Red-light cameras go up at Davis intersections
In the first two weeks they were used, 50 violators were caught
By MOLLY BECHTEL
The California Aggie
The intersection of First and E streets is one of the busiest intersections in Davis which is why the city is now using so-called "red-light cameras" to capture photographs of those speeding through it and another high-traffic area.
A warning period lasting one month for red-light violations began Dec. 15. Citations will soon be given out to violators.
According to DPD Assistant Police Chief Steven Pierce, more than 50 violations were reported within the first two weeks after city workers finalized installation of the photo enforcement at the intersections of Russell Boulevard and Sycamore Lane and First and E streets.
Pierce said the cameras were installed with the hope of raising the road awareness of careless drivers.
"Basically, the majority of collisions are actually caused by inattention," Pierce said. "What this does in the way of reversing that is that it brings people's attention back to driving."
Pierce also noted that the city began a mandatory warning period for red light violations on Dec. 15. The period will last one month and after this time citations will be issued to all violators.
Four intersections were chosen for the installation of the automated photo enforcement program, provided by Nestor Traffic Systems of Providence, R.I.
The city began looking at different options for red-light cameras during summer 2004. Officials presented the red-light camera proposal before the Safety Advisory Commission, a citizens' commission used by the city to assess new development concerning roads and traffic in an effort to decrease collisions throughout the city. Red-light running is the fourth highest cause of collisions in Davis.
City Traffic Engineer Roxanne Namazi was involved in choosing the appropriate intersections for the photo enforcement installations and said the commission responded to the idea with positive feedback.
"They were positive about it and saw it working in other communities," Namazi said. "It would reduce the number of crashes and improve safety. They were in favor of it."
City Councilman Don Saylor also pointed to the photo enforcement program as a beneficial addition to city roadways.
"It will let people know that they need to follow traffic laws," Saylor said. "It will have a calming effect on traffic and speeds. It will act as a preventive measure and allow enforcement of red light violations."
Red-light photo enforcement at the intersections of Pole Line Road and Fifth Street and Chiles Road and Mace Boulevard are still awaiting completion.
Pierce noted that winter weather conditions are going to play a prominent role in whether or not the cameras are completed on time. He said the DPD hopes to end construction and have these cameras operating by the third week of January.
The penalty for running a red light is currently $370 within city limits and counts as one point on the offender's Department of Motor Vehicles driving record