Bill to Rein in in Red-Light Camera Abuses

A bill has once again landed on Governor Brown’s desk that would impose a uniform standard for red light cameras. Vetoed once already by this governor, the new bill includes language designed to placate at least one of his objections.

The bill, introduced by Senator Joe Simitian, addresses several of the perceived shortfalls of red light cameras. Any government or agency interested in deploying the systems would first have to conduct safety studies at the designated intersection. This study would be used to justify the camera’s use by showing a specific safety issue that it would address, instead of being used to bring in additional revenue. According to the report, red light cameras brought the state $130 million last year.

The bill would also end the practice of ‘snitch tickets.’ These tickets are issued to potential traffic offenders with incomplete information. Instead of being an actual citation, the notices demand that the recipient identify the driver and pay the fine. That, as it turns out, is not obligatory. Under the new rule, the worlds “Courtesy notice: This is not a ticket” would be clearly printed.

To help overcome the previous objection raised by the Governor, the bill will also change how the tickets are used in court. Currently, they are subject to hearsay, meaning another source of verification must be presented to substantiate the ticket. Many times, this is an officer or camera administrator who attests to the functionality of the ticket. This bill would lift the hearsay provisions and make the tickets themselves admissible in court.

Read the full article at the San Francisco Chronicle.

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