California Assembly Approves Red-Light Camera Restrictions

SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — The state Assembly has approved restrictions on governments’ use of cameras to catch drivers who run red lights.

The bill requires that red-light cameras be used for public safety, not to generate revenue from traffic fines. It also would force governments to clearly explain how to dispute a ticket and post a warning sign within 200 feet of an intersection with the cameras.

The Assembly approved it Tuesday on a 50-3 vote.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor:

Sen. Joe Simitian introduced SB29 after a complaint from one of his constituents. The woman told the Palo Alto Democrat that she was repeatedly notified that she had been caught on red-light cameras in Southern California, but that the photos showed a different car and driver.

“There are fundamental problems with fairness, accuracy, accountability and due process,” said Simitian.

“I had a constituent who had three tickets for a car in Southern California. It wasn’t hers, different color, different model, different license plate. Three hundred miles away a car she’d never driven.”

That constituent found it almost impossible to get the tickets canceled and her plight prompted the senator to action.

The proposed legislation would require a demonstrated safety need to use the cameras and signage to notify drivers.

The measure also would make it easier to clear a wrongful ticket and would prohibit ‘snitch tickets’ that force people to identify who was driving if the vehicle’s owner wasn’t behind the wheel.

Finally, red light cameras could not be used to solely generate revenue.

The bill has been approved by the state legislature and is now on the governor’s desk.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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