The city of Los Angeles has announced it will cease operating its red light cameras at intersections. Too few motorists were paying the fines, and the tickets weren’t being enforced in court enough to justify the continued expense of operation.
Angelinos unwilling to pay voluntary fines
Many cities have installed red light cameras to catch people in the act of running a red light. However, some cities are beginning to find setting up and running red light camera systems is too expensive. A growing number of cities are mulling the option of taking the cameras down, and the city of Los Angeles is leading the charge. The Los Angeles City Council, according to the Los Angeles Times, recently announced that the fines were entirely voluntary because the tickets weren’t enforceable in court. They also announced the end of the camera program.
No reason to issue tickets
The Los Angeles city council announced that as of July 31, the red light cameras would be turned off. In Los Angeles, only 40 percent of the people who received a ticket ended up paying, according to ABC. It is also difficult for the city to prove in court that the ticket is valid, as the driver of the vehicle can’t be seen in the photo, only the license plate. Tickets can cost up to $476. About 180,000 people since 2004 have received a red light camera ticket in Los Angeles from the 32 active cameras the city maintains, according to CBS, but cutting the program will save the city about $1.5 million per year. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, about 25 percent of those who don’t pay end up paying once the ticket is sent to collections. Though the city of Los Angeles announced that the tickets had always been voluntary, no Angelinos who paid the tickets should expect a refund.
Los Angeles is not the only city having issues with red light camera systems. There have been 500 different American cities that have installed the cameras, and 32 of them have since opted to turn them off for a variety of reasons, including legal difficulties and collection issues. Courts in Minnesota have thrown out tickets because installing the cameras was deemed unconstitutional. A court in Washington state threw out tickets from Spokane, Wash., according to the Seattle Times, because the tickets were electronically signed in Arizona, where the company that maintains the cameras in Spokane is located. Washington state law requires an officer in Washington state to sign all traffic tickets. The city of Austin, Texas, according to KVUE, an ABC affiliate, is currently investigating whether the red light camera systems lose money.
Los Angles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0727-red-light-cameras-20110727,0,496609.story?lanow
San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2011/07/28/MNCH1KFT8E.DTL
Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015360786_apwaredlightcameras1stldwritethru.html
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