Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

Turn Off The Cameras?Last year's California Supreme Court decision that upheld the legality of red-light cameras in Bakersfield may have been the high water mark for a troubled industry. Since then, both the courts and the Legislature have taken aim against the program.

Huntington Beach Republican Matthew Harper recently introduced Assembly Bill 1160, which would prohibit any new red-light cameras and require existing ones to be supported by a traffic safety study. When the cameras arrived in The Golden State, advocates claimed they would be a revenue windfall for local governments and that dangerous intersections would be safer. But in many places, the "windfall" was barely enough to cover expenses, and while t-bone intersection crashes have dropped, rear-end collisions have increased as people stop short to avoid running the light.

Assemblyman Harper opined that this measure may be the death-nail for red-light cameras. The number of places using them has already dropped to 39 from a high of 110.

If municipalities fully implement the Retke decision by recalibrating yellow lights and making the cameras more visible, they are probably legal under existing law. But in so doing, the cameras will probably produce even less revenue, because drivers can see them and they will have more time to make it across the intersection when the light turns yellow. When the money stops rolling in, the cameras will go away.

Even if red-light cameras go away in Bakersfield, they might surface again soon. As government looks for more creative ways to raise revenue and as respect for civil liberties becomes less in our society, law enforcement by camera may no longer be the exception, but the norm.

Share To: