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Man fined $500 for suggesting that yellow traffic lights should last longer

tagtag Posts: 9,790 Admiral
An Oregon man has been fined $500 by the state government for suggesting that yellow traffic lights should last slightly longer.

The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying hit Mats Järlström with a fine for unlawfully engaging in the “practice of engineering” by studying the state’s traffic flow systems.

Järlström, a former mechanic in the Swedish military, was slapped with the absurd penalty because his work contravenes licensing regulations in the state, according to the Institute for Justice.

He started his investigation into traffic lights after his wife got a ticket for turning right on a yellow light back in 2013. He wanted to know “how how exactly yellow lights are timed.”


Järlström found out that the formula used in traffic lights was deficient, and invented his own one, while corresponding with one of the formula’s original creators.


He took his research and started reaching out to people in the scientific community, government authorities and the media.
His new formula ended up at the state’s Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying. But rather than appreciating his findings, the Board fined him $500 because he engaged in unlicensed “practice of engineering.”

According to the Board, Järlström had no right to criticize the length of yellow lights and talk about his ideas with “members of the public” because he’s not an Oregon-licensed engineer. The man was also told to stop referring himself using the word “engineer”, despite having a degree in electrical engineering from Sweden.

He is now suing the state of Oregon, claiming his traffic lights critique is protected by the First Amendment.
https://heatst.com/life/man-fined-500-for-criticizing-traffic-lights-system/

Replies

  • Fish HaidFish Haid Posts: 8,417 Admiral
    He just needs to tell them that he stayed at Holiday Inn last night.
    23895.gif
  • PolarPolar Posts: 22,492 AG
    you just need a faster car to blow through them quicker is all.
  • GardawgGardawg Posts: 16,794 AG
    At the risk of being fined for being an unlicensed sex therapist I'd tell them to go f--k themselves.
    "Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can be sometimes easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love." Fred Rogers  
  • 2true2true Posts: 2,112 Captain
    Welcome to Liberalism.
    picture-182589.gif
  • mplspugmplspug Posts: 16,014 AG
    Oregon, south of Seattle Wash and north of California. That's all that needs to be said.
    Just dropping grenades in OT
  • micci_manmicci_man Posts: 15,020 AG
    They will fine him and use his formula LOL.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • mindyabinessmindyabiness Posts: 8,020 Admiral
    In Oregon, it's against the law to pump your own gas...seriously. I learned it the hard way.
    Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon... No matter how good you are, the bird is going to crap on the board and strut around like it won anyway.
    I AM NOT A RACIST
  • JWTJWT Posts: 788 Officer
    In Oregon, it's against the law to pump your own gas...seriously. I learned it the hard way.

    seriously?
  • cadmancadman Posts: 43,700 AG
    It sounds like he was presenting himself as an expert on the subject.

    Would it be alright for a guy to study up one medicine on his own and present himself as a doctor?

    If he just sent in an idea for a better traffic light system, then they should think him and review it. But if he was presenting it as an expert in the field, then he is wrong. As they say, there is more to the story than is being presented here.

    Former Mini Mart Magnate

    I am just here for my amusement. 

  • cadmancadman Posts: 43,700 AG
    JWT wrote: »
    seriously?

    Illegal in New Jersey also. They claim safety concerns.

    Former Mini Mart Magnate

    I am just here for my amusement. 

  • James243James243 Posts: 869 Officer
    I pumped my own gas in Oregon the one time I fueled up there. Pulled up to a small station and it said pay inside. So I went in paid and went out and went about my business. Just before my tank on my F150 was full the girl comes around and says that I can't do that. I didn't have a clue that was the law there. But luckily I didn't have to wait on her. I let her put the handle back up on the pump. It seemed ridiculous.
  • Gary SGary S Posts: 3,347 Captain
    There is defiantly more to this story.
  • Team SabatageTeam Sabatage Posts: 13,014 AG
    Traffic light timing, smafrick light timing...I criticise the yellow light timing from the instant it comes on several times per drive, at least...

    The point of this is not that he was speaking out, it is that he has been fined by a government department, not a court of the judicial branch for violating a rule of that department, not a statute law passed by the legislative branch. There was no criminal or civil case brought before the people and a judgement entered...simply, "You're challenging our authority and we are going to judge, jury and execute you into paying us $500 because you are better than we are.

    "Under the First Amendment, you don’t need to be a licensed lawyer to write an article critical of a Supreme Court decision, you don’t need to be a licensed landscape architect to create a gardening blog, and you don’t need to be a licensed engineer to talk about traffic lights." said the accused's lawyer, I think that is a valid point.

