Red Light Cameras. It's Not The Money. Really.

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
red light cameras it s not the money really

According to King5, cameras set up to catch "red-light runners" in Puyallup, WA, are working quite well. "Perhaps a little too well," says city manager Gary McLean. Even though each camera-equipped intersection has warning signs, McLean says the number of drivers caught by the cameras has been a revelation. "I think everyone's been surprised at the number of people getting the warning notices." After the cameras went into operation on March 1st, more than 2.5k "red light runners" were caught; an average of more than 100 per day. However, no drivers have received the $124 ticket slated to go along with the offense. City leaders are extending the ticket-free "warning period" through the end of April so drivers "can get used to where the cameras are." And it's not about the money: "It's about correcting behavior and public safety," says McLean. "It's not about revenue. Because, trust me, plenty of people are still going to violate the law and those fines will be imposed, but for the public listening to us now, we hope they hear this and correct it." Meanwhile, the city of Bellevue, WA will soon be adding cameras at six intersections, along with three new speed cameras, The expected annual take? $827k.

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4 of 27 comments
  • Johnnye Johnnye on Mar 29, 2008

    They should have cameras to tag the crosswalk violators if they are serious about safety, which they are not. Having said that, if the cops were enforcing red light infractions there would be no need for these cameras. They are indeed solely a source of revenue as accidents increase once people are aware of the cameras. It is ridiculous to expect everyone to be perfect and to penalize us for all of the errors of our ways. There are times when it is prudent to 'run' a light to avoid an accident. To force an extra tax on that decision is short sighted in the least. A good site on traffic laws:

  • Bottlecap Bottlecap on Jul 03, 2008

    I'd just like to add that these tickets are the easiest to fight in court. You WILL win. The prosecution has no witness against you. They cannot bring the camera into court and let you cross examine it. They have no one that can give any testimony at all. They have a picture, that's it. Additionally, unlike parking tickets where it is OK to ticket the person the vehicle is registered to (though it shouldn't be), running a red light is a moving violation. The operator of the vehicle must be ticketed. The camera has no idea who was driving the vehicle. The cameras only generate revenue if people pay fines they shouldn't. That aside, the cameras do have a deterrent value, but it is based on a false threat.

  • FlomaxEddy FlomaxEddy on Jan 22, 2009

    You know, one easy thing you can do to combat these damn things is get in the habit of lowering your sun visor when approaching a monitored intersection. If you sit up straight behind the wheel and just barely peek below the sun visor so you can see the light, it will be difficult for the camera to take a good picture of your face. If everybody did this we could beat this thing!

  • Dude7707 Dude7707 on Jun 18, 2009

    Let me guess, the fact that it was yellow and not red makes no difference when going through the turned red while I went through the intersection..probably get the $124 dumb dumb there any defense other than pleading insanity? Just moved to wonderful Puyallup, going through a divorce, and now this.... Any break or am I screwed?