Never Pay in Raleigh, Wilmington & Fayetteville
You do not have to pay any red light camera ticket in North Carolina. So don't pay! Your instructions are this: Throw out the ticket. Throw out any penalty notice you receive afterwards. All tickets and notices are extortion. They are scare tactics to coerce you to give up your money.
The city can not add insurance points to your driver's license.
The city can not prevent you from renewing your driver's license.
The city can not prevent you from renewing your car registration.
The city cannot hit your credit record.
The tickets are unenforceable.
For rental car and leasing agencies, throw out all the tickets. Nothing can happen to you.
For commercial trucking and bus companies, throw out all the tickets and do not punish your drivers. The fault is not with your drivers, but rather with traffic engineers who deliberately neglect the yellow light timing needs for your drivers, vehicles, air brakes and cargo.
There is a reason for the tickets' unenforceability. The tickets themselves are illegal. When you look into the State's own laws, you will find that each city violates its own obligations under law. You will find each city blatantly violates NC Constitution Article IX and NCGS 115c-437 which command that 90% of all gross fines must go exclusively to the schools. These cities give the money to the red light camera companies and take kick-backs from the schools. You will also find additionally that Raleigh sticks the owners with the liability of paying the tickets even though the law says, "Owners do not have to pay and do not have to give up the driver."
But what makes the entire fraud scheme work to begin with, is traffic engineers violating NCGS 89C. 89C is the engineering practice statute. Engineers misapply physics, in this case shorting the yellow light duration such that every driver must infrequently yet systematically run a red light. Over a period of a year, every driver must run a red light about a dozen times. The vast majority of these red light "violations" occur within the blink of an eye. Though a police office would never ticket you for such a thing, the red camera computer will. A few dozen violations per person repeated by 200,000 drivers a day will put over a million dollars a year into the coffers of the red light camera company and its city business partner.
So when you get the ticket, trash it.
Details, options and education are below.
If you received the citation from Raleigh and you are the owner of the vehicle but not the driver, use the State-sanctioned affidavit to not pay while not disclosing the name of the driver. See "Owner But Not Driver" below.
If you received the citation from Wilmington and you are the owner of the vehicle but not the driver, use the Wilmington-sanctioned affidavit to not pay while not disclosing the name of the driver. See "Owner But Did Not Give Driver Permission. - " below.
If Raleigh, Wilmington or Fayetteville claims it sent a citation to your address but you personally did not receive and/or open the citation within 90 days after the City claims you ran a red light, do not pay your penalty. Use the State-sanctioned 90 day affidavit. See "Ignoring Your Citation" below.
Do not pay these tickets. This is the case when civil disobedience is the right thing to do. Your city is breaking 11 different laws in order to get to your wallet. The biggest law it is breaking is the law against entrapment. By exploiting a physics error in the government's guideline for setting yellow lights, cities make criminals out of innocent people then prosecute them for a profit. By cities enforcing the error with red light camera precision, it is as if the city passed a law forbidding gravity. Everyone is guilty. And that is why Cary ticketed its entire population: 140,000 tickets. Knightdale ticketed 5 times its population. Raleigh is up to 190,000 tickets. Fayetteville started its program in July 2015. Unlike Raleigh, Fayetteville knew about the physics problem beforehand. We told the mayor in person. We addressed the City Council in person. Fayetteville's State delegation received a lesson on the matter in person. That lesson came with a confession from the NCDOT in person. Know that Fayetteville neither cares about safety nor fairness. Fayetteville wants to make a profit and that is why Fayetteville doubled the fine. As for Raleigh and Wilmington, these cities retain the programs to save face, even when their own data shows an increase in rear-end crashes.
This man has the most courage when it comes to civil disobedience. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Posted by Stephen Ruth on Friday, August 21, 2015
Owner But Not Driver
This option only works in Raleigh.
