intimidating or obstructing anyone coming to the courthouse.

Another valuable contribution would be to suggest to the editors of your favorite websites or newspapers that they write about Snitch Tickets.  Or you could write a letter to the editor - see the
Getting the Word Out info on the Your Ticket page, and the Snitch Ticket flyers here.
 Or, you could post information on your favorite forums.

If you hear that your city, or one nearby, is thinking about adding years to their red light camera contract, or adding new cameras, please let me know.

Please call your State legislators about the bills and issues discussed in the Legislation section, above.

If your ticket was at an intersection maintained by CalTrans (along major highways, and near freeways), ask your State legislators to ask CalTrans to lengthen the yellow or make other improvements to the intersection, so that running will be reduced.

Also see The Guru Club section, below.

Do you speak Spanish?

Ask your Spanish language media to do a story about Snitch Tickets and, if their service area is in or around LA, to do a story about ignoring camera tickets from cities in LA County.

I would like to make some parts of this website available in Spanish - beginning with the Snitch Ticket info on the Your Ticket page.  If you could help with the translation, please contact me.


4.5  Journalists/Bloggers/Webmasters/Activists


"If you canít be criticized for it, itís probably not remarkable.  Are you devoting yourself to something devoid of criticism?"
Author unknown.

Hot Topics

If you're writing or taking action about cameras, here's what I think are the hottest topics.

1.  Snitch Tickets (See Section 1 on the Your Ticket page).
2.  The June 2011 revelation that in LA County, red light camera tickets can be ignored because the Los Angeles County Superior Court has not been reporting ignored red light camera tickets to the DMV.  See Set # 2 on the Los Angeles County Docs page.
3.  The Oct. 2012 government-funded study recommending significantly longer yellows, nationwide.  (See the expanded version of Defect # 3 for information about the NCHRP study.)
4.  California Senate Bill 1303 of 2012 and Assembly Bill 666 of 2013. (Read about them, on this page.)
5.  The shift away from ticketing people who run straight thru intersections towards the much more lucrative ticketing of people who make rolling right turns, and the legislature's quashing of the attempts to pass State legislation to reduce the fine for the rolling rights.  (See Churning Right Turn$, a subsection of Defect # 9 on the Home page, and AB 2128 of 2012 in the Legislation section above.)
6.  The repeated attempts to pass State legislation to legalize the use of cameras for speed enforcement.  See Legislation, above.
7.  The illegal stop sign (!) cameras installed in parks in and around Los Angeles - see the MRCA section on the Camera Towns page.
8.  The
General [gag] Order for LA County Superior Courts.
9.  
This page about industry / police PR.
10.  The 1.5 million private cars which have "protected plates," making them much less likely to receive a camera ticket, and the several failed attempts to pass State legislation to deal with the problem.  (See FAQ # 22, and the Legislation section above.)
11.  The 2012 statewide amnesty - which flopped.
12.  The almost-universal denial by traffic court judges of defendants' requests for permission to use a personal recording device to make a verbatim record of their trial.  See
Recording Your Trial.
13.  Ticket quotas, demonstrated by the big increases in ticketing - up 50 to 100% - seen in many cities in late 2011 and early 2012. (The sales pitch for red light cameras was that they would decrease red light running over time.)  California cities known to have increases of 50% or more:  Baldwin Park, Commerce, Corona, Covina, Culver City, Garden Grove, Hawthorne, Highland, Los Alamitos, Lynwood, Oakland, Redding, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Mateo, Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, South Gate, South San Francisco, Stockton, Victorville, Walnut and West Hollywood.  See Defect # 9, on the Home page.
14.  The more than three-to-one variation in the amount cities pay for their cameras.  See FAQ # 17.
15.  The very high proportion of tickets - as high as 90% - going to visitors to the city.  See FAQ # 22.
16.  The huge expansion of cameras elsewhere in the nation, while in California the camera companies have signed up only one new client since Mar. 2009 and more than half of California's red light camera cities have shut off their systems.
17.  The $2 million RedFlex bribery scandal, which began in Chicago and could involve programs in many other states, and the alleged
Prevailing Wage violations by both RedFlex and ATS.
18.  The issuance of a real ticket to the registered owner of the vehicle, even when it is obvious (an age and gender mismatch) that the registered owner was not the driver at the time of the violation.  See Defect # 10-E (lack of probable cause).
19.  The questions raised in the red box at the bottom of Section 3, above.


California's Photo Enforcement vs. Elsewhere

California's programs are different, in several significant ways, from most other states.

1.  California is a "driver responsibility" state;  a conviction goes on one's personal driving record.  In most other states (especially those on the East coast), the camera tickets are "owner responsibility," like a parking ticket, and do not go on one's driving record.

2.  In California, a red light camera ticket is filed in the County Superior Court just like any other criminal violation, and if you plead not guilty your trial will be conducted in a regular courtroom, by a judge or commissioner.  In most other states a red light camera ticket fine is paid directly to the city which issued the ticket, and if you wish to fight the ticket your initial hearing will be in front of a city employee acting as a hearing officer, or in the municipal court operated by that city.

3.  The fines on California camera tickets range from (approx.) $460.00 to $530.00 depending upon what county you are in.  Plus another $100.00 if you wish to take traffic school (to keep the point off your driving record).   In most other states the fines are $50.00 (New York City!) to $100.00 - and no black mark on your record.

4.  Because of 1. and 3. above, many California cities issue fake tickets (which have not been filed with the court), in an effort to bluff the registered owner into revealing who was driving the car (see Section 1, Snitch Tickets, on the Your Ticket page).

5.  California has a law specifically prohibiting cities from paying the camera companies on a incentive basis - but many cities are ignoring it!  (See Subsection B of Defect # 10, on the Home page.)

6.  A large proportion of California red light camera tickets are for rolling right turns.  (For more info about right turns, see Churning Right Turn$, a subsection of Defect # 9 on the Home page, and AB 2128 in the 2012 Legislation section, above.)

7.  California law never has permitted photo enforcement of speed, also known as photo radar.  But until recently, there were two (illegal) speed camera programs in the State:  One was operated by the City of San Jose and the other was contracted for - but never installed - by the MRCA parks district near Los Angeles.  (For more info on photo radar, see the Legislation section above, and the MRCA and San Jose sections on the Camera Towns page.)


The Action/Legis Page:
5.  No $ Donations


I can't personally take money since I'm not a lawyer.

But I do ask each person who uses this website to call their legislators (assemblymember, and state senator) and their auto club.  See the Legislation section, above.  (You could even reward helpful legislators with a small check, or even just a nice thank you note.)

Another contribution you can make is of information to go on this website (see above).

If you could help with an initiative, see The Initiative, above.


The Action/Legis Page:
6.  Older Legislation - 1994 to 2009

2009 Legislation

2009: Four Bills in California Assembly - Photo Enforcement of Speed (Photo Radar) & Multiple Attacks on the Speed Trap Law (All Bills Failed)

Added 3-26-09, updated 6-26-09

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info below during 2009, when AB 564 and three other bills - all now failed - were under active consideration.


Three Bills Attacking the Speed Trap Law...

Of the four bills, three would gut the
Speed Trap Law - each bill doing it a slightly different way.  If passed [they have failed], the bills would allow the reduction of speed limits even when such reduction is not justified by the engineering survey required under the Speed Trap Law.  As of June 24 two of the three were dead, but one (unfortunately the worst one), AB 564, still had the potential to move ahead:

AB 564 (Portantino, Pasadena) - passed a final "floor vote" in the Assembly on May 18 and was moved to the Senate for further action, which could come on June 30 or July 7, in the Senate Transportation Committee,
AB 766 (Krekorian, Glendale) - stalled, and
SB 570 (Maldonado, Monterey) - stalled.


...and a New Bill to Allow Photo Radar

The 2008 bill to allow speed cameras (photo radar) did not make it out of the legislature in Sacramento.  In 2009, they tried again - although as of June 24 it was stalled.
The bill - the fourth anti-motorist bill for 2009 - is:
AB 987 (Fiona Ma, San Francisco) - stalled.  For more info about photo radar, see the section about the 2008 bill, SB 1325, below.


