New Red-Light Sensors Installed in Poway

Drivers in Poway will be monitored by new devices designed to catch red-light runners.

Deputies have installed five detection devices, or sensors, at several busy intersections around the North County community.

It’s important to note the devices are not cameras that capture images of red-light runners.

Instead, the sensor will display a blue light signaling to a deputy stationed nearby when a driver has failed to stop in time.

The sensors are located at the top, bottom or rear of the traffic signal officials said. There are no signs that alerts drivers there are sensors at any particular intersections.

Poway was one of the first cities in San Diego County to install red-light cameras in 2005 but covered them up a couple months ago. The move was described as temporary to see if pulling the plug makes any difference.

Critics said the cameras reduced the number of T-bone collisions at intersections monitored by red light cameras.

A city report showed in the seven years the cameras have operated, broadside accidents were cut in half though rear-end accidents have increased by 8 percent.

Poway City Councilmember Steve Vaus said research suggests the same results can be achieved without violating civil liberties.

El Cajon put a temporary hold on its cameras as well.

The system has been used before, according to Poway Traffic Sgt. David Cheever. He said Encinitas has used the sensors in the past and Santee currently utilizes a few of them. The sensors cost the city $100.

Cheever also said the same number of deputies will be in Poway, but will be stationed at these intersections more frequently during the morning and evening commute.

In February, San Diego decided not to renew its contract for red-light cameras at 15 intersections.

Instead, San Diego police will patrol those intersections and cite red-light runners.

The intersections where the sensors have been installed are:

  • Poway Road and Pomerado Road
  • Poway Road and Community Road
  • Scripps Poway Parkway and Pomerado Road
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