Raleigh, Greenville, Fayetteville & Wilmington

Never Pay

NOTICE: Seeking Plaintiffs for Wilmington and Fayetteville

We are starting a lawsuit against Wilmington and Fayetteville. We need plaintiffs who received a red light camera ticket. To be a plaintiff, you must have legal standing. To have legal standing, you must appeal your ticket and lose the appeal. Therefore, sign up for an administrative hearing. At the hearing, claim 1) that 90% of gross penal fines are not going to the public schools, 2) that the city cannot enact a local health law, 3) that the yellow light is too short, and 4) that the red-light cameras have been installed by a firm not licensed to practice engineering. After the hearing is over, the city must find you guilty. Guilty is good in this case. You must pay $50 (Wilmington) or $100 (Fayetteville). Do these things and you have legal standing. Call 919-815-0126 for more info.

 

You do not have to pay any red-light camera citation in North Carolina. Paying a ticket in North Carolina has always been voluntary. There are no repercussions for not paying your citation.

Your instructions are these: The best thing to do with a red-light camera citation in North Carolina is ignore it. Throw out the citation. Throw out any penalty notice you receive afterwards. Ignore letters from collection agencies. These citations, penalty notices and letters from collection law firms are extortion. Empty threats. Extortion is the "practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats." The threats cannot be enforced:

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. If a blemish appears on your credit, call the credit report agencies and they will remove it. Despite the wording of North Carolina State law that declares a red light camera penalty is a debt, that definition violates federal law. The federal definition of a debt is an obligation you must pay because you signed an agreement to receive money or services. Therefore, your credit cannot be blemished for a simple reason: No one issued you credit.

The city cannot sue you because the city has no legal standing to sue. In both civil and criminal procedure, the plaintiff has to name the accused. Neither city nor camera company can name the accused. All they have is a picture of a license plate. In order for the city begin litigation, you first have to confess that you ran the red light. Do not confess to running the red light. Do not confess to receiving the mail. You are not obligated to confess to anything. Despite what the red-light camera law says, you are not obligated to be a posse for the City by ratting out yourself or someone else.

Also, to be a plaintiff in a lawsuit, the plaintiff must have been financially or physically injured and the plaintiff must be an individual or a corporation. For example, you admit driving the car. Did you injure the corporation of Greenville? Did you steal money from the corporation of Greenville? Are you late paying your water bill? Only these kinds of infractions can be brought to court and only in a civil procedure. But running a red light is a criminal act. Running a red-light is against the public, not a corporation. Greenville cannot claim you injured the corporation of Greenville. Greenville can only claim you "injured the public". But injuring the public is a criminal process, not a civil one. So Greenville cannot sue you in civil court.

Illegal penalties. For Greenville and Fayetteville, add a $100 late fee. That is illegal. State law puts a cap on the vehicle owner's total liability at $100. The maximum late fee is $20, but the total liability cannot exceed $100.00. Greenville and Fayetteville invented the "additional" $100.00. It is like some stranger coming up to you and saying, "Give me $100 because I say so." We also know that Fayetteville will hand the citation over to a collection agency in Texas. The agency demands $400. Ignore it.

For rental car and leasing agencies, throw out all the citations. Nothing can happen to you.

For commercial trucking and bus companies, throw out all the citations and do not punish your drivers.

The racketeering scheme begins when traffic engineers violate 23 CFR 655 MUTCD 4D.26(3) with NCGS 89C-3(6). Traffic engineers create a red-light running problem. By errors and omissions in the field of physics, traffic engineers cause every driver to run red lights. Over a period of a year, every driver will run a red light about a dozen times. 70% of these red light incursions happen within 1 second. The errors in physics are so bad for certain traffic movements that the errors will cause a driver to run the light up to 5 seconds.

On March 2, 2020, the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), the private company that DOTs rely upon to establish federal guidelines to establish yellow light durations, confessed that its 55 year-old guideline has been wrong. On March 2, 2020, ITE replaced its practice with a new one--a practice that gets the physics correct, and hence when adopted by DOTs, will reduce red-light running by about 90%.

