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RE: Photo Radar...

>Since Boulder's lovely city council is not giving me this opportunity they
>are forcing me to fight the high tech battle. So who has suggestions for me.
>I've removed the front plate for aesthetic reasons already. What about plate
>covers that optically block photos?

Paradise Valley, Arizona was the second town in the U.S. to adopt photo
radar and as it so happens, I drive through this town every day to and from

The photo radar units they use (as well as Scottsdale, which is the town
right next door) are mounted in the back of Chevy Blazers and the rear
windows are propped open to give the unit an unobstructed view.  They are
parked along the side of the road, usually within 10' or so, and stand out
like sore thumbs ... frankly, I'm not sure how you can actually get a ticket
from one since you'd have to be blind not to see it.  Originally, the law
required that they post a little warning sign 100' behind the vehicle but
this has since changed ... like I said, though, it's virtually impossible to
miss them.  As such, a technique I find works very well is slowing down when
you drive by ... it's been over two years and I've never been caught yet!  ;^)

That said, I think the idea sucks, especially because the law has been
written to make the registered owner of the vehicle responsible for all
tickets unless they identify the driver.  They originally mailed the photos
to owner's home but this stopped quickly; now you have to go to the police
station to inspect the photo.  While I haven't kept up with the legal side
of things, I understand there are several legal challenges winding through
the courts (Paradise Valley is one of, if not THE wealthiest town in Arizona
and a LOT of attorneys live there so this isn't too surprising) about the
legality of requiring one spouse to testify against the other and lots of
other technical points concerning constitutionality and such.

Two interesting points: 1) Some other nearby towns which tried photo radar
have since dropped it to the demand of their citizens (see? voting sometimes
works after all!) and 2) Some folks have caught onto the fact that if the
driver can't be identified, a citation can't be issued ... as such, they
have started doing things such as holding a clipboard in front of their face
or ducking their heads!  Not very safe but apparently effective...

BTW, Scottsdale has passed a law that prohibits license plate covers ... the
police have started cracking down on motorists about this and this, too, is
being challenged in the courts.  Arizona doesn't use front plates so the
photo radar units have to mount an external camera up front to take a photo
of the rear of the car so they can get the plate number.  I heard recently
that a street rod owner was cited because his plate wasn't visible enough
even though it wasn't covered ... apparently, he frenched it into the trunk
panel deeply enough that it is hard to read properly from more than 30
degrees off-axis.  And to think that all we used to fear was a smog test
each year!  Now, we've got cops with light meters to determine whether your
window tint is too dark and I suspect it won't be long before they carry
protractors with them as well...

Oh, yeah: We're starting to see "red light cameras" popping around town at
strategic intersections ... if your car is over the line when it turns red,
you get a ticket.  The fact that state law doesn't prohibit this while the
light is green (obviously!) and also allows you to lawfully "clear the
intersection" if you're still there when the light turns red would seem to
conflict with this but, Hey, when revenue's at stake, who cares about a
little thing like legality?  :^(

Needless to say, all the towns that employ the above means of monitoring
traffic have all manner of statistics available to prove how beneficial
these "safety measures" are to their communities ... yeah, right.  Damn, now
I've gone and gotten my dander up again ... did I mention the roving "smog
dogs" that monitor emissions with a fancy infrared tester?  Or the 800
number you can call to report a car for "excessive smoking" that causes DMV
to automatically issue a ticket unless a subsequent emission test proves
your car is in compliance?  I've been told it's a great way to exact a quiet
revenge on the guy who just cut you off...

(NOTE: It's still April 1st but none of the above is a joke!)
    _                _
   / |      _| o    | \       _| o  Jeffrey Goggin
  /__| | | / | | __ |  | | | / | |  audidudi@mindspring.com
 /   | |_| \_| |    |_/  |_| \_| |  http://www.mindspring.com/~audidudi/