RANT: Police Ticket Camera at OLG on 35th and Myrtle

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    I am borrowing a car from a friend right now. Today they called me to tell me I got a ticket for going 25 in a 20 school zone in front of Our Lady Guadeloupe School on 35th and Myrtle. $189!!!! I didn’t even know there were cameras here now. And I am pissed, because I always feel like I slow down faster and more than anyone around me here (cars frequently drive around me mad because I drive so slow on purpose). So maybe this day I was late to work and wasn’t as careful.

    My question: has this happened to anyone else here? If so, have you fought with any luck? How can they take a picture of someone “speeding”?



    Challenge it and ask for the calibration records for the camera. Bet they can’t provide the record.



    Whoa!! 25 in a 20 zone? I would venture a guess that THOUSANDS of people every week drive 25 in a 20 zone.

    I didn’t actually realize Seattle used speed cameras. I knew about the red light cameras, but I didn’t realize electronic tickets were issued for speeding.

    Thanks for posting. I hope there is more feedback.



    Really? If it’s a borrowed car your (ex)friend should have got the ticket. All they have to do is say (sign a document) they were not driving the car. I don’t think they have to say you were driving but if was me I would give the police your name and address and offer them a box of doughnuts to whoever gets this outlaw!!



    SPD plans fixed speeding-ticket camera for Gatewood school zone

    There is also a mobile speed-camera van that has been in West Seattle for four years now. That is likely what was used in this case.




    I believe there are signs. I will look when I go to work shortly



    Okay, more info. The electronic speeding tickets are only issued in school zones.


    Technically, you (the driver) didn’t get the ticket. The vehicle owner got the ticket. The vehicle owner will need to read the instructions on the citation for what to do if a driver other than the owner was operating the vehicle at the time of citation.

    My guess is the owner will have to pay the $189 and I suspect you (being a decent person) will reimburse him/her. But that’s only a guess.

    Good luck.



    You admit to speeding in a school zone while school was in session. Pay the ticket.



    It would be awfully frustrating to get a ticket for going 25 in a 20 zone. However, 35th is an exceptionally dangerous street. So draconian fines might be the only way to enforce laws.



    yes indeed there is a sign “photo speed enforcement” heading north not sure about southbound



    It pisses me off because it’s a City gotcha mentality. I was photographed going the ungodly speed of 30 in the school zone on fauntleroy. No children around, no traffic except for me but I missed seeing the yellow flashing lights. (they are on one side, posted high in the trees on a bend) So, $189 and no choice but to pay it. I’m sure a chunk of the cash goes to the people who designed the camera and the City uses the what’s left as revenue enhancement. I think the fee is way out of line.



    It’s a SCHOOL ZONE!! What more is there to say for heavens sake?



    I got mine in the mail yesterday. $189 for going 26 mph in a 20 mph zone. I thought I slowed down fast enough. Guess not. I usually don’t go that route and yes, I understand that it is a school zone and I need to slow down, but slowing down from 35 to 20 in a short span can be difficult if you don’t want to completely slam on your brakes. There really doesn’t seem to be a way to contest it, and $189 is a huge ticket. This is my first speeding ticket.



    kgdlg: You need not pay this ticket. Nor do the owners need to pay it. They can get it dismissed. And it’s all totally legal. The reason is that you borrowed the car.

    There are actually several requirements the city must satisfy to issue and collect on tickets issued based on automated traffic cameras. But the one that makes it easy in your case is that the statute incorporates a presumption that the registered owner was the person in control of the vehicle at the time of the infraction, AND it provides a mechanism for the registered owner to declare that in fact, he or she was not driving at the time.

    The state law is at RCW 46.63.170 and .075; the Seattle Municipal Code, which is nearly identical, is at SMC 11.31.090. In all likelihood, this ticket was issued under the municipal code.

    The registered owner is entitled, under the statutes, to respond to the ticket by mail, and can overcome the presumption by providing a written statement, under oath, to the court that “the vehicle involved was, at the time, stolen or in the care, custody, or control of some person other than the registered owner.” That is all that the law requires for the ticket to be dismissed. The owners are not required to say who had custody of the vehicle. In fact, it wouldn’t matter if the owners did supply that information, because even then there would not be enough evidence to prove that you were the driver.

