Automated Traffic Enforcement

In many municipalities today, the crush of traffic makes it impossible for local police to adequately enforce the traffic laws. Road safety is deteriorating as too many motorists push red lights, exceed speed limits on residential streets and block congested intersections. Automated enforcement using traffic cameras can help.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that traffic cameras are in place for enforcement in 23 states. The federal Center for Disease Control views automated enforcement as a public health intervention. According to the CDC, cameras are widely used in other industrialized countries for automated enforcement.

An act relative to traffic enforcement creates the necessary legal mechanisms to support camera enforcement. It is carefully crafted to address two principal concerns about automated enforcement (a) the concern that municipalities might use automated enforcement in unreasonable ways to make money; (b) the concern that cameras might create records about individuals that would put their privacy at risk.

I have been working on legislation for automated enforcement for several years. The full senate will consider this legislation for the first time on Thursday, February 27.

The Process for Ticketing

Existing law

Currently, Chapter 90C defines the mechanism for writing and processing tickets for moving vehicle violations. When a police officer in any municipality stops a vehicle for a moving violation, they ask for the motorist’s drivers license. Having identified the motorist, they fill out a standard citation form which is then transmitted to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and becomes part of the motorist’s individual driving record. If the motorist wishes to pay any assessed fine, they pay the Registry. If a motorist wishes to appeal the ticket, they must notify the Registry which will, in turn, notify the local district court where a hearing will be set up.

For parking violations, there is a different statutory process (and a variant of that process for larger communities). The police officer does not know who parked the vehicle, but does know who owns the vehicle, based on the plate. The owner of the vehicle is responsible for paying the ticket. Payment is made to the parking clerk of the municipality, not to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Appeal of the ticket is initially made to the parking clerk, although further review in the courts is available. Only if fines are not paid or dismissed does a record go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If there are two or more unresolved parking tickets on record at the Registry, they must be resolved before the owner of the vehicle may renew their drivers license or the registration of their vehicle.

The new mechanism

The existing mechanism for moving violation tickets does not work for automated enforcement of moving violations because the cameras do not provide a positive identification of the motorist. The available enforcement technology is only able to read the license plate of the motor vehicle. An act relative traffic enforcement adds a new chapter 90I to the general laws. Section 3 of the new chapter defines a new legal mechanism which resembles the existing mechanism for enforcing parking tickets.

The new chapter allows municipalities to use cameras for the purpose of moving violation enforcement on roads that they control or, with the permission of the state, on roads within their boundaries that are state controlled. They may also install cameras on school buses. The cameras may be used only to enforce the following specific “camera enforceable violations”:

  • Failure to stop at a steady red light;
  • Making an illegal right on a steady red light;
  • Speeding;
  • Passing a school bus when warning signals are activated;
  • Blocking an intersection;
  • Driving in a bus lane.

When a camera identifies a violation, the municipality must mail a violation notice to the registered owner of the vehicle. The notice must include the photo and all of the details of the alleged violation and explain the process for contesting the violation. The motorist may pay any assessed fine to the municipality or the motorist may contest the violation through the municipality. The municipality must allow the violation to be contested in writing or online as well as in person. A municipality will notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles only if the violation is not resolved. If there are five or more unresolved violations on record, the Registrar will not renew the motor vehicle’s registration until the violations are resolved. Failure to resolve violations is not an impediment to renewal of a drivers license.

The municipality can decide to issue only written warnings for educational purposes instead of assessing a violation, but the decision to issue only a warning must be governed by objective criteria defined in a written policy.

There is no liability for camera violations in the following circumstances:

  • if the motorist also gets a moving violation citation from a traffic officer;
  • if the vehicle was reported stolen;
  • if the vehicle is a rental vehicle and the rental company provides information as to the operator of the motor vehicle, in which case the liability runs to the operator of the vehicle.

MassDOT is authorized to promulgate regulations governing the implementation of automated enforcement.

Protections against unreasonable enforcement

An act relative traffic enforcement very tightly limits the exposure of motorists and includes other provisions to assure that municipalities will not overuse the new tool.

