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Photo Red Cam Update:

  • Cherry/Artesia Enforcement Tentatively Set to Start Mid-February
  • Bellflower/Willow & 7th/Redondo Enforcement Ongoing in Daytime
  • Nighttime Enforcement On Hold As City (LBPD) Requires Further Measurements of Nighttime Spotlights
  • Roughly 300 Citations Issued Since late Nov. '01 at Bellflower/Willow & 7th/Redondo

    Photo red cam Bellflower/Willow

    (February 6, 2002) -- has learned a new "photo red cam" (like the one above in ELB) is tentatively set to begin operations in NLB at Cherry Avenue and Artesia Blvd. in mid-February.

    Once operational, photo enforced citations against red light runners at Cherry/Artesia will issue immediately and there will be no grace period.

    Meanwhile, enforcement continues at LB's two existing photo red cams at Bellflower Blvd./Willow St. (pictured above) and 7th St/Redondo Ave. during daytime hours. Officer/Detective Doug Robbins of LBPD's Traffic Section, who is overseeing implementation of the photo red system for the city, said approximately 300 citations have issued since late November at the two currently operational intersections.

    Nighttime operations are on hold pending further field measurements (first reported by in December, 2001) to ensure to LBPD's satisfaction that the system's nighttime spotlights meet standards in a CA Vehicle Code statute (details below).

    Running a red light at a photo enforced intersection could bring a hefty $271 dollar fine and a nasty DMV point potentially impacting one's insurance costs. The DMV point may be removed for eligible drivers by attending traffic school, but the fine cannot be removed.

    Det. Robbins offered a tip for drivers fearful of travelling through the photo enforced intersections.

    "Just slow down and make sure you're going below the speed limit. You really should be able to stop if you're not over the speed limit. Seriously, just slow down."

    Det. Robbins noted that the Bellflower/Willow intersection had LB's highest number of accidents in 1998. Data show side impact intersection collisions (which can result from running a red light) can be among the most deadly.

    Det. Robbins invited anyone receiving a "photo red cam" citation to call him and make an appointment if they wished to view the actual video -- yes, real in motion video -- of the event involving them as it occurred. (Det. Robbins can be reached at 570-6554.)

    As first reported by last year, Det. Robbins (on behalf of LBPD and the city) is requiring further field measurements to ensure to his satisfaction that the system's nighttime light beams -- which will illuminate drivers -- meet standards in CA Vehicle Code 21466.5 (text below) protecting drivers from interfering lights.

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

    Det. Robbins told he intends to be fully satisfied the nighttime lights comply with the CA Vehicle Code section below before beginning nighttime operations.

  • 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 (Det. Robbins) who actually authorizes the citation. The tickets are mailed to the vehicle's registered owner.

    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 records 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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