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Putting a Stop to the Red-Light Camera Program

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If you ran a light with a red-light camera in Los Angeles, you would be ticketed around $450, including penalties, assessments and court fees. You could fight a red light traffic ticket but you may or may not be able to clear your driver record. However, it seems that the red-light camera program has halted in Los Angeles, according to an article in the Orange County Register in June 2011.
The article reports that the program is ineffective and does not require local courts to place a hold on the driver’s licenses of those motorists who do not pay their red-light camera tickets. A motorist who chooses to fight a red light traffic ticket and not pay the high fees may or may not win. However, if you want to clear your driving record, it is advisable to fight a red light traffic ticket if at all possible. If you simply cannot and are required to pay all fees, it may not be possible to clear your driving record.
The Police Commission reported that there was no evidence that the cameras improved overall safety and that the city did not realize the increased revenue that was expected. However, a report by the Los Angeles Police Department showed that traffic collisions at the 32 intersections with cameras decreased by 62 percent from 2004-2010. To sum up, that is a 22 percent decrease at intersections across the city.
Charles Territo of AmericanTraffic Solutions, the company that operates the red-light cameras, states that “oftentimes the red –light traffic camera industry is criticized for only being about revenue.” Additionally, an assistant Los Angeles city attorney stated to the council that it is illegal under state law to initiate a contract that has any revenue targets. According to Santa Ana police Cpl. Antony Bertagna, “The red-light cameras are tools that help us enforce traffic laws because we have a limited number of resources and a large volume of traffic, especially during peak hours.” According to a report released earlier in 2011, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded that during the period from 2004 to 2008, red-light cameras saved 159 lives in 14 of the biggest US cities. Results showed a 24 percent drop in fatal crash rates occurring in signalized intersections after red-light camera devices were installed. However, during the same time, in Anaheim the fatal crash rate at intersections with signals dropped by 29 percent without having any red-light cameras.
Further, the National Motorists Association is opposed to red-light cameras. On their website, a spokesperson stated “Intersection accidents are just that, accidents…they do not see a given traffic light because they are distracted, impaired, or unfamiliar with their surroundings.” The spokesperson added that “putting cameras on poles and taking pictures will not stop these kinds of accidents.”