Council OK’s plan to end contracts
Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/07/2011 08:01:37 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – Police Chief Keith Kilmer has outlined the City Council’s options for doing away with with red-light cameras. Kilmer submitted a report on the agenda for the council’s Monday night meeting that showed it would cost between $104,325 and $110,175 to conclude the program effective June 1 and pay any early termination fees.

“The provisions of the agreement allow the early termination of the contract with proper notice and each of the locations has a required payment of costs,” Kilmer said in the report.

The second option presented was to operate the red-light camera program according to the original agreement and phase out each intersection as their terms expire.

The final intersection term, which is at Waterman and Highland avenues, expires on July 15, 2014, according to the report.

It would cost roughly $780,000 to phase out the existing locations over three years, according to the report.

Because of other items on the agenda Monday, the council still hadn’t discussed the matter by late evening.

The city initiated the red-light camera system in 2005 through a contract with Nestor Traffic Systems.

Starting with cameras at four intersections, the system expanded to 11 locations in 2008, with seven of them activated.

American Traffic Systems purchased Nestor in 2009 and took over the services outlined in the agreement with the city.

The system takes photographs of vehicles running red lights. Tickets in the amount of $400 are then mailed to the vehicles’ registered owners, along with pictures of the license plates, drivers and the red lights.

Legally, the process has to be reviewed by a law enforcement officer.

Studies on the effectiveness of red-light cameras have shown a variety of conclusions.

In 2005, the Federal Highway Administration released a national report of accident rates at intersections equipped with red-light cameras that found a 15percent increase in rear-end accidents and 24percent more injuries, most likely caused by motorists slamming on brakes.

The study also found that broadside crashes were down by almost a quarter at intersections where red-light cameras were installed.

In February, a study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that the cameras reduced the rate of fatal collisions by 24percent in 14 large cities that introduced them between 1996 and 2004.

Red-light cameras here have not gone without controversy.

San Bernardino in 2008 dismissed red-light violation tickets issued to drivers based on photo evidence at Mount Vernon Avenue and Ninth Street.

To read entire story, click here.