If you are the owner of the vehicle but were not driving at the time and location on the ticket, do not pay. Do not divulge the driver's name either. You have another choice which the citation conceals. You can legally say, "I was not driving at the time and location on the citation." Sign the affidavit below and US mail it with delivery confirmation to the mayor. Once Raleigh receives your letter, Raleigh will send you a dismissal letter. The instructions are in the affidavit.
By concealing your option of not paying when you are not the driver, Raleigh commits the act of fraud. The definition of fraud is "omitting a person's legal rights in order to secure payment." Raleigh knows about its fraud and openly commits it. The Cary News published the ex-Director of SafeLight Raleigh's--John Sandor--confession on August 22, 2012. In his statement, Sandor justifies lying to people in order to possibly prevent people from lying. The mayor of Raleigh, Nancy McFarlane confesses in this ABC TV news report.
You can settle the owner-not-driver issue directly with SafeLight Raleigh. You can walk into the SafeLight Raleigh office and ask for the owner-not-driver affidavit. SafeLight has prepared an affidavit for this purpose. SafeLight does not advertise this. With only a citation in hand and had not come to this web site, you would not know of the possibility. Remember that to Raleigh, it is about the money. Raleigh does not care if it punishes the innocent so long as it gets the money.
Owner But Not Did Not Give Driver Permission
This option only works in Wilmington.
If you are the owner of the vehicle, you were not driving and you did not give the driver permission to drive your car, do not pay. You do not have to divulge the driver's name either. The citation commits fraud by giving explicitly wrong information on the affidavit at violationinfo.com. Instead you can use (Wilmington Ordinances Section 5-46.3) and say, "I was not driving at the time and location on the citation and I did not give permission to the driver of my vehicle to drive my vehicle." Sign the affidavit below and US mail it with delivery confirmation to the City of Wilmington, SafeLight Program. Further instructions in the affidavit.
Ignoring Your Citation
In all of North Carolina you are not responsible for paying a red light camera citation if you do not receive the citation within 90 days of the violation.
Raleigh: Session Law 2003-380 Section 3(d)(2)
Wilmington, Fayetteville: NCGS 160A-300.1(c)(2)
For those owners who were not driving and Wilmington or Fayetteville sent you the citation, the 90 day affidavit is the only option to get out of paying and not giving up the driver. If you intend to not give up the driver, you must conclude that the law is unfair. The unfairness is obvious: the city is making the vehicle owner responsible for deeds not his own. This is a violation of the law of negligent entrustment. The only time a vehicle owner can be held guilty of the sins of the driver is when the owner negligently entrusts his vehicle to a person who is incapable of driving--like a drunk friend.
Collection agency, Your Credit Record.
Red light camera vendors and Cities cannot hit your credit record over a red light camera ticket. Read section E(1)c of the reporting agencies' Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. This document assures that credit reporting agencies obey the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Your credit record can be hit only when you signed a written agreement to pay the fine with the red light camera company or city. Because there is no written agreement, the red light camera citation is void. Don't pay it. The citation's wording is an empty threat (extortion). The Assurance document came about after several lawyers collectively confronted the credit reporting agencies over posting red light camera fines. Though the document is dated May 2015, it mandates all agencies to remove all red light camera black-marks past and future. We know that credit agencies have been removing black-marks several years prior to 2015. We know from experience that TransUnion has been removing "ACS, Raleigh" black-marks for years.
Notification - US Mail vs Personal Service - Nuances of Law
The SafeLight programs deliver the citation by first-class mail. They do not deliver the citation by personal service. Even though personal service is an explicit option in the red light camera laws, cities rather mail the citation because it is much cheaper. In order to make money, the city literally banks on your acknowledgement that you are at the address, that you read the citation, and that you will be intimidated to turn yourself in. But you do not have to do any of this.
