Beginning Saturday, May 20, the Frisco Police Department will be launching a new campaign against red-light runners when the first of Frisco's red-light cameras become operational.

Early last November, the City Council authorized the City Manager George Purefoy to sign a contract with Redflex Technologies to install cameras at a few initial intersections. The cameras have been placed at the intersections of Dallas Parkway and Main Street and at Dallas and Gaylord parkways. These intersections were chosen based on crash and violation data recorded by city traffic engineers.

This new effort will use digital cameras at designated intersections to capture still and digital video images of red-light offenses. The cameras use a sensor to detect when the light turns red and are triggered when a vehicle enters the intersection after it changes.

One of the cameras will capture two images - the vehicle traveling before it enters the intersection while the light is red, then another image of the vehicle in the intersection while the light is red. The cameras will also record the date, time, location of the offense, as well as the amount of time that the light had been red when the image was captured. The speed limit of the roadway where the offense occurred and the speed of the vehicle as it passed through the intersection will also be recorded.

A second camera will record a close image of the rear license plate of a vehicle that enters the intersection after the light has turned red and a digital video system will also record 12 seconds of video - 6 seconds before the violation and 6 seconds after.

A notice of violation will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. It will contain three of the still photographs taken of the violation with the date, time, and location printed. An Internet Web address will also be included where the video of the violation can be viewed.

According to the Federal Highway Administration statistics, more than 2.7 million intersection crashes occur across the country annually, resulting in over 9,000 fatalities each year. Each year more than 50 percent of all reported crashes and 22 percent of all injury crashes occur in an intersection.

Red-light cameras are already in use in Richardson and Plano. Garland, which in 2001 became the first city in Texas to use red-light cameras, has reported a 21-percent decrease in red-light violations since installing the cameras.

This effort to crack down on red-light runners is part of the Frisco Police Department's goal of reducing collisions by effective traffic enforcement.

"With the growing number of residents and business traffic within the city, we make it a priority to do all we can to encourage voluntary compliance of the laws," said Capt. Joe Williams. "We hope that having the cameras, which are highly visible, will do just that. For those who choose not to comply, there will be consequences."

The fine for each violation will be $75 for the first two notices received within a one-year period. The fine increases to $200 if a registered owner receives more than two in one year. The notices, which are in violation of the city ordinance, are civil violations only and will not appear on a person's driving record.

There will be a 30-day warning period, where warning notices will be sent to violators with no fine. After the warning period expires, actual notices of violation will be mailed to the registered owners, along with instructions on how to remedy that violation.

The third red-light camera will be installed at Dallas and Warren parkways in the near future.