Automated speed cameras certainly have their detractors, but residents of one neighborhood in New Orleans, Louisiana have raised the most logical reason yet to get rid of—or at least recalibrate—the robot menace: a unit positioned on a busy street keeps issuing speeding tickets to parked cars, and authorities won't do anything to stop it, according to WWL-TV.
If the prospect of a stopped car receiving an official speeding ticket from the New Orleans Police Department has you scratching your head, consider the Kafkaesque situation that local man Donald Schultz finds himself in. Schultz parks his car and truck on the street in front of his house in view of the speed camera, and the unit continually registers them as the target vehicles when someone speeds by. So Schultz gets the ticket while the real offenders go unpunished; Schultz estimates his parked cars have earned at least 10 citations since the camera went up in 2011.
According to the station's original report, he's not alone in getting speeding tickets while traveling at 0 mph. A calibration error is partly to blame, but the real problem here is that New Orleans police are supposed to review each and every ticket generated by the automated cameras. That means for almost a decade, tickets have either been rubber-stamped without review—a concept that is the subject of several current court cases itself—or the process has enough room for error that Schultz has slipped through the cracks ten times.
Actually, make that 11. After the first story ran last week, Schultz received another ticket on Saturday night. A security camera shows this one was actually triggered by a New Orleans Police Department vehicle speeding down the road, but as usual, Schultz was the unlucky recipient of the fine.
Schultz says the city previously adjusted the camera's angle and focal point when he complained in the past, but the tickets have continued to pile up. For each citation, he has to waste a day at City Hall explaining his situation to a judge. Vandalism is never a great idea, but if there was ever a time to destroy a speed camera and get off with a slap on the wrist, this would probably be it.
For their part, city officials told WWL-TV that every one of the questionable tickets have been dropped, and the contracted technicians who monitor the cameras and pass along tickets to police would be retrained. A happy ending? Not according to Schultz, who remains wary.
"I have no faith in the system, to be perfectly honest with you," he said to WWL-TV.