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Roll CallOver 60 California cities – from Anaheim to Yucaipa – have ended their Redflex contracts in recent years and dismantled their red light cameras. Bakersfield is a notable exception, and a nearby community actually went on record in defense of the troubled program.

San Mateo had to refund over a half-million dollars in fines after an investigation revealed that the yellow lights were too brief and artificially inflated the number of red light violations. That scandal fueled accusations that the $540 citations, which are the most expensive ones in the country, are nothing short of a revenue grab. Nevertheless, Mayor Maureen Freschet and the City Council voted unanimously to extend the company’s contract by 90 days to give it time to respond to these allegations.

Mayor Freschet insisted that the program was “totally about the safety;” local resident Bob Berger characterized the fines as “ridiculously excessive.”

Automated Enforcement

The Governors’ Highway Safety Association is on record in support of both red light cameras and speeding cameras, based on the use of Lidar, Radar, and other high-technology tools. But the programs in Bakersfield and elsewhere have largely ignored the GHSA’s recommendations for camera deployment.

  • Placement: The GHSA states that cameras should be placed in locations where it is unsafe to deploy officers and there is a supporting safety engineering study. In contrast, most municipalities place cameras at busy intersections in order to catch more violators.
  • Information Campaign: Instead of extensive advertisement about the cameras, many drivers didn’t even know they were there until they received citations in the mail.
  • No Revenue-Generation: Recommendations in this area – the contractor not be paid based on the amount of revenue generation and that any money be used to fund roadway safety initiatives – have basically been thrown out the window.

Speeding cameras are probably not too far away. We can hope that the government follows protocol in these devices, but don’t hold your breath.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.

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