Traffic Cameras Spur Method-of-Payment Controversy
The City of San Juan Capistrano, has proposed that its red-light camera operator receive a flat monthly fee for running the enforcement system instead of getting a percentage of each ticket issued, the Los Angeles Times reported. The city is one of dozens that have installed cameras at busy intersections to catch drivers who run red lights.
San Juan Capistrano, which has cameras installed at three intersections, joins a growing list of agencies considering a shift in how they pay private operators of red-light camera enforcement systems. Critics have said that paying camera operators on a percentage basis encourages them to issue more tickets.
The Times reported that a state audit earlier in 2002 found that red-light cameras reduce accidents, but that supervision of the cameras is lacking and the cities that use them are vulnerable to lawsuits.
San Diego stopped paying operators on a per-ticket basis after losing a lawsuit brought by 292 drivers who claimed that giving a camera operator $70 of every $271 ticket was incentive for the operator to “prosecute for profit.” According to the Los Angeles Times, San Juan Capistrano currently pays RedFlex, Inc. $59 per ticket issued.