Safelight does not know whether you received the citation. Sending the citation to an address differs from delivery of the citation to your hand by personal service. SafeLight mailing a citation to an address does not guarantee that you personally receive it. By both civil and criminal procedure, the city must prove you personally received the citation. It is not your responsibility to prove that you did not receive it. Many things can happen after they mail the citation which you cannot be held responsible. You cannot guarantee that the US Postal Service delivers your mail. You cannot responsible to receive/accept unexpected notices. Unlike a credit card bill, SafeLight citations come unexpectedly. You may be on vacation and while your credit card bills may be on autopay, it is impossible for you to personally deal with unexpected notices that impose deadlines and punishments from parties who do not confirm your receival. Also you are not responsible for people who intercept the mail. Your child or wife may have thrown out the letter. Your dog may have eaten it. Anything is possible.
The presumption of your innocence, a 600 year old precedent, applies though SafeLight bullies you to think otherwise.
Here is the law:
The Session law makes it clear that the City's obligation does not stop at just "mailing an address a citation." It makes it clear that the City's obligation extends to assuring that the "vehicle owner is given notice". If you are going to ignore your citation, you must truly ignore it. Do not respond to the original citation. Do not respond to the penalty notice. Wait until SafeLight makes the next move (see below for what that is). Make sure that when you respond, you respond 90 days after the alleged date of violation.
Many people are concerned about the obligations the Session Law assigns to the City and those it assigns to the vehicle owner. The Session Law is not clear in this matter (purposefully), so one has to dissect the Law to understand it:
The Session Law describes a three-part transaction. The law obligates the City to do the first two parts. The third part is the owner's responsibility and contingent upon the City's fulfillment of the first two.
- The City has to "mail the notification to the address on the motor vehicle registration."
- "The vehicle owner has to be given notice." The grammar "is given notice" is a passive voice construct purposefully used to obfuscate responsibility. The passive voice begs the question, "Who must give notice to the vehicle owner?" It must be the City because the vehicle owner cannot give himself notice of something unknown to him, and the only other party in this transaction is the City. Therefore the law obligates the City to ensure that the vehicle owner receives the notice.
- Contingent upon the City fulfilling 1 and 2, then the Session Law obligates the vehicle owner to either pay, fink on the driver, get a hearing, or in Raleigh, mail in the "It wasn't me" affidavit.
The Session Law itself affirms this interpretation. The fact that the law contains the 90-day provision affirms that sending to an address and receiving by a person are not equivalent, that the former happened but the latter did not.
Knowing the obligations of both parties exposes the illegality of this Session Law. The Session Law violates higher law. It violates the due process clause of Amendment XIV of the US Constitution. For even while the City has not fulfilled its obligations, the law allows the City to prematurely convict the vehicle owner, injure him by removing his legal rights and report him to a collection agency. Such is what happens in Raleigh and Wilmington. The Cities do not confirm that the vehicle owner received notice but punish the vehicle owner as if he did. The City skips the confirmation process and thus violates the process due the vehicle owner. A violation of the 14th Amendment.
This breach of law manifests itself when the vehicle owner goes to the bank to get a loan and finds that the bank has increased his interest rate. The owner sees that "ACS Raleigh" hit his credit record but doesn't know who ACS Raleigh is. The same problem happens in many States. In Florida, vehicle owners get their drivers' licenses suspended and don't even know it.
It is fairly common that people never receive a citation yet have been convicted. So when you confront the SafeLight office, be courageous. Here are reasons I have heard why one never received notice:
1. Many people are on vacation and never receive the mail until it is too late.
2. Many people are in the process of moving, and the mail does not get forwarded to them.
3. Spouses separate for an impending divorce. The spouse remaining in the house does not forward the mail to the spouse who fled.
3. Many people find that these citations look like junk mail/scam letters and throw them out.
4. Many people have family members opening the mail. Your spouse or child may have simply thrown away the citation.
If Safelight real wants its money legitimately, Safelight can serve you civil notice the old fashioned way--by dispatching a person who hands you the citation.
