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    Nighttime "Photo Red Cam" Enforcement at Bellflower/Willow and 7th/Redondo Postponed To Ensure Compliance of Nighttime Spotlights With State Law

    LBPD is requiring measurements to ensure nighttime light beams meet CA Vehicle Code's legal standards

    Daytime enforcement at Bellflower/Willow partially delayed but expected in all directions shortly; daytime enforcement at 7th/Redondo operational in all directions now

    Photo red cam Bellflower/Willow

    (December 11, 2001) -- has learned nighttime enforcement of LB's first two "photo red cams" at Bellflower Blvd./Willow St. (pictured above) and 7th St/Redondo Ave. has been postponed to perform field measurements and ensure the system's nighttime spotlights meet standards prescribed in state law.

    LBPD Officer/Detective Doug Robbins of the Traffic Section, overseeing implementation of the new system for the city, told he is requiring field measurements to satisfy him that the system's nighttime light beams -- which will illuminate drivers -- do not violate CA Vehicle Code 21466.5 (text below) which protects drivers from interfering lights.

    The photo red enforcement system is being installed and operated by a private firm under contract with the city.

    Det. Robbins said daytime enforcement on Willow Street in both directions at Bellflower Blvd. is now operational and enforcement on Bellflower Blvd. is expected later today. He added daytime enforcement at 7th/Redondo is operational in all directions.

    However, Det. Robbins said before nighttime enforcement begins, field measurements will be made to ensure proper adjustment of and light strength from the system's nighttime spotlights. Det. Robbins said he must be satisfied the nighttime lights as measured in the field comply with a state law protecting drivers from light interference.

    CA Vehicle Code section 21466.5 provides in pertinent part:

    No person shall place or maintain or display, upon or in view of any highway, any light of any color of such brilliance as to impair the vision of drivers upon the highway. A light source shall be considered vision impairing when its brilliance exceeds the values listed below.

    The brightness reading of an objectionable light source shall be measured with a 11/2-degree photoelectric brightness meter placed at the driver's point of view. The maximum measured brightness of the light source within 10 degrees from the driver's normal line of sight shall not be more than 1,000 times the minimum measured brightness in the driver's field of view, except that when the minimum measured brightness in the field of view is 10 foot-lamberts or less, the measured brightness of the light source in foot-lambert shall not exceed 500 plus 100 times the angle, in degrees, between the driver's line of sight and the light source.

    The photo red cams capture digital video which is downloaded, then reviewed by an LBPD officer who actually authorizes the citation. The tickets are mailed to the vehicle's registered owner.

    LBPD says the locations for LB's photo red cams were chosen based on intersections demonstrating the worst history of red light running accidents.

    By voted action, LB's City Council (Baker dissenting) authorized photo red cams in LB. Prior to the Council vote, city staff indicated City Hall could receive over $1 million per year in revenue from the fines.

    The CA legislature (Sacramento) authorized cities to install photo red cams and impose the hefty fine. Revenue from the fine will be allocated between state, county and local government. LB's share of each fine amounts to roughly $41, about 15%, of the $271 citation. LB City Hall will give a percentage of the fine to the private firm that maintains the cameras. However, issuance of the citations is done by the City (through the LBPD), not by the private firm.

    City Hall says the automated enforcement system is meant to "reduce the number of red light violations and collisions, to modify driver behavior, and to promote safer driving." LBPD points out that national data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows on average more than 200,000 injuries and 800 deaths result annually from running red lights.

    LB's photo red system uses digital video evidence and differs in some respects from one in San Diego that has prompted legal challenges. Among other things, LB's system does not use "ground loops" for detection.

    All prospective LB citations will be reviewed by a police officer before being issued and LB's system will record and allow review of actual video (not just still pictures), permitting assessment of what took place surrounding a prospective citation.

    LBPD has previously noted that "[u]nlike other camera systems, this [LB's] system uses several full view angles of recorded video footage allowing objective review of what occurred at the intersection." Prospective violations captured on video will first be reviewed by a police officer and "if it is determined that the violation is questionable or the result of extenuating circumstances, the citation will not be issued."

    LBPD also notes that at each photo red cam location, the "intersection will be clearly posted that automated enforcement is in use."

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