Traffic cameras and Los Angeles have a very interesting history. While Los Angeles County Public Works claims that the county only has five active red light cameras, the county has had at least 100 cameras in the past.
The drastic change in numbers is due to several factors, factors that make it difficult for the average person to understand how the enforcement of these cameras works.
A History of Indecision
Los Angeles originally installed traffic cameras to limit the need for police officers to monitor high-risk locations and to decrease traffic accidents in the city.
The traffic cameras were used for years before the city examined the results of the program. Once examined, city officials determined that the program was losing money and doing little to increase safety in the city. Thus, the city’s Police Commission voted to end the traffic camera program.
However, this wasn’t the end of traffic cameras in Los Angeles. Eventually, a new program was introduced. This program was more targeted and had lower fines than the original program. But even this program ran into problems.
Several court rulings diminished or neutered the program. It was also revealed that the Los Angeles sheriff’s department was rarely, if ever, reporting tickets to the DMV. This meant that the consequences of violating traffic rules were mostly meaningless.
Consequences of a Ticket
Despite the questionable enforcement of these traffic cameras, you will still receive a ticket in the mail if caught on camera violating a traffic law. Modern cameras are extremely advanced and can accurately identify most traffic violations and the identity of the car being driven.
If you receive a red light camera ticket, it will include a fine. The fines are:
- $100 for running a red light
- $35 for illegally turning right during a red light
- $35 for running a stop sign, including making a rolling stop
You have a little under a month to pay the fine. Whether you pay the fine or not, you will receive one point on your license. Failure to pay a ticket in California is supposed to result in additional penalties, but enforcement of this is inconsistent.
Not Paying the Fine
Oddly, Los Angeles doesn’t have specific penalties for failing to pay a fine. Often the courts aren’t aware you have received a traffic ticket unless you directly contact the courts about it. This means that many people will simply ignore a ticket. While this might get you out of paying a ticket, it might also result in additional penalties if the courts or DMV become aware.
The safest option is to pay the fine if you can afford it or to fight the fine in court if you think you are innocent of the offense. An attorney can explain your options and help you determine the best approach.
Avoiding Red Light Traffic Cameras
The most convenient thing about red light traffic cameras in Los Angeles is that the county publicizes all possible locations for them. The easiest way to avoid getting a ticket is to not use those intersections, and then you won’t receive a ticket for illegal behavior. If a ticket does show up in your mailbox at that point, it is a mistake, and you can fight it in court.
Alternatively, you can drive safely and follow all traffic rules when traveling through or near those intersections. Safe driving is always a good idea, especially in high-risk areas.
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