What’s really going on at Oracle and River.

small_billc_heli

I have been getting lots of emails from people receiving citations at the intersection of Oracle and River. Most of you are getting cited for 28-645A3A.

Well…This is the way the law reads..

28-645A3A
3. Red indication:
(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c) of this paragraph, vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal alone shall stop before entering the intersection and shall
remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown.


Let me try to explain how this works.

Some Background:

Tucson has lagging Green arrows. Meaning, when the intersection turns from yellow to red, the intersection allows traffic to turn left by indicating a Green LEFT arrow. Typically the time between the red light coming on and the Green arrow allowing left turns is about a second, if that..sometimes the green arrow is immediate.

Technically, what the city of Tucson is citing you for is; entering the intersection, Behind another vehicle already in the intersection,  and the light turning red….even though the driver gets an immediate green arrow or the vehicle attempting to clear the intersection from a yellow arrow. If you had been the first vehicle in the intersection, you would not have been cited.

This is NOT the typical “RED LIGHT” violation we think of. This is capturing drivers clearing the intersection that spilt second between the light turning red and the green arrow turning Green or a vehicle clearing the intersection from a yellow left turn arrow.

It’s Chicken Crap Law Enforcement, and its why Police Officers should enforce the Law, not Cameras! The city of Tucson knows these are easy citations to hand out.

If you receive a citation, you have the right to subpoena relevant evidence. Such as maintenance records, individuals maintaining the equipment, the company installing the equipment, any relevant city records such as light timing changes, city traffic engineers, etc.

One may even argue to a Judge that the equipment be removed to allow an independent expert examine the equipment to make sure the equipment to operating correctly.

Call your representive and tell them to remove these cameras…NOW!

Mayor and Council Citizen Comment Line: (520) 791-4700

Mike Hein, Town Manager
255 West Alameda Street
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Phone: (520) 791-4204
FAX: (520) 791-5198
E-Mail: mike.hein@tucsonaz.gov

Council Member Regina Romero
Ward 1 – Westside/Southside/Downtown
940 W. Alameda Street
Tucson, Arizona 85745
Phone: (520)  791-4040
FAX: (520)  791-5393
Email: ward1@tucsonaz.gov

Rodney Glassman
Northeast Ward Two
7575 E. Speedway
Tucson, Arizona 85710
Phone: (520) 791-4687
FAX: (520) 791-5380
E-Mail: ward2@tucsonaz.gov

Vice Mayor, Karin Uhlich
Ward III
1510 East Grant Road
Tucson, Arizona 85719
Phone: (520)  791-4711
FAX: (520)  791-5391
E-Mail: ward3@tucsonaz.gov

Council Member Shirley Scott
Southeast Ward Four
8123 E. Poinciana
Tucson, Arizona 85730
Phone: (520)  791-3199
FAX: (520)  791-4717
E-Mail: ward4@tucsonaz.gov

Council Member Steve Leal
Southside Ward Five
4300 South Park Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85714
Phone: (520)  791-4231
FAX: (520)  791-3188
E-Mail: steve.leal@tucsonaz.gov

Council Member, Nina J. Trasoff
Midtown Ward Six
3202 East 1st Street
Tucson, Arizona 85716
Phone: (520)  791-4601
Fax: (520)  791-3211
E-Mail: ward6@tucsonaz.gov

– Bill

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77 Responses to What’s really going on at Oracle and River.

  1. James Howard says:

    Don’t forget to call the photo enforcement folks at 520-791-4440. They answer the phone TPD Impound, just ask for photo enforcement. Then, ask them lots of questions. You will be taking them away from their work, and they have a hard time explaining this mess. It is kind of fun!

    Also, I saw the episode “Barney’s Sidecar” on the Andy Griffith Show last night. Barney gets a motorcycle and goes crazy citing everyone, including Aunt Bea, for every little infraction. It was hilarious and it reminded me of this fiasco.

  2. MANY years ago when California first put red light cameras at intersections Michael Reagan reported on his talk show that people were almost immediately incensed that they were getting tickets for pulling their front bumper to a stop where it just went over the imaginary line of the intersection. Sort of a California stop.

    Why that is the same as running a red light–pay up.

    Needless to say enormous numbers of tickers were issued at first and the resulting wave of anger had the bad guys stopping that particular lucrative enforcement.

  3. Roscoe says:

    I’ve been going over the web-posted video supposedly showing a friend of mine entering the TV/Kolb intersection 2/10 of a second after the yellow arrow disappeared. What I’ve noticed from the video is that the lights my friend was facing (not the one close to the camera, which was behind him), did not appear to be “steady red signal[s].”

    If he fights this, and goes to a hearing, does anybody know how the hearing will be conducted? I’ve posted questions in the comments to the article about the Supervisors’ vote, and would like to know if anyone else knows the answers. If what they take to court are just the photos and videos they post on the web, I don’t see how they prove a case.

  4. Roger says:

    Bill-
    If you are a deputy in another county, why so interested in this? What is your ax to grind if this doesn’t affect your life?

  5. Bill Conley says:

    Roger,

    I’m not sure I understand your question? What does that fact that I’m a deputy in another have to do with anything? This is a state wide issuse. Our petition will ban photo radar state wide. What ax do have to grind; Easy, government is wrong on this issuse…it called leadership.

