Ticket Racket: Global Govts Road Pirates Loot and Steal, Monetizing Your Slavery

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Thu May 20 05:35:24 PDT 2021

No injuries, no crashes... nothing at all, literally no crime,
no harm, no tort, no fraud... nothing... except the criminal theft
of your money by Governments, and permanent spyveillance
tracking of your travels, and biometric invasion, by the control State.
Literally as ridiculous as the laughable idea that you need a
"license" to drive and conduct yourself from one place to another.
The amount of buggery you sheeple apparently enjoy taking from
them... appears quite endless and deep indeed. Shame on you.


"Governing As Looting" In Washington & Beyond

Authored by James Bovard via The American Institute for Economic Research,

A single camera in D.C. generated more than a hundred thousand tickets
and $11 million in fines.

At what point does a democracy become a kleptocracy? That type of
degeneration routinely happens in Third World regimes but the same
blight can occur in the United States. Few things epitomize “governing
as looting” like the automated traffic ticket cameras that hundreds of
local governments have inflicted on drivers across the nation.

In 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down St. Louis’s red light
camera ticket regime for violating the U.S. Constitution because
drivers were forced to prove they were innocent. But elsewhere, mayors
and bureaucrats have not permitted constitutional rights to impede
their fervent pursuit of revenue.

Some of the most brazen abuses occur in the District of Columbia,
which issues almost a million speed camera tickets each year. The
American Automobile Association (AAA) denounced one D.C. speed camera
near the Maryland border as “an old-fashioned, money-making, motorist
rip-off speed trap right out of the ‘Dukes of Hazzard.” A single
camera in D.C. generated more than a hundred thousand tickets and $11
million in fines.

The combinations of speed cameras and shameless bureaucrats can cast
citizens into a Kafkaesque hell. Last November 2, Doug Nelson, a
73-year-old Postal Service employee and Vietnam veteran, was carjacked
as he returned home from a late shift. Nelson quickly surrendered his
vehicle to the pistol-wielding assailants. He filed a police report
and his car was eventually recovered but the license plates were
stolen by the thieves.

In the following weeks, Nelson was stunned to receive thousands of
dollars in tickets for speed camera violations spurred by the thieves
who stole his car. Nelson and his wife repeatedly notified the D.C.
government of the unjust fines but their complaints were ignored.
Because of the fines, they were prohibited from getting a new license
plate and thus banned from driving their only vehicle. They were told
they would have to pay the entire fine – which quickly rose to $5,000
– before they were permitted to formally challenge the penalties.

Nelson’s experience exemplifies how “due process” nowadays means any
damn process government does. The District has a Ticket Adjudication
Ombudsman to deal with cases of gross injustice. But because Nelson
failed to speedily file a “Reconsideration or a Motion to Vacate,” he
was prohibited from any relief. A local television station put its
“I-Team” on the case but D.C. government officials refused to sit down
for a televised interview. But the embarrassing publicity finally
spurred the city to finally cancel the fines. As Hannah Cox of the
Foundation for Economic Education observed, “The District of Columbia
unjustly deprived the Nelsons of the use of their car for far longer
than the carjackers did.”

The District is one of the more than 400 municipalities, including
most of the nation’s largest cities, that have imposed red light
cameras on their streets in recent decades. Red light cameras are
notorious for increasing traffic collisions because they spur drivers
to seek to stop suddenly to avoid being fined. In 2005, six years
after the District of Columbia set up a red light regime that
generated more than 500,000 tickets, a Washington Post analysis
revealed that “the number of crashes at locations with cameras more
than doubled.” The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor
Vehicles analyzed traffic crash data and reported in 2016 that
“fatalities from accidents doubled” at intersections with red-light
cameras. A Virginia Department of Transportation study concluded that
cameras were associated with a 29% “increase in total crashes.” But
policies that needlessly kill some citizens are worthwhile if they
boost government revenue, at least according to the political morality
prevailing in many cities.

Numerous federal studies have shown that the most effective step to
reduce collisions at traffic lights is to lengthen the time of the
yellow light to allow drivers more time to stop. A Federal Highway
Administration report concluded that “a one second increase in yellow
time results in 40 percent decrease in severe red light related
crashes.” But in 2015, the District shortened the yellow lights at
many intersections and the number of red light tickets skyrocketed.
Some of the private companies that install and maintain red light
cameras have contract provisions prohibiting cities from extending
yellow lights because it would hurt their profits.

