Australian drivers have become used to seemingly omnipresent speed camera, but in Texas citizens want revenue-raising traffic systems ripped out altogether and that's bad news for Melbourne traffic technology developer Redflex.
The company on Monday warned shareholders that the Texas state legislature had passed new laws that will allow local authorities to ban its cameras on roads they control. Fines based on traffic camera shots will also be banned.
It’s another speed bump in the company’s efforts to export Australia’s often loathed innovation of automating fines issuance and traffic surveillance with Redflex saying the Texan ban is a “longstanding risk” of operating in the US.
Redflex told investors it derived a rather unlucky 13 percent of its revenue in the six months to December 2018 from Texas and said it expects the ban “to have a material impact on the company’s financial performance but is unable to assess the quantum at this time.”
“We are disappointed the clear benefits of enforcement have been overlooked with the enactment of bill 1631,” Redflex said.
Australian states, meanwhile, secure infringement revenue that exceeds $1 billion a year. That said, Australian police chiefs don’t have to run for election like they do in Texas as the Lone Star state’s Association of Counties helpfully explains.
There a red light ticket will set you back US$75, a figure way below Australian fine levels but still too much for the average Texan to cop.
Texas isn’t the first state to create trouble for Redflex’s vision of a compliance cash machine.
In 2015 Redflex’s US chief executive Karen Finley pleaded guilty to corruption over bribes and inducements made to a City of Chicago official to help win deals for the “Digital Automated Red Light Enforcement Program”.
There was also trouble in Ohio where a smaller bribery scandal erupted.
In 2009 one of Redflex’s employees was shot dead while operating one of its cameras in Arizona.
The company has been on the nose with Republicans and other opponents of automated law enforcement surveillance who feel it's not right for robots to fine humans.
Redflex posted an after tax of $10.8 million for the six months ended 31 December 2018, an improvement of a $26.2 million loss for the previous corresponding period.