    Was the guy passing himself off as an engineer, well first he is one. He has a degree in electrical engineering from Sweden and traffic lights are electrical as are the many of the integral devices that control their timing.
    More importantly as in the case of most encroachments into professionally licensed occupations, the test always seems to be...was any compensation asked for or received? Now to me, if no compensation was ever asked for or received by the accused he was just stating his educated opinion. An opinion derived from a combination of his education, training, experience and desire to self inform on a particular subject. After that he was just another fanatic carting his soapbox around.
    Every engineer I have ever worked with and that was many in 30 years of contracting charged me for their opinion and after hearing it I was required to write a check for which I would get a red stamp on the plans I had drawn, was there a red stamp on this guys plans or was he asking for one? Maybe if he gives him the $500 he can get a red stamp on his plan...
    Strap me in, tie me down and roll me a bone, I'm getting on an airplane and I'm flying home...
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    2true wrote: »
    Welcome to Liberalism.

    THIS
  • Team SabatageTeam Sabatage Posts: 13,014 AG
    2true wrote: »
    Welcome to Liberalism.
    Westwall01 wrote: »
    THIS

    Yep, got to agree with this. Stinkin liberal engineers. Always wanting to change things, try something new...
    What we need is conservative engineers, not CINO engineers, real conservative engineers that do things the old way. No more Simpson#...forget all that 8" oc on edges staggered between sheets BS. True conservative engineers that want mortised joints and wooden pegs of solid white oak.
    Stupid liberal engineers and their particle board houses.
    Strap me in, tie me down and roll me a bone, I'm getting on an airplane and I'm flying home...
  • dragon baitdragon bait Posts: 11,249 AG
    Yep, got to agree with this. Stinkin liberal engineers. Always wanting to change things, try something new...
    What we need is conservative engineers, not CINO engineers, real conservative engineers that do things the old way. No more Simpson#...forget all that 8" oc on edges staggered between sheets BS. True conservative engineers that want mortised joints and wooden pegs of solid white oak.
    Stupid liberal engineers and their particle board houses.

    How many conservative engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
  • cadmancadman Posts: 43,700 AG
    Traffic light timing, smafrick light timing...I criticise the yellow light timing from the instant it comes on several times per drive, at least...

    The point of this is not that he was speaking out, it is that he has been fined by a government department, not a court of the judicial branch for violating a rule of that department, not a statute law passed by the legislative branch. There was no criminal or civil case brought before the people and a judgement entered...simply, "You're challenging our authority and we are going to judge, jury and execute you into paying us $500 because you are better than we are.

    "Under the First Amendment, you don’t need to be a licensed lawyer to write an article critical of a Supreme Court decision, you don’t need to be a licensed landscape architect to create a gardening blog, and you don’t need to be a licensed engineer to talk about traffic lights." said the accused's lawyer, I think that is a valid point.

    Was the guy passing himself off as an engineer, well first he is one. He has a degree in electrical engineering from Sweden and traffic lights are electrical as are the many of the integral devices that control their timing.
    More importantly as in the case of most encroachments into professionally licensed occupations, the test always seems to be...was any compensation asked for or received? Now to me, if no compensation was ever asked for or received by the accused he was just stating his educated opinion. An opinion derived from a combination of his education, training, experience and desire to self inform on a particular subject. After that he was just another fanatic carting his soapbox around.
    Every engineer I have ever worked with and that was many in 30 years of contracting charged me for their opinion and after hearing it I was required to write a check for which I would get a red stamp on the plans I had drawn, was there a red stamp on this guys plans or was he asking for one? Maybe if he gives him the $500 he can get a red stamp on his plan...

    According to the article he violated state licensing requirements, which is part of their statutes. Almost every state department has the ability to fine you, at least in Florida. You violate an environmental regulation and DEP has the authority and will fine you for the violation. You have the right to appeal the fine and you can go to court, as I am sure he can in Oregon. In Florida, many state departments, like DEP, have sworn officers on their payroll with the ability to arrest you, not just fine you.

    They were no more judge jury and executioner than a cop is when he writes a ticket, you either pay the fine or fight it. According to the article is is fighting it.

    As I said, I bet there is a lot more to this story than presented in the article.

    Former Mini Mart Magnate

    I am just here for my amusement. 

