Oregon Admits To Violating The Constitutional Rights Of Red-Light Camera Critic Who Was Fined $500

Illustration for article titled Oregon Admits To Violating The Constitutional Rights Of Red-Light Camera Critic Who Was Fined $500

Red light cameras, which are a dangerous scam, are bad. Mats Järlström, a Swedish man living in Oregon, knows this, and when he sought to prove it using math and such, the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying fined him $500 for “unlicensed practice of engineering.” Earlier this week, Järlström got some revenge.


Järlström had originally tried in 2014 to present the board with research suggesting that turning cars need more time to go through red lights because the math that cameras are based on is from the 1950s and based on objects that move in a straight line.

But instead of, you know, acting like adults and greeting a good-faith critique with some measure of curiosity, the board opted to investigate Järlström instead. That investigation ended with the fine and, later, a lawsuit filed by Järlström, who charged that the board had violated his First Amendment rights.

The state of Oregon admitted Monday that, no shit, the board had done just that, according to The Oregonian. Järlström is not a licensed engineer in Oregon, but he did study engineering in college, and, more to the point, wasn’t doing the research for any commercial reason. What he did, as our own Jason Torchinsky has pointed out, amounted to screaming at a red-light camera from the comfort of your own car, though he did it with math.

And while this saga has already gone on for far too long, it’s going to go on for a little bit longer, as Järlström’s lawyers have asked a federal magistrate judge to rule that the state law itself is unconstitutional, since it represents a “ban on mathematical debate,” according to The Oregonian. The state has already returned the $500 to Järlström and has said it will stop pursuing him any further.

The judge said Monday that she will issue a ruling on the matter in two or three weeks, though that ruling can later be appealed by either side. Good luck, Mats.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.



As an engineer myself, i applaud the way this man yelled at the stop light.