    This affects everyone’s life…

  6. Andee says:

    I got nailed at River and Oracle as well. I am a marketing rep, and nearly drive for a living. I am very careful, always have been. I was traveling at 31mph, I entered on a yellow arrow behind another car. The light turned red in what I deemed the intersection, I proceeded with my turn. I was on the “wait line” per the photo. My vehicle was “on top of it.” I was past the light at the median, and past the cross walk and when in a vehicle you see in front of your hood.

    I was mortified that I did this when I saw the photos, till I looked at the video this went down in 2/10’s of a second. I think it takes longer to blink. Can I fight this and win? Are there attorneys that will take this? I could lose my job with a violation… but this is ridiculous!!

  7. Zebra says:

    Andee and Roscoe. I have the same questions. I have made inquiries and even gone down to the Courthouse to get an idea. I am not even sure if my March court date is an arraignment, or I will actually see a magistrate.

    The good news is: you are not a lawbreaker or a bad driver. To build on what Bill said. Most people who have gotten red light tickets have gotten them while turning left, and within the first 0.3 seconds after the yellow arrow fades. It is almost impossible to cause an accident while doing this. The Oracle and River intersection is a non standard intersection. The stop bar (where you normally try to stop) and the “violation line” are almost 40 feet apart. It is this “no man’s land” that has been so lucrative to ATS. They catch drivers who don’t want to slam on their brakes to stop behind the stop bar. The yellow is only 3 seconds and you can’t react to the yellow, decide you can’t stop behind the stop bar, and then make it across the violation line in that time if you are going less than 20 MPH.

    The bad news is, I saw a memo from one of the city attorneys admitting that “very few of these cases are reversed.” He doesn’t admit that the magistrates are instructed to always find against the driver. He writes it is because the judge sees the same film/pictures that the police already decided were an infraction.

    I’m fighting mine anyhow. I haven’t had a ticket in 30 years, and I’m not going to roll over for this.

  8. Cathy says:

    I also got an Oracle/River red light ticket (.25 seconds late entering the “intersection”).

    Of course I hate photo enforcement in all its forms, but what strikes me about this particular intersection (in addition to the weirdo extended “Wait” bar) is that the yellow left arrow is only 3.05 seconds. Most other yellow left arrows at comparable intersections around town are 4 seconds.

    Of course the Tucson Police Department photo enforcement FAQ page maintains that all traffic signals follow the guidelines of the Institute for Traffic Engineers.

    But then I came across this study. The whole document is interesting, but I linked to page 5 because it has some very interesting things to say about the evolution of ITE…

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/reports/rlcreport5.asp

    What scam RLCs are! The sooner we get rid of them, the better.

  9. Wayne says:

    I to recived a photo ticket for turning left on a yellow light from oracle on to river. I went back and videoed the turning lights at river and oracle, river and 1st av and river and lacanda. I found out that the time between green, to yellow to red at the river and oracle turn light is ten second shorter then the other lights which are on either intersection with out the red light camera.I then called the city operations office and requested a copy of the contract between the city and the red light photo company and found out the city pays the company $$$ for each ticket it issues and then $$$ for any tickets additional that are issued. Does anyone else smell a rat!

  10. Sally Gunderman says:

    I received a red light ticket also by photo at Oracle and River on January 13. Have not tickets in the last 13 years. Never in my life have I turned on a red light. I know for sure it was yellow when I entered the intersection. They have me in the intersection when the light turned red. What recourse do we have?
    I will take the course to get it off my record but I do think this is fraud. I usually never go through this intersection.

  11. Sally Gunderman says:

    I receive a photo ticket going through a red light on January 13,2009 at Oracle and River. I have never gone through a red light in my life. Have no ticket the last 13 years since I have been in Tucson. They have a picture of me in the intersection when the light turns red. When I went in the intersection it was yellow. So from now on I will not go when light is yellow. I believe people will hit me in the rear because they are expecting me to go when yellow. What is our recourse?

  12. Cathy says:

    What motivation do city/state officials and ESPECIALLY ATS have for reducing red light offenders at Oracle and River? None! Everybody makes money from it.

    Short of eliminating RLCs altogether (which is my first choice), here’s my idea for decreasing red light “runners”: Apparently, roughly 2500 tickets a month are sent out per the Oracle/River intersection and only 60% of the “flashes” turn into tickts. So about 4200 people per month are “flashed.”

    Let’s pay Redflex for actually working and making the intersection safer by “reducing red light offenders” instead of merely “catching” them. Let’s pay Redflex $15 for each flash/month under 4200. So if it flashes 4300 times, it gets no money. If it flashes 4100 times, it gets $1500.

    Of course, before long what will happen? Magically, the yellow left arrow will be lengthened from 3.05 seconds to 4 seconds! And look! The crosswalk will be moved towards the intersection, eliminating the need for a vague, ambiguous WAIT line! Suddenly all sorts of engineering solutions will emerge as if by magic, as if nobody had EVER thought of these radical, safety-oriented changes before. Red-light running will be drastically reduced, and RLCs will no longer be cost-efficient to the city so they will be discontinued.

  13. Zebra says:

    How do you “supoena relevant Data?” I don’t know what form to use or where to send it.

    Thousands of people have gotten tickets here and know that they haven’t run a red light. ATS and Tucson are running a big scam. The problem is, they are picking us off one at a time.

