- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
EDITORIAL: S. Dakota won’t let Iowa speed cameras pick Dakotans’ pockets
The governor orders clever immunity from revenue-camera speeding tickets
Question of the Day
The speed trap is as old as the automobile. Small-town sheriffs once armed themselves with stopwatches to run down — sometimes, on foot — “reckless automobilists” racing their Tin Lizzies down the streets over the 12 mile-per-hour speed limit.
The idea then and now is to target someone who’s “not from around here.” Nonresidents can’t vote, which makes them fair game for a shakedown. It wasn’t until last week that someone came up with a solution to this century-old problem.
Dennis Daugaard, governor of South Dakota, grew weary of constituents complaining about the robotic revenue cameras positioned on Interstate 29 just over the border in northwestern Iowa. South Dakotans driving at the 65 mph speed limit could easily miss the sign that abruptly sets the speed limit in Sioux City at 55 mph. Motorists would soon see a bright flash in the rearview mirror. A bill for $168 would follow in the mail.
But no more. Mr. Daugaard signed a bill into law last week prohibiting the South Dakota Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from participating in this extortion racket. Once the statute takes effect, Sioux City — and any other city in the nation — will remain free to snap as many photographs of South Dakota license plates as it pleases, but when the private contractor operating the revenue camera submits a South Dakota license plate number to the South Dakota DMV, asking for the name and address of its owner, the DMV is instructed to say, “Take a hike.”
Without a current name and mailing address, the photographs are suitable only for the contractor’s photographic album of melancholy memories. The photographs return no money. The South Dakota solution is elegant in its simplicity and respect for a state’s rights. South Dakota isn’t telling Iowa, or any other state in the nation, how to run its business, but South Dakota is within its rights not to participate in a corrupt scheme.
The extent of the corruption was revealed last year when the former executive vice president of Redflex, Sioux City’s revenue-camera contractor, admitted that he bribed local officials in a dozen states, including Virginia, to persuade them to install the cameras.
The inspector general of Chicago is investigating a Redflex plot to use $2 million in illegal incentives to expand the cameras there. Other cities and states with lucrative ticketing programs are looking the other way, declining to investigate credible allegations of fraud.
So far, 60 cities in California have canceled shady red-light camera deals. Santa Ana, south of Los Angeles, dumped its cameras last month. Next door in Anaheim, 73 percent of voters a few years ago approved an amendment to the city charter ensuring that cameras could never be installed in the city.
This is the right way to deal with the revenue-camera scourge. Other states should follow the example of Mr. Daugaard, lest South Dakota license plates, with their immunity to all photo tickets, become the most sought-after plates in the nation.
About the Author
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time for some policy 'pars' from golfer-in-chief
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Texas law is making women safer
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Redskins partnership is a win-win
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No taxpayer funds for illegals
- EDITORIAL: The two faces of Mark Warner
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
Get Breaking Alerts
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for