Expectation when Ignoring a Citation by City
As of July 2013 we know that "ACS Raleigh" will attempt to hit your credit record if you ignore your citation. A credit report from TransUnion (a credit reporting agency) will reveal a line saying, "ACS Raleigh" at "212 Wolfe Street Raleigh, NC 27601." ACS is the private company who owns Raleigh's red light cameras.
Like we said in the section above, hitting your credit record is an empty threat. If a hit appears, call TransUnion to remove it.
The nature of the dispute is this: The civil fine which ACS wants to collect is by federal definition not a debt. There is no credit. TransUnion has not lent you money for there to be a credit. TransUnion, a credit reporting agency, would be violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by taking ACS's word for it that the ACS reported a valid debt. TransUnion's legal obligation is to ignore ACS-Raleigh.
The legal definition of debt is:
While the North Carolina State Session Law 2001-286 allows ACS to regard the fine as a debt, the US Code does not. The wording in the NC State Law contradicts the higher law. (Red light camera companies routinely introduce these change-of-definition deceptions.) A red light camera fine is not "an obligation to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes." The fine is not a judgment: No court or other tribunal has resolved a controversy and determined the rights and obligations of the parties.
There also remains the matter that you were never served a notice. ACS mailing you a fine without requiring your own signature to indicate you received the notice, then assuming that you have received the notice, violates civil procedure and section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the United States. The NC Session Law requires that you receive notification before the fine becomes legal and ACS does not provide the instrument by which it can verify your notification.
In the end there are no grounds for ACS to collect. As it has been reported to us and verified by Section E(1)c of this Assurance document, a call to TransUnion and filling out their on-line dispute form will remove the blemish from your record. Here is a letter you can attach to the dispute form. One person had the issue resolved within minutes. Another person called John Sandor, the director of the Safelight Raleigh, and Sandor called TransUnion and had the black-mark removed.
Legally TransUnion has 30 days to respond.
If Safelight Raleigh tries to get you to pay the citation by revising the due date on your citation, that is illegal. Safelight Raleigh has overstepped the enabling statute. If you receive the citation 90 days after the violation, by enabling statute Session Law 2003-380, the citation is void. Period.
If you ignore a Wilmington citation, we know that the City of Wilmington will eventually try to garnish your North Carolina State Tax Refund $100.00; that is, if you have a refund coming. The City of Wilmington uses a little known law to do this: NCGS 105-A. To prevent the City of Wilmington from collecting, either do what's in the following paragraph or do your personal accounting in such a way that you do not get a State Tax Refund.
Wilmington invented a number of contingencies in order to collect from people who claimed never to have received the citation. For example Wilmington has an prepared affidavit saying you were on an extended vacation and did not receive the citation in time. If you sign the affidavit, Wilmington cancels the penalties and resets the clock and makes you pay the original $50. These contingencies are illegal. Wilmington is overstepping North Carolina's enabling statute. Statute Session Law 2003-380 calls a violation not received after 90 days void. The law stops there. The law does not authorize any contingency procedure. Do not sign such an affidavit. If Wilmington insists that you pay, you might have to call the police and have the police force the City of Wilmington to honor the law. (Such a thing happened in the Town of Cary.)
Who is your Advocate?
The media is your best advocate. These cases of fraud are clear-cut and of public interest. The media generally does not hesitate to expose the fraud.
It is possible to go to the police but there is no long term success in this. The police may take your one isolated citation and force its City's Safelight program to cancel it, but the City will continue defrauding the public. The City will continue to screw everyone else without blinking an eye. For example even after two legal confrontations with Cary over the owner-not-driver issue, Cary choose continue to defraud the public for two additional years. It was only after a Wake County Superior Court judge chastised Cary in court when Cary changed its mind. After hearing Cary's outcome, the Town of Knightdale decided to comply with this law too. Cary and Knightdale both have shutdown their programs.
The NC State of Bureau of Investigation is not your advocate. The Attorney General is not your advocate. They do not get involved in local police matters. The SBI's suggestion is to contact the media.
