Rue­ing red-light cam­eras

Los Angeles Times - - Opinion -

Los An­ge­les has been in­stalling red-light cam­eras since 2000 and now has them at 32 in­ter­sec­tions. There might be some grum­bling from lib­er­tar­i­ans fret­ful about elec­tronic spying, but most An­ge­lenos seem to ac­cept the de­vices as a new fact of life — af­ter all, they im­prove traf­fic safety, right?

Maybe not. An au­dit re­leased Wed­nes­day by City Con­troller Wendy Greuel turned up lit­tle ev­i­dence that cam­eras in­flu­ence driver be­hav­ior. Ac­ci­dents fell at 16 in­ter­sec­tions in the six months af­ter cam­eras were in­stalled, but rose at 12 and stayed the same at four, so it’s hard to make de­fin­i­tive con­clu­sions. OK, but at least the cam­eras are gen­er­at­ing rev­enue for the city, aren’t they?

Ac­tu­ally, no. Greuel’s au­dit showed that the cam­eras not only didn’t bring in a dime for the city in 2008 and 2009, but cost it a com­bined $2.5 mil­lion in those years. That’s pretty sur­pris­ing given that red-light vi­o­la­tors busted by the cam­eras have to pay a $446 ci­ta­tion, but only a third of that goes to the city, with the rest go­ing to the state and county. The city, mean­while, has to pay the con­trac­tor for the red-light sys­tem, the salaries of po­lice and trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials who monitor the pro­gram, and a Su­pe­rior Court fee to ben­e­fit court re­porters. Mean­while, it ap­pears that the lo­ca­tions of some of the cam­eras were cho­sen based more on po­lit­i­cal and cost con­cerns than on safety.

City of­fi­cials are con­sid­er­ing plans to dou­ble the num­ber of cam­eras, to 64. Greuel’s au­dit shows they need to ap­ply the brakes un­til some im­por­tant is­sues are ad­dressed and ques­tions an­swered.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.