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Red-light camera bill coasts through state Senate

Original post made on Aug 29, 2012

A bill authored by Sen. Joe Simitian that would add restrictions to red-light cameras cruised through the state Senate Monday en route to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 9:00 AM

Comments (16)

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Posted by Git Em!
a resident of Gemello
on Aug 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

"The bill also specifies that evidence from a red-light camera is not "hearsay" and can be used as evidence in a court of law."

This is important because before, you could just sign a form stating more or less, "This is not me driving" and they would not pursue it further because RL Cam evidence was considered hearsay and thus could not be brought into court as evidence. That loophole is about to slam shut and a whole lotta folks are gonna be paying fines.
IMO this is great. I hate scoff law drivers and even more so, the folks who get caught red handed breaking the law and try to weasel out of paying. This is law good and the "Me first" drivers are going to get nailed...a lot.

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

How can anyone be happy with these redlight cameras? Do we hate freedom that much around here?

These redlight cameras do not make an intersection more safe. They increase the number of rear-end collisions in fact. There is not a single study that says installing redlight cameras makes an intersection more safe.

And before you call anyone a "scoff law" driver please keep in mind that is IMPOSSIBLE to drive on the road today without breaking a law. There are laws you don't even know about that you probably break every day on your work to work.

Just ask a cop. They love to brag about how they can find a legal reason to stop anyone within the first couple miles of driving behind them.

So if revenue is no longer allowed for these cameras, does that mean the PRIVATE companies that install and run these cameras are out of business in California? They do this to make money. They are not charities.

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Posted by vfree
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Joe Stalin would be proud of Joe Simitian.

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Posted by Lee B.
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I was in Pasadena, CA recently: Corner of Walnut and San Gabriel Blvd, making a right turn onto Walnut. The light turned yellow as I went into the turn and then turned red quickly. The Camera lights flashed as I came to a stop in the crosswalk. I had my elderly parents in the car and we were on our way to dinner. I knew the camera's had me running a red light but I stopped and never ran it. This incident ruined dinner for all of us, and stayed in my mind for up to a month later. I never did receive a citation. I am completely against these red light cameras. Officers, get out of the donut shops, into your vehicles and on the streets. Do your jobs the way they're supposed to be done - IN PERSON, and not by using faulty technology to triple revenue through fines. It's lazy and wrong. I should send that dinner bill to the Chief of Pasadena for reimbursement.

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Posted by juniperk
a resident of Gemello
on Aug 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Yes, the govts at all level are out there to make more revenue so that the officials can keep paying themselves exorbitant salary, perks, pensions,etc... it is insane. They find any new ways to make extra money so that their coffers are full all the time. LIberals are really worse on this issue. I got a parking ticket in Berkeley few years back for parking little over 5 mins in a spot. This is ****ing insane. Corrupt politicians and corrupt police depts are so used to the big fat paycheck and unlimited compensation for overtime. They need the honey flowing in. Shame on you all the police and the corrupt politicians who sanctioned these red lights.

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Posted by Brian Ceccarelli
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm

"It specifically prohibits red light camera to be used for raising revenue."

Then all red light cameras are illegal. Photograph the person but don't charge him.

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Posted by Nope
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 30, 2012 at 7:36 am

"These redlight cameras do not make an intersection more safe. They increase the number of rear-end collisions in fact."
Yes, many drivers do not pay attention and drive too closely.
The CAMERA doesn't cause the accident, inattentive drivers do. Time for personal responsibility lessons and time to stop blaming gubment because you can't tell that a car in front of you is going to obey the law.

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Posted by Fred
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2012 at 9:28 am

"Don't do the criiime if you can't do the time, nooo (Don't do it)"

Prolly wanna keep your eye on the sparrow too.

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Posted by John
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2012 at 11:43 am

Lee, I couldn't agree with you more. People do not realize how faulty these red light cameras are. And Simitian's bill makes the situation worse--not better. In those cities where people can afford to hire traffic attorneys, the cities are losing money and taking down the red light cameras. It all comes down to the $$$ generated.

If you don't like SB 1303, call Governor Brown's office at 916-445-2841 or email him at and ask him to veto the bill.

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Posted by Aaron
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm

What are you guys talking about? The red light cameras save many lives and will continue to do so, especially as density increases. Fairly recently, MVPD & CHP has had to place police officers at certain crosswalks to help remind drivers not to run over pedestrians in their hurry to get home.

I have personally almost been run over several times by red light runners while I'm on foot. And trying to cross the intersection at Grant/237 and El Camino during commuting hours, you have to wait 10 seconds after the light turns green to let all the red light runners across. Since the citizenry isn't willing to obey this basic safety law, who should bear the costs of enforcement? I think it should be the offenders.