What to Do...

AB 564 could be voted upon as soon as June 30, in the State Senate.  Call your senator, and the governor.  It is optional to call the auto club, as they already are opposing the bill.

For phone numbers, see the
big purple box, [above].

Calling is much more effective than email.

I recommend calling your senator's office in Sacramento, not in the district.

After you ask them to protect the Speed Trap Law, please also talk to them about photo radar, and about the ridiculous fine for rolling right violations.  Right now, the fine is the same as the fine for going straight through an intersection - $400+.  The goal is to get the legislature to reduce the fine for rolling right tickets to a more appropriate - but still effective - $25 (including all fees, and no point).

The Press So Far:

Blog Article about the Speed Trap Bills
Blog Article about the Photo Radar Bill
Latest blog article, about AB 564


Even the Legislature's Staff Knows AB 564 is a Bad Bill

Read this official analysis of the bill, by the legislature's own staff:

"By redefining the definition of 'local streets and roads,' under this bill, it is possible that unrealistic posted speed limits would be established without any regard to prevailing speeds (85th percentile) or traffic characteristics of the roadway. This could result in 'speed traps' and speeding citations for the overwhelming majority of drivers that are driving these roads in a prudent and safe manner causing no undue speed-related traffic hazards."
From the official Bill Analysis of 5-15-09, available online at the AB 564 link given above


2008 Legislation


California Senate Bill 1325 - To Allow Photo Enforcement of Speed Limits (Bill Failed)

Added 2-21-08, updated 8-31-08


Highwayrobbery.net provided the info below during 2008, when SB 1325 - now failed - was under active consideration.



Sheila Kuehl as Zelda Gilroy in 'Dobie Gillis'
" Now cut that out ! "
State Senator [now termed-out] Sheila James Kuehl as Zelda Gilroy in the 60's TV series "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"

If it passes [it has failed], SB 1325 (Kuehl, Santa Monica), will legalize automated speeding ticket cameras, also known as photo radar.
It was introduced in Feb. 2008, and had its first committee hearing on Apr. 29.  At that hearing it narrowly failed to get enough votes - it needed seven "ayes" and got five - but it could be allowed to come back to a later meeting (in August), for another vote.  If we all phone our legislators and auto clubs, we may be able to stop it.
SB 1325 is the successor to Kuehl's earlier unsuccessful speed camera bills, SB 1300 of 2006 and SB 466 of 2005 - which are discussed in their own sections, below.

Speed cameras are an idea that won't go away!

As presently drafted, SB 1325 is restricted to a pilot program in only one town, Beverly Hills, and only in 25 mph and school zones - making it very similar to Kuehl's SB 1300 of 2006.  But if it is able to move onward through the legislature, SB 1325 will likely be amended to include other cities:
(a)  Per the
Legislative Analysis dated Apr. 24, the City/County Association
of Governments of San Mateo County has asked to be included in the program,
(b)  according to the LA Times, the bill "is being closely watched in San Jose"
and (c), Burbank, Carson, Culver City, Pasadena and LA County came on board as supporters
when Kuehl's previous speed cam bill (SB 1300) was in the legislature in 2006.

SB 1325 could also be amended to enforce higher speeds - there is no technical bar to the use of the cameras for enforcement on freeways.  Nor is the use of speed cameras on freeways unprecedented.   Scottsdale, Arizona is an example of the use of cameras on freeways, and it is also an example of a pilot program rapidly spreading statewide.  In early 2006, the City of Scottsdale installed cameras on an 8-mile section of the 101 freeway loop, for a 9-month pilot program.  At the end of the pilot program, the East Valley Tribune reported that there had been an astonishing 130,992 tickets issued.  Now, in 2008, the Governor of Arizona has taken control of the camera programs (and their revenue), and is rapidly installing cameras statewide.


What to Do...

Call your local State legislators, and the auto club [even though SB 1325 has failed].

For phone numbers, see the
big purple box, above.

Calling is much more effective than email.

I recommend calling legislators' offices at the Capitol, not in the district.

So far, the two AAA auto clubs in California have not been opposing this bill.  They describe their position as "neutral," and explain that they are not opposing the bill because the author accepted amendments that the clubs proposed.  If you are an auto club member, call your club.  Tell them that you don't want speed cams, no matter which bill or which party they come from, and that you're not fooled by a so-called "pilot" program - nor by the Clubs' "neutral" position.  I believe that if the auto clubs strongly oppose speed camera bills, they will not pass.  I recommend using the club phone numbers in the
big purple box, above, and reminding the club representative that you have a wide choice of auto insurance companies.


Late note:  This lizard maybe isn't so innocent either.
In Sept. 2008 Warren Buffett, owner of Geico, invested $5 billion
in Goldman-Sachs which, later that month, invested $50 million
in one of the leading red light cameras companies, ATS.


If you are a professional driver, call your union or your trade association.

Is this about money for the state budget?  Read this box.

Kuehl Kam® Cash

At the time I composed this, the California State budget shortfall was estimated to be $16 billion.  The author of SB 1325 has not published an estimate of how much a statewide implementation of her photo radar cameras - let's call them Kuehl Kams® - could bring to Sacramento.  But it is easy to make an estimate, by looking at Arizona's program, and scaling-up the figures:


From Arizona Gov. Napolitano's FY 2009 Budget, page 147

Later on, Arizona's estimate was revised, to $165 million. California has six times the population of Arizona, so should be able to produce six times as much ticket revenue - $990 million.

Is this a significant amount of money to our legislators, enough that they would consider selling us down the river?   To gauge that, we need to look at their past behavior when similar sums were dangled in front of them.  Indian gaming is a good example.  With the expansion voters approved on Feb. 5, Indian gaming is expected to bring in $430 million:


From Revenue Estimates, Gov. Schwarzenegger's Budget Summary 2008-09, page 44

Kuehl Kams® could bring in more than twice as much as Indian gaming.


2007:  California Assembly Bill 117 - $20 Fine Increase in Santa Clara County (Bill Failed)

Added 1-24-07, updated 1-11-08

This bill failed to get out of committee, but if it had been passed, AB 117 (Beall, San Jose) would have added 20% to the base fine ($20 on a red light ticket) on tickets in Santa Clara County.  Originally, it was to fund traffic safety programs and courthouse construction statewide (basically another tax increase, similar to SB 1773, which Gov. Schwarzenegger signed in Sept. 2006.  See the SB 1773 info, below), but on March 22, 2007 AB 117 was amended so that the increase would have applied only in Santa Clara County.



2007:  California Senate Bill 848 - An Attack on the Speed Trap Law (Bill Failed)

Added 4-16-07, updated 5-24-07

SB 848 (Corbett, San Leandro) would have removed some of the protections provided drivers by the Speed Trap Law.  The bill was sponsored by the California State Sheriffs Association and the Alameda County Sheriff.  It was opposed by the auto clubs and the Teamsters.

This bill died in May 2007.  The opposition by the auto clubs is probably what stopped it.  If you would like to thank your auto club for opposing this bill, you can find the appropriate phone number in the big purple box, above.  And, if you would still like to let the legislature know your feelings about similar bills they might try to cook up in the future), I recommend using the phone or fax, not email, and contacting the following: (A) First, call or fax the senate members who are based closest to where you live, work, or shop, and are on the committee currently considering the bill. A list of those committee members is
here. I do not recommend email as they get inundated with it, just as you do. (B) Also call or fax the senate [and/or assembly] members who represent the districts in which you live, work, or shop, even if he or she is not on the committee currently considering the bill. You can find their phone numbers in the government section of your phone book, or at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html.

For more information on the Speed Trap Law, see Section 7, Speeding Tickets, on the Links/Ref/FAQ page.