    If there were enough people to band together, we might be able to mount a credible class action suit about this. Has anyone with any legal training or knowledge ever fought one of these tickets?

  14. John says:

    You’re right. My wife got a ticket at Oracle and River while waiting at the “wait” line, which is well past the cross walk and into a major intersection. She’s got to be the most conservative and safe driver I know. In fact, I usually don’t like being a passenger in the car with her because of how cautious she drives. She “waits” for the intersection at Oracle and River to clear and then proceeds turning left onto River at 5 mph and gets flashed. If you’re supposed to remain stopped, then paint “stop during red light” on the street. Why on earth would you paint “Wait” just before the line if you mean “stop!” To treat this as if she just blew a red light and endangered other drivers at high speed is outrageous! Her ticket even says she was going between 0 and 15 mph. So now they want to make her go to traffic school and red light offender school for hundred of dollars as if she’s a criminal offender. This is insane!

    Any one else who has had this problem at this intersection, feel free to send me an email so I can collect stories. I work for a municipal government and know my way around City Halls, and plan on pursuing this with the folks I know in Tucson. J.

  15. JON VAN LEER says:

    SAME SCENARIO . WE THREW TICKET AWAY BUT A MAN CAME TO OUR HOUSE YESTERDAY AND HANDED MY WIFE A COPY OF THE TICKET. HE DIDN’T HAVE HER SIGN ANYTHING JUST ASKED HER HOW TALL SHE WAS.HOW CAN I HELP? JON

  16. Zebra says:

    Jon (and John, Sally, Wayne, Andee, Cathy and any of the other flagrant yellow light runners ticketed at this intersection):

    It looks like we can email you at network@camerafraud.com. Maybe we can get a mailing list or meeting started. I’m willing to put some (more) time and money into this. We only need a few people to start.

  17. James Howard says:

    I got my first ticket in my life at Oracle and River. If the yellow arrow had been 1/10 of a second longer, I would have been fine.

    There are two problems with that light at River & Oracle. The first is the legal definition of red light running in this state is poor and difficult to explain. It differs from what is described in the Arizona Driver License Manual. Basically, if you cross that line just past the “Wait” while the light is red, you are running the red light. When I got caught, they had not put the “Wait” legends in, and the line was a lot skinnier.

    The second is that they are enforcing this down to the millisecond with that photo enforcement system. It is the poster child for everything that is wrong with the system.

    The Tucson traffic engineer responsible for the “Wait” legends in Dion Schwartz (837-6661). She is real nice, and said she is looking for public input into the legends. I got the impression that TDOT is pulling their hair out about this intersection. It is a big headache for them. A different engineer told me he thinks the stop bar should be the line that decides if you ran the red light. He wouldn’t put it in writing, though.

  18. Leslie says:

    The whole system stinks and it’s unfair. I got flashed in Phoenix in the carpool lane, speeding up to avoid someone drifting over into my lane. But guess what? My car is registered to a company, so I don’t pay.

    If the goal was to make these intersections safer, and the city was aware of these issues, then why wasn’t an officer stationed at these locations during peak traffic time. . . in the interest of “safety”?

  19. Bryan says:

    I just got flashed today turning left from oracle onto westbound river. The problem was there were two cars in front of me on the green arrow, but the 1st car was barely moving…maybe 5 mph or less. I entered the intersection during a green arrow but because of the super slow driver in front or me, I didn’t have time to get out of the intersection before the arrow turned yellow and then red. The car behind me had the same problem and got flashed as well. I came here to try and find out how they determine if you get ticketed. Does eveyonr who gets flashed get a ticket? I always play it safe turning left, especially at these intersections and this time was no different, like I said I had a green arrow when I drove into the intersection…just worried about the ticket coming.

  20. Zebra says:

    So you weren’t doing anything dangerous, reckless, and you were going prudently through (what you reasonably thought was the intersection? Well, you are exactly the type of driver that ATS feeds on with that particular red light camera!

    More helpfully, according to the statistics quoted to me at TPD, almost half the drivers “flashed” do not get a ticket. If your car is registered to someone else, they can’t match your license photo to the picture, etc. You should know within about 10 days.

    But if you do, read through these forums to see some of the issues and suggestions. Become informed about photo “enforcement” and then actively support efforts to get rid of it.

  21. Andee says:

    Dear Law A whatever.. Call us whatever you want. Having a place to vent frustration is not a bad thing. There are legitimate problems and unfairness to these lights. The arrows are shortened,the markings do not follow the intersection guidelines, and it takes the ability from us to make a decision. Oh,this all transpires in a 10th to a 20th of a second.This was never the original intent. It was to catch flagrant offenders not the last sap through the light. There also should be uniformity in our lights. Some arrows are leading the green which I think would be the proper course for these super busy and large intersections. They make $177,000 at that light alone. I HAVE DONE THE RESEARCH, no conspiracy…

  22. James Howard says:

    Bryan,

    According to the folks in TPD’s photo enforcement unit, if you have not crossed the line WAY out in the intersection, the one with “WAIT” inscribed by it, you should stop where you are in a situation like that. Never mind the crosswalk and the stop bar – they are there just for decoration. Now, I can’t find where this rule is printed in the Arizona Driver License Manual. In fact, the Driver License Manual contradicts it. This is how they trap so many drivers. It is a total scam. Sounds like something the Mafia would dream up.

