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Traffic Light Cameras Pulling In Big Bucks

Traffic Light Camera (Flickr)

My brother in law was telling me he got a traffic ticket in the mail the other day for going through a red light. There he was – a picture of him driving his car – showing the car and a close up of the license plate and a bill for $300. It’s becoming a huge moneymaker in some cities. It brings in money and at the same time cuts down of traffic violations.

But it doesn’t allow any leeway. If you’re in the intersection when the light turns red – you’re guilty and they have the picture to prove it.

In San Diego there’s one intersection that accounts for a quarter of all the traffic tickets issued in the city all year. It’s the intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Grape Street near the airport. There were nearly 5-thousand violations there in one year. That’s more than 400 a month, about 13 a day.

But it’s been giving the city a bad name because so many of the people who get ticketed are tourists. And maybe unfairly because there are so many traffic tie-ups there, unknowing tourists get caught in the intersection and get their picture taken.

San Diego Police say the red-light camera program is to prevent violations and accidents. In the case of this intersection they say it’s to keep drivers from blocking the intersection during gridlock.

But if you don’t know you could get caught in the intersection at a cost of $480 is it fair? And tourists might not ever know until they get home and get an official notice.

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