Intersection cameras: Grace period over for violators in UC

Intersection cameras: Grace period over for violators in UC

Posted: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 10:13 pm
By: Chris Menees, Staff Reporter

By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
The 30-day warning period is over.
Intersection safety cameras in Union City will begin issuing actual citations for red light and speeding violations starting at midnight tonight.
There has been a 30-day warning period since Redflex mounted the cameras and they became operational at three intersections — West Reelfoot Avenue and Everett Boulevard; East Reelfoot Avenue and Home Street; and East Reelfoot Avenue and Miles Avenue.
“The traffic cameras go live at midnight tonight for real citations,” Union City Assistant Police Chief Perry Barfield told The Messenger this morning.
Violators will receive a $50 citation in the mail.
As an added reminder, street signs are also now posted along roadways as motorists approach the three camera-enforced intersections to ensure they are aware of the use of the cameras.
Warning citations were mailed out to violators during the 30-day warning period. During that time, 274 red light warning tickets and 150 speed warning tickets were issued — which Barfield said is actually a very low percentage compared to the many thousands of vehicles which have passed through the three target intersections over the past month.
On the flip side, many motorists are now obeying the red light and speed laws as a result of the new cameras.
Barfield emphasized that motorists should be aware that they may legally make a right turn on red after first making a complete stop — not a rolling stop — at an intersection.
In addition to the mounted cameras at the three intersections, the Union City Police Department also utilizes mobile speed vehicles which are placed at various locations around the city to target speeders. They also generate a $50 fine for violators.
Police have indicated the cameras are being used as an added safety measure and Union City Police Chief Joe Garner provided the necessary figures to back it up during a Feb. 1 Union City Council meeting.
A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reaffirmed that intersection safety cameras save lives and change driver behavior. Researchers examined intersection fatal crash rates due to red light running in the 14 largest U.S. cities using intersection cameras. It marked the first time researchers were able to study fatal crashes across a diverse group of large cities with camera programs, according to the Traffic Safety Coalition.
Overall, fatal crash rates involving red light running in cities with cameras were reduced by 24 percent. The study compared crash rates before and after cities started intersection safety camera programs and compared cities with camera enforcement to those without, concluding that 159 lives were saved in those 14 cities because of intersection cameras. The study concluded 815 lives could have been saved if cameras had been deployed in every major U.S. city with a population of 200,000 or more from 2004 to 2008.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 3.2.11

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