Fighting the Engineer
The real fight is here. NCDOT traffic engineers are the problem. All of them. Traffic engineers do not listen, for to listen and to understand means confessing to 50 years of causing crashes and being the reason behind a multibillion dollar predator industry. Because the traffic engineers do not listen, one would normally seek remedy with the State's Board of Engineers. The Board's responsibility is to discipline engineers for misapplying physics, literally this is against the law. It is plain incompetence. But it turns out that the Board is not willing to address this problem. The Board is actually complicit in the problem. Through its exam materials, the Board teaches the errant formula to 26,000 North Carolina engineers. NCBELS' national affiliate NCEES teaches the wrong formula to 800,000 engineers.
North Carolina laws for legal red light camera operation require the yellow light durations to be in full compliance with the MUTCD: "The yellow change interval must be set according to engineering practices", and that the traffic engineer must conform to NCGS 89C which defines engineering practices as the "applicaton of the physical sciences".
The engineer misapplies the physical sciences when setting the yellow change interval. He thus commits engineering malpractice--a violation of federal law.
Violation 1: Steady Yellow Duration Shorter Than Traffic Signal Plan
All yellow light durations in North Carolina fail the MUTCD. MUTCD Sec. 4D.26-01 requires yellow change interval to be a steady yellow light. "Steady" is the key word. The law requires the steady yellow change interval to be at least as long as that written on the signal plan. But NC traffic engineers never account for bulb illumination time. The signal plan may say 4.5 seconds, but the steady part of that yellow time is about 4.3 seconds. North Carolina traffic engineers always short the yellow light by about 0.2 seconds. Engineers counter this claim saying that the bulbs are LEDs. But generally the LEDs are not the source of the delay. It is the rectifier circuit before current reaches the bulbs which is responsible. The 0.2 second accounts for about 30% of the red light camera revenue. This video illustrates the problem.
Violation 2: Yellow Not Same Duration Following Protected and Permissive Greens
North Carolina traffic engineers fail the MUTCD when setting the duration of left-turn yellow arrows on those left turn approaches which have both a protected and a permissive green phase. When traveling down a left turn lane, sometimes you get a green arrow. That green arrow is called a protected green: you have the right-of-way. Other times you get either a solid green ball or a flashing yellow arrow. The solid green ball or the flashing yellow is called a permissive green. You can go if you can but you do not have the right-of-way. The NCDOT traffic engineers fail the MUTCD for left turn approaches that have both a protected and permissive phase. The yellow following these phases must be the same duration (MUTCD 4D.17-07, 4D.26-09, 4D.04-3B, 1A.13-258). They do not. NCDOT typically sets the yellow duration after a protected green to 3.0 seconds and the one after the permissive green to 3.8 seconds (35 mph road) or 4.5 seconds (45 mph road). The yellows durations differ during the light cycle for the same yellow light--a direct violation of a MUTCD standard.
Violations of a MUTCD standard are winnable in court. We did not file complaints on these MUTCD violations in Court because we did not know about them at the time of the trial. For our trial, we complained about violations of NCGS 89C.
Every US State and Canadian Province has a clause like "the engineer must know the special knowledge of the physical sciences to do his engineering work." It is the engineers' failure to understand physics which is the root of the red light camera problem--which explains why the red light camera industry exists. We explain this problem in the papers on the home page of this web site. A good summary of the problem is in the Oct/Nov 2013 issue of Traffic Technology International.
Though it should be just a matter of fixing a simple physics mistake, it turns into a matter of fixing a traffic engineer's ego. That is much more difficult. When confronted with the possibility of making such a mistake, traffic engineers are instantly dismissive. Some are hostile. "We are correct because we have been doing it this way for 50 years. Who are you to tell us we made a mistake? Are you a licensed professional engineer?" Yet at the same time not one traffic engineer knows the physics behind their formula. Some of the traffic engineers do not even believe that physics is true. Their depositions testify.
