Three state representatives from Detroit introduced a bill yesterday that would legalize automated traffic-ticket machines in Michigan. Representatives Durhal and Stallworth, joined by Democrats Banks (Harper Woods), Stanley (Flint), Yanez (Sterling Heights) and Dianda (Calumet) joined Republicans Schmidt (Traverse City) and McCready (Bloomfield Hills) in sponsoring the bill. HB 4763 would allow local governments to hire firms to operate cameras to ticket drivers turning right on red lights without stopping for at least 1 second, or who are too late for a yellow light.
The bill appears to have been written by one of the automated-ticket firms that are making millions from drivers in 26 states. It's an astonishingly-cynical scheme to con local officials and state legislators into approving automated tickets. Convictions would be like parking tickets, and would not be considered a "moving violation." The bill says the fines would not affect "provision of insurance" (but no mention of not affecting your premiums). No driver-license points would accumulate, so you can keep your license (and keep on paying fines).
Fines would be $275, including a big share for the camera operator. The rest would go to the local government, except for $5 for a new Trauma Fund, to turn Michigan's doctors and hospitals into a permanent lobby to make the program hard to get rid of once enacted.
The camera firm would be immune from FOIA, and its statements would be enough to convict the motorist, with no standards of accuracy. Once a city council enacts a camera ordinance, local voters would have only 30 days to begin an effort to overturn it by referendum.
It was probably only a matter of time before the camera vendors targeted Michigan as their next victim. No doubt Detroit and other broke cities are ripe candidates for these machines that can take money hand over fist from auto drivers who have grown used to turning right on red without a time-wasting stop. Who knows--these guys may be handing out bigger checks than Matty Moroun.
I somewhat knew this was going to happen sooner or later, because right now Metro Detroit is over-saturated with hardware store chains, with ACO, Ace, Home Depot, Lowe's, Do-It-Yourself and the region just got it's first Menard's up in Chesterfield Township (it's worth the drive to save big money!), plus several independents. We already lost Home Quarters (HQ), Builder's Square and Damman Hardware, will any more of those aforementioned chains pull out next?
And by the way, I just checked my copy of today's Free Press and they have a map of the closing stores, fortunately all of the Downriver stores will remain open, the closest closing stores to me are in Canton and the already-mentioned Fenkell store.