Red: the color of money in L.A.

By David Tanner, associate editor

The National Motorists Association and OOIDA are among those working to stop the renewal of red-light camera contracts in Los Angeles. The associations say these photo enforcement systems are flawed and are more about making money than they are about safety.

Back in late April, the Los Angeles City Council faced a vote to extend or terminate the city’s red-light camera program operated by American Traffic Solutions. Rather than take a decisive action, the council opted for a temporary 90-day extension that lasts through July 25.

NMA Executive Director Gary Biller says handing out $446 fines for rolling right turns doesn’t make intersections any safer.

“The Los Angeles red-light camera issue is particularly onerous for motorists and truckers because most of the revenue is from rolling right turns,” Biller said recently. “Rolling right turns have no basis on safety statistics whatsoever.”

A study by the Texas Transportation Institute shows intersections were instantly made safer when yellow-light times were extended.

The National Motorists Association and OOIDA are calling on their respective memberships to get involved before the July 25 vote.

“We’re not defending people that blow through red lights,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said. “The overwhelming body of evidence indicates that red-light cameras exist to generate revenue. These certainly can be mobile slot machines.”

Among the groups that would rather see yellow-light times increased as an alternative to red-light cameras is a group called Safer Streets L.A. This group believes the light should be yellow for 2 or 2.5 seconds rather than the half-second currently seen in L.A. LL