It is true that a handful of engineers are humble. But when confronted they say, "I have to do what the NCDOT tells me to do. Any design change I make has to be approved by NCDOT in Raleigh." This is the devil-made-me-do-it defense. This defense is also a lie. By State law, it is the licensed professional engineer, personally, who has authority over the NCDOT.
Taking Physics to Court
We took the physics issues to court. Wake County Superior Court struck the laws of physics. Specifically the Court used a city ordinance to trump the laws of physics.
In Court it is about culpability, not responsibility. We sued the Town of Cary, the culpable party who harvested $7 million from innocent drivers. But the people who are responsible for the problem are traffic engineers. The judge would not hold Cary responsible. The Court did not refute the physics errors. It just wouldn't hold Cary responsible for them. Cary pointed its fingers at the NCDOT and told us to sue the NCDOT instead.
The Court ruled in favor of Cary. The Court did not make us pay Cary's legal fees. Cary also "voluntarily" terminated its red light camera program.
It should be clearly expressed to you that neither traffic engineer nor Board of Engineers ever offered a refutation to the physics we present. They just avoid addressing the issue. It is simple to explain why there is no refutation. There isn't one. The physics is plain. The physics has been known for 3 centuries. The sophistication of the physics a high school student knows. The traffic engineer has made an egregious error. The error has been confirmed only. The first person to bring forward the error was not us either. We were beat to the punch by Chui Liu, PhD Physics and PhD Civil Engineering. Liu is the Director of Traffic Safety for CalTrans. He published a paper revealing the error in the ASCE's Journal of Transportation in 2002.
Sign up for an Administrative Hearing
If you pay $50 without appealing your citation, you are guilty in the eyes of the law. You have confessed. You forfeit all legal rights. You can neither appeal your case in Superior Court nor file a law suit.
It is possible to fight City Hall?
If you are the owner of the car but were not driving at the time and location of the citation, yes. You can fight City Hall and win. This is how you do it: Without claiming in any fashion that you were the driver of the car, sign up for a hearing. When you go to the hearing, say that you are the owner of the car but were not driving at the time and location on the citation. Do not say anything more than that. Let your lips be sealed. If the Hearing Panel convicts you, then pay the $50 fine and you are now in the legal position to bring a class action lawsuit against the City. Call us. With your involvement we can sue Raleigh or Knightdale for millions of dollars. This "owner not driver" issue can be won. The State statutes and city ordinances are very clear what Raleigh is supposed to do.
If you file a lawsuit against Wilmington for not giving 90% of gross penal fines exclusively to the schools, then you can fight City Hall and win. Wilmington has overstepped its enabling statutes by entering into a contract with the New Hanover County for the latter to kick back costs for the city's red light camera program. New Hanover County is the funding source of the schools. In the end, Wilmington is not giving 90% of gross penal fines exclusively to the schools. The school's funding agent is giving Wilmington back $200,000.00/year. It is a negotiated bribe in order to collude together to violate the NC Constitution and NCGS 115c-437.
If you claim that "I just could not stop or the yellow did not last long enough", or "it was raining" then you are taking the punishment for physics errors made by the NCDOT.
Raleigh Intersection Problems
There are many engineering problems at all intersections with red light cameras. That is why the red light cameras are there--to exploit the engineering problems. Raleigh has made many mistakes setting yellow light times at all intersections. There exists problems common to every intersection. There exists problems specific to an intersection. We have analyzed only three intersections so far in Raleigh: Here are their specific engineering failures which Raleigh financially exploits at your expense:
|Capital Blvd. (NB) at New Hope Church Rd.|
|New Hope Church Rd. (EB) at Brentwood|
|Peace St. (EB) at West|
We know that NCDOT engineers never measure approach speeds as required by their own spec. Engineers are supposed to set yellow light durations according to the speed of 85th percentile of freely-flowing car speeds, not the posted speed limit. We have not seen a single traffic signal plan where the NCDOT does this. We have measured approach speeds and they have always been greater than the posted speed limit.
