Red Light Cameras Shine Bright

Department says programs pays for itself, tickets are not voluntary

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    NEWSLETTERS

    On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Council voted to end its red light camera program due to insufficient funds.

    But unlike LA, the City of San Diego will likely be keeping its red lights cameras, said Bill Harris, spokesperson for the city’s Transportation and Water Shed (TWS) Department.

    The red light program costs close to $1 million. Revenue from tickets not only pays for the program, but also brings in a surplus of about $70,000, Harris said.

    “Our program makes money,” he added. “And it’s been in place long enough to be a viable traffic safety measure.”

    The TWS department is compiling a report on the benefits of the program to present to the city council in September. The councilmembers will then vote on whether or not to renew the contract with the red light camera firm. They will have to make a decision by February, when the contract ends.

    Harris said that although he cannot speak for the councilmembers, he does not see why they would hesitate to approve renewal. The program markedly enhances safety at no extra cost.

    “Obviously no one wants to get a traffic citation but once these photo enforcements are put in place, people really start paying attention,” Harris said.

    One reason why LA red light camera programs failed financially was that violators weren’t actually required to pay their citations, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. Earlier this week, drivers from LA County figured out that if they simply ignored their citations, the city would be unable to pursue them.

    Paying San Diego red light camera citations is not voluntary, though. If violators fail to pay their red light violation citation they will face additional fines, DMV sanctions or a citation on their driver’s license, according to the San Diego Superior Court.

    “I would hate to have someone unintentionally get a fine because they misunderstood something they heard in the news,” said Michael Roddy, Executive Officer of the San Diego Superior Court in a press release.

    Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.