12/18/2019Judges In Brazil Resist Order To Shut Down Speed Cameras
President of Brazil fights to keep speed cameras off federal roads against judicial resistance.
Federal judges in Brazil are resisting the policy directives of President Jair M. Bolsonaro. The court in Brasilia last week blocked Bolsonaro's August order pulling the plug on the speed cameras that had been operating on federal highways. Bolsonaro noted that in the month following his decree, accidents did not go up. To the contrary, collisions decreased as the number of citations being issued plunged.
First Federal Civil Court of the Federal District Judge Marcelo Gentil Monteiro insisted to the contrary that the automated ticketing machines are good for safety and issued a temporary injunction to force the Bolsonaro administration to re-deploy speed cameras on federal roads. The activist justice said the president did not have the authority to act without going through the regulatory process approved by the National Traffic Council (Contran).
"The urgency is evident, given the risk of an increase in the number of traffic accidents and deaths as a result of the deliberate non-use of the instruments approved as necessary by the technical bodies in accordance with the rules of the National Traffic System," Judge Monteiro wrote in his ruling. "Such competence cannot be exercised by the President of the Republic."
The court set a daily fine of 50,000 reals (US $12,170) for each day the administration fails to comply. The court also ordered the administration to turn over safety data and all records related to the presidential order shutting down the camera.
Bolsonaro wasted no time in fighting back. He ordered his attorney general to appeal the ruling. He then turned to his 5.5 million Twitter followers for support after announcing his move.
"Are you in favor of returning from mobile radar on federal highways?" Bolsonaro asked. "I ordered the AGU [attorney general] to appeal the court's decision."
The results of his informal poll were overwhelmingly in agreement, with 68 percent saying they did not want photo radar to return. A copy of the ruling (in Portuguese) is available in a 100k PDF file at the source link below.