  • The maximum fine is limited to $25.
  • Compensation to vendors of automated enforcement may not be based on the volume of tickets.
  • Municipalities must transfer any net profits from the use of cameras to the state.
  • Cameras can only be used for the “camera enforceable violations” which are listed above.
  • Municipalities may only install 1 camera for every 2,500 residents. (School bus cameras do not count towards this limit.)
  • Each location must be approved by the top municipal executive (city manager, mayor or board of selectmen) after a public hearing.
  • Signage must be posted to notify motorists of the cameras.
  • Municipalities must conduct public awareness campaigns about their use of automated enforcement.
  • The violation must be material:
    • In the case of red light enforcement, a citation may not be issued if any part of the vehicle was in the intersection when the light turned yellow.
    • In the case of speed enforcement, the motorist must be going at least 5 miles over the limit.
    • In the case of school bus enforcement, the motorist must actually cross the plane of the stop sign.
    • In the case of making an illegal right, the entire vehicle must have crossed the stop line.
    • In the case of blocking an intersection, the entire vehicle must be in the intersection.
  • Appropriate exceptions are also provided if a vehicle was part of a funeral procession, if a vehicle was pulling over to accommodate an emergency vehicle or if the vehicle otherwise had to commit the violation to comply with some other law.
  • The violations shall not become part of the vehicle owner’s record at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
  • The violations shall not cause surcharges on the vehicle owner’s insurance.
  • Municipalities must report annually to MassDOT on their use of cameras and include an analysis showing the nexus between the use of the cameras and public safety goals. MassDOT will post these reports online.

Protections for motorist privacy

An act relative traffic enforcement very tightly limits the scope and use of information collected by cameras to protect motorist privacy.

  • Cameras may only take photographs when a violation occurs.
  • Cameras will not photograph the front of the violating vehicle and, to the extent practicable, additional efforts will be made to avoid capturing identifiable images of the occupants or contents of the vehicle.
  • Information derived from the camera may not be used by the camera vendor for any purpose other than enforcing violations.
  • Photographs and other recorded evidence shall be destroyed within 48 hours after the violation is disposed of.
  • Photographs shall not be discoverable or admissible in any proceeding (other than the ticket hearing) without a court order and courts shall not order release of the photograph except to establish civil or criminal liability for the violation.
  • Photographs and other information collected by the camera systems are not public records.

Please note: The standard policy on this site is to only publish comments from constituents of Senator Brownsberger. However, we are waiving that policy as to comments on this post which is effectively a statewide communication.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

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147 Comments

  1. Not sure whether or not I think installing red light cameras is a good idea. I’m not opposed necessarily, but as others have mentioned, the studies from other states showing that it may not increase safety are worrying. We should only do this if we can do it in a way that _does_ increase safety rather than decrease it.

    But, a strong +1 to automated ticketing for passing a school bus with the stop lights on! That one’s an easy win, for sure!

    I’d also like to propose that we should have legislation to allow the *already-existing* cameras on MBTA busses (which already save video recordings) to be used to issue tickets for cars parked in an MBTA bus stop when the bus arrives, and tickets for cars stopped or driving in a reserved MBTA bus lane. Either via an automated system or just via MBTA police manually reviewing video and issuing tickets to the vehicles based upon the video evidence, similar to an ATE ticket proposed here.

  2. As I read the law, if the light turns yellow when you a 2 inches from the intersection and for some reason, such as a jaywalking pedestrian, you can not clear the intersection before the light turns red, you get a ticket. There should be no ticket unless the light turns red after you enter the intersection

  3. This all sounds good. I have two issues with it. First, $25 is not a deterrent for most folks driving luxury cars, who are statistically more likely to drive carelessly. The amount of the fine should be based on the car owner’s most recent reported taxable income, with higher-income drivers paying more. Second, I have absolutely no faith that the national intelligence agencies will not be monitoring the data generated, and they could use it against political dissidents and suspected “terrorists”.

  4. Will, does the law address who will be liable and what options there will be for redress when a database containing enforcement photos is breached or the company maintaining the database allows the data to be used in unauthorized and illegal ways?