  23. I'm Back says:

    This sounds like a good case for a class-action lawsuit. Aren’t there any enterprising lawyers down there in the Ol’ Pueblo?

  24. Bryan says:

    So according to TPDs photo enforcement unit as James said, I should stop where I was when the arrow turned yellow. That would mean I’d be blocking at least one lane of cross traffic while waiting for the next cycle? This makes no practical sense to me at all, but I gues the camera wouldn’t take a picture. I’d just have to worry about one of the other drivers threats.

  25. JON AND RANDI says:

    I NOTICED THAT PAUL EMMERT HAD HIS DAY IN COURT AND AFTER 1 1/2 HOURS OF TESTIMONY THE JUDGE DENIED HIS CLAIM. I KNOW PAUL DID A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF RESEARCH AND WAS EXTREMELY ARTICULATE(HE IS VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS ISSUE). PAUL IF YOU ARE STILL OUT THERE LISTENING, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVEN’T HAD OUR DAY IN COURT YET? THANKS FOR YOUR EFFORTS, JON AND RANDI

  26. Dr. Robert Springer says:

    The problem that I have with the River x Oracle intersection is that I do not understand the rules that I am supposed to follow. I just called the engineer who created the WAIT line (Dion Schwartz – see Feb 17 posting) and she told me that I can proceed into the intersection on a green light and can legally make a left turn when the light turns red only IF I AM OVER THE ELONGATION LINE (a line extending the edge of the center divide into the intersection). I asked her how I was supposed to know that (I am not sure I do yet) and she said she has heard that from a lot of callers and they have decided to add white and red lines where that line is located. I have been a user- interface engineer for 40 years. My job has been to make interactions between humans and teachnology (including traffic lights and signs) user friendly. I told her that my 40 years of experience in this field tells me that if they add more lines with no explanation, they will end up making the situation more confusing not less. I pointed out that a sign telling you what to do or not to do would be very helpful. After all motorists are a a stop waiting to turn which is ideal for having time to read a sign. She said that she has heard that from many people (but is not going to provide a sign). She said that TPD planned to publicize the rules in the paper. She agreed a small instruciton sign would be better, but that was up to .

    I called the Photo enforcement division of TPD next. The officer that I talked to was not from that division but said he would have the head of the division call me back this afternoon. The division head was not available this morning because he and his entire staff were in traffic court.
    Most amazing was that the officer that I talked to admitted that he did not know the rules in detail either and said he avoids the intersection (you cannot make this stuff up).

    A soon as I really understand the rules at this intersection, I will post them.

    Robert Springer

  27. James Howard says:

    Dr. Springer,

    Thanks for going through all that effort. I understand the rules, but I still have a difficult time explaining them. They are too complicated, and the city and ATS are taking advantage of that to make money.

    One thing which I don’t understand is if it is your front bumper or back bumper that has to be over that imaginary line. If it is your back bumper, and you drive a bus, you are really in trouble.

  28. Dr. Robert Springer says:

    James,
    I just talked to TPD. Your entire car must be past the “prolongation line” before the light turns red. A car can follow another car into the intesection but must also be over the line. They maintain that it is not an imaginary line. Apparently the line is painted about 2 car lengths in front of the crosswalk. I will look the next time I turn left at that intersection.

    When I suggested a terse sign explaining the rules, I was told that “driving is a privilege” and motorists can look up the rules in the library. I reminded the officer that she works for us and that this system provides more frustration than protection.

    Robert Springer

  29. Zebra says:

    Dr. Springer: I just went to Tucson Traffic Court yesterday, and the policeman, LeFleur, said you only had to have part of your car over the line.

    The Driver’s license manual doesn’t really specify. I have driven around almost 40 years thinking I had to stop at the stop bar. The confusion is where the big money is for ATS.

    I found a fairly rational discussion of the whole situation here http://trafficsignal.net/photo/20010603.htm

    The real shame of it is he wrote this back in 2002!

  30. Dr. Robert Springer says:

    Zebra,
    Apparently the women who reminded me that it is a privilege to drive told me a different rule than the Traffic Court. I will probably go with the Traffic Court, because she was inaccurate about something else. When I asked how motorists are supposed to know these rules, she sternly told me to read the current AZ Drivers License manual.

    It turns out the manual is on line at

    Vhttp://www.dot.state.az.us/mvd/mvdforms/documents/azdriverlicensemanual_99-0117.pdf

    I have copied and pasted the two relevant sections in the manual below. The manual does not cover any of the details we have been discussing. I wrote to KGUN 9 and suggested this would be a great topic for their “9 on your side” segment.

    Maybe Brewer will get rid of them as she is considering doing.

    R. Springer

    On a two-way road, approach the turn with your car
    in the lane just to the right of the center line. Turn just
    to the left of the center point of the intersection. Enter
    the lane just to the right of the center line. This avoids
    conflict with other traffic making either right or left
    turns.

    Yellow Arrow
    A yellow arrow warns that the light is about to change
    to red. If you have not entered the intersection, you
    must stop and wait for a green arrow. If you are
    already in the intersection, you should continue your
    turn and clear the intersection safely.

  31. Bill Conley says:

    Dr. Springer.

    For the most part what you are saying is true..Where the law become a little confusing is; if you have anyone in front of you, you will be “Flashed”. If you are the 1st vehicle in the intersection, you will be allowed to clear.

    What the city of Tucson did was shorten the yellow turn light not allowing cars to clear and you are issued a ticket.

    Obviously the city shortend the light for “Saftey” reasons….

  32. James Howard says:

    “When I asked how motorists are supposed to know these rules, she sternly told me to read the current AZ Drivers License manual. ”

    Sheesh – that is the whole problem with Oracle and River – they are enforcing rules that are not _IN_ the AZ Driver License Manual. They are enforcing a law that is open to a little interpretation. It states you cannot enter an intersection if the light is red, but does not define the word “enter”. Are you entering when your front bumper crosses the line, or when the driver crosses the line, or when the back bumper crosses the line? You could argue it is the front bumper – after that you have already entered. You could argue it is the back bumper – you are still in the process of entering until it crosses.

    I bet if you called back you would get a different person and a different answer.

  33. JON AND RANDI says:

    DOES ANYONE KNOW IF ANTBODY HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL AT PLEADING THEIR CASE INCOURT? IF SO WHAT DID THEY USE AS THEIR DEFENSE?

  34. Zebra says:

    Jon and Randi:

    The only way you will get off is if you can argue that you were not the driver.

    Listen to Paul’s tape. He made as convincing a case as anyone, but still found responsible. Lose the thought that safety, law, fairness, or even reason will be involved. They need your money.

    But at least make them serve you, set up a court date. Call the court lots of times in between. Call TPD and discuss statistics. Call Dion at traffic engineering. Leave messages at the city manager’s office. Make them show up in court with your little disc and file. They will offer you Defensive drivers class one last time before the trial. Ask the policeman who makes the offer lots of questions. Ask why it is called a stop bar. Ask why all the tickets are people turning left. Why make it easy on them? Waste as much of their time as possible if you can. If you have time, write to your representative and ask the same questions. Go into businesses around the stop light cameras and ask if they think the cameras have hurt their business.

    They have the logistics down cold. We have to beat them another way. Channel your indignation and energy into getting petitions signed, calling local politicians, and stirring up awareness among the businesses about the millions drained out of the economy and sent to Phoenix.

  35. JON AND RANDI says:

    Thanks ZEBRA, ALL GREAT SUGGESTIONS, HARD TO PROVE IT’S NOT YOU WHEN THEY HAVE THE PHOTO! DID PAUL PUT HIS TAPE ONLINE? WOULD LOVE TO HEAR IT. THANKS, JON & RANDI

  36. Zebra says:

    He posted a link under another thread in this site. But it is http://tucsonredlightrunner.blogspot.com/

    We need to merge our sites. We have a Camerafraud site, A camerfraud Tucson site, and a meetup site. Good discussions on each one, but since most people work, and can only devote a few minutes a day, info gets fragmented.

  37. James Howard says:

    Good suggestions, Zebra.

    They have the photo of you, but it is a really crummy photo, and they are comparing it to a really crummy driver license photo. If you have a cousin who looks a lot like you (I have several who do), and who borrowed your car on visits from Guatemala…

    Which bring me to another problem with this system. If you are like me and were honest and say that was me, they throw the book at you. If you lie, you can weasle your way out. Do we really want a system where you are rewarded for lying, and punished for being truthful?

    I cover my face whenever I pass photo enforcement now, even though I don’t speed and don’t run red lights, at least by some definition.

  38. JON AND RANDI says:

    DEAR JAMES HOWARD,
    THE PHOTO WAS NOT THAT GOOD BUT IT STILL LOOKS LIKE MY WIFE, SHE HAS SEVERAL LOOK-ALIKE COUSINS THOUGH, DO YOU REALLY THINK IT’S POSSIBLE THAT CLAIMING “IT WASN’T ME” WILL WORK. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE PERSON YOU CLAIM WAS DRIVING THE CAR? THANKS FOR YOUR HELP, JON

  39. James Howard says:

    I don’t know. I was honest and said it was me. I tried to get out of it on the grounds that the length of the yellow arrow didn’t meet standards. It didn’t work.

  40. Zebra says:

    There is no way you have to identify the driver, even if you say it wasn’t you. I am just amazed that people actually respond to these mailings and rat out who was driving.

    But going before a magistrate, even in that kangaroo court, and trying to say I had no idea who was driving my car–I knew I couldn’t pull it off.

    And I just don’t personally know of anyone who has gone to court and denied they were the driver, and what the outcome would be.

  41. Cathy says:

    JON AND RANDI, it’s my understanding that it’s the responsibility of TPD to prove it WAS you, not your responsibility to prove it wasn’t. You weren’t I.D.ed by an officer at the time, like a normal ticket, so the burden lies on them. Can they prove by the picture what your eye color is? Your height? Your weight? Your hair color? (I don’t plan to go this route for my defense, but nevertheless…)

    Also, depending on when you were flashed, you may want to check out ARS 28-654. The signage at Oracle/River has been altered recently in order to comply with the law, but at the time I was flashed (mid-November), the signs ABSOLUTELY WERE NOT in compliance (they DID NOT have yellow warning notices). And that is grounds for dismissal.

    At this point, it’s simply not prudent to argue in court that “the yellow light is too short” or “the intersection violates my right of expectation” or any of the sound, sensible arguments that responsible drivers who are flashed lean towards arguing. Fight fire with fire. You got the ticket on a loophole. Find a loophole to get out of it.

