County drivers need to beware: Cameras to be used at 10 intersections : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Never heard of this before... Just out of curiosity, have any of you??

County drivers need to beware: Cameras to be used at 10 intersections By Matthew Barrows Bee Staff Writer (Published Feb. 19, 2001)

Bad news for red-light runners in Sacramento County: Starting this week, cameras will begin capturing your illegal maneuvers on film. Sgt. Richard Carlson of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said the first of 10 cameras will be installed by the end of the week at Howe Avenue and Hurley Way.

For the next 30 days, cars and trucks that enter the intersection after the light turns red will receive warning notices. After the grace period ends, however, violators will find $270 tickets in their mailboxes along with black-and-white photographs of themselves and their vehicles in the middle of a county intersection.

Carlson, who is coordinating the county program, said he hopes to have cameras operating at 10 intersections by the end of the year. The question is: Which 10? Carlson said the cameras will be secretly shuffled among 30 intersections in unincorporated Sacramento County.

"I'm certainly not telling anybody where they are," he said. "I want everyone to think that there are red-light cameras at every intersection."

Carlson said that when a car enters an intersection after the light goes red, underground sensors trigger a camera that snaps several pictures of the car and the driver.

That's where the California Highway Patrol, charged with enforcing the program, comes in.

CHP spokesman Max Hartley said CHP officers will compare the photographs taken by the red-light cameras with photographs of the driver on file at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

If they match, a traffic citation is sent out.

But even if you are caught red-handed by a red-light camera, there's a good chance you'll avoid a fine.

The county program will be similar to a red-light enforcement system in the city of Sacramento that captures about 2,200 red-light violators a month.

But city police estimate that number represents only about 40 percent of the people caught on film. The other 60 percent of cases are not prosecuted because the photograph is blurry, the car has no front license plate or there is too much glare from the sun. In any of those instances, the infraction never goes to court.

Despite those problems, city officials say accidents have been reduced by more than half at three busy intersections where red-light cameras were installed in 1999.

Carlson said the county is looking to make similar strides. He said annually there are between 500 and 600 injuries due to red-light running at county intersections, and the side impacts associated with those collisions makes them among the most dangerous accidents possible.

"It's called a T-bone type of situation," he said. "There's not a lot of strength on the side of the car."

In addition to the Howe-Hurley intersection, Carlson said cameras soon will be installed at Franklin Boulevard and Florin Road and at Fair Oaks Boulevard and Watt Avenue. Fair Oaks and Watt made a top-10 list of America's most dangerous intersections compiled by the State Farm Insurance company in 1999.

Signs at every intersection that could potentially have cameras will warn drivers the red-light program is in place.

-- Tess (, February 19, 2001


Tess, they've been doing this for a few years
now. There's also cameras on busy city intersections,
government buildings and sports games spectators.
Privacy? Only in your bathroom ::::-

-- spider (, February 19, 2001.

Only in your bathroom. Are you sure?:)

-- Martin Thompson (, February 19, 2001.

Israel began using this system several years ago. Believe one or more states in the Southeast also us it. Admittedly Israeli drivers are a bit on the aggressive side, but a reasonable question is where should we in the US draw the line on the intrusive eye of government? There really isn't any such line for them, including cameras in our living areas - after all, their logic goes, - if we're not doing anything wrong why should we be concerned? Sounds ridiculous, but that IS the was TPTB think these days.

This has all the hallmarks of a vastly expanded totalitarian govt. It's basically 'Robo-Cob' everywhere...if you think they'll stop at street intersections, guess again. They're already using sophisticated software to look for "bad guys" [translation: anyone the govt. wants to detain] at sporting events, casinos, etc.

If this is the America you want, got it! If not, perhaps we should all see what can be done about it. If no one's willing to listen, then maybe we can all collectively give the appropriately raised finger to the cameras - or even a countermeasure of some kind of blinding light in its silicon 'eye'.

-- California-LandOf (, February 19, 2001.

Hey, I had no idea they had already been doing this! Privacy is truly a thing of the past!

-- Tess (, February 20, 2001.

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