San Bernardino, California Dumps Red Light Cameras

san bernardino california dumps red light cameras

The city council in San Bernardino, California voted 5 to 0 last week to pull the plug on its red light camera program. The action follows the lead of a growing number of jurisdictions in the Golden State that have grown disillusioned with automated ticketing machines. Most recently, Rocklin‘s cameras were shut off last Tuesday. San Bernardino officials argued it would be worth paying the private contractor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) about $110,000 to get out of the contract before its 2014 expiration date.

“The provisions of the agreement [with ATS] allow the early termination of the contract with proper notice and each of the locations has a required payment of costs,” Police Chief Keith L. Kilmer wrote in a memo to the city council. “The payout estimates for early termination have been computed by the city attorney’s office after a comprehensive analysis of the contract.”

San Bernardino first installed cameras at four intersections in 2005, sparking a number of controversies in its history. In 2008, the city was caught with illegally short yellow times that maximized the number of citations generated. Fixing the signal timing dropped the system’s profitability. In 2009, the city dropped a “cost neutrality” clause from its contract after an Orange County court ruled that the provision violated state law ( view ruling). This change left the city open to losing, instead of making, money on the red light camera program. The final blow came in December 2010 when a San Bernardino County court ruled that photo ticket evidence was inadmissible hearsay ( view ruling).

Dozens of cities have ended photo enforcement. These include Loma Linda and Whittier, Moreno Valley, Rocklin, San Carlos, Union City, Yucaipa and Costa Mesa. In November 2010, 73 percent of Anaheim residents voted to ban cameras. Berkeley, Burlingame, Cupertino, Compton, El Monte, Fairfield, Fresno, Fullerton, Indian Wells, Irvine, Maywood, Montclair, Paramount, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Roseville, San Jose (photo radar), Santa Fe Springs, Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, and Upland have rejected their automated ticketing programs.

San Bernardino’s cameras will stop issuing tickets on June 1.


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  • CarPerson CarPerson on Mar 14, 2011

    Apparently the City of Bernardino viewed a simple animation showing what happens when a vehicle enters the intersection 0.1 second before the end of the yellow and a conflicting vehicle, timing the lights, enters the intersection 0.1 second into the green. The resulting crash with both in the intersection legally puts 100% of the blame on the city. All intersection crashes back to the statute of limitations can be quite a bill. If the City DOT is not using all three components of the K&F formula AND the intersection clearance is not red (all-red traffic signal plan), as Jesse James had tattooed across the palm of his hand, pay up. With increasing frequency, the Courthouse is making short work of cities messing with the light timing.

    • See 6 previous
    • Steve65 Steve65 on Mar 17, 2011

      CA handbook: Solid Green– Give the right-of-way to any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian in the intersection. A green light means "GO." NV handbook: A green light means GO. You may proceed through an intersection in the direction indicated by the signal if the road is clear. Make sure you look right and left for oncoming traffic. AZ handbook: Green − Green Means Go This signal means GO. You may go through an intersection in the direction indicated by the signal if the roadway is clear. Check right and left for oncoming traffic. FL handbook: Green Go - but only if the intersection is clear. Yield to pedestrians and vehicles still in the intersection. GA handbook: At intersections with traffic control lights, wait until the intersection is clear of traffic or approaching traffic before entering. Do not proceed “just because” you have the green light. ID handbook: Green Light: Go. You may pass through the intersection in the direction indicated by the signal if the way is clear. KY handbook: GREEN: If the way is clear, after yielding the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians lawfully within the intersection, you may go straight or turn left or right, Do you get it yet, or should I pick a few more states at random? Your core premise, that the car with the green entered the intersection legally, is flatly wrong, and all the conclusions you've drawn from that misconception are equally wrong. What really frightens me is the you seem to sincerely believe that the color of the light trumps the driver's obligation to pay attention to wtf is going on on the road. Your assertion that there's some sort of windfall out there to be reaped by trial lawyers is just bizzare. The vast majority of traffic signals are timed so that one direction gets green when the other goes red. And it's been that way for as long as I can remember (and I got my license during the Carter administration). If this situation constituted free money in court, it would have changed a LONG time ago.

  • FleetofWheel FleetofWheel on Mar 14, 2011

    Illegal and dangerous yellow light tampering in addition to interfering with voter referendums, Redflex, ACS and some govt officials should be the focus of a RICO investigation. Where is the anger of Ray Lahood, MADD and the usual safety nannies when there is a real menace afoot and it is govt colluding with the red light scam artists? If Exxon had even a 1% ownership in the red light hucksters, the safety lobby would be all over this issue.

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