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Red-light cameras recently received another black eye.

Just a few weeks after a major newspaper began asking some serious questions about red-light camera tickets in Chicago, officials in New Jersey asked courts to dismiss 17,000 tickets, because the motorists never received a written notice. Automated Traffic Solutions, the responsible company, blamed a "server configuration change" for the lapse; the company claimed that the 17,000 dismissals represented a "small percentage of overall red-light safety camera violations."

An increasing number of lawmakers are calling for New Jersey to end its red-light camera program in December, when the contracts come up for renewal.

Despite the mounting controversy, the Bakersfield City Council recently voted to extend its photo-enforcement contract with Redflex for at least another year. There was only one dissenting vote.

Police claim that, in the program's 11 years, there's been a 50 percent reduction in broadside and rear-end crashes near intersections. That claim may be suspect, and the city is probably more interested in the $70,000 per year in revenue than in increasing roadway safety. Given the growing concerns over the way these companies operate, and the rather negligible safety effect that red-light cameras may have, it seems clear that at least some city council members may have been seeing dollar signs during this vote.

If you receive a red-light camera ticket in Bakersfield, contact an attorney right away. The system has had some reliability issues, and an experienced lawyer can quickly assess the situation and inform you of your rights.

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