Red Light Camera History and Facts
The system was implemented in 2005 due to a number of traffic collisions and complaints about the safety of the intersection of Los Alamitos Blvd and Katella Ave.
In addition to increasing the safety of the motoring public, automated enforcement was approved to improve the safety of our officers who often had to pursue a violator through a red light.
California Vehicle Code section 21455.5 authorizes jurisdictions to use automated red light enforcement systems. These systems were challenged in West Judicial District in 2010 due to alleged hearsay violations, but both the California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have ruled automated red light camera systems do not violate the hearsay rule.
Traffic collisions in red light camera controlled intersections have decreased 38% since the program’s inception while the traffic count (number of cars going through the intersections) has doubled.
Katella Ave, and Bloomfield is also a significant crossing for children on their way to school which is of paramount concern to our community.
It cost the City of Los Alamitos approximately $215,200 to run the red light camera system, which includes the cost to employ the officers to run the system.
We pay $4576 per approach (3 approaches) which is more than the City of Garden Grove pays per approach. However, they have 18 approaches and they receive an economy of scale discount cost for them due to this. We would consider adding other approaches if an analysis showed driver safety warranted the addition.
We typically do not cite for persons failing to stop at the red light when making right turns, except at Katella Avenue and Bloomfield Street, but that is a violation of the California Vehicle Code section 21453.
Every activation is reviewed by 3 operators at Redflex’s home office to ensure a violation has occurred. Only then is it sent to a Los Alamitos Police Officer and verified that a violation has occurred. The Los Alamitos Police Officer then nominates the driver for the violation and the citation is sent in the mail.
Unlike in Los Angeles County, if a violator in Los Alamitos ignores the citation, the court sends a notice to the DMV and their license is suspended until they handle the violation. This is similar to the actions from a failure to appear.
Courts have the discretion to dismiss the citation for a variety of reasons. The most common reason to dismiss is because the violator does not appear to be the person driving the vehicle at the time of the violation.
Every person who receives a notice of violation can come into the police department and view their violation in both video and still pictures, which will show the violator behind the limit line at the time the light phased to red.
The current state mandated time under the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for yellow lights where the speed limit is 40 MPH is 3.9 seconds. Our current yellow light time is 4 seconds. For left turns the state minimum is 3 seconds and ours are at 3.2 seconds.
The State of California determines the fine amount for red light violations. The state receives the largest portion of the fine followed by the city and the county.
Much of the data on the internet is not factual regarding the effectiveness of red light cameras and is easily disproved.
Los Alamitos Police Officers appear in court. Representatives of the company do not appear.
If you are approaching the intersection with the red light camera and following a vehicle too closely to see the traffic signal, there is another signal visible on the light pole on each corner of the intersection. Please keep in mind this may be a violation of 21703 CVC, following too closely.
Only red light violations are captured by red light camera systems, and not seatbelt, speeding, or any other kind of violation.