Friday May 24, 2013
Salem Begins Photo Red Light ProgramTim King Salem-News.com
The system that will lead to fines and citations for local drivers is operated by a private company that actually mails you the ticket.
(SALEM, Ore.) - The Salem Police Department Photo Red Light program is scheduled to begin operation on February 29th. The first intersection that will begin snapping pictures of passing cars is 25th Street SE and Mission Street SE. Cameras will cover both the westbound and northbound approaches.
This controversial program will allow a privately owned company called Red Flex to participate in the ticket writing process. They are the group who ultimately will send it to the person whose car their camera photographed.
The police believe the lights will help, so does Salem's city government, but the photo red light cameras are not popular with motorists who fear the consequences of a ticket. There is also the matter of loaning your car to a friend or family member.
Shannon Atkinson, President of Njection.com, has founded a company based on fighting this technology. "Unfortunately, study after study has shown no significant benefit to the installation of red light cameras or speed traps. It has, however, created a wealth of problems."
He says a report from the Virginia Transportation Research Council, released in June 2007, shows that over a seven-year period, while the number of accidents caused by people running red lights decreased, the number of rear-end crashes increased significantly.
In Toledo, Ohio, as reported by WTVG, the City Council is the center of a controversy concerning red light cameras. Originally, the city received twenty-five percent of the fines. Under the new contract, the city gets back fifty-five percent. That means the city stands to collect $2.5 million each year from violators.
Salem Police say the photo red light cameras operate through the use of sensors embedded in the roadway. These work in conjunction with video cameras beside the road. When the sensors detect that the signal light is turning red and that an approaching vehicle is mostly likely not going to stop, it will record the violation both on a twelve second video as well as three digital still shots.
The driver will be photographed from the rear, showing the vehicle behind the stop line and the red light. The second will show the vehicle in the intersection with the red light and the third will show the face of the driver of the vehicle. The license number of the vehicle will also be recorded at the time of the violation.
The first group that judges your alleged driving offense is the vendor, Red Flex. This private company will "review the images for accuracy and quality." If they think you violated the law by running the light, they will contact the DMV and the state will turn your private background information over to them.
Then finally, they will send your violation to the Salem Police Department electronically and then the process of reviewing the image begins again. If police agree with Red Flex, the citation will then be sent back to Red Flex to be printed and mailed to the violator.
People receiving citations in the mail will be provided with information that will allow them to view the video of the violation online and receive instructions in how to appropriately resolve the citation. The bail for Disobeying a Traffic Control Device is $242.00.
Once the program becomes operational there will be a 30 day period in which only warnings will be issued. The next intersection scheduled to be brought on line with Photo Red Light is Commercial St NE and Marion St NE.
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