STREET CAMERA PROJECT PAYS OFF COLLISIONS DOWN AT INTERSECTIONS.Byline: Ryan Oliver Staff Writer
LAPD 1. LAPD - Link Access Procedure on the D channel.
2. LAPD - Los Angeles Police Department. credits red-light cameras with an 11 percent reduction in car crashes at the eight intersections where they were installed and officials want the 2-year-old pilot program expanded.
The Los Angeles City Council The Los Angeles City Council is the governing body of the City of Los Angeles, California, United States. will likely take that drop into consideration next year when it reviews the program to decide if the cameras will become permanent.
``We're going to put together a report for the council and our opinion of its worthiness,'' said Lt. Geoff Taylor with the LAPD Traffic Coordination Section. ``I personally would like to see the program continued and expanded because I see a lot of benefit with it in terms of traffic safety.''
The program, however, will likely be modified before it is continued to address legal concerns raised by lawmakers, judges and civil libertarians civil libertarian
One who is actively concerned with the protection of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the individual by law: "Civil libertarians tend to assume such tests must be an illegal invasion of privacy" .
Figures released by the Los Angeles Police Department "LAPD" and "L.A.P.D." redirect here. For other uses, see LAPD (disambiguation).
This article or section is written like an . show that collisions fell from a total of 213 to 189 - an average of 11.3 percent - between 2001 and 2002 at the first eight intersections where the cameras were installed. Eight more cameras were later added but were installed too late to offer any comparison between the years.
``If you figure that percentage out in the lives saved and injuries and property damage prevented, that's a significant percentage,'' Taylor said.
The decrease is comparable to findings in a state audit of six California cities with red-light cameras that showed an average 10 percent drop in traffic crashes.
The cameras are set to monitor traffic going either north-south or east-west at the intersection - not both ways. They snap a picture on 35 mm film of vehicles when magnetic sensors under the road detect vehicles passing through when the light turns red. The cameras are visible and warning signs are posted.
Between January 2002 and May 2003, the city's cameras captured more than 50,000 drivers suspected of running red lights. Approximately 24,000 of those drivers were mailed citations.
Taylor said many violators lack a front license plate, which is illegal under state law, making it impossible to identify them and send a citation because the camera is positioned head-on. Plates can also be obstructed ob·struct
tr.v. ob·struct·ed, ob·struct·ing, ob·structs
1. To block or fill (a passage) with obstacles or an obstacle. See Synonyms at block.
2. by other vehicles or don't come back to valid addresses.
The camera must also capture the image of the driver for a valid citation, but they are sometimes concealed by sun visors Noun 1. sun visor - a shade (sometimes of green mica) affixed above the windshield of an automobile
shade - protective covering that protects something from direct sunlight; "they used umbrellas as shades"; "as the sun moved he readjusted the shade" or tinted tint
1. A shade of a color, especially a pale or delicate variation.
2. A gradation of a color made by adding white to it to lessen its saturation.
3. A slight coloration; a tinge.
4. windows, he said.
Of those cited, approximately 90 percent pleaded guilty or no contest and paid the fine - recently raised to $321 - through the mail. About a quarter of those who chose to take the matter to court are found not guilty or their cases are dismissed.
Taylor said the conviction rate went down slightly in light of a judge's decision to reverse over 2,000 convictions in East Los Angeles East Los Angeles, uninc. city (1990 pop. 126,379), Los Angeles co., S Calif., a residential suburb of Los Angeles, in an industrial area. It has a large Mexican-American population. There is a performing arts center and a cultural center. A junior college is there. because the camera was taking pictures while the traffic signal was still yellow. San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. also temporarily suspended its program when a court ruled its yellow lights were not timed long enough.
Sgt. Steve Foster
Steve Foster (born 24 September 1957, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England) is a former English football player, famed for wearing a headband. with the LAPD Traffic Coordination Section said Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. has taken pains to avoid problems that have befallen other cities. He said yellow lights at the affected intersections are set longer than state recommendations in order to give drivers the benefit of the doubt.
``We don't want to capture anyone except those blatantly in violation of the red light,'' Foster said.
He noted that unlike a lot of cities, Los Angeles is not attempting to turn its photo red light into a revenue maker. The city collects less than $50,000 a year on its red-light camera program. Most of the investment to install the lights is paid for by the vendor, Affiliated Computer Services Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) (NYSE: ACS) is a Fortune 500 company that provides information technology outsourcing as well as business process outsourcing solutions to businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. , who collects approximately $63 per ticket.
Administrative, court, salary and state costs eat up most of the remaining money.
But the notion of a per-ticket fee for the vendor would be outlawed in a bill being pushed by the Automobile Club of Southern California The Automobile Club of Southern California was founded December 13, 1900 in Los Angeles as one of the nation's first motor clubs dedicated to improving roads, proposing traffic laws and improvement of overall driving conditions. , which favors a flat-rate pay scheme.
``What the bill does is limit the responsibility assigned to the contractor,'' said Dan Beal, transportation police manager for the Auto Club. ``We're shifting the emphasis away from revenue and toward safety.''
So far, the bill has been approved by the California Assembly and the Senate Transportation Committee. It still awaits a floor vote by the Senate.
The bill also establishes uniform guidelines for issuing citations, maintaining the photo red light devices and handling personal data. Authorities must also select intersections based on traffic collisions and not on traffic volume, under the bill's language.
The American Civil Liberties Union American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), nonpartisan organization devoted to the preservation and extension of the basic rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution. would also like to see those changes made, but still has reservations about the notion of government surveillance cameras.
``The problem is when you have close-up surveillance cameras on what people normally think of as their private sphere The private sphere is the complement or opposite of the public sphere. Heidegger argues that it is only in the private sphere that one can be one's authentic self.
See also privacy. ,'' said Elizabeth Schroeder, associate director of the ACLU ACLU: see American Civil Liberties Union. of Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, . ``It may be legal but it really erodes people's sense of personal privacy.''
The devices also make it more difficult for people to defend themselves because they're often not even aware they've been cited until several weeks later when they get a ticket, Schroeder said.
``There are any number of defenses people have because they don't recall what happened that date, particularly if it's a route they travel every day,'' she said. ``It's not like having an officer stop you at the scene and you remember everything.''
Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine, a retired traffic officer and a proponent of red-light cameras, brushed off these concerns.
``We, as a city, want to save lives,'' Zine said. ``If you're dead, you're not going to be able to enjoy those civil liberties.''
``I look at it from my personal experience making death notifications.''
Zine, however, favors a flat-rate contract with the camera vendor and also wants the city to rethink how it selects intersections. The pilot program is currently set up to place one red-light camera at the most crash-prone intersections in each of the city's council districts.
The councilman would rather see the cameras assigned to the city's worst intersections as a whole, regardless of whether some districts would get more than others. ``We need to focus on public safety, not the political aspect.''
Ryan Oliver, (818) 713-3669
TRAFFIC CRASHES, 2001-02
SOURCE: Los Angeles Police Department