We know that for some intersections ACS posts yellow times shorter than that of the signal. On Peace at West street, ACS says the time is 3.79 seconds. The signal plan says the time must be 3.8 seconds. This shortfall violates SL2004-141, and the operation of the red light camera is illegal.
We also know that at some intersections, Raleigh's ACS red light camera software prints false yellow times. The printed times are significantly longer than the signal gives, giving the impression that Raleigh gives you more time than they really do. For instance at Dawson @ Morgan, the printed yellow time is 4.1 seconds but the actual yellow time is 3.8 seconds. 0.3 seconds is the difference between 50 tickets per month and 150 tickets per month.
Raleigh advocates death for its motorists. On Raleigh's web site, there is a section called "Red Light Cameras is Other Cities." Raleigh uses the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) to justify its red light camera program. But IIHS studied Raleigh specifically and reported (p. 14) that the presence of red light cameras increased fatalities in Raleigh by 180%.
Wilmington has the same problems as Raleigh.
For a hearing, call:
|Raleigh Safelight (owned by Xerox)||919-833-2549|
|Wilmington Safelight (owned by ATS)||910-343-4762|
What is Your Defense?
If you sign up for a hearing in Raleigh you have to write down the reason why you feel you are innocent. Either say, "I am not the driver at the time and location on the citation" or write the following. It is true.
"[City] has created a dilemma zone at this intersection. I was in it when the light turned yellow. [City] forced me to run a red light."
When you go to the hearing, face the hearing panel and defend yourself with:
"All intersections have a dilemma zone because the NCDOT formula for yellow light durations sets yellow light durations which oppose the laws of physics. In order for me to obey the law, I have to break laws, unbreakable laws--the laws of physics. I cannot do that. Adjust your yellow light durations so that they are consistent with the physical laws of motions. Then judge me."
Additionally if you are a commercial truck driver, say "I need 2.5 second perception/reaction time for my rig and 0.5 seconds air-brake lag time. That is what the NCDOT CDL Manual requires for truck drivers. Your 3 second left turn yellow leaves me absolutely no time to brake." If you did not turn left, say, "You shorted me 1.5 seconds on the yellow. I am innocent. And you better increase your yellow light duration else I am going to kill someone and charge the City with wrongful death."
NC Constitution Issues
NC Constitution, Article IX, Section 7 combined with NCGS 115C-437 requires that 90% of gross penal fines must go exclusively to the public schools. The Constitution says that clear proceeds must go exclusively to the public schools. 115C stipulates the 90%, establishes that . . .
clear proceeds = gross penal fines - cost of collections
and puts a ceiling on the cost of collections at 10% of gross penal fines. If a City fines a person $100, $90 must go to the public schools. The remaining $10 can be used to pay collection costs. If collection costs exceed 10%, the City must fund the shortfall from its own coffers. Shavitz vs the City of High Point, an NC appellate court case, upheld this. Shavitz vs the City of High Point also upheld that 100% of enforcement costs must be funded from the city's coffers.
- "What is the difference between enforcement and collection costs?"
Enforcement costs are costs directly associated with enforcing the law; for example, the salaries of policemen, or the cost of surveillance equipment like red light cameras. The cost of collections is the cost of getting the money from the convicted. That would be things like the cost of computers which tally the citations, the cost of mailing out tickets, the cost of administrative hearing panels personnel and the cost of hiring personnel to process the collection operations.
- "What is wrong with government making profit from criminals?"
It is a conflict of interest. Government has the power of government to make criminals. If the government allows itself to keep a significant portion of the fines, then it gives itself a lucrative incentive to make as many criminals as it can. Even when the government cannot turn a profit, excessive collection costs still profit the private business. The intent of the NC Constitution and 115C is to kill the profit motive for all parties.
Red light cameras have excessive collection costs. In Knightdale, those costs were over 95% of gross penal fines. North Carolina cities cannot afford to pay the collection costs while dispensing the required 90% to schools. Yet even with this bad financial dynamic, some cities still have red light camera programs. There is Wilmington, Raleigh and possibly in the near future, Fayetteville. How do they retain their programs?
