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Red Light Camera Contract Extension Green Lighted by LA Police Commission

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The city's red light cameras will keep clicking in our intersections for the next three months, as the Los Angeles Police Commission approved an extension for the expiring contract with their vendor last night, according to the Daily News. At issue, however, remains a resolution to the "conflicting reports" offered up about the red light camera program's impact on drivers' safety and behavior.

A negative report called "Safer Streets in Los Angeles" has recently been prepared and issued by Safer Streets L.A., an advocacy group. The report says that the best course of action is to dump the cameras in favor of other methods that could help improve intersection safety. However, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, and the camera vendor, Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, disagree with that report's findings.

The red light camera program's controversy is multifold, however. It has operated at a loss of about $2.6 million over the past two years, and the amount of uncollected fines from tickets generated by the system for violations has reached an estimated $7 to $11 million.

Not being discussed this year is one factor that almost held up the contract when it was up last year, which is that the vendor is based in Arizona, and the summer of 2010 was the summer of Arizona boycotting, because of our neighbor-state's passage of SB1070, the controversial immigration policy bill.

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Officials say that data shows the cameras work, and say that there have "been no red-light accident-related deaths at monitored intersections compared to the five documented from 2004 to 2006, before cameras were installed."