Article published Jan 24, 2006
New red light camera up and running Wednesday
STOCKTON - The city's 12th red-light camera goes live at one minute after midnight Wednesday at Charter Way and B Street.
But this time, there will be no one-month grace period for motorists who run the red light, said Officer Pete Smith, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department.
"We're going to go straight into enforcement mode," Smith said. "So anyone that gets caught ... will receive a citation."
Violators must pay a $338.50 fine, according to Smith. About half the fine goes to the city, one-third to the state and $26 to the county. The rest goes to various crime-fighting programs.
The cameras, provided by Australia-based Redflex Traffic System, don't cost the city anything, Smith said. Redflex earns revenue from collecting a portion of the fine, Smith said.
The cameras work by snapping a photo of a car when it enters an intersection while the light is red. The driver's face, the license plate and the time are captured and sent to police for review.
Police say the cameras lower the risk of accidents by deterring people from running red lights, but statistics have shown otherwise.
Ninety collisions were reported in 2004 at seven intersections chosen by the city to monitor drivers' behavior. But a year later, 97 accidents were reported at those intersections, according to police. A few of the intersections, such as March Lane and Quail Lakes Drive, and West and March lanes, actually recorded substantial drops in the numbers of accidents, but increases in accidents at other intersections caused the average to rise, according to police.
Since November 2004, more than 25,000 red-light violators have been caught on tape. Of those, only slightly more than 15,000 were fined. The rest of the cases were dismissed, because the driver could not be identified or because someone other than the person to whom the car was registered appeared to be driving it.
Record staff writer Karina Ioffee contributed to this report.