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Old 03-20-2008, 09:52 AM   #11
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I'm in the process of fighting one, here in Ventura, CA.. The tickets here are $360, or $390 with traffic school. I did a lot of research and it is pretty frustrating.

Technically, in CA the Cal Trans guide says that they can't set the yellows to anything less than 3 seconds. However, it has a time/speed/interval chart for yellows, which correlates to the speed limit, so a 35 mph speed should get a 3.8 second yellow. The city chose to interpret that to mean for straight through yellows, so they have all of the left, with cameras, set to 3 seconds, regardless of the speed.

Fundamentally the lights and timing intervals are supposed to be set to control/enhance/make more safe, the flow of traffic. Practically, they are using them as speed/revenue traps.

However, I believe they are fightable and winable. When I checked with the court clerk last week, the city police had not responded to my trial by mail response. She was rather curt, but technically they have 4 weeks to respond and we were just at the far edge, but they hadn't done anything.

Fundamentally, although the camera is their, the camera is not monitoring all of the traffic, it does not know what you were aware of, as the driver, what your intentions were, or why. Consequently, the officer who represents the city/camera in court can only say what he believes he thought was happening, based on the camera, but since he wasn't their, he can't say if you were safe, unsafe or so forth.

I don't like the big brother approach or enforcement of these. I don't like the auto-revenue generation. I don't like the decided choices to set the time intervals at periods shorter than reasonable response and stopping distances.

However, I think they are going to be around and although they are a huge pain, about all we can do is to try to be extra careful in those areas and fight them, if they get a marginal situation.
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Old 03-20-2008, 01:28 PM   #12
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The difference between "can stop" and what is considered a normal "non-panic stop" is going to be more than a few seconds. Like was said you may be able to stop but your reaction time to the light and the rear view mirror check to make sure the person tailgating you is not too close is all going to be a problem.

Once I stopped for a red yeah not a yellow and the poor guy behind me in a pickup truck with a hot coffee got it all over his lap and I was on a very fast stopping triple disk brake pirrelli tired italian motorcycle.

I my xB the other problem I have is that the roof line is low so I can't see the lights as I get close to them.
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Old 03-20-2008, 08:02 PM   #13
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Up in my neck of the woods here in FL they are installing them too. Time to install a James Bond type of item to throw a shield down to block the license plate while going through lights.
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:29 AM   #14
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Gary - if you are in California - you CAN and WILL get it thrown out if you go to court. Wait until the time is up for them to respond. If they don't and you can get it thrown out before appearing - GREAT. Don't call the clerk again before the response time is up - they WILL call the city police back and tell them to respond.

You can get one of those books on the internet that tells you what case law to cite if you have to go to court, and basically how to phrase the questions so that the judge will HAVE to throw it out. The camera is NOT a witness. They may have experts who testify that the camera is accurate, BUT - here are the main points, they just have to be phrased properly:

1) Can the camera be questioned? No - because it cannot respond. If the camera is the only witness, it violates your Constitutional right to question witnesses, and therefore must be excluded.
2) Was the expert there? No - so therefore they are not a witness to the alleged incident. Their testimony becomes hearsay.
3) Were your wheels over the limit line (TRUST me they will have a painted limit line in sight of the camera - without it they don't even have a case) while the light was yellow? If yes, then you bring it up and show that California law says it is not running a red. If not, and you actually ran a red, you don't bring this up.

There is a methodology, and you have to do it in exactly the right way, but you can beat these idiot things. Get the book - $40 or $50 is a LOT cheaper than the ticket.

Don't use guides - use law. All judges are lawyers FIRST and foremost, and lawyers stick together. Judges get paid (although they want to claim indirectly) by the system of tickets and such, so remember that they WANT you to have to pay the tickets! Police add to their coffers the same way.

RED light cameras are not YELLOW light cameras for a reason. As long as you were over the limit line (I don't remember the specific California vehicle code section) then it is NOT running a red. Far too many people don't know this.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:32 AM   #15
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3) Were your wheels over the limit line (TRUST me they will have a painted limit line in sight of the camera - without it they don't even have a case) while the light was yellow? If yes, then you bring it up and show that California law says it is not running a red. If not, and you actually ran a red, you don't bring this up.
In Massachusetts, you aren't allowed to enter an intersection unless you know that you can get out of it before a red light. Even on a green light, you have to wait behind the line until you can proceed all the way through the intersection.

-BC
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:13 PM   #16
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101mpg,

GREAT info! thanks.
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Old 03-22-2008, 01:50 PM   #17
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any thoughts on red light cameras? well, here are mine...

the city of orlando, florida decided to move forward w/ charging a $183 fine for red light runners at certain intersections. black and white(figurative) photos of a vehicle in intersections w/ these cameras WILL result in a fine, but no points on licenses. if the light is red and a vehicle is in the intersection, the fine is sent by mail--no gray area, black and white only.

okay...certainly this will prevent SOME nasty collisions and deaths. my beef is what about large trucks like i drive? as a pro driver, there is a point of no return concerning red lights. trial and error has taught me how to avoid completing a stop in the middle of an intersection.

if the human aspect(officers) is taken out, then perhaps a series of photos would suffice. so, if a vehicle is already in the intersection during the change from yellow to red, no fine. however, if the vehicle is outside the intersection during the change AND continues on thru it, slap the fine on them!

what about longer yellow lights? what about the increase of rear-end collisions due to the cameras? what if someone is in the intersection after braking to avoid another red light runner?
there is a traffic light that i must travel thru to make a delivery that is beyond belief...
if i am waiting at that red light(north/south) and another vehicle approaches(east/west) as i get my green light, it will change cycle. because of the size, weight, gearing, etc of the truck, i can see in my windshield the light turn red as i pass under it, obviously still in the intersection!!!

BTW, i have not been cited. but, with the size of my work vehicle, it's prolly just a matter of time! rant finito!
That would make sense, but what actually happens is the yellow lights time is reduced on lights with cameras for more revenue. Speed limits are also not the safest speed to travel at, but they provide lots of money for the government. So they will stay at thier levels.

As far as I can tell, a good chunk of the laws out there are designed primarily for revenue, and this is where cops spend atleast 90% of their time. Haveing a machine to make them money will be designed to maximized revenue, not safety, or sensibility.
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Old 03-28-2008, 07:54 PM   #18
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I forget the specifics, but it was documented in the Portland, Oregon area that the intersections with cameras installed actually had the length of their yellow lights shortened. Needless to say, it did not go over well.
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:32 PM   #19
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I thought I got pictured by one of them, somehow (long story, but I and another guy both had green lights when the flash went off - twice), but nothing ever came of it. I do deliver to one city that has TONS of the things - they're on every second to third light on main thoroughfares - and I hate going there. My work van gets loaded high with heavy auto parts, so if I have to stop all of a sudden, I either stick out pretty far into the intersection or just gun it for the red.
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Old 05-21-2008, 03:02 PM   #20
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As far as I can tell, a good chunk of the laws out there are designed primarily for revenue, and this is where cops spend atleast 90% of their time. Haveing a machine to make them money will be designed to maximized revenue, not safety, or sensibility.
this is a very sore subject for our family...

my wife was given a ticket for a burned out tail light(1 of 3 BTW), yet no ticket has EVER been given to the speeders and "bass boomers" in our neigborhood.

we and several others near us have called out the sheriff's dept on MANY(uncountable) occasions about the traffic and noise ordinance violations. nothing, nada, zilch, zero is ever done about it.

point being that our county could make a killing in revenue if they took the time to patrol our street. sorry 'bout the rant.
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