    Because that *will* happen, and the law should assume that it’s going to happen and specify up-front how it’s going to be handled.

    The law should include a private cause of action and substantial statutory damages for if the company managing the database sells the data illegally or fails to adequately protect the database and it is breached. This is the only thing that will deter illegal use of the data and inadequate information security.

    1. It does not specifically address liability for a privacy violation. A company that did that would be in violation of contract with the municipality and open to contractual law suit as well as likely tort claims from affected individuals. Not to mention they would be basically destroying their credibility and threatening their business model.

      1. Well, that’s not good enough.

        There are significant data breaches and intentional data misuse incidents in the news every day, despite the fact that everyone of them is arguably an instance of the company “basically destroying their credibility and threatening their business model.” There is ample evidence at this point that that is not sufficient incentive for companies to do the right thing.

        The incentives for how a municipality handles a data breach or misuse of data for a subcontractor are misaligned with actually pursuing justice in any meaningful way. Rather, municipalities are incentivized to minimize the impact of the incident and sweep it under the rug, because otherwise they look bad as well. They rarely go after companies that fail in their duty to protect data.

        The thread of tort claims are also insufficient without beefy statutory damages.

        For evidence of all of this you need only look at the aftermath of the Equifax breach, specifically, the facts that (a) Equifax is still in business and raking in billions of dollars in revenue every year, and (b) the class-action settlement that ended up being agreed to by the FTC was a joke which shafted every member of the class.

        You have been paying a lot more attention to privacy issues recently, and I am grateful for and impressed by that. I’m asking you to do that here as well. The bill as you’ve described it addresses a great many issues that have occurred with enforcement cameras in other states, but it simply does not adequately address the privacy of the data collected by the companies operating the cameras. Please fix this before the bill is voted on.

        1. The bill could also use some language such as if at any time the related stop lights or speed limits are not in conformance with engineering standards (MUTCD), or if tickets are issued in error, the municipality would have a duty to refund all the bad tickets. The current engineering certifications should also be available on a public website. A third-party should also verify that the cameras are working correctly on a periodic basis and that report should be public too.
          Manipulation of signal timing and speed limits are one of the most frequent sources of abuse since small changes have huge impacts on violation rates. The bill should also exempt statutory posted speed limits under 90/18B and 90/17C from camera enforcement. Far too easy for a town to unilaterally post a 20 or 25 mph speed limit where it is not appropriate and rake in tons of violations.

        2. This bill contemplates very limited data collection — only in the case of a violation is any record allowed to be created. This is not like Equifax which maintains permanent records on all Americans. And, not that it is a good thing, police already can and do collect much more data from non-violators through roving license plate readers. There are real privacy violations going on that we should be concerned about, but to me at least, this bill really does create material new problems.

          1. I am unimpressed with the line of argument, “There are much bigger privacy concerns to worry about so it’s not worth doing anything about the minimal privacy concerns in this bill.”
            First of all, addressing even “minimal” privacy concerns when the opportunity presents itself helps to set the appropriate tone and precedent for how privacy concerns should be addressed in general.
            Second, there’s an opportunity to address the privacy concerns with this particular form of data collection now, at the ground floor, when this new type of data collection is first being legalized. It will be harder to do it later.
            Third, please note that your answer begs the question by assuming that some types of privacy violation that this law could lead to won’t occur, when the whole point of defining penalties is to help assure that they don’t. For example, maybe it’ll be easier for the vendor to have the cameras take photos sometimes when there’s no violation. Maybe it’ll be easier for the vendor not to purge the records as required by the law. You’re assuming things like that won’t take place and therefore the privacy risk is minimal. I’m assuming — quite more in keeping with past history, I believe — that things like that will take place unless the law spells out steep financial penalties for them.
            Will, I’ve been working in the information security field for more than 30 years. I am literally an expert in this field. I can guarantee to you that substantial privacy violations will occur with this technology, and that putting a private write of action and statutory damages into the bill will make them dramatically less likely.
            I wonder if your real concern here is that putting those into the bill will make it less likely to pass. Yes, there are plenty of people who will fight against laws that aggressively protect people’s privacy from corporate overstep. It’s your job as our senator to stand up to those people for us.

