Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013 – 6:50 am

One of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s first acts this year – before he became preoccupied with other affairs – was to end the use of cameras to catch motorists running red lights, labeling them “the San Diego version of a traffic trap.”

It was the latest in a string of recent setbacks for the devices, indicating that they may be on the way out of California.

Redflex Traffic Systems has dominated the red-light camera industry, claiming they improve safety and persuading cities and counties to install them in return for a share of fines, typically about $500 each.

However, critics say the cameras mostly snag motorists who don’t come to a complete stop before making turns, rather than those running through intersections, and therefore aren’t the lifesavers that boosters claim. Opponents have also accused cities of setting yellow lights at camera- protected intersections on minimal times to ensnare more motorists.

Two years ago, Los Angeles shut down its cameras, and several other cities have followed suit. Currently more than 50 local governments use them, but a similar number have either rejected them or, like San Diego and Los Angeles, backed away after initially installing them.

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