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New Jersey has a good idea about camera related tickets

The state of New Jersey may no longer provide other states with data on its citizens license plates. This would make it very difficult for states with red light and speed cameras to issue tickets to New Jersey residents who drive out of state. WE would more states to consider such options. Indeed, we would like to see such cameras go out of use.

None of the obvious arguments in favor of the devices really hold water. Keep the streets safe, get poor drivers from behind the wheel, more money for the police (we would be shocked if that wasn't a force behind the cameras, quite frankly) and so on. If we're going to punish people for criminal behavior then we should have to catch them the old fashioned way: either in the act, or with evidence collected after the act by actual police officers rather than with unthinking technology.

For starters, issuing a ticket to a car (which is essentially what is happening) punishes the owner of the car and not necessarily the driver. How often have you loaned your car to someone, or borrowed one yourself? Can the cameras determine who was behind the wheel? No? Then the owner should not automatically get a ticket even if an actual violation occurred. It's that old saw about the presumption of innocence. If you weren't actually seen behind the wheel then authorities should not, indeed cannot, presume you were driving when the incident happened.

It should added that, with cameras, you have no opportunity to defend yourself without going to a lot of trouble. The cameras put a hardship on the owner of a vehicle which may not be worth the effort to fight. If you live in New Jersey and get an automated ticket from, say, Iowa, is it worth the time, trouble, and money to fight it? Governments likely rely in part on that. They get the money without the hassles of court.

Speeding and red light cameras effectively presume guilt. They should not be used at all, not even within a state and only against that state's drivers. We hope that New Jersey's initiative passes, and that other states follow suit.

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