  5. Will, I support this legislation. It is a public health/safety measure. I’ve seen too many vehicles speed down our streets, go through red lights or fail to stop at stop signs not to want to do something about it. These actions create severe risks to pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers. The law would have a deterrent effect. One of my daughters-in-law lives in another state and was caught going through a red light by one of these devices. Was she happy? No. Has she driven more carefully ever since? Yes. And isn’t that the point. Traffic crashes are reduced. Injuries are reduced. Lives are saved. It may be hard for some drivers to accept, but even in Massachusetts drivers have no God-given right to speed and run red lights and stop signs!

  6. This should be implemented on every pedestrian crossing of a DCR parkway within the City of Cambridge on the very first day after it is signed by the Governor. DCR does nothing whatsoever to police safe driving on its parkways.

  7. I am a resident of your district and I support this legislation. Seventy-eight pedestrians, six cyclists, and over 300 drivers were killed by cars in Massachusetts in 2018. We missed our chance to save these lives. When did we become a nation of saying “no” to change? Let’s save the neighbors we have left.

  8. All for it. It’s well written, and all of the nay sayers conveniently igore the fact that there’s will be signage telling you the camera is there! It’s not about revenue and it’s not a “gotcha” scheme. It’s to make people drive more safely. End of story. (And keep the “criminal illegal alien” red herrings out of it.)

      1. There is a lot of confusion swirling around about these cameras because they have been used badly in some places. But to quote the second article you cite, Backers of red light cameras say they can be used effectively, if the cities using them base their decisions on safety and explain the benefits to their residents. Cities should place the cameras at dangerous intersections, and then monitor safety data to make sure an improvement occurs, says Michael Green of AAA, the motorists group. He says cities should post signs alerting drivers to where red light cameras are in operation. “This shouldn’t be a surprise: The goal is not to ticket a motorist,” Green says. “The goal should be to get them to stop at the red light.”

  9. There’s absolutely no need for red light cameras, such a policy is against the 4th and 6th Amendments of the US Constitution. I’m sick and tired of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts infringing on the Basic Rights of American Citizens. It’s just constant around here. If this isn’t stopped immediately, eventually it will pass.

  10. Hello Senator,
    “just wondering”
    In your opening remarks you mentioned “crush of traffic makes it impossible for local police to adequately enforce the traffic laws”.

    On Lake Street in Brighton on the section which has a “dip”. Usually many cars would go over the “dip” and pick up speed. Concerned neighbors called the State Police to patrol the area. They did set up an area and many cars were stopped for excessive speed.

    Belmont CC complained to the local police how difficult it was for members and guests to exit the parking lot. A police officer was stationed there and cars slowed down a lot.

    Rather than cameras maybe more police officers can be hired to control traffic.
    Richard Sullivan

    1. I sit on Belmont’s Warrant Committee, which monitors the Town’s budget on behalf of Town Meeting. (We have no formal power, just advisory influence.) Not only does Belmont have no money to hire traffic enforcement, but there is considerable public pressure to cut the public safety budget. (That is the number one suggestion I hear from residents worried about their increasing property taxes.) There are union and staffing issues that likely preclude cutting current police and fire department budgets, but there is absolutely zero funding available to hire more officers. The Town is running a significant structural deficit this year (covered by expenditure of various reserve funds) and voters face a significant budget override vote in November, the purpose of which will be to level-fund current services, not to add more employees to the Town payroll.

      1. I am a Belmont taxpayer whose property taxes have increased 60% in 9 years. Put a police officer at the intersection of Trapelo and Common and ticket all the cars that go straight (coming from Watertown towards Belmont center) from the left hand only lane, and the revenue will exceed the officer’s salary by 10x including benefits.

  11. Will, I generally support the use of automated camera to enforce certain traffic rules but in my opinion the following rules should be added to the list as well:
    1) Can the camera be used to enforce failure to yield to pedestrian in a crosswalk as well? This is getting to be a major problem in the Boston area (I live in Belmont and work in Cambridge). Some drivers and cyclists simply ignores pedestrians waiting at crosswalk of many busy streets. I think this behavior is far more dangerous behavior than speeding 5 miles or more above speed limit.
    2) Can the technology be used to enforced biking safety as well? I see so many cyclist not obeying the law everyday, mainly in Cambridge/Boston. Most common violations are running red light, not stopping at stop sign and not wearing helmet (mainly those who ride the bikes from bike share program).

