BEVERLY HILLS—The City of Beverly Hills will be installing six new red light cameras at three new intersections as a part of its Photo Red Light Enforcement Program.
The program has been in effect since 1997 and currently monitors nine Beverly Hills intersections. Vehicles entering an intersection during a red light are captured by the cameras and automatically cited for the red light violation.
The cameras to be installed are produced by a new vendor, Xerox State and Local Solutions, whose contract had been approved by City Council on October 14, 2014.
Sergeant Gregg Mader, of the Beverly Hills Police Department Traffic Bureau informed Canyon News that the previous vendor of the red light cameras was Redflex Traffic Systems.
Accounting for the change, he explained, “Since we are a public entity, every five to seven years we issue an RFP (request for proposal) to give vendors the opportunity to bid on a new contract,” adding that “Redflex’s contract expired, and Xerox’s proposal was more cost effective for the city.”
“Redflex’s cameras use inductive loop technology, which uses a loop of wire based in the ground to sense vehicles. The new cameras use more accurate radar technology to sense vehicles,” Sgt. Mader noted.
According to a Beverly Hills Police Department Advisory, the following intersections are currently monitored by the Automated Red Light Enforcement Program: Wilshire Boulevard and Whittier Drive; Sunset Boulevard and Hillcrest Road; Olympic Boulevard and Roxbury Drive; Olympic Boulevard and Doheny Drive; and Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Drive.
The six new cameras will be installed at the following intersections: Crescent Drive and South Santa Monica Boulevard; Sunset Boulevard and Benedict Canyon; and Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Drive.
There will be a 30-day warning period, prior to the issuance of citations, at each monitored intersection. For this 30-day period, notices of warning will be sent to the registered owners of vehicles captured on camera committing red light violations. At the end of this 30-day period, actual notices of violation will be issued by the Police Department.
“We will announce the start of the 30-day warning period approximately one week before the cameras go live,” said Sgt. Mader.
There is some controversy surrounding the red light camera issue. Authorities cite public safety as the principal reason for them, while opponents contend that they are, in fact, dangerous, and that their use is motivated by financial gain. There have been concerns that red light cameras cause rear-end collisions because drivers, who want to avoid a ticket, may stop abruptly.
“I would say—this is not a scientific survey—but the vast majority of the public support [red light cameras] because it does alter public driving habits in the area,” Sgt Mader argued.
He expounded, “Drivers will drive differently at all intersections if they think they are all enforced…My opinion is that the public supports it.”
Sgt. Mader also added, “The law requires that any red light camera needs an indicating sign posted 200 yards before the camera.”
On March 17, two Florida judges dismissed nearly 24,000 traffic tickets (totaling more than $6 million) that were issued as a result of red light cameras, citing that Florida state law mandates that only law enforcement can issue violations.
The Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that photo enforcement of traffic laws is unenforceable for the same reason—the lack of live witnesses to testify against the violators.
“Beverly Hills, Culver City, and West Hollywood, for example, all allow traffic cameras,” said Sgt. Mader, “It’s a political issue with the city of Los Angeles as opposed to safety issue.”