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Stop Whining About LA Red Light Enforcement Cameras

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Over the weekend, the anonymous "scribes" at Martini Republic voiced a complaint common to many: "The City of LA’s continued shakedown of its own citizens continues apace. The foto-tickets cost about $365, and are very tough to fight (a day off work, a drive to Compton), even though cops snicker when they see that one has popped up in your life: 'Those lights are almost always wrong,' they say."

Will someone explain to me how 5 cameras at different angles taking photos and a video of you is “almost always wrong”? The videos don’t even start rolling until a sensor kicks in saying a car is approaching a red light a high speed and might cross the limit line. If you didn't cross it while the light is red, you won't even get a ticket in the mail. All videos are watched before a ticket is issued.

And how is this a shakedown? So you get a ticket in the mail and it shows a picture of you. Okay, that might be debatable. But the ticket also tells you that you can go online, punch in your citation number and watch the video of you running the red light from your very own home. If you still don’t believe it, you can make an appointment with the LAPD traffic division and watch it with a traffic officer. Then, of course, the last thing is court. But then the judge is going to watch the video of you running a red light and make you pony up. There’s no sneaky business going on here other than something in government that is actually pretty transparent.

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At this point, there might be some confusion. Some people who have run reds at photo enforcement approaches may have not gotten the video option.

Answer: Nestor is the new company providing this service to the City of Los Angeles.

Answer: Photo enforcement along the MTA Orange and Blue lines are policed by a different agency. The Los Angeles Sheriffs Department (LASD) are contracted to monitor MTA’s buses, subways, light rails, etc.

Unfortunately, MTA went cheap and did not install the video enforcement component as part of their contract with a different company called ACS for 32 intersection approaches. At face value, photo-only enforcement is like “so 1999“ and does feel sketchy, but the science behind the data bars and time code stamps will still get you busted (However, it does leave more room for snitch tickets).

We should be proud that the LAPD and the City went with photo/video enforcement instead of photo-only like the MTA did. It’s more transparent, honest and accurate.

Does your city use photo enforcement? Check after the jump.

What do other cities do?

Beverly Hills: ACS with photos only. One approach on La Cienga has a video. Red light runners can check online to see themselves.
Burbank: Has no cameras at the moment and not looking to use them.
Culver City: Uses a company called Redflex with videos and online viewing. Still has 6-10 intersections that are going to be updated from photo-only to video.
Glendale: Currently has no cameras, but has a request for proposals (RFP) out there.
Long Beach: Like the City of LA, they use Nestor with video cams and online viewing.
Pasadena: Uses Nestor with video and online viewing to replay yourself over and over again.
Santa Clarita: Redflex with videos and online viewing
Santa Monica: Does not have any cameras and looks like no plans are in the works since City Council struck down a proposal three and a half years ago.
Unincorporated LA County: Like MTA, ACS.
West Hollywood: ACS with photo-only.