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7/6/2007
California: Stop Sign Cameras Installed on Canyon Roads
A California park agency will ticket motorists with stop sign cameras July 9. Speed cameras to follow.

Stop sign camera warningThe Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) has installed the first-ever automated camera in the US designed to ticket drivers who make "boulevard stops" or slow to a crawl at a stop sign without fully ceasing forward motion. The little-known agency will begin issuing $100 fines next Monday, July 9, at Franklin Canyon in the heart of Los Angeles, located off of Mulholland Drive, and another at the top of Topanga.

The stop sign devices are based on red light camera platforms, but they differ greatly in use. The more familiar stoplight cameras typically photograph a vehicle entering an intersection if a signal light changes to red between 0.1 and 0.3 seconds after the car crosses a stop bar line (view recent report). With the new stop sign cameras, a machine will make calculations to determine whether a vehicle did not stop for a long enough period and deserves a fine.

The cameras are being installed as a prelude to the agency's expected installation of speed cameras on popular canyon roads, as first reported by TheNewspaper in April. Australian camera vendor Redflex will operate every aspect of the program in return for a $20 cut from every ticket the company is able to issue (view contract). California law explicitly prohibits both speed cameras and per-ticket photo enforcement contract provisions, but the MRCA believes the law does not apply to them.

"Our Park Rangers are California peace officers and will always have traffic enforcement as part of their duty," MRCA Director of Public Affairs Dash Stolarz said in a June statement.

In 2000, the California legislature banned photo radar with a statute clarifying that although it authorized the use of photo ticketing at traffic signals, the legislature, "does not authorize the use of photo radar for speed enforcement purposes by any jurisdiction." (CVC 21455.6) Another provision specifies that, "A contract between a governmental agency and a manufacturer or supplier of automated enforcement equipment may not include provision for the payment or compensation to the manufacturer or supplier based on the number of citations generated." (CVC 21455.5)

Photo credit for MRCA stop sign camera warning.




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