Wilmington - Circumventing the NC Constitution by Money Laundering
Collection costs in Wilmington is at least the cost of American Traffic Solutions (ATS) contract. That is $480,000.00/year. Gross penal fines is about $1,500,000.00/year. I leave it to the reader to do the math. (Browse the link. It is $50/ticket in Wilmington). 90% of $1,500,000.00 is $1,350,000.00. It must go to New Hanover Schools. 10% which is $150,000.00 goes to ATS. Wilmington still owes $330,000.00. Wilmington funds an additional $150,000.00 from its own coffers. There is still a shortfall of $180,000.00.
And now the illegal activity:
1. By definition, this is a kickback. Wilmington gives $1,350,000.00 to New Hanover County Schools in turn for New Hanover County to kick back to Wilmington $200,000.00. It is a negotiated bribe whose parties collude in order to circumvent the NC Constitution and NCGS 115C-437. New Hanover County is the primary funding source of New Hanover County Schools. The kickback, while still not profitable to Wilmington, allows ATS to profit.
(There is still a problem. The numbers do not add up. According to Donald Bennett, Wilmington Safelight Director, Wilmington gave $790,000.00 to the public schools in 2012. This means $88,000.00 from fines can be applied to the $480,000.00 ATS contract. That leaves a shortfall of about $400,000.00. Wilmington funds in $150,000.00. Still short $250,000.00. New Hanover County contributes $200,000.00. Still short $50,000.00. That is a problem. Where is this $50,000 reconciled? Given the contribution amount to the schools and given the number of tickets Wilmington issued, the implication is both that about 40% of vehicles owners are not paying the fine and that Wilmington is not giving the schools the full amount due.)
- "But the schools do get money!"
Remember the prime concern of this web site. Engineering failures. The government is using its power to make criminals. It does so by shorting yellow lights forcing millions of drivers who have nothing wrong to run red lights. Shorting yellow lights induces crashes. The red light camera themselves add to rear-end crashes (32% more crashes in Raleigh). Funding the schools by punishing, robbing the killing the innocent is not a good way to help the children.
2. Session Law SL2001-286, Wilmington's enabling statute for red light cameras, does not enable the City of Wilmington to enact funding agreements with any party. Wilmington is overstepping its enabling statute. Only Fayetteville's new law, HB1151, allows such a provision.
Fayetteville - NC Constitution Issues
The City of Fayetteville is now in the process of reestablishing their red light camera program. The same financial deal-breaker is before them. In order to get around it, Fayetteville added Section 3 to their version of the State bill which allows Cumberland Schools to kick back money to fund Fayetteville's camera program. The kick back clause, even if it is voluntary by the schools, still conflicts with higher law: NC Constitution Article IX, Section 7. The Constitution says that the money must go "exclusively" to the schools. Such an agreement is a negotiated bribe, even when written into a lesser law. Its sole purpose is to allow the parties involved to collude against the higher law.
Raleigh - NC Constitution Issues
Raleigh violates the NC Constitution and NCGS 115C-437 as well. What makes Raleigh different is Wake County's own flavor of the red light camera law. The County law redefines "clear proceeds" to include "leasing equipment and paying the vendor". But the redefinition still opposes those established higher laws and court decisions already discussed.
Fact and a Piece of Advice
Fact. Your accuser is the traffic engineer. Your accuser is not the city. Your accuser is not the police. Your accuser is not even the red light camera vendor. It is the traffic engineer who "signed and sealed the traffic signal plan for your intersection." While city, police and vendor indeed helped put the ticket in your hand, it is the traffic engineer who is legally at fault and is financially liable for your ticket.
Advice. My advice is that you appeal your ticket then sue the traffic engineer in federal court. The traffic engineer is violating a federal document, the MUTCD. Do not waste time arguing with the local government. Government is the tip of the iceberg: