Traffic Cameras Are A Municipal Moneymaking Scam (VICE. January 2014)


I almost made it through my 30s without a single speeding ticket. Then came New Orleans’s traffic cameras. My neighborhood, Bywater, suffered a post-Katrina wave of gentrification that brought with it the government’s all-seeing eye, though none of us asked for it. A camera was set up on Chartres Street, a riverfront lane with houses along only one side of it and, aside from a high school at one end, exactly two kids for a mile’s length. Chartres, one of the few smoothly paved streets in a city known for its potholes, begs you to exceed its 25 MPH limit, but living near the camera made us all very cautious—the only way for me to deal with this speed trap was to drive with the cruise control on at 25 MPH and my foot off the accelerator.

Despite my efforts, my wife and I racked up almost $1,000 in tickets and late fees in that first year before finally we learned to just avoid Chartres. In the meantime we were too poor to pay even a single $110 ticket, so late fees were tacked on. Finally, the city put a boot our car while my two-year-old daughter and I were busy watching the Barkus dog parade during Mardi Gras. I stood on the side of the road trying not to curse with my toddler in my arms, waiting for the cops to come drain our meager savings account and remove the boot.

“They put [traffic cameras] where they think people aren’t gonna fight ‘em,” said Louisiana State Representative Jeff Arnold, who has made it his mission to bring down New Orleans’s camera scam. “They have them outside some of the most prestigious private schools like McGehee and Trinity, but you don’t have them in front of McMain [a public high school] on Claiborne. They place them less for safety and more for returns. The cameras are about the best return on the dollar.” CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE PIECE AT Vice Magazine…

Or watch this video containing advice on how to avoid getting caught by traffic cameras… 

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