COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- Last month, the Colorado Springs Police Department started sending tickets to drivers who ran red lights at intersections monitored by cameras. There are four intersections that have the cameras, and safety officials say they're among the city's most dangerous. "We want to reduce accidents at these intersections," CSPD Sgt. Steve Noblitt said. "We've had a lot of side-impact crashes at these intersections, there's a large number of violations at these intersections, and our goal is to ultimately reduce traffic crashes and violations at these intersections." During the 30-day trial period, they issued more than 1,400 warnings. In the first week of actual enforcement, they've sent out about 300 notices by mail.
"When you get the notice, you can either pay the $75 fine - no points - or choose to go to court and contest the summons," Noblitt said. "With the summons will come still photos, as well as your speed and how long the light was yellow and how long it was red."
There will also be a web link and password so motorists can watch a 12-second clip of the alleged violation.
Police officers review the video before they send out violations.
"They review all the violations that the vendor sends us, and based upon our business rules - these are actually rules that were established in the contract with the vendor - it's violations that we as a police department will either accept or not accept," CSPD Sgt. Andrew James said. "For example, if it's not a clear visual shot of the person driving the vehicle, we know we do not want to see that violation. However, if it does get sent to us, my officer still has the discretion to look at the violation and say, 'you know, I'm not comfortable with that one,' so there's checks and balances between the vendor's site and the CSPD."
Police said they've gotten a lot of questions from motorists, especially concerning turning right on red light.
"You can turn right on red at most intersections in Colorado Springs unless there's a sign indicates you can't," Noblitt said. "But remember, you have to stop first, either behind the stop bar or the crosswalk before you turn right on red, you can't roll through it."
He also said you won't be cited if you're in the intersection waiting to turn when the light turns red.
"They're in the intersection, they're fine," Noblitt said. "What we're looking for is people that approach the intersection while the light is red and then go through it, so if you approach when it's green or yellow, and you get to the intersection when it's green or yellow, you're not what we're looking for."
It costs the city around $5,200 per month per intersection to keep the cameras in operation. Authorities said it's a huge cost savings over stationing squad cars there. They also say it's never been a revenue-driven program.
"It's really motivated to reduce the crashes there. If there's 1,400 violations in a 30-day period, I think that speaks for itself," Noblitt said. "We aren't making these up, they are happening, and we're confident this will change the way people drive in Colorado Springs, which is a good thing."
Published by ColoradoConnection.com
|More on the red light cameras|
|Diagram of how the cams work|
|Why these intersections?|
|Copy of the city ordinance|
Posted in Red Light
Nov 05th, 2010