2005 - 2006 Legislation


Traffic Control Devices Committee  (CTCDC)

Added 11-25-05, updated 3-19-06

The California Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC) is the body responsible for the January 2005 shortening of the legal minimum length for yellow lights.  The January 2005 action included a recommendation that the Committee re-visit the decision after one year; that review was scheduled for Feb. 23, 2006, in West Sacramento.   A new review would have been a chance for motorists to get longer yellows, but it did not happen.  The Committee decided that there would be no review!  Part of the problem is that of the CTCDC's eight voting members, two work full time for insurance companies (the auto clubs), and two work for cities (Modesto and LA) that operate red light cameras.  Please call your legislators and ask them to require CalTrans (which operates the Committee) to replace the members having financial conflicts.   While you are talking to your legislator's office, please also ask them to vote against any new version of SB 1300 (speeding ticket cameras - see below).
You can get more info about the CTCDC, and its shortening of the yellows, by following the "Defining Approach Speed" link in Defect # 2 on the Home page.



2006:  California Senate Bill 1300 - Photo Enforcement of Speed (Bill Failed - but came back as SB 1325, then AB 987, and again in the 2010 budget, all above)

Updated 7-6-07

Highwayrobbery.net provided the info below during 2006, when SB 1300 - now failed and replaced by SB 1325 and then AB 987 (both failed - see above) - was under active consideration.

SB 1300 of 2006 (Kuehl, Santa Monica) would have legalized automated speeding ticket cameras, also known as photo radar.  It was created in Feb. 2006 after Sen. Kuehl was unable to revive her nearly identical 2005 bill (SB 466).  SB 1300 was to come to a Senate committee vote on May 9, but the author pulled it just before the meeting date, and it died.  However, it is likely to come back - speed cameras are an idea that won't go away!

As first drafted, SB 1300 was restricted to a pilot program in only one town, Beverly Hills, and only in 25 mph zones.  But it could easily have been amended to include other cities (as of May 2, Burbank, Carson, Culver City, Pasadena and LA County were listed as additional supporters of the bill), and higher speeds - there is no technical bar to the use of the cameras for the enforcement of higher speed limits, such as on freeways.  Nor is the use of speed cameras on freeways unprecedented.   A current example is Scottsdale, Arizona, which recently installed cameras on an 8-mile section of the 101 freeway loop.  Even though there was a 30 day period during which warning tickets were mailed out (Jan. 22 to Feb. 22, 2006), the Mar. 31 East Valley Tribune reported that in the five weeks after Feb. 22, Scottsdale issued more than 6500 REAL tickets!  And on Oct. 23 - at the end of the test period - the Tribune reported that the total had risen to an astonishing 130,992 tickets issued.

The use of a "pilot program" as a way of getting their foot in the door may be part of a nationwide scheme by the industry - very
similar legislation has just been passed by the Maryland legislature.

Late note:  Another "foot in the door" is a 2007 project by the MRCA, a State agency which manages parks in the Los Angeles area, to install speed cameras on park roads - despite the fact that speed cameras are illegal in California.  For more info about the MRCA, see its entries above and on the Camera Towns page.


The Auto Clubs' (Lack of) Position

On March 20, 2006 I called the auto clubs to inquire as to their positions on SB 1300.  Neither club called me back, so I called them again, on the 22nd.  Again, neither club called me back, so I called them again on the 23rd.  I was able to reach ACSC's Vice President of Legislative Affairs, who told me that her club was taking a neutral position on the bill.  On the 24th I got a call from CSAA's Director of Corporate Affairs, who told me that his club was neutral on the bill.  If you are an auto club member, call your club and register your opinion about speed cameras - maybe they will change their position, and oppose all future speed camera bills.  I believe that if the auto clubs strongly oppose such bills, they will not pass.  I recommend using the club phone numbers in the big purple box, above.  Please also let them know that you are concerned about the CTCDC's action (above).

Auto Clubs - Are They Fish, or Fowl (Foul)?

Automated enforcement is mostly about money - BIG money for the state-run courts (see FAQ # 16), a little bit of money (or maybe a loss) for the city, and an opportunity for insurance companies to charge higher rates to motorists who have received a "point" due to a camera ticket.  So, are the auto clubs benevolent organizations, operating in motorists' best interests, or are they really just insurance companies in disguise?  Here's some information, so you can decide for yourself.  In 2007, ACSC, the AAA auto club for southern California, had $196 million net income from its insurance operations, fourteen times that from its "club" operations and membership dues ($13.9 million net income).  (Figures are from the Club's financial statements for 2007.)
One legislator has gone public with his criticism of the California AAA clubs.


Thanks go out to the readers of highwayrobbery.net who called their legislators and asked them to vote "no" on SB 1300.

The bill was also opposed by the California Association of Highway Patrolmen.


For a book about speeding camera tickets, see the Speeding Ticket section on the Links page.



[In this box is the info highwayrobbery.net provided during the time SB 466 - the first in a series of failed speed camera bills - was under active consideration.]

The bill (SB 466) of 2005 is in the Senate Transportation Committee, and needs to get that Committee's approval, and approval by the full Senate, by Jan. 31, 2006.

Brief history of the bill: This bill started in early 2005, but the City of LA withdrew their sponsorship, so on April 18 Sen. Kuehl temporarily withdrew the bill from consideration.  On Sept. 14, 2005, I called the auto clubs to ask their positions on the then-current bill, SB 466.  ACSC said they opposed it, and had, back in April 2005, lobbied the City of LA to drop their sponsorship.  CSAA said they opposed it, too.  Now, in early 2006, it is coming back under consideration as a "two-year bill."  [The clubs may have changed their positions - see SB 1300 materials, above.]  The bill began life as a statewide program, but to make it more acceptable to those who opposed it before, Sen. Kuehl has reduced it to a pilot program in Beverly Hills, only.  I suspect that this is a "get your foot in the door" maneuver, and that the bill will be further amended, in the next few months, to add other cities.

[The info in this box (above) was provided by highwayrobbery.net during the time SB 466 - now failed and replaced by SB 1300 (which also failed) - was under active consideration.]



2006:  California Senate Bill 57 - Vetoed Once by Governor but Back as SB 1773 - and No Veto This Time!

Added 2-3-05, updated 10-4-06

In Kindergarten Cop
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (916) 445-2841

SB 1773 was created in Feb. 2006 because SB 57 was "terminated" (vetoed) by the governor in Oct. 2005 and its sponsors were unable to get the 2/3 vote necessary to override his veto by the Jan. 26, 2006 deadline to do so.  SB 1773 adds 20% to the base fine on moving violations.  Even though he vetoed the previous version, SB 57, Gov. Schwarzenegger approved SB 1773 on Sept. 30, 2006.


[In this box is the info highwayrobbery.net provided during the time SB 57 - now vetoed and replaced by SB 1773, which has passed - was under active consideration.]

SB 57 (Alarcon, San Fernando) will add $20 to the fine for many traffic tickets.  It was introduced on Jan. 12, 2005 and on Sept. 7 was adopted by the Legislature.  It is now on Gov. Schwarzenegger's desk for signature (or veto).  In the legislature the votes were along party lines, with Republicans strongly opposing the bill.  Please call the governor and ask him to veto SB 57 (and SB 466 when it comes back in 2006 - see [SB 1300] above).  Tell him you regard SB 57 as a tax increase, and remind him that his fellow Republicans are against it.  Gov. Schwarzenegger's phone is 916 445-2841 (be prepared to wait on the phone for a while).  I also suggest calling local newspapers, trying to get them to write something about the two bills.

On Sept. 14 I called the auto clubs to ask their positions on SB 57.  Both ACSC and CSAA said they oppose it, and planned to ask the governor to veto it.  I suggest that if you are a member of either club, call them and register your opinion on SB 57 [now SB 1773] and SB 466 [now SB 1300].  Use the club phone numbers in the big purple box, above.

[The info in this box (above) was provided by highwayrobbery.net during the time SB 57 - now vetoed and replaced by SB 1773 - was under active consideration.]




2004 Legislation


2004:  Assembly Bill 517 (Vetoed)


Added 7-8-05

AB 517, a failed attempt by the author of AB 1022 to fix one of its provisions, is discussed in confidentiality and shredding issues in AB 1022, and in the AB 1022 section, below.