  42. Zebra says:

    Cathy: So did you (or someone you know)get your ticket dismissed based on the signage?

  43. Cathy says:

    Not at that particular intersection–but I’ve read about other cases in the state where the judge upholds the statute and dismisses the ticket. Sadly, I’m not claiming I’ll win either. Apparently you can’t trust the judges to uphold the law these days. But ARS 28-654 is pretty dang clear, and the tone of it is different from other statutes: it sounds like it’s there to protect Arizona drivers. And IN ALL HONESTY, I had no idea the cameras were there until after I proceeded through the intersection. (I rarely visit Oracle/River and have no reason–or at least I thought I didn’t–to pay attention to photo enforcement, as I’m a pretty conscientious driver. Guess I learned my lesson the hard way on that one.)

    Also, my speculation is that if people weren’t getting tickets dismissed on that basis, what reason would they have to change the signage to comply with the law?

  44. JON AND RANDI says:

    Cathy, I got the 28-654 and you are right. Do you know when the signage was changed. My wife got her ticket on Dec 19th. Thanks for your efforts, JON

  45. Doc says:

    Cathy, JON AND RANDI-You’re gonna’ have to subpeona TPD, or whoever’s in charge of the scameras, AND Sineage in Tuscon. If your info’s correct, you 3 SHOULD get out if this one. However, from what I’ve heard of the scam goin’ on down there. Also, Check out Article II, Sec. 13 of the Az. State Constitution. If they toss out tickets that’re flashed on FLEET Vehicles, ie; rental cars, UPS trucks, Business trucks,(Most cities do…) this article of our Constitution applies! I wish you the Best of Luck.

    Remember…F R E E D O M ! ! !-Doc from Prescott

  46. Paul Coady says:

    I followed the Paul Emmert case and was not surprised he was not successful. I think his case did cause TPD to increase the timing of the yellow light. I use that intersection every day to turn left from Oracle to River. In almost every case while waiting to turn I would see the strobes go off on the last cars completing the turn. For the last couple of weeks I am not seeing the strobes go off and it seems to me that we have more time to make the turn now. It would be interesting if Paul could retest his original times to see if they have increased since his court case.

  47. James Howard says:

    I will be very upset if the timing was increased. It was 3 seconds +/-. Can I get my $350 back?

  48. James Howard says:

    I went and timed it this morning, and the left turn arrow yellow is still 3 seconds, +/- 1/4 second.

  49. Oregon Bruce says:

    This past Thursday 4/9 I received in the mail a citation dated 2/13 from the city of Tuscon for a red light violation at the intersection of, you guessed it, left turn at sb Oracle and eb West River. My very first left turn in Tuscon since 1972.
    Upon viewing the images I was confused, after watching the the video I was incredulus. The Wait Line is a completely foreign concept to me. I doubt it even registered what it meant while I was making the turn.
    By the way I was driving a rental so not all of them are discarded.

    I intend to bombard the City with requests for information but I’d like to know the answers to some of the questions before I ask the them if possible.

    How many photo violations occur at that location
    daily? The video my infraction showed 5 possible

    Do the drivers making u turns on red get cited? it
    appears they never cross the line and get flashed.

    Is it possible to obtain access to all image and
    citation records for a specific location and time?

    Thanks Bruce

  50. Paul Emmert says:

    I had my day in court on March 4th 2008. It took about 90 minutes to present my case, and was found responsible. They do not care about anything except what is on the video.

    I’ve posted the audio of the hearing in its entirety on the internet. Feel free to listen. Bottom line? You’ll waste your time. So now I am attack mode through our voted representatives. At the very least, ARS 28-645 must be amended to define in clear terms what an intersection boundary actually is. Wait lines don’t cut it, and where are the other wait lines in the City. I hammered the cop on this obvious issue, and he ducks and runs for cover. I discussed many other obvious issues, all for naught.

    The link is http://freetobelean.com/Weblog/CourtHearing_3_04_09.mp3

    Enjoy hearing what a kangaroo court actually is!

  51. nazanin says:

    Hi everyone!
    I have received a ticket for the same intersection, oracle and river on March 18, 2009. I specifically remember that I saw the arrow green, so I didnt stopped, I passed the line. I do remember I was surprised to notice that how in matter of seconds The light turned yellow and red while I was in the middle of the intersection. I was shocked how fast the yellow arrow turned to red and just hoped I wasn’t given a ticket! Until I received this ticket in the mail. When I watch the video, I am even more shocked that how in the world I was supposed to decide and react to such a short yellow light?!
    I thought I would pay the $ 300 and get over the pain. Now I realize I have to pay for a MDV class also, because when I pay the ticket, I am admitting that I passed the red light, which I did not! This is very sad! $ 300 is half of my paycheck! With a job that has became half time because of the economy. How can they do this to people?!! This is so not fair. Anybody here has a successful hearing? Any advice appreciated.

  52. Cathy says:

    If you received a “ticket” in the mail, ignore it. You have no legal obligation to respond until you are personally served (meaning, somebody comes to your house and HANDS you/another adult in your family) the ticket. Then don’t answer your door for strangers for the next 120 days, and the ticket will be dismissed.

  53. Zebra says:

    Nazanin, (and anyone else in your situation.) Ignore the mailed ticket. The worst thing that can happen is you will get served. At your home. Probably a Sunday night. If they serve you, it is only $25. You won’t get charged the service fee if you go the route I did.

