Bad Behavior in the Speed Camera Industry

Bad Behavior in the Speed Camera Industry

As more cities around the country have moved to deploy speed cameras in recent years, scrutiny of speed camera vendors has increased. While those companies typically tout speed cameras as a method of enhancing public safety, camera skeptics see more evidence of bad behavior than good intentions where particular companies, their executives and consultants are concerned.

Earlier this year, the Chicago Tribune reported that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to convert red light cameras into speed cameras would likely benefit the client of one of his political allies:

As consultant to the firm that already supplies Chicago its red-light cameras, [Greg] Goldner is the architect of a nationwide campaign to promote his client’s expansion prospects. That client, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., is well-positioned to make tens of millions of dollars from Emanuel’s controversial plan to convert many of the red-light cameras into automated speed cameras.

Goldner maintained in speaking to the Tribune that Emanuel’s backing for speed cameras had nothing to do with his political backing of the Mayor. However, camera critics think the situation smells fishy.

Meanwhile, Missouri-based B&W Sensors– co-founded by one John Baine who, sources say, appears to be the same John Baine involved as a Defendant in a large number of Missouri-based lawsuits listed on the Missouri Courts website and previously involved in the retirement center industry— has come under scrutiny for a rather novel, and aggressive, marketing campaign that Arnold, Missouri councilwoman and camera opponent Doris Borgelt reportedly dubbed inclusive of “false promises.”

In addition, Baine was busted last year for behavior that looks a bit hypocritical for an anti-speeding, road safety advocate. Baine was caught driving at 70 m.p.h. in a 50 m.p.h. construction zone. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes, “on its Internet home page, B&W professes its support of ‘National Work Zone Safety.'”

Admittedly, the companies mentioned here are just two within the larger traffic camera industry. However, these circumstances may help to explain why speed cameras are not exactly universally loved, setting aside the fines motorists incur when caught by them.