    The reason it works this way, if anyone cares, is that the legislature did not authorize using these cameras to identify people, just cars. The police can look at the picture and identify the license plate number, but they can’t use the photo to identify or prove who is driving the car. That’s why the only person who can be held liable is the registered owner. The legislature also wanted to ensure that an owner who was not in fact driving the car could escape liability. (Otherwise, the law would likely be unconstitutional.) The provision for the statement under oath accomplishes that.

    Obviously, a person could use this to get out of a ticket when she was driving her own car. No doubt lots of people do that. But in your case, kgdlg, the owners would be telling the truth. So you can all go forward with a clean conscience.

    (None of this is legal advice, of course. If you want legal advice, you’d have to talk to a lawyer.)



    To the other folks who have gotten these tickets, read the statutes — there are lots of ways to contest these tickets.


    Genesee Hill

    Yes, officer, I realize I was speeding. But, I didn’t want to have to slam on my brakes to slow down from 35 MPH to 20 MPH.





    i got a ticket in the same spot last year on the first day the zone was active when nobody was anywhere near the school.

    in spite of the fact that the leaves on the tree actually hide the light until they fall..

    i had to pay the ticket.



    @waterworld, a good friend who went through the same thing just confirmed your advice thank you!

    I want everyone to know that I am very aware of my driving and routinely slow to well below 20 in this zone. I believe in speed limits and fines to control behavior.

    The only aspect of this situation that bothers me is the lack of a posting (I did not see one and I realize it may have been there). Like at the red light photo stops. It feels a little creepy big brother to have a mobile van that runs around taking pics without any connection to the actual driver like in a traditional speed trap.

    Also I will admit to sticker shock, 30 bucks for every mile over?!?!



    kgdlg: Good luck fighting it — I was mailed a ticket for a traffic light in Federal Way and distinctly remembered the intersection and that it was traffic’d cam’d (pardon the bad apostrophe’s and crappy English!) but that a right turn was acceptable…. went back to said intersection and took pictures of the sign that said “Right turn OK if clear” (or something to that effect) and sent it into the City of Federal way — no consideration at all of my proof, still had to pay and I’m still PISSED OFF!!!

    So bogus, I think they are mostly money making scams!



    I truly was driving a friends car, which by law means they cannot make her responsible for the ticket. I will let everyone know when I see if I can get it released!



    That’s right kgdlg. Take the attorney’s advice. Don’t be responsible for your actions. Work the system, make excuses, ask for exceptions. Everyone does it, right?



    Christopher, i didn’t write the law, butif it explicitely states that she nor I are responsible because she wasn’t driving, darn right I will follow the regulation that is in place. If this regulation weren’t in place I wouldn’t go and make up an argument or claim something that isn’t. As far as I am concerned, I am following the law as it is written.



    The fine is frustrating. However these citations do not affect your insurance or driving record. If as earlier stated the “flashing” sign was obscured by leaves or a foreign object that would also be grounds for dismissal. It’s generally best to contest all tickets.



    My hubby got one of these tickets recently too….same situation, 26 in a 20 zone with the “mobile” van camera photo enforcement apparently providing the ticket/picture. He did not realize he was going over the limit at the time and while I get that it is a school zone it is frustrating in that there is a sign only indicating the “beginning” of the zone but no sign indicating the end of the zone when going northbound so how are you to know when you can once again increase your speed. Also the School speed zone photo enforced sign is not permanent and not very visible. I would also like to know why the parents who drop off there children and cross the solid double yellow line to turn into the OLG parking lots are never ticketed. I can tell you as a former parent how many times I have seen potential accidents happen from the cars turning across traffic when they aren’t suppose to. He paid the fine but we are not too happy about it as no one has an extra $189 laying around these days. Technically I also could have protested as well since the ticket came to my name since the car he was driving is registered in my name and I was not driving it. Needless to say he is not driving on 35th during the school hours anymore but through the neighborhood instead. Best to slow down in advance and stay slow well down the hill past the area.



    Rockergirl: It’s not illegal to turn left over an ordinary double yellow line in the city (or in the state, so far as I’m aware), provided you don’t block traffic by doing so. What you cannot do is cross a double yellow line in order to pass a vehicle on the left.

    CJ: I don’t think kgdlg was asking for an exception to the rule. There’s no unfair advantage in expecting that the law will be applied as written. More importantly, we’re talking about a traffic infraction, not a moral issue or, given kgdlg’s account of the event, a safety issue. That’s my view of it, anyway.

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