Photo radar question

KlondikeWife just got home. On the way she was in the center lane of a street with a car on each side, when she spotted the photo radar van, and saw the light flash. She looked at the speedometer and was doing just 60 in a 50 mph zone.They usually give you a pass on up to 10 mph over. Will have to wait and see if she gets the ticket.

However, that raises a question. With this situation, does the camera aim at just one lane, or can it take a shot of three cars parallel in each lane, all doing the same speed?

What about the fixed cameras, are they aimed only at the fast lane, or what?

Kinda makes you want to go out and buy a paint ball gun and start taking potshots at the cameras.


Please inform your wife that three cars should never be parallel in each lane, and doing the same speed.

There. I hope ignorance has been fought today.

It’s not a trap. It’s a traffic violation.

More jurisdictions are starting ticketing at 10 over, most have been doing it for years. If she saw the flash, and the picture comes out clear (able to identify both driver and plate), and there are no problems with getting the info from the local DMV, then the ticket will be issued.

You can always fight any ticket in court, but if your line of reasoning is “Yeah, but…” it won’t usually fly.

Jurisdictions setting fines at higher rates to curb specific violations is nothing new- why do you think in CA it’s about $526 for driving past a school bus when the red lights are flashing?

I used to work for a company that ran photo radar and red light cameras, and I have also been caught by one (not my old company). Talk about embarrassing…

Your best bet in this case is to plea bargain, and at least try to wipe away the points from the infraction. The local prosecutors are the ones to talk to, before you see the judge in court.

Or if you were related to the guy that killed near my house from someone running a red light, you might want to take the cameras down, then replace them with heat seeking missiles.

In our jurisdiction, an administrative judge is doing traffic (not an actual judge- the guy/gal is usually a moonlighting defense attorney). No prosecutor at all (at least not the last time I was there).

I always go for traffic school- costs a bit extra, but the ticket does not appear on your record and you don’t have to arse with going to court. In CA, one can attend traffic school once every 18 months.

If ya had a rocket launcher hmmm

When you were working at that photo radar/red light cameras company, did you ever get pictures of cars without license plates and drivers with something like a George Bush mask on?

Thanks for all the hijacks. Anybody know the answer to the questions in the OP?

All lanes are used, IIRC- a speeder can be in any lane. If three cars went through at the exact same time at the exact same speed, all three might be subject to a ticket. It never came up when I was supervising citation processing.

No, all lanes equally, IIRC. It has been a while.

Oh, hell yeah. Lots of cars in CA have no front plate, even though the law says you have to have one. Shots with no clear front plate and no clear driver weren’t ticketed.

No masks but a lot of “Oh SHIT!!!” looks. And cops loved to trip it giving the finger… I had one of those framed in my office.

There are tons of urban legends about cameras being “outlawed” in certain jurisdictions because of judges caught with mistresses, etc. But to the best of my knowledge, all are 100% bullshit.

We once had a camera set up at a rail crossing and caught a guy driving around the crossing arms to beat a train. The train was seconds away, and you could clearly see the guy’s young son in the passenger seat- looked about 5. Asshole.
People get maimed and killed dashing across rail crossings a lot in the LA area…

Ah! So that’s how it works. No wonder these things haven’t arrived in revenue-generating towns in SE Michigan yet (I’m thinking of you, St. Clair Shores). We don’t have front plates. When I drive to California, then, I can pretty much drive with impunity. :wink:

If the cops were using radar, not laser, it’s my understanding that there’s no way they can determine which car was going which speed, because the radar beam is too wide to focus on single car. If they had laser, though, they might have gotten one (or more) of the cars. So I’d say she has less than a 1 in 3 chance of getting nabbed.

[hijack] I have a question about this. There is an intersection near my old office in California where a set of train tracks crossed a main street just a bit before a signal controlled intersection. There was enough space on the far side of the tracks for 2 or 3 cars to wait if the light was red.
No as I drive up, the crossing gates are up, the light is red. As I cross the tracks I see a track repair truck (Pickup with those funny metal wheels that allow it to run on railroad tracks) off a bit working on something. I am #2 at the light behind a delivery truck.
I see the light turn green, and the truck start to accelerate. I start to accelerate. As I cross into the intersection, I see the light is red. :eek: WTF? In my mirror I see the railroad truck has moved and tripped the crossing gates, which I can only assume caused the light to turn red less than 5 seconds after it turned green. My coworker swore he saw the flash from the red light camera, however I never got a ticket.
Is there something in the data recording that would tell them that the light did not stay green for the correct amount of time? In other words, why did I not get a cite in the mail?

Thank you, EJsGirl, for the comprehensive and interesting response. I can imagine it could be a lot of fun scanning some of those pictures.

I guess my poor wife will be getting greetings eventually from our local, friendly courthouse. Ah well, at least she wasn’t trying to beat a train at the crossing.

I’ll bet you even money she won’t get the ticket.

You want to bet the cost of the ticket if she does? :smiley:

If it’s anything like the speed cameras we have here, they take two sequential photographs at a precisely timed interval, that way if there are several cars in the field of view, it can be determined which of them was moving fast enough to trigger the camera.

Any number of reasons- mundane to serious equipment malfunction, unclear shot, the knowledge that the camera was incorrectly tripped. I really can’t be sure- I am not nearly as familiar with crossing systems as I was with photo radar (we didn’t have any crossing cameras active during my tenure).

The technology is getting better and better. Way back when, the photo was a single of driver, car & plate, with information running down both sides of the frame- date, time, speed/length of light, location, etc. Now they are very fancy- when I got mine, there was a wide shot, a lovely close up of me yelling “OH SHIT!!!” in my car, and a shot of the rear plate for good measure, plus the usual “look how, where and when you fucked up” info.

Note the shot of the rear plate, you front-plate-less drivers, you! :wink:

Forgot to add (and missed the edit window)-

The main reason for unusable shots back in the day was clarity- we had one shot, from the front. Camera flash wasn’t working- can’t see anything. Sun glare or blurry driver- nope, can’t use it.

But we could and did ticket out of state plates, FYI…