The vast majority of red light tickets are slapped on drivers who make
right turns on red without coming to a dead stop. The National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration concluded that zero fatalities occurred
nationwide in 1998 “from an accident resulting from a right hand turn
on red when the driver yielded to oncoming traffic.” AAA spokesman
John Townsend labeled right-turn-on-red cameras as “the biggest
scandal in automated traffic enforcement.”

Despite a blizzard of automated penalties, traffic fatalities sharply
increased in D.C. in recent years. So the mayor and City Council last
year voted to triple the number of red light cameras and slashed the
speed limit on most city streets to 20 miles per hour, creating new
Yukon Territories for speed cameras. Mayor Muriel Bowser is a zealous
champion of “Vision Zero” policies and she proclaimed a goal of zero
traffic fatalities by 2024. That will never happen but her bogus
idealism sanctifies tyrannizing drivers regardless.

Foul play is fair play as long as government profits. In 2018, the
City Council enacted the Clean Hands Law, which prohibited driver
license renewals for anyone with more than $100 in debt to the D.C.
government. But local officials are not required to have “Clean
Hands.” The D.C. Inspector General found that the automated ticketing
system was so out of control that “drivers get speeding tickets for
violations they don’t commit and for vehicles they’ve never owned.”
The IG slammed the government for issuing tickets “without conclusive
identification of the violating vehicle.” City bureaucrats were proud
of how the ticketing system was rigged. A senior D.C. government
official declared, “You are guilty until you have proven yourself
innocent… That has worked well for us.” D.C. police and transportation
officials responded with a statement scoffing that complaints
“generally come from those relatively few people who feel entitled to
speed on District streets or run red lights.” But hundreds of
thousands of drivers have been nailed by a regime that is
intentionally reckless and unjust.

Mayor Bowser is a proud champion of social justice and last year
renamed a street in front of the White House as “Black Lives Matter
Plaza” and painted that slogan on the asphalt in giant yellow letters.
But Bowser, like other D.C. politicians, ignores how their ticketing
racketeering punishes the city’s neediest residents. According to a
2018 report by D.C. Policy Center, a think tank, “Neighborhoods where
80 percent or more of residents are black on average paid $322 per
capita in automated traffic tickets compared to just $20 per capita in
80 percent white neighborhoods. Residents in black neighborhoods were
17 times more likely to receive a photo ticket.” But black
neighborhoods did not have a higher rate of auto crashes than other

Unnecessary and unjust tickets disrupt lives and destroy people’s
ability to feed their families. A 2019 study by the Federal Reserve
concluded that almost half of Americans “could not afford an
unexpected expense of $400 or more.” The National Motorist Association
warned, “The practical results for many poor people may be a lot like
putting them in debtor prisons, unable to legally drive to work.” In
2018, the D.C. government created a “community service option” where
low-income traffic violators could pay off tickets by working unpaid
for the city at the minimum wage rate. At least the city has not yet
created chain gangs sweating to pay their speed cameras debts.

The depredations of automatic ticket enforcement presume that
government revenue is a magic wand that solves all problems. But
surging revenue has done nothing to prevent the D.C. government from
dismally failing its residents. The murder rate is soaring and the
schools were dismally failing to educate low-income students even
before the pandemic. The city would have collapsed to
Baltimorean-levels of debility if not for the endless revenue streams
from the federal government and its accompanying graft.

Ticket cameras epitomize how democracy provides no protection against
politicians willing to force citizens to pay any price to boost
government revenue. The Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law noted last
month, “Automated enforcement has also failed at the ballot box; red
light and/or speed cameras were voted down in 39 of 43 local elections
where the initiative appeared as a referendum.” But local politicians
insulate themselves, buying support from other groups and blocking
citizens from having a chance to pass judgment on at the polling

Automatic ticket regimes have turbocharged many politicians’
lifestyles. Bribery scandals have enveloped automated ticketing
regimes in Texas, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, and elsewhere. The former
top salesman for Redflex, one of the largest providers of red light
cameras, testified that his company had “sent gifts and bribes to
officials in at least 14 states.” (Redflex denied the allegation.)
Last year, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza condemned red light
ticket regimes as “a program that’s broken and morally corrupt” and
recommended ending them across the state.

Automatic ticketing regimes provide a stark refutation to the illusion
that governments automatically serve the people. Especially for
policies shrouded in sanctimony, government agencies are almost always
more wasteful or oppressive than the media portrays. How much longer
will local politicians be permitted to plunder drivers and subvert
safety with impunity?

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