  12. Municipalities should be required to audit the accuracy of these systems regularly.
    I don’t think there should be a fee or court costs to appeal to a magistrate or district court as there are today for moving violations.
    I don’t think pulling into a bus stop to pick up or drop off someone should be a bus lane violation (as it is today in NYC).
    I am concerned that this bill will create more opportunities to take driver’s licenses away from people who can not afford to pay the fees but need a car to get to work.

  13. Given this slippery slope, I’m waiting for the day when the state uses the autotolls to assess speeding violations. The state knows when a car went through Toll A and then through Toll B, and therefore can determine the rate.

  14. While I’m not confident that these cameras will make us safer, I am glad to see that you are taking the privacy concerns associated with traffic enforcement cameras seriously. It’s important to ensure (as this law seems to) that these cameras do not become a tool for collecting massive amounts of data on the comings and goings of law-abiding citizens. I think the small fines and limits on insurance and driver’s license points will help protect us from overzealous or profit-oriented enforcement.

    Have any privacy/civil liberties groups reviewed this legislation? (ACLU?)

  15. Hi Will,
    Thanks for the effort on this, I can see you put some real thought into it. I agree with what you are trying to accomplish. I see drivers run red lights all the time here in Boston. However, I do have some concerns. Although your legislation makes offenses not surchargeable by insurance companies, we’ve heard this many times before. Once they get their foot in the door they are very effective at lobbying legislators over time to let them boost their profits. Secondly, Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that has a “No Turn On Red” sign on almost every intersection. The purpose of allowing a turn on red (after stop) is to ease congestion and subsequently cut down on pollution. Why Mass goes
    contra to the research and almost every other state is baffling at best. Can you look into this? Thirdly, there is concern about privacy issues here, which is why Maine and New Hampshire (to name a few) have banned their use.
    If this goes through, I hope you can commit to ensuring that the protections you have built in stay and are not eroded by the insurance industry or municipalities wishing to raise revenue over time. The polling I have seen on this topic suggests that 70% are against it. I strongly support the intent and think parts, like buses, should pass. However, for the reasons stated, I currently count myself as part of the 70%. That said, I think the Hands Free law going into effect was way overdue!

  16. Thank you so much for sponsoring this legislation (which will save pedestrian and cyclist lives!!!) and for providing a helpful explanation of it. Also, thank you for taking a thoughtful approach that should withstand judicial scrutiny. Belmont has absolutely no money to fund additional officers for traffic enforcement, but we have become a cut-through for traffic trying to get into Cambridge. Cars barrel down Park Street at speeds approaching 40mph. I have nearly been hit by cars speeding down Concord Avenue (near Lone Tree Hill) at speeds clearly in excess of 40mph. A collision with any of these cars would be lethal. Other problem areas are Winter Street, Maple Street, and portions of Trapelo Road. My only disagreement is with the $25 fee. I understand the reasoning behind it, but I think that it should be slightly higher (maybe $30-40?) to act as a true deterrent.

    1. I hate that our town is such a cut through. The speeders are not Belmont residents. How do we solve this? Red light cameras have nothing to do with speed or safety. Anecdotally it may seem to make sense, but the municipalities that have implemented them, have found this not to be the case, and the trend is away from red light cameras across the nation and in other countries. I do not support this legislation.

  17. These devices are not welcome in Billerica, Senator. We reject your attempts to expand the surveillance state in the Commonwealth and will forever remember you as the Senator who promoted such. By all means, install these devices in the paradises of Allston and Belmont. I am not surprised in the least that a Senator representing these areas has filed this bill.

