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Audit: L.A.'s red-light cams are ineffective

September 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new audit shows red-light traffic cameras are not paying off for the city of Los Angeles. The controller's office finds the cameras aren't improving traffic safety, and they're not paying for themselves.One of the main ways that the system can be fixed is to put the cameras at the most dangerous intersections in the city. Currently, that is not where they are located, according to the report.

"It's silly to have them at intersections where they're not needed," said Paul Miserantino of Los Angeles.

The cameras are meant to reduce traffic accidents by catching dangerous drivers who run red lights, and the cameras do catch thousands of violators each year. But according to the audit, the red-light program in L.A. is not doing all it can to keep the most dangerous intersections safe.

City Controller Wendy Greuel said only half of the city's red-light camera intersections show a reduction in accidents.

One of the main reasons why the high-risk intersections don't have cameras is the city council in 2006 decided to put one camera in each district instead of where they're needed the most.

Greuel responded to the audit during a Wednesday news conference, saying the cameras should be placed at the dangerous intersections.

"And if in fact, some of those cameras are in intersections (where) it isn't dangerous, we need to move them," she said.

The program has cost L.A. $2.6 million in the last two years because the city does not get a large portion of the ticket. For the $500 ticket, the city gets $150 and the rest goes to the state. In addition, more than 45 percent of those ticketed simply aren't paying the fine.

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