3/15/2012Glendale, California Dumps Red Light Cameras
Glendale becomes the latest California jurisdiction to cancel its red light camera program.
An increasing number of California cities are giving up on photo enforcement out of a frustration with legal challenges and disappointing revenue totals. The city of Glendale announced Tuesday that it had dropped its red light camera program after four years of operation. The city told Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia to stop issuing tickets on February 24.
Last year, Redflex mailed 5857 tickets worth $2,811,360. Though the state and county governments pocketed a substantial slice of this amount, Glendale did not. The city's share of revenue was taken up by expenses and a $32,100 monthly payment to Redflex. The total amount actually collected plummeted after it became widely known that the Los Angeles County courts refused to prosecute vehicle owners who refused to pay a Redflex notice. Freed from fear of any consequences, ticket recipients balked at paying the $480 citations ($544 for those who avoid license points by attending traffic school) most often levied for a slow, rolling right turn on red. When news of the Los Angeles court policy leaked last year, Glendale rushed to defend its program.
"In response to the recent media regarding 'photo enforcement,' The City of Glendale and the Glendale Police Department are committed to the photo enforcement program and will not be canceling our photo enforcement program and/or any issued citations," the city posted on its website on July 11, 2011. The notice has since been removed.
Glendale officials cited as the official reason for terminating the program a number of court decisions that have put photo enforcement evidence in a legal limbo. In the past several weeks, the state Court of Appeal, Second District issued a series of contradictory rulings, the first against cameras and the next supporting them. The most successful argument against cameras is based on the US Supreme Court's recent interpretation of the Confrontation Clause that requires individuals who create technical evidence be subject to cross-examination at trial.
Glendale found it easier to drop the program than to deal with these issues. Glendale police will no longer attempt to prosecute any unpaid violation. Glendale joins Gardena, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda and Whittier, Los Angeles, Moreno Valley, Pasadena, Rocklin, San Carlos, Union City, Yucaipa and Costa Mesa in dumping red light 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 also rejected their automated ticketing programs.