So when you get the citation, it is simply best to trash it. Trash all subsequent emails. If you feel you must respond, you can send an "affidavit of non-responsibility" if it applies. But remember, replying identifies that you received the citation. By replying, you set yourself up and gave the red-light camera company the means to pursue.

  

US Constitution

Professor Adam McLeod of Faulkner University Law School wrote the definitive article on the unconstitutionality of photo-enforcement programs.

 

Affidavits of Non-Responsibility

The easiest thing for you to do is do nothing. Ignore your citation. Ignore penalty notices. The city has no legal recourse. The city does nothing. You can file the following affidavits, but then the City knows you received the citation. See "Notification" section 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 Fayetteville and you are the owner of the vehicle but not the driver, use the Fayetteville-sanctioned affidavit to not pay while not disclosing the name of the driver. See "Owner But Did Not Give Driver Permission. - " below.

If you received the citation from Greenville, your only option is to ignore the citation. See the "Ignoring Your Citation" below.

If you received the citation from Wilmington, your only option is to ignore the citation. See the "Ignoring Your Citation" below.

If Raleigh, Fayetteville, Greenville or Wilmington 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. Do not succumb to any of the City's illegal affidavits to force you to pay after-the-fact. Use the State-sanctioned 90 day affidavit:

Raleigh - 90 Days Affidavit
Fayetteville - 90 Days Affidavit
Greenville - 90 Days Affidavit
Wilmington - 90 Days Affidavit

   

Owner But Not Driver

For Raleigh . . .

If you are the owner of the vehicle but were not driving at the time and location on the citation, do not pay. Do not divulge the driver's name either. You have another choice which the citation conceals. You can legally write, "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 may send you a dismissal letter. Since 2016, Raleigh stopped sending the dismissal letter. It does not matter whether you receive a dismissal letter. Just do not pay. The instructions are in the affidavit.

Raleigh 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 admits 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 in order to prevent lies. The mayor of Raleigh, Nancy McFarlane confesses the lie 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.

   

Owner Who Did Not Give Driver Permission

For Fayetteville . . .

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 in many ways: Fayetteville Ordinances Section 16-153. You can 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 at the time and location on the citation." Sign the affidavit below and US mail it with delivery confirmation to the City of Fayetteville, SafeLight Program. Further instructions in the affidavit.

Fayetteville Affidavit

Do NOT send $100 with your affidavit. Forcing you to pay up front in order to defend yourself is illegal by federal and state law. The violation of federal law is that over due process: paying the civil fine up front does not require the city to meet its burden of proof. The crime against North Carolina law is one of overstepping the general statute. The statute does not require it.

   

Ignoring Your Citation

The easiest thing to do is to ignore your citation. Everyone should just do this and make like you never received one. Ignore it and ignore all subsequent penalty notices and collection agency threats.

In all cases, you do not have to acknowledge to any party that you received the citation. Just because the red light camera may have sent you a citation, does not mean you received it. Tell them like they like to tell you, "I am not responsible for the US Mail." If you want the money so desperately, then serve me face-to-face.

   

Citation Arrives After 90 Days

If you receive a citation over 90 days after the time of violation, in all of North Carolina you are not responsible for paying a red light camera citation. Below are the 90 day affidavits.

Raleigh - 90 Days Affidavit
Fayetteville - 90 Days Affidavit
Greenville - 90 Days Affidavit
Wilmington - 90 Days Affidavit

 

You are also not responsible for telling the city/red light camera company where you were or why you did not receive your citation. Do not acknowledge that you received one if you did. Do not allow the city to reissue you a new citation. Do not succumb to the city's deceptive act of "grace" of removing the penalty charge if you now pay it. You do not have to pay this citation in the first place.

Raleigh: Session Law 2003-380 Section 3(d)(2)

Wilmington, Fayetteville, Greenville: NCGS 160A-300.1(c)(2)

 

Credit Reporting - Extortion

Red light camera vendors and Cities cannot hit your credit record over a red light camera citation. Read section IV. E(1)c of the reporting agencies' Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. This document assures that credit reporting agencies obey the federal Credit Reporting Act (CRA). Many citations comes with the threat they will hand your citation over to collections. That threat is extortion -- a crime. The so-called collection agency cannot collect.

