Safford: Speeding Cameras – Another Way To Extract Your Cash

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People are up in arms about the new speeding cameras in the city. Over $1 million in tickets have already been issued.

I personally know someone who’s elderly father received four tickets in one week. I sat down with another RI resident to hear his side of the story today.

While I am a staunch defender of one’s right to face their accuser in court, I’m also dead set against speeding on a public road. I have been picked on by my peers for the last two decades for driving like an old man. Meanwhile my perfect driving record and dirt cheap insurance have me laughing all the way to the bank.

Let’s face it: Rhode Island drivers are atrocious. I am dead set against speed cameras and stop light cameras but I would, oddly enough, be in favor of traffic cameras sending out tickets for the following:

1) passing or traveling in the breakdown lane

2) making a wake (which is tailgating a police/fire/ambulance)

3) switching lanes too many times and causing traffic (not illegal….but should be because I sit in your ignorantly caused backups everyday)

4 ) Reckless driving (speeding more than 25 mph over the limit)

Real Infractions

If these speeding cameras were set to ticket people who were guilty of reckless driving, then I would throw that constitutional right out the window. The cameras should only be ticketing reckless driver offenders. That’s it.

Going 5 or 10 over is not really life threatening to those around you. Speed limits are subjective. They’re based on the opinions of a few people. We all know where the speed traps in our hometown are. They exist.

Once you start going more than 25 mph over ‘some officials best guess at a speed limit’ it starts to get dangerous for those around you. We should really be focusing on that. The people organizing against these cameras existence should really focus on changing their scope to only extend to reckless driving (ie. If you aren’t going more than 25 mph over the posted limit you shouldn’t be getting ticketed)

Monday, March 5th was the first day for Rhode Islanders to fight these ‘speeding’ tickets. It’s really hard for me to call them that. I sat down with realtor Justin Russillo after he spent the entire morning at traffic court inside the Providence Public Safety Complex.

“A Madhouse”

According to Russillo, the police station was a “madhouse” The line into the courtroom snaked all the way through the main entrance of the Prov Police station up, over, and all around he security to get into the building.

“One woman ran right around the metal detector at the entrance. There was nothing they could do to stop her. There must have been a few hundred people crammed in there,” Russillo told me.

According to Russillo, judge Caprio was forced to fill the room and tell everyone to go to the left if you are guilty and want to pay, and go to the right if you are not guilty. If you choose not guilty you then have to pay the $35 court cost for Monday, and then come back for a trial.

That’s $35 in court costs either way on a $95 ticket. Freedom and Justice are far from free. Russillo was mailed two speeding tickets within a few days of each other. He was driving 32 and 34 mph each time.

The camera that snapped a pic of him “speeding” is placed in a small school zone that drops the speed limit from 30 to 20 mph for only a few hundred feet. Not only has our state created a gauntlet of fees to circumnavigate the constitutional right to face your accuser but, they are now using school zones. They’re using our children to create speed traps for profit.

You can be disgusted. If you aren’t yet, go get a map…and a chair.

Location of Cameras

The locations of these cameras are appalling. Do you live in low income housing? Yeah, you get surrounded by  speeding cameras. Can’t pay your ticket? Oh, well that’s another fine. Your registration will be suspended. Guess how much it costs to reinstate that?

Stop reading this article, find a mirror, grab your puffy windblown cheeks, and force yourself to say I will not vote for Gina!

Not there yet? Check out what else goes on under her nose.

The average time for a traffic light to go from green to red in the US is 4.5 seconds. Some states are faster at 4.2, but Texas requires 4.7 seconds between green, Amber, and red. So where does RI fit in?

You might want to sit down for this.

Every town is different, but for the most part RI traffic lights range from 4.3 to 4.6 seconds to switch from go to stop. Ready for the punchline?

Don’t Vote For Raimondo

I have personally stood outside with a few friends and tested a handful of lights. We tested a few lights with cameras and a few without. The lights with cameras ranged from 2.8 to 3.2 seconds between go stop.

Do you see the problem here?

You are being set up to be ticketed. The lights have been cut down by almost two seconds in some instances. You aren’t being given enough time to stop.

Now…if you’re anything like me you know who the most reasonable man in RI is. It’s Judge Caprio. I won’t quote the man directly, but both himself and a few other respected judges have gone on record on more than a few occasions speaking against these cams. In the end it’s his job and no human being has even done a better job than Judge Caprio in this state at interpreting what’s fair for the people.

The Most Reasonable Man in RI – Judge Caprio

The guy genuinely cares about Rhode Islanders of all shapes and sizes. But this shouldn’t be his problem. The people really need to organize in the right way and fight for their constitutional right to face their accuser.

 

Many of the functions police across our nation perform on a daily basis are illegal in Uncle Sam’s eyes. From DUI checkpoints to cameras issuing tickets, none of what’s being done is really above board from a federal perspective. If you want to fight it get ready for a few days out of work and a hefty legal two step to protect your rights. That’s not fair.

A Rhode Islander that doesn’t pay attention to the government and does not get educated before voting is a…sucker. 

This brings me to my most important and continuous point about RI legislation. Illegal and Immoral are not the same thing.  The entire system is set to do one thing and that’s to extract cash from your pocket. You either pay the ticket or pay the court costs to fight it. You lose either way.

You are a sheep and they are taking your wool for pennies on the dollar. The only way to not be a sheep is to drive slowly and cautiously, like I do, and keep your head down.

If you want to fight the entire system learn to vote for candidates that don’t view you solely as a campaign contribution. Face the facts, YOU cannot fight this alone. You need better representation in the state house.

You need to wake up and pay attention, or you will continue to be fleeced–like a good sheep.

James Safford
James Safford is a member of the Scituate Land Trust and Conservation Commission. He has authored multiple books and sees politics though a bipartisan viewpoint. Send him email at jamessafford@yahoo.com.
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