    You have several choices.

    1. Pay the fine–Paying the fine gets you points and an 8 hour ‘class. The only reason to do this is if you aren’t elegible for driving school, or you can’t afford the fine. You can go down and get public service to pay off part of the fine.

    2. Take the class. Take a petition with you to the class–you will be very popular. Politely correct the instructor when they state misinformation about the cameras.

    3. Argue your case. It won’t work. The magistrate is married to the assistant police chief. They have heard it all and don’t care

    4. (What I chose) Give them the run around. Postpone your court date a couple times. When you go down there, they will offer you driving school one more time at the courthouse before your case is heard. Take the offer then. Take solace in the fact that they have already set aside the time, run off the disc and made a file, so it hasn’t been free to them.
    If you can’t make the court date, you can change your mind and take the class, if you do it at least 2 weeks before your court date.

  54. BIll says:

    This is still a democracy right? Why is there not a petition drive to get this kind of thing outlawed?

  55. WAIT WAIT WAIT says:

    Eureka! “WAIT” apparently is a warning for us to evidently “WAIT” for our citation to come.
    Maybe we can fight back with wearing masks as we drive through the land of wait. Seems to me this will be the only loophole with some sweet revenge. They want ugly, lets give them ugly.
    Seriously though, we really need to come together and represent those of us who truly have been falsely accused and unable to win the fight so far.
    Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories. It’s nice to see we can all still keep some humor within all this evil.
    Let’s not “WAIT” to long for victory. God Bless You All.

  56. Zebra says:

    The Tucson site is not very active anymore. People get excited when they get a ticket, but after it is resolved (several hours and at least $200 later) other issues take the forefront.

    The best way for you to fight back to get a petition, and circulate it until you have at least 50-100 signatures. I got 75 in less than a week just from the people in my office and the driving class. NOT ONE person thought the cameras are a good thing.

    My son wore the Camerafraud t-shirt to his school and at least 10 teachers wanted to buy one.

    If we get this on the ballot it will pass. But it needs your helpm to get on the ballot. Don’t expect anyone else to take up this cause.

  57. Richard says:

    I have signatures that I want to submit but I can’t get a response on when the next signature collection meeting is being held in Tucson. Anyone out there know
    when the next Tucson meeting is?

  58. The Thunder says:

    zebra- i think you can officially say that this site is in a coma and it is brain dead with no chance for a recovery !!

    HAIL THE FLASHES !!

  59. James Howard says:

    So, there were not one, but two major collisions at Oracle and River today. And there have been a few others in the month of June. So much for the red light camera improving safety!

  60. The Thunder says:

    james- nobody claimed they could prevent stupid people from doing stupid things!! its a camera man…

  61. Linda Stahl says:

    I just received a ticket for the Oracle/River Sting Radar Scam. I would like to have input on how to fight this. I feel personally violated. What else are you supposed to do when the arrow turns yellow and you are in the wait area. I feel like now, I should stop my car right in the middle of the intersection and wait for the cops to come and figure it out. Maybe that is what everyone should do.

  62. Paul Emmert says:

    When the notice arrives in the mail, ignore it. When the second notice arrives, ignore it too. When TPD’s contract process server knocks on your door, don’t answer. These notices in the mail are not legal service. Only after you are properly served will you be liable for the infraction and will have to respond appropriately.

  63. Linda Stahl says:

    Will not responding to the citation still be effective if you have gone online at their website and entered your notice number? I did and someone told me they know I looked it up and will count that as proper service.

  64. Cathy says:

    How do they know if some nosy person accidentally got your “violation” and hopped online to check it out themselves? You absolutely shouldn’t be considered served.

    Make no mistake: the Oracle & River intersection employs intentionally bad traffic engineering (short left yellow arrows and a fabricated deemed-illegal-by-FHWA “violation line” to define the intersection) in order to generate revenue. At a normal, predictable, ethically engineered intersection, you wouldn’t be in this position. But Oracle & River is designed to CREATE “red light runners,” not reduce them.

    Those cameras are coming down.

  65. Bob says:

    If I was at Oracle and River and I had my front tires over the stop bar when I stopped, am I getting a ticket for being in the intersection on a red? I did not block the cross walk when stopped. I could not stop any quicker because I had someone very close behind me and I did not want to get hit or try to cross this nightmare of an intersection on the yellow.

  66. Paul Emmert says:

    What stop bar are you referring to? Is that the so-called “wait” line?

  67. Bob says:

    No it is the thick white line that goes across the street before you get to the crosswalk lines. I am sure you are supposed to stop before you get to it when the light changes—but in my case I slid a bit over it—but not over the crosswalk, altough my front end may have been in the crosswalk about 6 inches

  68. Paul Emmert says:

    No ticket.

    You were not in the intersection, which is defined as the prolongation of adjacent curb lines. At this intersection, that boundary in marked by the “wait” line, which is well ahead of where you stopped. Arizona is virtually the only state that does not define intersection boundaries as associated with crosswalks. Much of the controversy surrounding that intersection has to do with what a wait line actually is supposed to intend. They only exist at camera enforced intersections, so the scam cameras can tag you if you exceed this point on a red light. There is no easy way for a driver to determine intersection boundaries absent wait lines, so these markings are in place for enforcement only. It is questionable because nowhere in the statutes is it described what the wait line means, nor is the marking defined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

    All part of the scam.