  18. I’ve been “rear-ended” here in Tax-a-chusetts 3x in 3 decades. The Politicians have “watered-down” the Injured Parties rights in gaining compensation for getting hurt in favor of the Insurance Companies (who pay off the pols to cap accident amounts).
    It is costing ME MORE OUT OF POCKET to go to physical therapy, see doctors and to replace my totaled vehicle because of someone’s BAD BEHAVIOR. Never mind my declining health !!! Where is the “justice” ?
    I think one more whiplash injury will probably make me an invalid. I’m carrying a neck pillow in the car now. I probably need to carry a neck brace and bunch of pillows too.
    But the number of accidents from stopping at a red light — such as rear-end accidents — is likely to increase. That’s not an inconsequential side effect. Some drivers will attempt to stop, accepting a higher risk of a non-angle accident like getting rear-ended, in order to avoid the expected fine.
    As with “Casinos” Massachusetts is way late coming to the party. Texas has run their “Red Light Cameras” experiment for 12 years.
    The Houston Chronicle did its own research: “But our study shows that Houston’s camera program was ineffective in improving traffic safety. Electronic monitoring is not the solution.” https://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/red-light-cameras-crashes-houston-safety-13158207.php
    “Texas Governor signs bill banning red light cameras” House Bill 1631 passed both chambers of the Texas Legislature last month before heading to the governor’s desk. https://www.kvue.com/article/news/politics/gov-abbott-signs-bill-banning-red-light-cameras-in-texas/269-764227df-4864-49ff-976b-136d32115f50

    Try getting pain pill for sciatica! The doctors laugh in your face because of the scofflaws who abused them in the first place. Doctors will only give pain meds if you have cancer (Well, how charitable !) The drug addicts are onto illegal drugs snuck into the country now like “fentayl”. They will probably be sniffing paint next and we will all have to lose some kind of freedom. By then the lawmakers will require us to get a permit from the Chief of Police to paint our bedrooms.

  19. Let’s see how well this has worked out for Illinois :
    Over the past several months, the latest Illinois red-light camera corruption case has unfolded. The 2014 Redflex bribery scandal preceded the current mess. Several company and public officials went to jail, and in 2017, Redflex paid the city of Chicago a $20 million settlement. You would have thought that the state had learned its lessons, but nope. No doubt this is due in large part to drivers taking the hit, much more than the city.

    The ongoing, highly public corruption is why many citizens distrust the government. When we elect someone to public office, we expect them to uphold their oath to the people, not profit off the backs of taxpayers. Call us naïve, but democracy best works when those elected continue to have the public trust. Many honest men and women, of course, run for office and, when elected, work hard for us.

    Chicago State Senator Martin Sandoval did not. In November, he resigned from his state seat because he knew what was coming. For years, he kept bills to ban red-light cameras out of the transportation committee he chaired, because he was greedy and dishonest. He raked in the bucks from SafeSpeed, an Illinois home-grown camera company.

    SafeSpeed CEO Nikki Zollar has denied any wrongdoing. She stated that “We don’t pay people off.” According to the company’s website, it has contracts with more than 30 Illinois municipalities. Despite Zollar’s protestations, the company and some of its investors were large campaign contributors to Sandoval.

    In January, Sandoval entered into a plea agreement in federal court for taking $250,000 in bribes and for tax evasion. He has indicated that he will cooperate with federal investigators in their ongoing investigation of additional political corruption. He told reporters he was “deeply ashamed” and faces 13 years in prison.

    Sandoval made his dirty money from red-light cameras outside the Chicago area. In 2008, fewer than 90 cameras outside of Chicago generated $5.4 million. By 2018, more than 300 cameras were responsible for issuing more than $56 million in violations. Generally, cities and towns receive anywhere between 30 to 60 percent of the cash generated from citations with the camera. Companies keep the rest of the loot.

    In 2017, an exhaustive Chicago Tribune investigation unveiled information that many of the Chicago suburban cameras were placed at some of the safest intersections. Due to state law, intersections on state highways had to be approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation, which had drafted a policy in 2006. Lobbyists and “an unnamed lawmaker close to red-light camera firms” helped redefine the process of how intersections were selected for cameras and that the original 2006 policy was never implemented. The Tribune found that the state’s draft criteria would have only approved cameras for three of the 184 intersections on state routes.