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. The Assurance document is a result of several lawyers having confronted the credit reporting agencies over posting red light camera fines. 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" credit hits for years.)

Be wary of Fayetteville. Fayetteville will send your unpaid citation to Linebargar, Goggan, Blair & Simpson--a law firm specializing in collections working out of Texas. Fayetteville and Linebargar break 2 laws doing this. They treat the citation as a "debt" which it is not according to federal definition and top of that, the law-firm will jack up the $100 civil penalty to $400 in explicit violation of NC State law which caps the entire penalty at $120.00. Read points 4 and 5 here.

 

"Notification"

To pay a citation, the City first has to notify the vehicle owner. This section is for lawyers who are curious about the particular obligations of the City and the vehicle owner.

You are not responsible for the US Mail. You are not responsible for City's claims that it sent you a citation. If you see a citation in the mailbox, you are not responsible to deliver the letter to the vehicle owner. All these things are the city's obligations under law. And if anyone receives the mail, no one is legally obligated to read the mail.

Notification - US Mail vs Personal Service

SafeLight programs deliver the citation by first-class mail. The correct way to notify the perp is by personal service. The Court sends a guy to your house who asks who you are and then says, "You have been served." Personal service is an option in the red light camera laws. But red-light camera companies rather mail the citation and count on the gullible to crumble under threat and pay the citations. Paying for personal service takes the profit away from the scheme. You do not have to turn yourself in. You do not have to acknowledge these letters.

Safelight does not know whether you received the citation. Sending the citation to an address differs from personal delivery. 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. You are not responsible for SafeLight's data processing department. You are not responsible for the US Postal Service. You cannot be responsible to receive/accept unexpected notices. Unlike credit card bills, SafeLight citations come unexpectedly. You may be on vacation. You may be in the army and deployed. It is impossible for you to personally deal with unexpected notices that impose deadlines and punishments from parties who do not confirm that you received the notice. 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.

The presumption of your innocence, a 600 year old precedent, applies though SafeLight extorts 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.

  1. The City has to "mail the notification to the address on the motor vehicle registration."
  2. "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.
  3. 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 State 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, Fayetteville 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

Raleigh

Prior to 2015, we knew that "ACS Raleigh" hit your credit record if you ignored 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 (now called Conduent) who owns Raleigh's red light cameras.

After 2015, we do not know of a single red-light camera company or city that will try to hit your credit records. 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 legal definition of debt is:

15 U.S. Code Section 1692A. Black's Law Dictionary goes into more detail.

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. A red-light camera company 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 a red-light camera company 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 program in any city tries to get you to pay the citation by revising the due date on your citation, that is illegal. Wilmington is notorious for this. Safelight Wilmington has overstepped the State enabling statute. If you receive the citation 90 days after the violation, by enabling statute Session Law 2003-380, the citation is void.

Fayetteville

If you ignore a Fayetteville citation, we know that the City of Fayetteville will eventually give your citation to a law firm collection agency in Texas. The name of the law firm is Linebargar, Goggan, Blair & Simpson. The "bill" it sends you is illegal. And the amount of money Linebargar adds to the fine violates NC law. Do not pay it. Do not respond to it. In the end, the bills are empty threats.

Wilmington

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. You do not have to accept the contingency. 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 city to invent a 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, and the Cary Police voided the citation.)

 

Who is your Advocate?

The media is your best advocate. These cases of fraud are clear-cut and of public interest. Some media outlets, like WTVD Channel 11, and the Wilmington Port City Daily can really do a job on the City on the red-light camera company. However, in the end, the media has not been able to overcome the greed of the city councils and red-light camera companies.

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 harvest money without blinking an eye. Remember, the police work for the city.

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 or vote your city council out of office.