2004:  Senate Bill 1900 (Bill Failed)


Updated 11-18-04

On August 11, 2004, SB 1900 failed to pass out of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations prior to the deadline.  It could have been revived if the rules had been waived, but they weren't so it failed - for the 2004 legislative session.  But it, or something like it, may be back sometime later, so you may want to read the info in the box below.


[In this box is the info highwayrobbery.net provided during the time SB 1900 - now failed - was under consideration.]

SB 1900 will [would have] add 15% to the penalty assessment on criminal violations ($15 extra on a red light camera ticket), to pay for forensic DNA programs.  80% of the money collected will go to Sacramento; 20% will stay in the county where it was collected, to be used by local law enforcement agencies for DNA programs.  SB 1900 has passed in the Senate and now is before an Assembly Committee, which will vote on it on August 11.  You can view it at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html.

highwayrobbery.net does not have anything against DNA programs, but is opposing this bill because it continues the trend of milking motorists to pay for the operation of State government departments having nothing to do with transportation.  The State is already reaping a huge windfall from motorists this year - the sales tax on the big increase in gas prices.  One estimate is that the sales tax windfall will be over $450 million, enough to pay for the SB 1900 program 15 times over!


[The info in this box (above) was provided by highwayrobbery.net during the time SB 1900 - now failed - was under consideration.]



2004:  Senate Bill 1800 (Murray)  (Bill Failed)

On June 21, 2004, SB 1800 failed to pass out of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, and wasn't resurrected during the 2004 legislative session.  But it, or something like it, may be back sometime later, so you may want to read the info in the box below.

The reason why SB 1800 failed to pass out of the committee is interesting.  The vote was 5 - 2 in favor of the bill, but since the committee has 13 members, the bill needed at least seven "ayes" in order to pass.  It could have received the necessary number of yes votes, but there were four committee members who, while they were present, chose not to vote.

[In this box is the info highwayrobbery.net provided during the time SB 1800 - now failed - was under consideration.]

SB 1800 may [would have] allow the police to add an expensive additional charge to your red light camera citation.  Here is a legislative alert I received from the National Motorists Association.

May 24, 2004

Dear NMA California Member,

Senate Bill 1800 has been introduced by State Senator Murray [Culver City], and is on its way to becoming law. This bill, known as the Distracting Activities measure, would outlaw the following:

* Using a cell-phone, hands-free or not
* Using a personal electronic device
* Adjusting the radio
* Smoking
* Eating
* Drinking
* Interacting with children, animals, or passengers
* Performing personal grooming
* Reading or writing


If an officer observes that your vehicle is being operated unsafely, you can be stopped and cited for any of the above listed "distracting activities."  This bill ignores the fact that police officers already have the power to stop and cite drivers who are driving unsafely. If this bill becomes law, there will be nine additional arbitrary excuses to ticket and extort money from motorists.

We need your help to stop this bill before it becomes law. Please contact as many legislators as you can to voice your opposition to SB 1800.

You can find your Legislator's contact information at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

You can view this legislation [SB 1800] at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html

Thanks,

NMA


Many people dismiss SB 1800 as repetitive of existing law, not changing anything, thus nothing to worry about.  But I have been a California voter for many years, and I wonder:  If it doesn't change anything, why would our legislators be putting themselves to all the trouble of making the new law?  I believe that SB 1800 will allow the police to add an additional charge to many tickets, including red light camera tickets if the photo shows you using a cell phone, smoking, etc.  The bill provides for a $35 base fine on a first offense, and a $150 fine on a second offense in 2 years.  When SB 1800 is combined with SB 1900, which proposes to increase penalty assessments by 15%, many (cell phone, smoking, etc.) red light camera tickets could cost $482 (first offense) to $858 (second offense).  On May 18, SB 1800 was passed by the Senate, 22 - 14, and is now under consideration by an Assembly committee.  It is sponsored by the California AAA Auto Clubs, as was AB 1022, discussed below.
SB 1900 is also before an Assembly Committee. You can view it at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html.

Please call your legislators and ask them to vote against both SB 1800 and SB 1900.
(Note:  SB 1800 and SB 1900 both have failed.)
I recommend using the phone, not email, and calling the following:
(A) Call the two or more assembly members who are based closest to where you live, work, or shop, and are on the committees currently considering each bill.  A list of those committee members is at Find Legislator.  I do not recommend email as they get inundated with it, just as you do.
(B)  Also call the assembly members who represent the assembly districts in which you live, work, or shop, even if they are not on the committees currently considering the two bills.   You can find their phone numbers in the government section of your phone book, or by using the contact information link in the NMA letter, above.

If you would like to contact the AAA Clubs to express your displeasure about their sponsorship of SB 1800, there is an extensive list of their phone numbers in the big purple box, above.

Here is an interesting breakdown of how the legislature has voted, so far, on SB 1800.

SB 1800
Passed by Senate
by 22 - 14 on
May 18, 2004
Passed by Assembly?
(Not Yet !)

Yes
No
Yes
No
Dems
21
1


Reps
1
13


Female
10
1


Male
12
13




[The info in this box (above) was provided by highwayrobbery.net during the time SB 1800 - now failed - was under consideration.]


2003 Legislation


Two red light camera bills were introduced in the 2003 California legislative session.  Both of them were anti-motorist, pro-industry (police, camera companies, insurance companies).  One of them, SB 780, was "killed" in July 2003. (See details, below.)   The other, AB 1022, passed, was signed by [then-departing, due to recall] Gov. Davis on Sept. 25, and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2004.


Assembly Bill 1022 (Oropeza)  [Adopted]


Oropeza portrait, from her website 1-12-06
Assemblywoman (later, Senator) Jenny Oropeza

Assemblywoman (later, Senator) Jenny Oropeza (Long Beach), the California AAA "auto clubs" and the California State Sheriff's Association sponsored and supported new legislation, Assembly Bill 1022 which was signed by outgoing Gov. Davis on Sept. 25 and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2004.

It was another anti-motorist bill.

AB 1022 looked good, at first -

AB 1022*:

(1)  Prohibits camera corporations from being paid on a per-conviction basis,
(2)  prohibits camera corporations from selecting the location for cameras,
(3)  prohibits camera corporations from changing the timing of signal phases,
(4)  prohibits camera corporations from reviewing and approving tickets,
(5)  continues the present confidential treatment for the photos, so that only the police, the registered owner, and an identified driver of the car, can look at them,
(6)  requires shredding of the photos after 6 months (A late note:  A year later, Ms. Oropeza tried, but failed, to fix her mistake and lengthen this to 13 months**), and
(7) attempts to make mandatory the existing requirement that CalTrans' minimum yellows (3.0  in a 25, 3.2 in a 30, 3.6 in a 35, etc.), must be complied with.  This provision was added in a July 8 amendment because of a West Hollywood judge's highly publicized [then] recent decision to ignore the CalTrans chart and OK ticketing so long as the yellow is at least 3.0, no matter the speed limit on the street (see the WeHo section on the Camera Towns page).

*You can read AB 1022 on the Internet.
**A detailed discussion of that failed "fix" and of the confidentiality and shredding issues in AB 1022 is on another page.

Alas, beauty is only skin deep.

AB 1022 proved that saying.  It looked good at first glance, but...



Provisions (1) - (4) above are grandfathered; two grandfather clauses contained in AB 1022 make sure those four provisions will not apply to cities that have a system in operation (or have signed a contract to have one installed) prior to Jan. 1, 2004.  Why is it that the very cities whose actions have demonstrated the need for tighter regulation of camera operations, are to be immune from the new regulations?  The authors won't admit it, but the probable reason is that the State doesn't want to create an "unfunded mandate," a situation where the State treasury would have to reimburse cities for the expense of actually having to make the changes the bill pretends to require.

Provisions (5) and (6), confidentiality and shredding, will make it impossible for the media, a citizens' group, or a website editor, to investigate improperly-run camera systems and get refunds, as occurred [then] recently with nearly 3000 East LA tickets going back 2-1/2 years (see East LA section on Cameras Page).  A much more detailed discussion of the confidentiality and shredding issues in AB 1022 is on another page.

Provision (7), the attempt to make the existing minimum yellows "mandatory," is toothless because California's "Truth in Evidence" rule (part of the Constitution) prohibits judges from excluding evidence simply because authorities failed to follow a procedure specified in a State law - unless:
(a) that law has been passed by a 2/3 vote in both houses of the legislature, and
(b) that law explicitly states that evidence shall be excluded if the authorities haven't followed the procedures specified therein. 
The Speed Trap Law (Vehicle Code Sections 40801 - 3) is a good example of a law that requires exclusion of evidence if authorities haven't followed its procedures.  AB 1022 is not.  It has not been written to require a 2/3 vote, nor does it state that evidence shall be excluded.  Absent the explicit language and the 2/3 vote, "Truth in Evidence" (Prop. 8 of 1982, Cal. Constitution Article 1, Section 28(d)) prevails, and the camera evidence must stay in.  (This isn't speculation.  In 2003 I saw three different judges repeatedly cite "Truth in Evidence" when refusing to exclude camera evidence in localities where citizens had discovered that the yellow was shorter than the minimums provided in the previous, very similar, law (CVC 21455.7 effective Jan. 1, 2002)).

The police-sponsored SB 780 (see SB 780 section below) would have been in some ways a much better deal for motorists than is AB 1022.  SB 780 would have kept the "point" off your driving record, and (before it was amended) included a minimum 4.0 yellow and a reduced fine ($200).

Back to AB 1022.  There are many provisions that should have been in AB 1022, but weren't there - because they were stripped, or not included despite an official recommendation, or overlooked.  Here are the most important ones.



I.  Stripped from bill - consider alternative strategies, demonstrate safety need.   On July 8 the author amended the bill, removing a 200-word section which required cities, prior to installing a camera, to consider alternative traffic safety strategies, improve the physical environment, and demonstrate a safety need.  The stripping of this language came four days after the League of California Cities took the position reflected by this item from their newsletter.

AB 1022 (Oropeza). Vehicles. Automated Enforcement Systems. On Friday, June 27 in Ontario CA, the TCPW Policy Committee took the position to Oppose unless amended on AB 1022. The bill was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on 7/1 and was amended to remove the strict requirement that cities were required to "consider" when installing the cameras at intersections. Staff: Natasha Fooman, Status: SenFlr, Position: Remove Opposition.
From page 12 of Priority Focus, July 11, 2003. "TCPW" is the League's Transportation, Communications and Public Works Policy Committee.

II.  Not included despite official recommendation - posted speed limit, or 85th Percentile?  The author of AB 1022 (Assemblywoman - later, Senator - Jenny Oropeza, Long Beach) tries to justify AB 1022 by saying it "codif(ies) recommendations made by the state auditor."  Indeed, her bill addresses (albeit inadequately, and in a contorted manner) almost every official recommendation made by the state auditor (Auditor's Report, pages 45-46 - see Links Page) except for the following (which is the basis of Defect # 3 on the Home Page).  "To avoid the risk of legal challenges, local governments should petition Caltrans to clarify its traffic manual to explain when local governments should use either posted speeds or the results from speed surveys to establish yellow light time intervals at intersections equipped with red light cameras."

III.  Not included despite discussion by auditor - a mandatory grace period.  The Auditor's Report says:  "Although the law does not mandate them to do so, five of the seven local governments we visited employ grace periods of up to five-tenths of a second before their red light cameras will begin taking photographs."  "The FHWA indicates that a grace period of three-tenths of a second is commonly used and that five-tenths of a second is the international standard."  (Auditor's Report, page 45.)

IV.  Overlooked:  clarify the 30 day warning requirement.  Existing Vehicle Code Section 21455.5 requires that warning notices be issued for 30 days, but doesn't make it clear whether a city having a pre-existing system is required to issue warning notices when it installs a new camera.  AB 1022 re-enacts the same vague language.  (This is the basis of Defect # 6 on the Home page.)

The new shredding requirement, and the total absence from AB 1022 of any provisions such as an adequate minimum yellow that judges can't ignore, a reduction or graduation of the onerous fines, or a mandatory grace period, signaled us that AB 1022 was not a pro-motorist bill.

The California AAA "auto clubs" should be ashamed of having lent their heretofore-good names to this sheriff-supported, anti-motorist, bill.
AB 1022's bottom line is about money - including for insurance companies that can charge higher rates to motorists who have gotten a "point" due to a red light camera ticket.  In 2005, ACSC, the AAA auto club for southern California, had $252 million net revenue from its insurance operations, more than ten times the revenue from its "club" operations and membership dues ($18 million).  One legislator has gone public with his criticism of the California AAA clubs.  Now that cities have Sacramento's permission, they will shred their camera records, relieving themselves and their camera vendors of significant liabilities.  And, in the weeks before January 1, 2004 cities rushed to sign contracts for cameras, or update existing contracts, so that they would be able to use AB 1022's grandfather clauses to evade the bill's meager pro-motorist requirements.

If you'd like to join an auto club that actually stands up for motorists, I recommend the National Motorists Association.  See their link on the Link page for more information.


A late note, 1-4-04, updated 2-19-11 -
The following cities signed contracts in Dec. 2003, to beat the Jan. 1, 2004 deadline:
Del Mar, Emeryville, Escondido, Lynwood, Maywood, Oceanside, Ridgecrest, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, Solana Beach, and Vista.
Also in Dec. 2003 the City of Upland signed a ten-year extension to the contract it first signed five months before.


In 2004 Ms. Oropeza attempted to fix part of what AB 1022 had enacted into law.  A detailed discussion of that failed "fix" and of the confidentiality and shredding issues in AB 1022 is on another page.

You can read the legislative history of
AB 1022 on the legislature's website.



2003:  Senate Bill 780 (Bill Failed)

SB 780 (Sen. Torlakson, Antioch, and Sen. Speier, San Mateo/San Francisco), sponsored by the California Police Officers' Association (
CPOA President's Message), was approved by two Senate committees (see table of votes, below) but stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  It could have come back under consideration in 2004 as a "two-year" bill, but did not receive the Senate approval needed (to be carried-over) prior to the January 31, 2004 cut-off date.
While the bill would have kept the "point" off your DMV record, it also would have made it much easier for cities to issue tickets, and much harder (and more expensive) for you to fight one.
According to the legislature's website, SB 780's only officially-listed opponents were the AAA auto clubs.  A possible explanation for their position may be the fact that the Clubs' main cash flow is from car insurance premiums, and SB 780's lack of "points" would have prevented insurance companies from raising your insurance rates.
Here are details on the last amendments to SB 780, made on May 13, 2003, by the bill's author, Senator Tom Torlakson:
The May 13 amendments raised the originally proposed (reduced) fine of $200 up to $341, and dropped the provision that would have clearly specified a minimum yellow time of 4.0 seconds.
There does not seem to have been a strong rationale for those amendments.  The fine was increased because a state agency (The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or "POST,"
http://www.post.ca.gov/ ) complained that the proposed reduction in the fine would reduce monies coming to their agency.  The 4.0 minimum was dropped because the City of Santa Ana, which had just installed its first camera, complained of the expense of potentially having to adjust the yellow time in their camera(s), and questioned why camera-equipped intersections should be required to have longer yellows than non camera-equipped intersections.

Here is a breakdown of how the senators voted on SB 780.

SB 780
Transportation Committee
May 6, 2003

Judiciary Committee
 April 22, 2003

Yes
No
Yes
No
Dems
7
1
4
0
Reps
0
3
0
1
Female
4
0
3
0
Male
3
4
1
1



The Earliest Legislation:  1994 - 2001


These are the earliest bills about red light cameras in California.  The summaries below are exact quotes from a the official staff analysis of the bill, or from AB 1022 of 2003.



2001:  Senate Bill 667:  Minimum Yellows

SB 667 (Steve Peace):

"This bill requires, at each intersection at which there is an automated enforcement system in operation, minimum yellow light change intervals established in accordance with the Traffic Manual of the Department of Transportation."

SB 667 Hearing Transcript



1998:  Senate Bill 1136:  Cameras Made Permanent

SB 1136 (Quentin Kopp):

"This bill would delete the January 1, 1999, repeal date, thereby continuing indefinitely the use of the automated enforcement systems and the related special procedure."



1997:  Assembly Bill 1191:  Fine Increased

AB 1191 (Kevin Shelley):

"This bill increases the fine plus penalty assessments for running a red light from $104 to $270."



1995:  Senate Bill 833:  Three-Year Demonstration

SB 833 (Quentin Kopp):

"...authorizes a three-year demonstration period to test the use and effectiveness of such systems in reducing the incidence of drivers running red lights at roadway intersections and in identifying the drivers committing such violations and the vehicles involved."



1994:  Senate Bill 1802:  Cameras at Rail Crossings

SB 1802 (Herschel Rosenthal):

"...authorizes the use of automated rail crossing enforcement systems to record violations occurring at rail crossing signals and gates."






We interrupt this serious discussion for
The Humor Items du Jour

(Even though we got a *&@#!! ticket, we think we still have our twisted sense of humor.  So, for your entertainment, we now provide "The Humor Items du Jour.")

Humor, I.

In a 1995
spoof commercial from Saturday Night Live, Old Glory Insurance spokesman Sam Waterston (star of Law and Order) offers you robot insurance "...for when the metal ones decide to come for you - and they will."


Humor, II.


Shop M.G. & G. at http://www.grimmy.com



Humor, III.

Two friends were driving through town when they came to a red light.  The driver cruised right through, didn't even slow down!  His friend expressed concern.

"Don't worry," Ralph said.  "My brother George does it all the time, and he never gets caught."

Coming upon another red light at the next intersection, Ralph again went speeding right through.

"Don't worry," Ralph assured his friend, "George does this every day, and nothing ever happens to him."

At the next intersection, the light was green, and Ralph came to a complete stop.

"Why do you run through all the red lights and stop when we come to a green light?" asked his friend.

"George might be coming through," replied Ralph.


Humor, IV.

Buzzword Bingo

New, 2-9-08, updated 1-10-09, 6-18-10

You probably know what Buzzword Bingo is, but if you don't, have a look at this Wikipedia article.  (Yes, I am aware that Buzzword Bingo is mostly known by another, catchier, name.  I just can't use that name here, because this is a "G" rated website.)

It occurred to me that we need to do a Buzzword Bingo card for:

a.  The baloney heard when city councils are being sold a camera system, and

b.  The lies our police, traffic engineers, court personnel, judges, and legislators tell us, and

c.  The lazy newspaper reporter's uncritical article about the total success of the local red light camera program (with the winning reporter to be sent a congratulatory message).

So here is the Bingo card.  I provided the phrase for the center square.  Send me your suggested word(s) and if they're really good, I will post them here.  By the way, I won't feel too bad if you happen to suggest a better word for the center square!

Discovery
UNAVAILABLE
in traffic
ticket cases.
You must
IDENTIFY
the driver.


It's FREE!!!
The City
won't have to
pay anything.

You can't
TAPE
record
your trial.

ACCIDENTS
are down
40%.



SAFETY
Program
(not for
revenue!)

We can't
LENGTHEN
the yellow
lights.
This bill
REFORMS
the cameras.
(SB 1303)

I can't
give you
CS and
TS *



This bill
LOWERS
the fine.
(AB 909)
I can't
REDUCE
the fine.

...in these
ECONOMIC
times....

* Community Service and traffic school



For more photo enforcement humor, see the Humor section on the Links page.



The Action/Legis Page:
7.  The Guru Club


Guru with CA Vehicle Code Book

If you have been researching a red light camera ticket, you are now a red light camera ticket Guru.

Welcome to The Guru Club.

2. (g[=oo]"r[=oo]) one who has expert knowledge of a technical area and serves as an advisor to others; an expert and teacher. Usually written guru.
Source:  The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44

You may not think you are a Guru, but that is what your family and friends will think.  Very soon they will be coming to you crying,
"O Guru, I got a red light camera ticket, what shall I do?"

Here's what to tell them.

1.  Tell them to bring the ticket to you, before they do anything about it, so you can check to see if it is a Snitch Ticket - see the Your Ticket page for what to do with Snitch Tickets.

2.  If it is a real ticket and the face photo is blurry or is not them, tell them that there needs to be a good photo, of the person cited - not just the license plates - and that the lack of a suitable face photo is a good defense. 

3.  If they want to fight it, tell them about this website.   Don't tell them it's free - they probably won't believe you.  Or, if they do believe you, they may decide not to visit, assuming that since it's free there's nothing of value.  And watch them when they write down the website address - they'll probably write ".com" even though you just told them ".net."  Everyone does.

4.  If they don't want to fight it, tell them to be sure to get traffic school.

5.  Warn them about the legislators who are trying to pass bills to allow speed cameras in California.  (See the Legislation section on this page, above).
It takes just a few minutes to phone legislators to voice an opinion, but if you sense that they are not motivated enough to contact their legislators, tell them about the 1.5 million cars with protected plates (see FAQ # 22).

6.  Ask them to join in your economic boycott - see You Don't Have to Shop There..., above.

7.  Tell them that THEY are now a Guru, too.



The Action/Legis Page:
8.  Questionnaire, Email Address

(Scroll down a little for the Ticket Information Questionnaire)
(Scroll all the way down for the email address)



---------------cut----------------------cut------------------------

Ticket Information Questionnaire

This questionnaire is available at www.highwayrobbery.net, on the Action/Legis Page.

How to fill it out, where to send it?  Before you start
filling it out, see the Email address section, which begins after
the questionnaire. (And please remember NOT to send it as a .doc file.)

Please type at the end of the long rows of dots - so that your answers stick out - which makes them easier to read!

Have you contacted your state legis-
lators (both your assemblyperson and
your state senator) and the
governor about the bills and issues
in the Legislation section, above? :::::

Name of city or agency which issued the
ticket (just above "NOTICE TO APPEAR"
on ticket) :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

City in which you live :::::::::::::::::

City in which you work :::::::::::::::::

Date of (alleged) violation ::::::::::::

Name of street on which the car
entered the intersection :::::::::::::::

Compass direction car was
traveling on that street :::::::::::::::

Did car turn?  If so, was it left
or right? ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Name of cross-street (or street onto
which car turned) ::::::::::::::::::::::

If car was turning, was it a double or
a single turn lane? ::::::::::::::::::::

If car was turning right, please
answer the next three
questions (marked ~).  Otherwise, you
can skip them.

~Was there a red arrow pointing
to the right, or just a circular red? ::

~Was there a "No Right Turn on Red"
sign there? ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

~Do the photos or video show a car
coming from the left, which might have
had to slow to avoid a collision?  Or a
pedestrian who was about to step into
the crosswalk? :::::::::::::::::::::::::

Is there a Wal-Mart, CostCo, big mall,
racetrack, stadium, amusement park,
college, airport or other regional
"draw" near the camera intersection?::::
Were you going there? ::::::::::::::::::

Is there a local attorney or group
fighting these tickets? ::::::::::::::::

Do you have any figures or articles
on how many tickets the city issues, or
how much they make? ::::::::::::::::::::

Any other action you have taken, or
details you would like to be known :::::

Would you be interested in helping with
a statewide initiative to put a cap on
parking and moving violation fines? ::::

How did you hear about
highwayrobbery.net? (If it was via a
search engine, please indicate which
one, and the search terms you used.) :::

Your name (optional) :::::::::::::::::::

Phone number (optional) ::::::::::::::::

Your email address (will not be given
to anyone else without your written
permission) ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

How clear was the driver's "face" photo?
See Photo Grading Page to get a
photo grade # ::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Is the driver in the photo the same
person whose name is on the ticket? ::::

If it's not the same person, is there a
strong resemblance between the two? ::::

Is the Court's name and address
on the ticket?
(If the only address on
the ticket is for the police or for the
camera company - probably in Arizona -
your answer should be NO and you should
read the Snitch Ticket section on the
Your Ticket page - AND you can skip the
rest of this questionnaire. If the
court's name and address IS on the
ticket, please continue here.) :::::::::

What Vehicle Code section # is cited?
Please include ending letter. ::::::::::

Approximately how many times did you
drive through that intersection in the
90 days before you were ticketed? ::::::

The car's speed (indicated on ticket) ::

Posted speed limit (If you don't
remember what it was, try using Google
Maps Street View to find a nearby speed
limit sign. And please note if the
speed limit changes just before or just
after the intersection.) ::::

What was the Late Time, also called
"red time," "red T," or "TR?" Most often
it is on the top edge of the top photo,
although some Nestor/ATS cities (Davis)
deliberately omit it.
For help reading it, see the purple box
in Defect # 7 on the Home page :::::::::

If the Late Time was greater than
0.20 second (three tenths), the next three
questions (marked ~) are optional.

~In the photo of the signal head, is
the yellow partly lit? :::::::::::::::::

~Of the yellow lamps the car was facing,
how many were the new LED type, and how
many were incandescent? ::::::::::::::::

~Of the red lamps the car was facing,
how many were the new LED type, and how
many were incandescent? ::::::::::::::::

Is there a "limit line" photo framed
so that a red signal light is visible,
along with your car just behind the
limit line, both in the same picture?
If "no," skip the next question. :::::::

Was that "limit line" photo taken by a
camera looking in the car's direction of
travel? ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

If your ticket was for turning right,
the next two questions (marked ~) are
optional.

~Length of yellow light, if imprinted
on the ticket (on a ticket produced by
an ACS camera, the two digits following
"1Y" in the black data box). :::::::::::

~Actual length of yellow light, and how
you obtained it (stopwatch, camera, or
official signal timing chart - see the
Measuring the Yellow info - in a big
yellow box - on the Your Ticket page).
Note that for a left or right turn, the
yellow only needs to be 3.0 secs. long,
regardless of the posted speed.
::::::::

Was a warning sign posted at or before
the intersection?  Or, at all the main
entrances to town? (Defect # 4) ::::::::

Status of your ticket: (Pick just one)
(If you're not sure what the date is for -
an arraignment, a trial, or merely a
"respond by" deadline, see the big green
Terminology box on the Your Ticket page.)
A. Just received ticket, have not taken
   an extension or any other action. The
   "respond to the court on or before"
   date printed on the ticket is :::::::
B. On extension until (date) :::::::::::
C. Have arraignment date of ::::::::::::
D. Pled not guilty, trial date is ::::::
E. Have paid bail money to the court :::
F. Other (Describe and give date) ::::::


Are you eligible for traffic school?
(Date of this violation cannot be less
than 18 months after the date of the
last violation for which you took
traffic school.) :::::::::::::::::::::::

Eligible or not, do you need, or want,
to get traffic school 100% FOR SURE?

(If you're eligible for it but plead not
guilty, go to trial and then lose,
traffic school is at the judge's
discretion.) :::::::::::::::::::::::::::

If you haven't yet been to court,
you can skip over the next three
questions (marked ~).

~If anyone asked for community service,
how many hours did they have to do? ::::

~Did anyone ask for traffic school
after having been tried and found
guilty? ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
If yes, did the judge grant it? ::::::::

~During your trial, were the camera
photos visible to the public, or just
to you and the judge? ::::::::::::::::::

This questionnaire is available at www.highwayrobbery.net, on the Action/Legis Page.

------cut-----End of Questionnaire------cut-------



You are on the Action/Legis page, near the bottom.



Before You Write, Please Read . . .

(1)  If you would like some advice on your ticket, please either use the questionnaire found immediately above, or try to provide the same details about your ticket - with particular attention to (2) thru (4) below.

(2)  When you write, please let me know that you have checked to see if the document you have received is a fake ticket, what I call a "Snitch Ticket."  Snitch Tickets usually are missing the court's name and address, and on the back of the page most Snitch Tickets will say, "Do not call the court regarding this notice."  For more info about Snitch Tickets, see the Snitch Ticket section at the top of the Your Ticket page.

If the ticket is a real one but it is from a city in LA County (or the LA County sheriff), please let me know that you have read the info about the option to ignore tickets in LA County.

(3)  Please also let me know that you have contacted your legislators (assemblymember, state senator, governor - phoning is easy and is the most effective way), auto club, etc., about red light camera ticketing and the issues in the Legislation section, above.  Info on how to contact them is available in the big purple box, above.  (Reading highwayrobbery.net is free, but if you want personalized one-on-one assistance from the editor of the site, the price is that you speak out in the democratic process.)

(4)  If you are thinking about fighting your ticket (pleading not guilty and doing a court trial and/or a Trial by Declaration), and don't want to fill out the questionnaire (above), please at least let me know:
 
(a)  if you can accept the risk of losing your chance to attend traffic school, and
  (b)  the name of the city which issued the ticket, and also the cities in which you live and work, and
  (c)  if you have given bail money to the court, and
  (d)  your Late Time, if it was printed on the ticket, and
  (e)  the next date/deadline you must contact the court or do something there, and what
  that date is for
- is it the "respond by" date printed on your ticket, or is it the end
  of the extension you requested, or an arraignment appearance, or a not guilty trial?  (If you're
  not sure what the date is for, see the big green Terminology box on the Your Ticket page), and
  (f)  if the driver in the photo is not the same person named on the ticket - an "It's Not Me!" ticket -
  how strong is the resemblance between the two?

(5)  I am not a lawyer or a government "insider," and may have some incorrect or incomplete materials on this site.  You should double-check any material obtained here, before you use it.  Use the link in the Reference section on the Links page to review the latest version of any Vehicle Code section upon which you are basing your defense.

The Editor modeled for this gif! editor a t highwayrobbery dat n e t

Before writing to me, please read the five paragraphs above.



If you just have a general question about the cameras, have a look at the extensive FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the Links page - your answer may be there!  Or, do a search.


About Filling-Out the Questionnaire, and Important Info about Attachments

.doc & .rtf files can carry viruses!

About Attachments

Please don't attach .doc, .docx or .rtf files - convert them (via a "save as") to .txt files, which are OK!  So are .pdf, .jpg and .gif files.

Filling-Out the Questionnaire

If you are filling-out the questionnaire, here are some suggestions on how to send it:
Start by highlighting the (not yet filled-out) questionnaire above.  Then copy it ( CTRL-C then CTRL-V ) into a blank word processor document, and fill-in your information.  You may need to reduce the type size to 10. Once you have filled-in your answers, send it by one of the two following methods.
1) Save it as a .txt file.  Then, create an email to me, and attach the .txt file to the email.  Please do not send me emails including .doc or .rtf files, as they can transport viruses - totally unbeknownst to you!
2) If you are unable to attach the completed questionnaire to your email, you can paste it into the body of your email, as follows.   Hit CTRL-A to highlight the contents (the questionnaire) of the word processor document you've created, then hit CTRL-C to copy it into your paste buffer. Then create an email to me, and paste ( CTRL-V ) the questionnaire into the body.


How Long 'til I Get a Reply?

I try to reply within two days, seven days a week, so if you have sent me an email more than 48 hours ago and you have not had a reply (check your Spam folder!), please don't hesitate to send the email again - and make sure you wrote the address as  .net  not  .com !

Here are emails from correspondents -

11-14-14:  "Thank you for your very prompt response."

9-30-14:  "Thank you for such a timely response!"

8-7-14:  "Thank you for your super fast response."

6-25-14:  "Wow, you really are lightning fast."

5-6-14:  "Thanks again for the quick reply."

4-1-14:  "Thank you for your quick reply, I wasn't expecting that!"

3-3-14:  "Thank you for the prompt reply and great advice as usual."