    Study after study has shown red-light cameras increase rear-end crashes because driver’s slam on their brakes to avoid a citation. According to the IllinoisPolicy.org website, local governments are no longer talking about safety any more when it comes to these devices—officials need the money citations generate to help pay for basic services.

    The city of Chicago also appears to be in the same predicament. Between January 2008 and September 2019, city of Chicago RLCs banked $672.4 million total. In 2017, the city made $54.4 million in revenue.

    Motorists have been fighting back, though. The Windy City settled in 2017 a nearly $40 million class-action lawsuit that alleged the program violated due process. Also, in 2017 another lawsuit was filed that claimed Chicago’s program is unconstitutional since it fails to satisfy several state law requirements. Despite all the lawsuits and other issues with RLCs, the city just can’t quit using money from citations to balance its budget.

    Bipartisan bill HB3927 is currently gaining momentum in the House. If passed, it would ban red-light cameras plus deny cities home rule power in this area.

    Will elected officials have the courage to pass this legislation?

    After the many scandals, this policing for profit scheme has got to go in Illinois and every other town in the US that has red-light cameras.

    … need more?

    Google RED LIGHT CAMERA SCANDAL
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    Chicago insider who took $2 million in bribes in red light …www.latimes.com › la-na-chicago-redlight-bribes-20160829-snap-story
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    1. You do understand that may of the things built into the Massachusetts bill were put there specifically to prevent the type of corruption that occurred in Illinois, right? Many factors contributing to the Illinois corruption you described above cannot happen under the proposed Massachusetts bill.

      By analogy, there are states in which the charter school system is extraordinarily corrupt, and there are states in which the charter school system is not particularly corrupt. What’s the biggest deciding factor? It’s whether the state law establishing the charter school system was written with an eye toward preventing corruption.

      “The way another state did it was prone to corruption, therefore it’s impossible for us to do it in a way that isn’t prone to corruption,” is not a sound argument.

      Also, 23 states currently allow cameras for traffic enforcement. You described what happened in one of them. Would you like to comment on how it went in the other 22, or are you just going to mention the states where it went poorly because of poorly written laws?

      Finally, I am not sympathetic to the argument that rear-end collisions go up because drivers slam on the brakes to avoid a citation. If they have to slam on the brakes to avoid a citation then they were driving badly. If the person behind them runs into them when they do it, then the person behind them was driving badly as well. They’ll learn pretty darn quick to drive better when cameras start being deployed. And I’d rather there be more rear-end fender benders (generally low on the dangerousness scale) and fewer T-bone accidents (generally very high on the dangerousness scale).

      1. The protections to prevent graft, abuse, and injustice already exist, they have existed for over 200 years. They are the due process rights enumerated in the Federal and State Constitutions. ATE is not compatible with those rights, the token “protections” in the bill are worthless in comparison. Hopefully, if this bill passes, the courts follow the logic they have in some other states where because ATE is clearly unconstitutional, paying the tickets becomes optional with the state’s only recourse being civil collections.

  20. I’ve been “rear-ended” here in Tax-a-chusetts 3x in 3 decades. The Politicians have “watered-down” the Injured Parties rights in gaining compensation for getting hurt in favor of the Insurance Companies (who seems to have paid off the pols to cap accident amounts).

    It is costing ME MORE OUT OF POCKET to go to physical therapy, see doctors and to replace my totaled vehicle because of someone’s BAD BEHAVIOR. Never mind my declining health !!! Where is the “justice” ?

    I think one more whiplash injury will probably make me an invalid. I’m carrying a neck pillow in the car now. I probably need to carry a neck brace and bunch of pillows too.

    “But the number of accidents from stopping at a red light — such as rear-end accidents — is likely to increase. That’s not an inconsequential side effect. Some drivers will attempt to stop, accepting a higher risk of a non-angle accident like getting rear-ended, in order to avoid the expected fine.”

    As with “Casinos” Massachusetts is way late coming to the party. Texas has run their “Red Light Cameras” experiment for 12 years.

