Cameras catch red-light runners
by Jill Burke
Anchorage, Alaska - You've likely seen it or done it yourself at least once -- zooming through an intersection after a light has turned red. What's not as well known is that Anchorage police catch a lot of those violations on camera. With winter's slick, icy roads, drivers may be empathetic to the occasional missed stop.
"Everybody thinks, 'Well, I at one time have probably slid through a red light, so is it really that big of a deal?'" said Lt. Nancy Reeder of the Anchorage Police Department.
The problem is that more drivers may be being too lax at red lights than you may realize -- until now.
Cars in the APD's traffic unit are designed not just to catch up with you, but also to catch you on camera. The cameras show car after car after car whizzing by when drivers should be at a dead stop. Caught on tape, the violations are hard to deny.
The cameras also have a zoom feature. Despite your excuse, if you're caught, it's costly.
"So you're looking at a $210 ticket in addition to the four points off your driving record," said Anchorage Police Department officer Steve Dunn.
It's more than everyday drivers who fail to hit the brakes. Also zipping through are school buses. This month, officer Rick Dykstra caught not one, but two. He also caught a delivery driver and a city employee.
The big concern is that running lights leads to wrecks, and some are deadly. This year, two people have died in crashes caused by red-light runners. Police hope a look at their on-the-job video will cause drivers to think twice before barreling through.
"We all make mistakes on the road and we have to take a little bit better care and caution when we're out there because we're driving dangerous weapons," said Reeder.
Police say they always issue warnings if they are not 100 percent sure someone entered the intersection after the light turned red. They say each year they issue thousands of red-light violations.
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