And..all this garbage over the inaccuracy of the cameras? Please! The technology is super simple and it takes a timestamped photo with data on the light status. They are at least as trustworthy as a human police officer and a whole lot less expensive.

Now, if they put in camera speed monitors, then I'll need to sell my car, because I almost never go the speed limit. (except near schools, construction and heavy pedestrian areas)

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Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm

According to Jurisprudence and Stare Decisis (case law) an infraction must be witnessed by a police officer (POST Certified and trained officer). Having a police officer "review" a photograph is generally only admissible at a felony trial. State law cannot trump court case law.

The other issue has to do with proper service. When a police officer hands you a ticket that is considered proper service of summons. When you get a summons in the mail - deny you got it and toss it in the trash. We used to call that sewer service and treated any complaints or summons we received with a quick trip to the "circular" file.

But most people get a ticket and don't want to "get" in trouble so they mail the check to the appropriate agency. It's almost $500 for a red light ticket - seems like a lot to me, especially since a human being did not witness the infraction and the entire case rests on questionable legal tactics.

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Posted by So?
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm

"It's almost $500 for a red light ticket - seems like a lot to me"
Almost enough to warrant actually stopping at the red light instead of going through it, risking the lives of others and risking getting a big fine. I have zero sympathy for red light runners. Make is $1K fine then slow the F down and use the brake pedal instead of the accelerator.

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Posted by All you can eat
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

Hey Joe. Thanks for the Govs. contact info. Ill be calling to support the red light camies.

lions, tigers, and red light cams... Oh my!

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Posted by Hanry
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2012 at 8:46 am

Since it looks like the cameras are not going away any time soon, here is info on how to cope with them.

1. Educate your friends about the "Snitch Tickets" mentioned in this article, so that they don't respond to them. What are Snitch Tickets?

They are fake/phishing red light camera tickets mailed out by California police to fool the registered owner into identifying the actual driver of the car. One city sends out about 10,000 of them annually. (Citrus Hts, Daly City, Elk Grove, Hayward, Marysville, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Newark, Redding, San Mateo, San Leandro and South SF do it.) Snitch Tickets have not been filed with the court, so they don't say "Notice to Appear," don't have the court's addr. and phone #, and usually say (on the back, in small letters), "Do not contact the court about this notice." Since they have NOT been filed with the court, they have no legal weight whatsoever. You can ignore a Snitch Ticket. If in doubt, Google the term. And once you understand how tricky a Snitch Ticket is, tell your friends who live in or visit California about them, so that they won't get tricked.

2. Also let you friends know that REAL tickets issued by cities in LA County can be ignored, because the LA County court does not report ignored tickets to the DMV. (Please also emphasize to your friends that this info applies only to tickets from cities that are in LA County.) Skeptical? Google red light camera voluntary.

If you take the time to educate your friends about these things, you may find that suddenly you are eating better. A lot of people will be buying you lunch after they realize that you have just saved them $500.

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Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Can anyone point me to a study anywhere that shows that red light cameras make intersections safer? I have also heard they increase rear-end collisions as drivers slam on the brakes to avoid a ticket -- much more dangerous than just using your judgement and proceeding through the intersection on a yellow light if necessary.

At any rate, I encourage everyone to at least consider whether the benefits of cameras at intersections and elsewhere outweigh the considerable downside. How many red light cameras are also equipped with license plate monitoring systems? (See: Web Link) I personally oppose routine monitoring of public spaces by private corporations, whether or not they are ostensibly working for the government. A totalitarian surveillance state may indeed reduce crime (and red light running) but at what cost?

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Posted by Aaron
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Great question Peacelove. The studies are easily found, but you have to use an internet search engine like Google. :)

Web Link is one.
It shows a decrease in "right angle crashes" and an increase in "rear end crashes". Because it is a government study, they also look at the economic impacts as well and it shows that even with an increase in rear-end collisions, it is still significantly financially beneficial.

Several points to consider:

1) I would much rather be hit from behind than hit sideways. There are bumpers and almost the entire length of the car protecting me. If I get hit on the side, especially driver's side, then there's a really good chance I will sustain severe trauma or death.

2) The drivers that are afraid to get a ticket on the yellow, so they slam on the brakes..hmm.. I think people's behavior will change over time when they get used to them. It just might be the person who only spotted the red light camera at the last second.

3) I don't think you need red light cameras everywhere, but there are some intersections that are incredibly dangerous due to impatient people who don't want to wait for the next cycle. (You know who you are!)

4) Regarding our society turning into an 1984 Orwell novel. Well, that would suck, I would agree with you. Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater and ban these lifesaving devices, I would see privacy laws be put into place that would limit what can be done with the data collected. There is probably already some such laws, but if it is insufficient, then it should be strengthened.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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