What the city doesn’t want you to know…
Let’s begin with the core of the scam – red light cameras. That’s how these programs gain initial public support. Who can argue against fining dangerous “red-light runners”? Nobody. Not even WiseUpWinnipeg. Society should double the fines for red-light runners. Real red-light runners, that is. Most everyone who has received one knows that they did not “run” a red light – the amber light was simply inadequate. The program knows very well that more than 90% of their “red-light runners” are trapped within the first second of the change to red – with 80% trapped within the first 3 tenths of that second. Those are not red-light runners. This contrived scheme is called the Dilemma Zone and it’s the foundation of any camera program. Drivers face the challenge of braking unreasonably hard or, hesitate before proceeding through, resulting in a red light violation and/or a speeding ticket. Besides producing nearly all of the programs “red-light runners” – the profitable short-amber scheme is also responsible for the increased collisions. That is due to sudden braking and general panic around intersections as drivers adjust to this unnecessary intersection crisis.
The City of Winnipeg program data will reflect this fact however they have refused to make it publicly available – stating that the data is in the control and possession of their private partner ACS Public Sector Solutions, contrary to the documented fact that the city owns the violation data and images. Through legislation and public pressure stemming from exposed program data, many cities and municipalities have increased amber times in consideration of driver fairness and true safety – with the result being the immediate disappearance of the vast majority of “red-light runners”. As well, with the elimination of the crisis created by profitable short ambers, accidents of all types decrease permanently, by as much as 72% (2 yr compilation of intersection accident data available, Department of Transportation, State of Georgia).
The City of Mesa, Arizona, for stated reasons of safety, extended amber times by one second. The above expected results were immediate however it was not good news to all – their contractor, ACS, took a legal position against the city for tampering with profits, which was prohibited under their contract. WiseUpWinnipeg has requested the Winnipeg/ACS contract be made public however it was refused. Again more obstruction.
Senator Barry Loudermilk (Rep. Georgia), the author of the legislation that exposed this unfair, dangerous and profitable scheme in his state, was in Winnipeg on March 29th, 2010 to present to local officials the remarkable safety-success story of his increased amber legislation. Among others, the Mayor, Premier and ACS were invited to attend. None came including the Premier, who stated in response to WiseUpWinnipeg’s invitation on CJOB radio, that the city program certainly had to be about safety, that he was interested in the Georgia precedent of extending amber times and that he or a colleague would attend.
The City of Winnipeg photo enforcement program operates under Provincial government “Conditions of Authority” which dictates requirements of the program including the primary requirement of achieving safety gains, which are to be reported to the province annually. Failing to meet requirements is grounds for termination of the program. The City has not met most of the required conditions since inception. Quite some time ago now, the city commissioned an independent study of the now multi-year safety results of their program. The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) report was due last October however has been delayed for unstated reasons. It has been in the possession of the City of Winnipeg since March 7th 2011 and has been circulated internally as “confidential”. Why?
The resistance by the City to make amber times adequate is simple. The “red-light running epidemic” is more like a “red herring” to justify the program’s operations and obscene profits. Public attention must focus on the predatory abuse of the rest of the programs violations – with the vast majority being generated from locations targeted for reasons of inadequate speed zones and signage.
It’s time to take action and let our government know that we will no longer tolerate this abuse of power.