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Stop-sign cams catch SoCal drivers off guard

October 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Stop-sign cameras have surprised Southland motorists who thought they only had red-light cameras and speed traps to worry about.The cameras have sparked controversy as cash-poor cities use them to enforce the rules of the road. A recent audit of L.A.'s red-light cameras found that they were not installed at the city's most dangerous intersections.

Stop-sign camera supporters say they are a valuable tool for public safety.

Meanwhile, several ticketed drivers are planning a class-action suit, claiming that the cameras go against the state vehicle code which requires automated traffic enforcement systems to provide a clear photograph of a vehicle's license plate and the driver.

The cameras are activated when a sensor detects a vehicle moving faster than 7 mph as it approaches a stop. The camera captures the rear license plate of cars that blow through a stop and a ticket is issued to the registered car owner.

There are seven stop-sign cameras scattered in parks along the Santa Monica Mountains. During an 18-month period ending May 31, nearly 35,000 citations were issued and parks collected nearly $2 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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