1-30-14:  "Thanks for the quick response."

1-8-14:  "Thank you so much for the quick reply."

11-26-13:  "Thank you for the quick response - really appreciated!"

10-31-13:  "Thank you so much for prompt reply!"

9-23-13:  "Thank you for responding back quicker than Superman."

8-21-13:  "Thank you so much for the super fast response!"

7-27-13:  "Thanks again for your quick response."

6-13-13:  "Thank you for your prompt reply."

4-22-13:  "Thank you for the quick response and very informative website."

3-13-13:  "Thank you for such a prompt response."

2-1-13:  "Thank you for your quick response! You have been an unbelievable help."

12-7-12:  "First of all thank you for the quick reply."

10-17-12:  "Thank you for your quick response and information provided."

9-6-12:  "Thanks again for the quick reply."

8-5-12:  "Thank you very much for your quick reply."

6-15-12:  "Thank you for your amazing response time and information."

5-3-12:  "Thank you so much for your prompt reply."

2-24-12:  "Thanks for the quick reply."

1-27-12:  "Thanks for the incredibly quick response."

12-27-11:  "Thank you.  Your quick response is greatly appreciated."

12-5-11:  "Thank you for your quick reply."

11-6-11:  "Again, a sincere thanks for putting up the website and your speedy replies for all our emails."

10-12-11:  "Thank you for the quick response and pointing me to the right direction."

9-22-11:  "Thanks for your prompt & quick reply."

8-23-11:  "Thank you for your FAST reply!"

7-31-11:  "Thank you so much for your feedback on my varied questions!"

6-21-11:  "Thank you for the very quick reply!"

6-3-11:  "Thank you for your response, and so quickly."

4-25-11:  "Thank you for such a speedy response."

4-4-11:  "Thanks for your quick reply!"

2-23-11:  "Thank you very much for the timely response."

1-23-11:  "Thanks for the prompt response."

1-5-11:  "Thanks for your quick and helpful responses."

12-8-10:  "Thanks for the quick response."

11-18-10:  "Thank you very much for answering so fast."

10-25-10:  "Didn't expect to hear from you so quickly."

10-4-10:  "Thank you again for the speedy response."

9-18-10:  "Thank you very much for your prompt response."

8-26-10:  "Thank you for your quick and detailed response."

8-3-10:  "Thanks for getting back to me so quickly."

7-8-10:  "Thanks for your quick response to my first email."

6-22-10:  "What a surprise to receive such a prompt and helpful reply."

6-7-10:  "Thank you for the super speedy response."

5-19-10:  "Many thanks for the quick reply."

4-16-10:  "Thanks for getting back to me so quickly."

3-29-10:  "Thanks so much for your quick response."

3-4-10:  "Thanks for your quick answer!"

2-8-10:  "That was amazingly fast."

1-13-10:  "I appreciate your speedy responses!"

12-30-09:  "Wow, you ARE fast."

12-9-09:  "Thank you for all your help and timely response!"

11-24-09:  "Thank you for your speedy and informative reply."

11-6-09:  "Thank you for your QUICK RESPONSE!!!"

10-18-09:  "THANK YOU for your timely reply."

9-30-09:  "Thank you for the extremely quick reply."

9-11-09:  "Thank you for your prompt response."

8-23-09:  "Thank you for your fast answer."

8-4-09:  "Thanks so much for the super-quick reply."

7-16-09:  "Thanks for the super fast reply and the great advice!"

6-22-09:  "Thank you for your prompt response all the time."

5-30-09:  "Thanks so much for your prompt response!"

5-7-09:  "Wow!!  Thank you for the quick response!!!"

4-12-09:  "Thank you so much for your quick response.  I really appreciate the advice."

3-22-09:  "I thank you for your prompt reply to my query."

3-3-09:   "THANKS for the quick response."

2-12-09:  "Thx so much for your quik response."

1-19-09:  "Thanks so much for so quick and detailed reply."

1-1-09:  "Thank you very much.  And wow that was fast.  I was expecting at least 24 hours."

12-9-08:  "Wow, that was really fast."

11-14-08:  "Thanks for the quick reply."

10-21-08:  "I don't know how you do it, but your response is like instant!  Thank you."

10-1-08:  "Thanks for the information!  A very rapid response time indeed!"

9-12-08:  "Thanks so much for the fast reply."

8-25-08:  "Thanks so much for the detailed reply--and for replying in under two hours!"

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1-21-08:  "Thank you for your quick reply and words of wisdom!"

1-4-08:  "Thank you very much for the prompt reply!  This helps a lot."

12-11-07:  "Thank you for your prompt response to my inquiry."

11-23-07:  "Thanks for the prompt response."

11-2-07:  "Thank you for your timely reply.  It was very helpful."

10-3-07:  "As advertised, your response time is unbelievable."

9-13-07:  "You really do respond quickly!!  Thank you!"

8-19-07:  "Thanks for the prompt reply."

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7-2-07:  "Don't you sleep?"

6-8-07:  "Thanks so much for your help and your quick response!"

5-18-07:  "Thank you so much for the quick response."

4-30-07:  "Thank you so much for your prompt reply.  How nice this is to be able to get answers I would not otherwise be able to obtain."

4-3-07:  "Thanks for your prompt response.  I have some more questions..."

3-12-07:  "Thank you for such a quick response... and the feedback you provide."

2-21-07:  "Thanks for the prompt response! It's not easy getting personal help these days let alone so quickly."

2-1-07:  "Thanks for such a swift response!"

1-8-07:  "Thanks for your speedy reply to my questionnaire."

12-18-06:  "Thanks for the super fast reply."

11-30-06:  "First, a tag line for your Iím so fast list Ė 'Believe me, he gets back quickly with extremely helpful advice!'Ē

11-3-06:  "Thanks for the awesome, prompt reply!!  You truly live up to your word."

10-8-06:  "Thank you for your prompt and courteous response."

9-14-06:  "Thanks for the immediate response."

8-14-06:  "Thanks for the fast response."

7-12-06:  "My goodness you responded quickly."

6-16-06:  "Many thanks again for your speedy response to my questions and concerns regarding my Snitch Ticket."

5-5-06:  "Thank you so much for your prompt reply and valuable advice."

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1-2-06:  "Thank you very much for your prompt return message."

12-5-05:   "Many thanks for getting back to me so quickly."

11-1-05:  "Hello, Wanted to say thanks for the fast reply."

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9-7-05:  "Thank you for your quick answer!  I really appreciate your website."

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4-18-05:  "Thanks for your immediate response."

4-10-05:  "Thanks very much for putting out this type of information to the public, for your care and incredibly quick reply."

3-20-05:  "Thank you so much for your speedy reply!  I had no idea what to do before you wrote back."

3-10-05:  "Thank you for your prompt response."

3-2-05:  "Thanks for such a quick reply!"

2-16-05:  "Thank you for your prompt reply and also for all of your hard work on the website.  It was very helpful to me to read the notes from the courts."

2-13-05:  "And thank you for all your help and the time you took to reply to my correspondence."

2-2-05:  "Thanks for your prompt response."

1-28-05:  "Your website was fabulously informative!  Thank you.  And, thanks to your suggestion that discovery be served on the court as well as the proper city authority...."

1-27-05:  "Thanks so much for taking the time to walk through my stuff.  I appreciate your answers on all."

1-24-05:  "Wow, you are there!  Thanks for the speedy reply!"


Your email address will not be given to anyone else without your written permission.  And, no part of anything that you have written to me will be re-distributed or put up on the website without your written OK - with the exception of the occasional "Thank You," as above.

Ordinarily, when I am writing about the maneuvering that goes on with these tickets, I don't identify the defendant or even the city/county the court is in, unless it is a major published "case in precedent."  But there are a couple documents on this site that do have defendant's names even though they are not major published cases.  In those instances the defendant asked that I include their name.

I update portions of this website almost daily.  If you are making a return visit after an absence of more than a day, I recommend that you hit the "reload" or "refresh" buttons, to make sure you have the latest version of the page you're interested in.




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