A few months ago, in a column on red-light cameras, I mentioned one that one downside for authorities was that the cameras wouldn't look the other way, as ordinary cops might, when fellow cops or other bigshots ran traffic lights.
Turns out that this is upsetting people in some communities. The Albuquerque Tribune
Automatic cameras are catching city employees speeding or running red lights while driving city vehicles. And while the numbers aren't overwhelming, the subsequent tickets have sparked a class action lawsuit.
The exact number of tickets is difficult to pin down. Each city department collects its own data, and vehicle use varies drastically from department to department.
But one of the biggest users of city cars, the Albuquerque Police Department, had racked up just six violations as of a few months ago, according to department spokesman John Walsh. Officers set off the cameras routinely, he said, but they're not ticketed if they were responding to a call.
Six city bus drivers have also run afoul of the cameras, and they are represented in the lawsuit, which attorney Paul Livingston filed Thursday.
The lawsuit seeks reimbursement of their fines and cancellation of any disciplinary action, among other measures.[/pullquote]
Because city employees shouldn't have to obey the law—that's for the little people! I suspect that red-light camera opponents in many jurisdictions are going to be asking for records of city vehicles caught in the cameras, and asking for explanations if they're not issued tickets. This may do more to cool cities' ardor for this new technology than all the safety-related arguments against them that I recounted in my column.—Glenn Reynolds