Paying Red-Light Camera Fines Are For Suckers!

Did you get a red-light camera ticket? Did you pay the fine? If you did, then you're a sucker.

That's the message that motorists in Los Angeles got when it was revealed that red-light camera fines - some of which were as high as $476 - were actually "voluntary."

The Los Angeles Times has the story:

City officials this week spotlighted a surprising revelation involving red-light camera tickets: Authorities cannot force violators who simply don't respond to pay them. For a variety of reasons, including the way the law was written, Los Angeles officials say the fines for ticketed motorists are essentially "voluntary" and there are virtually no tangible consequences for those who refuse to pay. [...]

Unlike other moving citations, which are issued directly by a police officer to a driver who signs a promise to appear in court, red-light camera tickets are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle allegedly involved in the violation.

That has limited the Los Angeles County Superior Court system's willingness to aggressively enforce camera ticket collections for the city and 32 other photo enforcement programs in Los Angeles County, officials said.

Under state law, court officials have discretion over how they pursue those who do not respond to camera-generated citations. Los Angeles County Superior Court officials, as a matter of fairness, said that for the last decade they have chosen a less forceful approach partly because the person receiving the ticket may not be the person who was driving the car.

Link (Photo: Glenn Koenig)

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LA: good! Everywhere else: Ticketing will increase. Why?

There is a bill in Sacramento, right now, which if not vetoed will allow cities to reduce posted speeds by 5 mph, even on streets with a great safety record. The lower limits will allow them to shorten yellows. The shortening permitted by a 5 mph decrease in the speed will increase red light cam ticketing by at least 50%. (Four of the sponsoring cities have red light cams.) Worse, the shortening will increase severe accidents by 30 to 40%. (Source: "Development of Guidelines for Treating Red-Light Running," Texas Transp. Inst. pg 2-20.)

It is AB 529, and it is going to Gov. Brown for signature - or veto.

Defeat AB 529! Phone Brown, at 916 445-2841, or email him via the form at , and ask him to veto. Also phone the AAA, and your union or professional association.

To the pro-camera anti-car people and cities thinking of supporting this bill for the money more tickets will bring: Try to remember that this bill will increase severe accidents, a lot. Just for money.
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However, this is only true in Los Angeles. If you live elsewhere, you have to pay your fine or risk legal enforcement and/or collection agency fees.
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