    It is also noteworthy that the amber light duration at Oracle and Orangegrove is 4 seconds long, while the camera enforced intersection is only 3 seconds. These intersections are virtually identical with same speed limits. Orangegrove is not within Tucson city limits, as I was reminded in court.

  69. Michael says:

    I recently had a red light violation dismissed (Oracle and River) by reason of Improper Process Service. It was extremely disconcerting when upon entering the court room, I was approached by a uniformed TPD officer (flanked by two others, for a total of three policemen not on the street serving and protecting) asking if I was there for a speeding or red light violation. When I answered that it was a red light, he immediately went into a well rehearsed speech listing my penalty options. I asked the officer why the court was having TPD judicate cases before the judge was seated. Hope is fading that he will get back to me with an answer.
    In the case before mine, the defendent was questioning the time it would have taken to stop on the arguably short yellow light at the intersction in question, and this came out of the judges mouth: “I would rather you be rear ended than run a red light”. Such a stunning blindness of logic, I have not heard in some time.
    Orwellian in concept, tyrannical in implemetation, a dilution of our civil rights, are the Az. traffic cameras. Please do what you can to ban them. Freedom is not free.

  70. Sabrina says:

    I just got flashed! I am so angry/worried! I was the last car turning left onto river from oracle and I entered on amber because I was too far up to stop… like if I stopped, half the car would be in the intersection and the other still in lane! I am SO angry/worried!

  71. Steamer says:

    I just had a hearing today for the ticket I got turning left onto east-bound River from Oracle. Based on the comments here I didn’t spend much time arguing that the intersection is designed poorly and that no one in their right mind would stop at the “wait” line or in the crosswalk. Both the policeman beforehand and the judge told me that no policeman would give me a ticket for stopping in the crosswalk if I did it to avoid running a red light. Great. There is no way to avoid breaking a traffic law if the light turns yellow while you approach. You have to decide on the spot which law to break (hint, break the “stopping in a crosswalk law”, although I’ve heard that in other places the cameras will get you for that too)

    Instead, I argued that the yellow light was less that 3 seconds. I determined this by counting the frames in the video. The light was yellow for 86 frames, which is less than the 30*3 = 90 seconds that federal guidelines mandate (the policeman said this in his opening remarks). The policeman had no answer to this other than the light is set for 3 seconds, they are tested regularly by traffic engineers, there has never been a problem with them, etc. He also had no answer as to why the video did not have detailed information at the top like the photos do. Date, time, etc. would be useful in analyzing the video and would let all parties determine the light timing. The judge ruled against me.

    I no longer make a left turn at that intersection and I told the judge this. The only way to do it safely is to be the 1st car sitting there at a red light, and even then something could come up to prevent you from entering the intersection before the light turns red again leaving you in the “no mans land” between the “wait” line and the stop line. You risk a ticket at best and an accident at worse.

  72. Cathy says:

    Sorry you lost. That really sucks. I know I felt angry and powerless when I was found responsible for my own Oracle & River ticket.

    On the plus side, we CAN fight this thing–by raising awareness of this scam, and by signing and/or circulating the petition to send the photo radar issue to the ballot. (Considering that Tucson is planning on installing 4 more RLCs, banning photo radar statewide sounds like our best bet.)

    P.S. I avoid Oracle & River now too.

  73. victory for safety says:

    poor sabrina is worried and mad!!! i wonder if she is mad at herself…. as she was the person driving…. nobody but her made the decision to run the light…. it really is as simple as that!!!

  74. victory for safety says:

    cathy…since there is nobody “minding the store” here…let me help you with some facts… the signatures are due on july 1st…. the exact number needed is between 153,000 and 154,000…the admin at the mother ship will not admit this but they are not close to the number….the kicker is…they need to be WAY over …upwards of 200,000 as there will be many signatures that are invalid due to many factors but the most common is they are not registered to vote!!

    there are only 85 days left …. the clock is moving pretty quickly!!!

  75. Jack says:

    I got tagged twice at this little scam they have setup at River and Oracle. I will remember this come election time. Time to vote all the rats out of office in Tucson. Maybe they will get the message.

  76. dddd says:

    if i drive.. i go not by red light .. i go another way.. this is just goverment tray to stel many from us..

  77. nips says:

    Driving is a privilege? More word magic and BS!! We are not drivers, we are TRAVELERS. A license grants you permission to do something otherwise considered unlawful. It is a God given right to travel unimpeded, and without fear of imprisonment. If you are not engaged in Commercial activity on the public roads, you are NOT a DRIVER! The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horsedrawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but the COMMON RIGHT WHICH HE HAS UNDER HIS RIGHT TO LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Under this Constitutional guarantee one may, therefore, under normal conditions, travel at his inclination along the public highways or in public places, and while conducting himself in an orderly and decent manner, neither interfering with nor disturbing another’s Rights, he will be protected, not only in his person, but in his safe conduct.” There should be considerable authority on a subject as important as this deprivation of the liberty of the individual “using the roads in the ordinary course of life and business.” However, it should be noted that extensive research has not turned up one case or authority acknowledging the state’s power to convert the individual’s right to travel upon the public roads into a “privilege.”

    Therefore, it is concluded that the Citizen does have a “Right” to travel and transport his property upon the public highways and roads and the exercise of this Right is not a “privilege.”

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