By on October 4, 2010

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) last week approved one bill and vetoed another, ensuring that the state government would maximize its share of red light camera revenue. On Wednesday, Schwarzenegger blocked legislation that would have slashed the fine for rolling right turn on red from $500 to $250 (view bill). The potential loss of income from the change raised opposition outside the legislature.

The California League of Cities referred to the bill as a “de facto prohibition” on red light cameras because turning tickets account for up to 90 percent of the tickets issued in many jurisdictions. The state collects about $175 from each turning ticket, an amount that would have been cut in half had the bill been signed. The resulting reduction would cost the cash-strapped state government millions every year.

“I am returning Assembly Bill 909 without my signature,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message. “A driver running a red-light, whether they are traveling straight, or turning right, makes a very dangerous traffic movement that endangers the nearby motoring public, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Modifying existing law to make red-light violations from a right turn less egregious sends the wrong message to the public that California is tolerant of these types of offenses. It is our responsibility to protect the motoring public and not increase the risk of traffic collisions. Therefore, I am unable to sign this bill.”

Because of the slow speeds involved, right-turn on red collisions are extremely rare. According to US Department of Transportation statistics, one could drive over a billion miles before being involved in such a crash. On Thursday, Schwarzenegger signed a separate bill into law whose primary purpose was to ensure the state would keep its $175 share of all photo enforcement fines — including those from right turns.

A number of jurisdictions had turned to creating “administrative tickets” for red light camera fines and regular speeding tickets as a means of cutting the state and county out of the process. By citing motorists under municipal ordinances instead of under the state vehicle code, cities reduced the cost of a ticket from $500 each to $150 for the first offense, $300 for a second and $500 for a third. Instead of splitting the revenue with the state and county, however, the city kept all of it. Senate Bill 949 cancels this practice by explicitly denying localities authority to issue such tickets for offenses covered by the state vehicle code.

“This section does not authorize a local authority to enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution that establishes a violation if a violation for the same or similar conduct is provided in this code, nor does it authorize a local authority to enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution that assesses a fine, penalty, assessment, or fee for a violation if a fine, penalty, assessment, or fee for a violation involving the same or similar conduct is provided in this code,” the new law states.

The law takes effect on July 1, 2011. Because the administrative tickets did not report citations to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the citations did not carry license points. This irked companies like AAA, which makes money from raising insurance rates on recipients of license points, and companies that sponsor traffic schools, because motorists only take the school to keep points from going on their driving record.


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15 Comments on “California Governor Signs, Vetoes Red Light Camera Bills...”

  • avatar

    lol, I read Arnold’s statement in his voice.

  • avatar

    500 bucks for a rolling right turn?

    Take CA off my list of places to visit. BTDT anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      I understand a $50-$100 fine. But I wonder, why no one lawyer ever argued that making a person pay $500 fine for small traffic violation is a cruel and unusual punishment, which makes such fine unconstitutional. I am sure that for many $500 is a weekly salary (after tax) and how they supposed to feed their children?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    It’s amazing what one can do with a set-and-a-half of Mustang II spoker hubcaps and a pair of 1973-on VW Beetle taillights. Yeah America!

    • 0 avatar

      Front turn signals, too.  I’d thought Arnold had better taste than that, unless it’s the first car he bought when he made it big and there’s some sentimental value.

  • avatar
    A is A

    Is Arnold driving an Excalibur in the picture?.
    Whas the Excalibur a decent car (esthetics aside) or a kit-car monstrosity?.

    • 0 avatar

      From the taillights, I’m assuming that is a fiberglass body on top of a VW beetle (air cooled) chassis, but the wheelbase doesn’t look right.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Many custom car builders have used humble headlights and tail lights because those pieces can actually be a much more expensive to make from scratch than you think.  I believe it is an Excalibur but I think most of them were laid down on 1970s Monte Carlo chassis which would be ok on the wheelbase.  (But I could be wrong, as I have often been known to be.)
      BTW if you want to see interesting tail lights start paying attention to newer motorhomes when you see them.  It can be fun trying to identify the origin of the tail lights.  I once saw early 1980s Celebrity tail lights on a class A motorhome.

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      EotD is correct. That would actually make for an amusing online car-guy quiz game. Show a close-up photo of a taillight, headlight, etc., and guess the application. My in-laws have a motorhome that appears to have a pair of Chevy pickup taillights stacked up on each side. The foglights look like they’re from a 3-series.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      @Rod, my favorite is when the tail lights get turned upside-down or sideways hoping no one will notice.

    • 0 avatar

      That chassis looks too big to be an aircooled Beetle chassis. Believe me – I own a ’65 Beetle.
      Why do the kit car guys always install wheels/hubcaps that look so out of place.
      I have a professional kit car building friend. His cars look “right”. He’s even got a 30’s Jag that he sells where the kit looks original inside and out unless you pop the hood. Underneath it is a six cylinder Jeep driveline, chassis, and the suspension (not 4WD). Rollup windows and all sorts of creature comforts. I had to look underneath to believe it wasn’t a real Jag (not that I know Jags well but it didn’t look like a kit).
      I know one of the Excaliburs (hardtop) was built on an early 80s Camaro.

  • avatar

    It’s fittingly that he is driving a vehicle with a Treasure Chest strapped to it.
    How are these tickets happening? You can turn but get a ticket for doing so if you “creep up” in order to better see oncoming traffic, thus crossing the white line?

  • avatar

    People might want to be aware that the SCAMINATOR RECEIVES CAMPAIGN MONEY FROM SCAMERA COMPANIES like ACS!  Quote:  “Ticket outsourcing may not be limited to Orange County. In 2004, the California legislature passed a bill that would have banned state and local governments from entering into contracts with companies that would use foreign labor to fulfill the contract. This would have outlawed the Orange County’s current arrangement, but Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) — a company that runs a multi-billion-dollar parking ticket and red light camera operation for local governments — lobbied against the bill. The company, which has 2000 employees in India, was also the fourth-largest campaign donor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

  • avatar
    George B

    Try to obey the law and take a right turn on red.  You’re supposed to stop at the white line some insane distance back from the intersection where you can’t see the street you’re entering.  Then you’re supposed to stop again where you can see, and then accelerate into the flow of traffic.  Normal drivers instead roll across the stupid paint, stop and look for traffic near the cross street, and if there is an opening, accelerate onto the cross street.  That normal safe driver action generates the red light revenue.

  • avatar

    Stop at the white line and then pull forward slowly to see if it is safe. So they can get you for stopping properly and then trying to make your turn only to find it is not safe afterall? GRIN!

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