Red-light Cameras

David K. Israel

Last year, I got a $500 ticket for going through a red light. It came in the mail with a grainy photo and video of me driving, clearly in violation of the law. My wife and kid were in the car and we all look like we’re having a good ol' time singing Sesame Street or something. When I got the ticket, I was perturbed, as you might expect, because I had no recollection of running the red. Plus, it was a hefty fine. Now, as it turns out, I didn’t have to pay it. Los Angeles has since done away with the red light cameras throughout the city and one of the reasons is that court officials were not aggressively enforcing penalties for camera tickets when the recipient failed to respond. They realized that tickets were being mailed to a vehicle's registered owner, who may not be the person who committed the violation. D’oh! (Now there’s a class-action suit brewing, of course.)
Red light cameras were originally developed in the Netherlands, and have been used around the world since the 1960s. Back then, tubes stretched across the road detected the violation and subsequently triggered the camera.

I wonder if their removal in Los Angeles will trigger a similar reaction across the States. Anyone have any experience with them in other cities?