Bakersfield is now one of the only California cities with red light cameras as yet another one pulled the plug on photo enforcement.
Cerritos, a Los Angeles suburb, first put up red light cameras in 2003, but the promised financial and safety returns never materialized. In 2015, the city saw less than $310,000 of the over $1.8 million that the cameras brought in. ATS, the camera vendor, tried to sweeten the deal at the last minute to keep its contract, but public works director Kanna Vancheswaran told the city council “a few other agencies had gone out for bids to obtain these services and received far more favorable pricing than ATS is currently providing,” which is a nice way of saying “we’re getting ripped off.” Meanwhile, the number of accidents at camera-controlled intersections had more than doubled since 2010. One councilmember’s comment that 90 percent of his constituents hated the cameras was the final nail in the coffin. “This program is a loser for the city,” concluded Mayor George May. The council voted 4-1 to remove the cameras.
Over fifty California cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, San Bernardino, and Fresno, have stopped using red light cameras.
Red light cameras may be on the way out, but speeding cameras may be on the way in. Almost everyone agrees that speeding is potentially dangerous and that the police cannot be everywhere at once. Just as it was with red light cameras, photo enforcement seems to be the answer to both these problems, and as a bonus, large counties will make lots of money.
There is talk about amending the Vehicle Code to reduce the fines in photo enforcement speeding cases, but given the current penalty assessment structure, such a move would be difficult without admitting that the system is burdensome, and no one in Sacramento really wants to do that. There are also calls for a police officer to review the tapes and decide what motorists should get citation and which should get warnings, but the government doesn’t make any money issuing warnings, so that proposal may not go very far either. For now, all we can do is say stay tuned.
Getting Legal Help
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