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Los Angeles City Council officially terminates red light camera program

In vehicle traffic law news, the list of over 500 U.S. cities that utilize some form of red light camera program got the slightest bit shorter this past week when the city of Los Angles officially declared that it was hitting the "off" button.

While the City of Angels introduced the red light camera program back in 2004 in the hope of making intersections safer, it has done little since that time except create anger and frustration on the part of unsuspecting motorists.

Given this widespread unpopularity and the fact that only 60 percent of the 180,000 drivers caught by the city's 32 red light cameras had paid their $500 tickets, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to shut down the cameras on Wednesday.

Another factor that likely influenced the City Council's decision: the red light camera program was costing Los Angeles $1.5 million a year.

Interestingly, while the red light camera program is scheduled to officially come to an end on Sunday, it has still managed to cause plenty of headaches for some L.A. motorists.

Specifically, it was revealed earlier in the week that payment of the $500 ticket issued by the red light camera had actually been voluntary all along.

The reason?

City officials were never able to definitively determine whether the red light camera program was legal (i.e. constitutional).

"Why did I pay this ticket? Why was I being such a good citizen throughout the whole thing?" said one disgruntled L.A. motorist. "Why didn't I just ignore it?"

While the vehicle traffic laws of some states permit red light camera programs - New York is one of these states - several others have ruled that they are unconstitutional.

In fact, irrespective of the legal argument, some have argued that red light camera programs don't work because they eliminate one danger (running a red light) but inadvertently create a new one (rear-end accidents).

"[O]ne of the arguments has always been this is going to be a deterrent, to keep people from flying through red lights," said Jack Ford, a legal analyst for CBS News. "But some jurisdictions said we're finding the opposite, it's become a danger, people are so conscious of it, that they'll jam their brakes on beforehand and some have claimed there's a higher incidence of rear end strikes now because people are so concerned about that."

Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...

A ticket for violating a vehicle traffic law can result in serious consequences, including fines, points against your license, increased insurance rates, license suspension/revocation or even jail time. Accordingly, if you or a loved one has received a citation, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

Los Angeles ends red light cam ticketing program (CBS News)

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