As many L.A. drivers know, red light cameras are merciless.
But despite the tickets they issue, a study by City Controller Wendy Greuel found that the cameras cost our city a million dollars a year because the system was installed and is maintained by a contractor that charges more than the system generates.
Others have argued that the safety benefits were overstated. Most of the citations were for rolling right-on-red turns, hardly a major safety issue. Fines can exceed $500, a devastating blow for a low-income family. The Greuel audit noted that 45 percent of the tickets remain unpaid.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Police Commission unanimously decided to shut down the system. Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted 7-5 to keep the red light cameras in place, but because the council didn't muster an eight-vote majority, the issue will keep resurfacing on the council agenda until it's resolved.
It’s time to terminate the red light camera system. A simpler, better safety solution is to shift intersections to an “all red” time. It doesn’t have to last long. A second or two of red lights in all directions would allow all cars trying to make the yellow light enough time to get through, before the other side starts up.