Red Light Cameras Could Be Banned in County Territory

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Red light cameras could soon be banned in areas of Orange County that are outside of individual cities under a proposal by County Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson.

“Although automated traffic enforcement systems have been touted as promoting traffic safety, there is insufficient evidence to show that automated traffic enforcement systems actually accomplish this goal,” states a staff report from Nelson’s office.

“The primary accomplishment of red light cameras has been to increase revenues, not improve traffic safety.”

The staff report doesn’t say how many, if any, red light cameras currently are being operated in unincorporated Orange County.

But Nelson’s proposal comes as red light cameras face a growing backlash in cities.

Earlier this year, Santa Ana city leaders voted unanimously to end their contract with a red-light camera vendor who is facing a federal bribery investigation.

Council members described the nearly $500 fines associated with red light camera tickets as an excessive burden on residents.

Many law enforcement officials, meanwhile, argue that the cameras are an effective deterrent to red-light runners and make the streets safer.

Others note the cameras create an incentive for cities to unfairly shorten the time for yellow lights in order to generate more revenue. Such changes were found in an investigation by a Florida television news station.

When Voice of OC recently asked local residents about red light cameras on Facebook, the responses were overwhelmingly against the cameras.

“Not safer……take them down….enough with Big Brother money grab,” wrote Garden Grove resident Don McPeck.

If a majority of the county supervisors want the ban put in place, they will direct staff to place a formal vote on the Oct. 21 meeting agenda.

It would only apply to Orange County’s unincorporated areas, which are home to about 120,000 people. County supervisors function as the city council for these areas.

Unincorporated communities include North Tustin, Rossmoor, Midway City, Orange Park Acres and Ladera Ranch, among others.

Tuesday’s supervisors meeting starts at 9:30 a.m.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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