  • Team SabatageTeam Sabatage Posts: 13,014 AG
    cadman wrote: »
    According to the article he violated state licensing requirements, which is part of their statutes. Almost every state department has the ability to fine you, at least in Florida. You violate an environmental regulation and DEP has the authority and will fine you for the violation. You have the right to appeal the fine and you can go to court, as I am sure he can in Oregon. In Florida, many state departments, like DEP, have sworn officers on their payroll with the ability to arrest you, not just fine you.

    As I said, I bet there is a lot more to this story than presented in the article.

    Was there compensation? I can work on your house, without a license to be a contractor, as long as I receive no compensation. I can take you fishing and tell you exactly what to use, exactly where at which tide ect. but I'm not a guide or captain, if I receive no compensation. I can tell you that "I think" that you should do something engineering related, financial related, medical related, mini-store related, but it's just my opinion...was I compensated for that opinion? That's the traditional line concerning practicing a profession.
    With the DEP there is physical damage to the environment. I'm not seeing damage to the engineering and survey staff here unless they get fired and they hire the Swede other than to their ego.
    Yeah, there is always more to the story.
    ...very interesting to know "the rest of the story" (Paul Harvey)
    Personally I have done the exact same thing, but the engineers here in Utah preferred to thank me for my concern and promised to look into my suggestions...on the fitha...
    I suggested that the yellow light be timed to be 1 full second longer than the time it would take a car traveling at the speed limit to approach it after it turned yellow and that the traffic striping be a solid line from the point that a vehicle traveling the speed limit would be. So, you are driving the speed limit and the light turns yellow, you quickly glance to see if the line is solid or dashed. If solid, and you are traveling the speed limit, you will have enough time to get through the intersection. If when the light turns yellow the line is dashed, you will not have time to make it through the intersection and should stop.
    Strap me in, tie me down and roll me a bone, I'm getting on an airplane and I'm flying home...
  • cadmancadman Posts: 43,700 AG
    Was there compensation? I can work on your house, without a license to be a contractor, as long as I receive no compensation. I can take you fishing and tell you exactly what to use, exactly where at which tide ect. but I'm not a guide or captain, if I receive no compensation. I can tell you that "I think" that you should do something engineering related, financial related, medical related, mini-store related, but it's just my opinion...was I compensated for that opinion? That's the traditional line concerning practicing a profession.
    With the DEP there is physical damage to the environment. I'm not seeing damage to the engineering and survey staff here unless they get fired and they hire the Swede other than to their ego.
    Yeah, there is always more to the story.
    ...very interesting to know "the rest of the story" (Paul Harvey)
    Personally I have done the exact same thing, but the engineers here in Utah preferred to thank me for my concern and promised to look into my suggestions...on the fitha...
    I suggested that the yellow light be timed to be 1 full second longer than the time it would take a car traveling at the speed limit to approach it after it turned yellow and that the traffic striping be a solid line from the point that a vehicle traveling the speed limit would be. So, you are driving the speed limit and the light turns yellow, you quickly glance to see if the line is solid or dashed. If solid, and you are traveling the speed limit, you will have enough time to get through the intersection. If when the light turns yellow the line is dashed, you will not have time to make it through the intersection and should stop.

    You do not know the entire story. How do you know he was not seeking compensation for his study. All you know is his side of the story as he presented it. I know a lot of people who will tell you they were only going 5mph over the speed limit when the cop wrote them the ticket.

    If you presented yourself as a doctor and diagnosed my condition as an illness, without pay, you would be guilty of practicing without a license. Write a prescription for drugs and see what it gets you. It depends on how you present yourself. Telling someone to sue someone may not be practicing law without a license. Going to court and representing yourself as a lawyer on my behalf, even if you aren't paid to represent me, will get you in hot water. Compensation is not needed.

    I doubt he just wrote a suggestion that got him fined. Most of these departments give you one warning. You don't know if he was warned or not. In fact you don't know the facts of the case. Oregon officials may be aholes or this guy might have been the ****. There is more to the story (think i said this once or twice).

    Edit: He was warned in several letters that he was violating the law before he was fined. According to this article Oregon is serious about being licensed before claiming to be an engineer in the state. He also appeared on 60 minutes to discuss his study. There was likely compensation involved for that appearance. He was not happy with the states initial response to his study and tried to push the issue, they pushed back.


    http://reason.com/blog/2017/04/26/after-challenging-red-light-cameras-oreg

    http://www.wnd.com/2017/04/engineer-fined-500-for-calling-himself-engineer/

    Former Mini Mart Magnate

    I am just here for my amusement. 

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