Stupid government trick: fining an engineer for doing math

Be careful if you are doing math in Oregon without an engineering license . . . even if you are an engineer. Or you may be fined by the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying.

That is what happened to Mats Järlström.  After his wife got a ticket issued because of a red light camera violation, Mr. Järlström did a study of yellow lights at intersections with red light cameras.

Mr. Järlström, who holds a degree in electrical engineering and has worked at technical jobs both in the U.S. and his native Sweden, examined the mathematical formulas used to set the intervals between light changes at intersections with red light cameras. His research showed that the intervals were too short and were endangering human life. Hmmm . . . almost makes you think that these cameras have more to do with increasing goverment revenues than with protecting driver safety.

Mr. Järlström's research received attention in local and national media -- including an appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes. So, of course, his findings were welcomed by the local authorities who pledged to work to address the problems he identified . . . right?

Not exactly.  Instead of fixing the flaws in red light cameras, the State of Oregon has been busy prosecuting Mr. Järlström for practicing engineering without a license. You see, even though he has a degree in engineering, Oregon does not consider him an engineer because he does not have an engineering license. And, even though he did his research on his own time and not for pay, Oregon has determined that his research amounted to practicing engineering without a license.

Mr. Järlström is challenging Oregon in federal court, where he is being represented by the Institute for Justice.

Read more about Mr. Järlström's case here and here.

Campaign for Liberty's state groups are leading the fight against red light cameras and have been successful in rolling back these cameras in many instances. Please support our efforts.

(h/t: Heather Danielowski, Campaign for Liberty's Director of State Operations)

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