By on September 18, 2009

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Since May, the red light cameras in the city of Corona, California have issued a total of 6511 citations worth $2,903,906. This money has been split between Corona, Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia, the state and Riverside County. On Wednesday, the Corona City Council discussed the possibility of cutting the state and county out of the program entirely. This would allow Corona to keep more money while giving the city a chance to claim it is lowering the pricey $446 automated ticket. “I voted for the program, but I made a mistake,” Mayor Steve Nolan said. “I didn’t ask the cost… We are killing people with the fines.”

The city’s proposal would ignore the California statute authorizing red light camera ticketing, setting procedures and establishing the fines. In its place, the city would substitute its own administrative ticketing arrangement. Currently Corona only collects $133.80 out of each $446 ticket. Under the new plan, the first ticket would be lower but the city stands to collect a much greater amount from repeat violations.

“Administrative citations are processed outside of the court system and the driver is not held responsible,” Police Chief Richard Madory explained. “Vehicle Code Section 21101(d) provides the city with the authority to implement a local ordinance that would require a motorist to stop at red lights or any other traffic control device; however, there are no cities, to our knowledge, in California that are issuing administrative citations for red light violations. The fees received for administrative citations are set by California Government Code 36900 at $100 for a first violation. Subsequent violations can be increased up to $500 within a twelve-month period of time.”

Taking the unprecedented step of abandoning the structure set out by the legislature would certainly draw a lawsuit. Opponents of the red light camera program made forceful statements at the council hearing.

“I think we need to call this what it is: a tax increase for the city,” resident Mark Hainan said. “We’re taxed enough. Obama’s killing us, our state’s killing us, and now our own city’s killing us. We’re talking about California stops — ninety percent of the people in this room do California stops. I think the whole abomination should be abolished, not just reduce the fines.”

According to the city, 55 percent of tickets are issued to Corona residents. Redflex sends the vast majority of these tickets to drivers who make a right-hand turn on red after slowing. Studies show that these “California stops” are not a significant cause of accidents. Only one resident spoke in favor of the cameras, and those speaking against them received applause from the audience until Nolan insisted that they stop.

Nolan ended the meeting by stating that he would schedule a public city council study session to further consider the administrative ticket proposal.

[courtesy The Newpaper]

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17 Comments on “California City Proposes to Evade California Red Light Camera Law...”

  • avatar

    What is a California stop? Is that something a lot like not stopping? Either your speed at some point was zero (stop) or it wasn’t.

  • avatar

    Only in California, complete disregard for saftey for themself and the safety of others.

    They should replace all stop sign in Corona with “Yield” signs, if that is the way they drive.

  • avatar

    I can understand how cameras can catch someone running a red light (assuming the camera is properly installed and co-ordinated with the traffic signal, a BIG assumption), but how the heck does a camera properly detect a California stop? Is it actually taking motion video instead of still photos? Does it use radar to determine the speed of the vehicle as it hovers near the intersection?

  • avatar

    For the benefit of those from New England, you may substitute the term “Rhode Island roll.”

    Only in California, complete disregard for saftey for themself and the safety of others.

    “Complete disregard?” What hyperbole. I sincerely doubt that all of them just turn right without even looking and caring if they get in an accident. Anyone who has actually driven knows that there are plenty of intersections where it is perfectly safe to slow down to a very slow speed, look left, and turn. “Only in California” is a joke too.

    They should replace all stop sign in Corona with “Yield” signs, if that is the way they drive.

    People on the other side of the intersection wouldn’t be able to see the Yield signs. If you think replacing with Yield signs would be safe, then the current behavior is safe. So your objection is not about safety, but about following a nigh-useless sign choice and law.

  • avatar

    How does one comment on speed and redlight cameras without violating the forum rules on profanity and such? ;)

  • avatar

    I agree that the fines are excessive.

    And I agree that red light cameras don’t improve the death toll of intersections.

    I’ll even agree that “california stops” (of which I’m a more than occasional practitioner) aren’t a real problem. Hell, they are energy saving.

    That said, what I want to do is yell at the morons, “STOP BREAKING THE LAW!”. Unenforced (and unenforceable) laws dilute the power and meaning of the law. If you don’t like it, fine, change it. But don’t piss and moan because you got caught breaking the freaking law.

  • avatar

    It’s interesting how the term “California stop” has proliferated around the country. I started using it when I noticed my cousin, who grew up in Calif., never came to a complete stop at stop signs. Sometimes people will call it a “rolling stop”, but “California stop” sounds more fashionable.

    Geographic terms are intriguing. Here in Michigan a lot of major intersections have no left turn allowed. They’re often on boulevarded roads and you have to go past the street where you want to turn and make a U turn and then a right to complete an topgraphic left turn. I’ve heard folks use the phrase “Michigan turnaround” or “Michigan left” to describe the maneuver.

    I’ve noticed that some communities in Oakland County are replacing intersections with rotaries. While they may save fuel, rotaries are very dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.

  • avatar

    It’s also interesting how the politicians and LEOs of Corona think that state law doesn’t apply to them, but then just about all politicians and public employees think they are above the law.

  • avatar

    The “California Stop” is also know as the “California Roll”.


  • avatar


    What if the fine was $500,000. Would you yell “stop breaking the law!” at people who complained?

    Maybe the government should assign someone to sit in your driver’s seat and yell “stop breaking the law”, while issuing you a $1K ticket every time you exceed the speed limit.

  • avatar


    No, I’d yell “STOP ELECTING MORONS!” This is a government of/by/for the people (at least on a local level). If they have excessive fines for silly infractions it’s because the people they elected decided that was a good idea.

    Sure, I’ll rise to your completely infeasible bait with an equally meaningful response. If it could be done efficiently and everybody was held to the same level of accountability then go for t. Look, I like traffic laws. They build a framework with which to judge driving as safe and unsafe. I like consequences for breaking laws. They are the execution of the law and work to keep it safe. It makes the law stronger and help keep order.

    People are focusing on the wrong aspect of the situation. It’s not the consequences that people should hate, it’s the law and the people that created it.

  • avatar

    First of all, $446 in clearly excessive and it clearly indicates that it is a money raising scheme and not a safety measure.

    Rolling stops are very common and as mentioned are not a significant safety problem.

    $446 is a HARDSHIP for low income people. Apparently, many low income people don’t pay their tickets and end up being arrested at some point. This isn’t a good way to use police and the courts etc.

  • avatar

    For some people $446 is the same as $1,000 or $10,000 or $500,000: they DON”T HAVE THE MONEY!

  • avatar
    George B

    # notapreppie :
    September 18th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    I agree that the fines are excessive.

    …what I want to do is yell at the morons, “STOP BREAKING THE LAW!”. Unenforced (and unenforceable) laws dilute the power and meaning of the law. If you don’t like it, fine, change it. But don’t piss and moan because you got caught breaking the freaking law.

    Many of the red light camera violations are not failure to stop, but for stopping past the white line, where you can see cross traffic, before making a right turn on red. Former city council member Paul Ford of Duncanville, TX reports that 85% of the red light camera tickets in Duncanville are for stopping past the line when making a right turn on red.

  • avatar

    There have been documented cases of cities shortening their yellow lights in order to increase red light violations, and therefore, revenues. Red light cameras are a classic boondoggle.

  • avatar

    I’m all for red light cameras – for safety, not for profit!

    If Brazil can figure it out, why the hell can’t an advanced country like the US?

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