    The Houston Chronicle did its own research: “But our study shows that Houston’s camera program was ineffective in improving traffic safety. Electronic monitoring is not the solution.” https://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/red-light-cameras-crashes-houston-safety-13158207.php

    “Texas Governor signs bill banning red light cameras” House Bill 1631 passed both chambers of the Texas Legislature last month before heading to the governor’s desk. https://www.kvue.com/article/news/politics/gov-abbott-signs-bill-banning-red-light-cameras-in-texas/269-764227df-4864-49ff-976b-136d32115f50

    Try getting pain pill for sciatica! The doctors laugh in your face because of the scofflaws who abused them in the first place. Doctors will only give pain meds if you have cancer (Well, how charitable !) The drug addicts are onto illegal drugs snuck into the country now like “fentayl”. They will probably be sniffing paint next and we will all have to lose some kind of freedom. By then the lawmakers will require us to get a permit from the Chief of Police to paint our bedrooms.

  21. This is an interesting concept, though the CDC cited data is decidedly mixed. The analyses they review suggest T-bone crashes may decline, but low speed rear end accidents increase, presumedly from drivers slamming on the brakes to avoid tickets.

    The biggest use of this locally seems to be preventing blocking the box; however, I think the bigger issue we have at intersections is drivers not following the right of way, frankly and this doesn’t address those making a left when they don’t have the right of way Etc…

    Is there any thought to putting a sunset provision in the law, allowing it to expire if a reduction in accidents is not achieved? That seems logical.

    Intersections like Longwood and Brookline/Riverway and Brookline need something to improve the egregious driving happening there daily. If the BPD can’t put people there, trying a camera seems reasonable.

  22. I hope cameras catch bicyclists too. Same road, same rules, right??? They set a bad example which drivers then follow. Also allocate money to retime all the traffic lights to meet yellow light minimum standard duration, which will then congest traffic even more everywhere. If you don’t think cyclists running red lights is a problem, drop this bill because it’s not a huge danger with cars either who similarly use care. Instead, fund some road widening to reduce congestion because roads have only gotten narrowed with more traffic lights for the past 50 years instead of keeping up with building development.

  23. This is all a revenue land grab. Look at the culture of corruption around the MSP quota / overtime scandal.

    Take a look at NY where camera revenues as skyrocketing under the premise of protecting citizens. Oh let’s use them in school zones during school zones during school hours. Well that generated so much money let’s expand the hours. That worked even better, let’s expand the range of the school zone as well.

    https://www.silive.com/news/2020/02/staten-island-speed-camera-locations-skyrocket-by-578-data-shows.html

    If you wanted to make the roads safer, how about forcing bicyclists to register their bikes with license plates so they are easier to identify when they cause accidents in the sidewalks despite the millions spent on bike lanes. Their fees might help offset some of the bike lane costs as well.

  24. Will and everyone:
    I think you better read this (see 3 links below) about an Oregon man who was prosecuted and fined for merely criticizing the timing of traffic lights. That’s right, prosecuted and fined.
    He discovered traffic light scams too.
    This is very relevant to Will’s desire for Big Brother automated traffic lights.
    What do you think Will?
    You going to “look into it” and then we’ll never hear back from you?
    Keep it from your constituents?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/12/08/criticizing-red-light-cameras-is-not-a-punishable-offense-oregon-concedes/

    https://nypost.com/2020/03/03/how-one-oregon-man-exposed-major-red-light-camera-injustice/

    https://ij.org/press-release/oregon-engineer-wins-traffic-light-timing-lawsuit/

  25. I live on a hill in Worcester where I can see two highly traveled roads. Unfortunately we have had two pedestrian fatalities in the past year on these roads, along with many accidents. Enough is enough. Please push on with your bill, and keep me informed of your progress.

  26. I realize there is a limited scope of infractions discussed but I want to know if we can use technology to enforce more moving violations. Two I suggest are tailgating and failure to signal, two very dangerous behaviors that are growing worse every year. The tailgating can be automatically determined and violating vehicle clearly identified. The turn signal may be more difficult and would require staff review. Violations at intersections can be easy to gather but lane changes nearly impossible because they can happen anywhere on a multi-lane road.

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