 

Fighting the Engineer

The real fight is here. NCDOT traffic engineers are the problem. All of them. Traffic engineers are in denial amount their engineering mistake. To listen and to understand the physics of their own equation means confessing to 57 years of causing crashes and punishing millions of innocent drivers with citations. 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 misapplying physics is against the law. But it turns out that the Board is not willing to address this problem. The Board defers the problem to the the "traffic industry", but that makes the Board complicit. The Board's excuse is that it only disciplines engineers when the violate the "standard of care" in the industry. The problem is that misapplied math equation is a "standard of care" which violates the North Carolina State Statue which defines engineering practice.

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 "application of the physical sciences".

The engineer misapplies the physical sciences when setting the yellow change interval. He sets it by the wrong physics equation. He thus commits engineering malpractice.

MUTCD

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.

 

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. And in March 2020, the national organization Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), whose bad math the NCDOT uses to the yellow light, admitted that its equation is wrong. ITE changed the equation. See the home page for details.

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 for millions of dollars. This "owner not driver" issue can be won.

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. It is classic money laundering. 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 traffic engineer who signed and sealed the signal plan for your intersection. Todd Platzer, a resident of Wilmington, filed a small claim for $50 against the traffic engineer Pamela Alexander. Ms. Alexander got the math wrong. Mr. Platzer just wanted to see what would happen. Ms. Alexander, an ex-employee of the NCDOT, got the State Attorney General to defend her. Now the AG is defending engineering malpractice. This crazy confrontation only occurred because the NC Board of Engineers refuses to meet its obligation to discipline its own engineers. In the next round, one is going to have to sue the Board of Engineers.

In Fearrington vs City of Greenville, Paul Stam (attorney for Fearrington) presented the engineering problems to the NC Appellate Court. The Court would not make decisions regarding the engineering problems. The Court said only that only the Board of Engineers and the municipalities have the authority to address such problems. The Court said that a civil litigant does not have the authority.

This ruling exposes a deeper problem in North Carolina: 1) the Board of Engineers upholds illegal standards of care, and 2) the municipalities profit from the engineering malpractice. The Cities want engineering malpractice to make money.

Even when the Board of Engineers decreed that the out-of-state company Verra Mobility has been practicing engineering without an engineering license, drafting and implementing engineering plans in 3 cities without a professional engineer's certification, and thus all cameras in all these cities were installed illegally, the municipalities kept their red-light camera programs running anyway. The City ignored the law. The city's argument is, "The operation of the cameras has nothing to do with their installation." The counter-argument is this. A city fires a person for impersonating a police officer; however, the City allows the person to continue writing tickets to make money for the City.

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 Capital Blvd. (NB) at New Hope Church Rd.
New Hope Church Rd. (EB) at Brentwood New Hope Church Rd. (EB) at Brentwood
Peace St. (EB) at West St. 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 Conduent posts yellow times shorter than that of the signal. On Peace at West street, Conduent 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 Conduent 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 citations per month and 150 citations per month.

Safety

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 Verra Mobility) 910-343-4762
Greenville Safelight (owned by Verra Mobility) 866-790-4111
Fayetteville Safelight (owned by Verra Mobility) 910-229-3340

 

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."

 

   

Common Law Issue

The USA adopts the common law practice that "You are innocent until proven guilty."

Photo-enforcement states that "You are guilty unless you blame someone else."

 

   

NC Constitution Issues

NC Constitution

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.

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 citations, the cost of administrative hearing panels personnel and the cost of hiring personnel to process the collection operations.

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, Fayetteville and Greenville. How do they retain their programs?

Illegally.

 

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/citation 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:

New Hanover County has a funding agreement with the City of Wilmington to pay ATS up to $200,000.00/year.

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 citations 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.)

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 done 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 but the Greenville and NC Attorney General is being sued over this contradictory law.

 

Fayetteville - NC Constitution Issues

The City of Fayetteville reestablished their red light camera program. In order to circumvent the same financial deal-breaker, 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 still says that the money must go "exclusively to the benefit of schools". The 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.

Greenville - NC Constitution Issues

Greenville has the same issues as Fayetteville. Greenville modeled its program after Fayetteville's program.

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 opposes those already established under higher laws and court decisions.

 

   

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 citation in your hand, it is the traffic engineer who is legally at fault and is financially liable for your citation.

Advice. My advice is that you appeal your citation 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:

Iceberg