Red-light camera bill passes state Senate


A bill that regulates how cities use red-light cameras has passed the state Senate with a unanimous 36-0 vote.

Sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, Senate Bill 29 requires that:

-- Warning signs be posted within 200 feet of intersections with cameras.

-- Installation sites be chosen on the basis of safety and not revenue-generating factors.

-- Tickets include information on whom the recipients can contact if they have questions.

-- "Snitch tickets," which ask the recipient to identify the driver, explain that the recipient doesn't have to incriminate themselves or the driver. Snitch tickets are traffic violation notices meant to identify the driver during the alleged violation.

San Jose resident Vera Gil suggested the legislation as part of Sen. Simitian's annual "There Oughta Be a Law" contest after she got multiple red-light camera tickets for a car in Southern California she doesn't own and has never driven.

"People who get tickets for someone else's car need a way to straighten things out," Ms. Gil said in a press release. "In my case, the license plate was one letter different than mine. I understand how that mistake happens, but it took weeks and weeks to clear-up. There was no information on who to call."

After passing the state Senate on May 16, the bill now goes to the Assembly for a hearing and vote.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Henry
a resident of another community
on May 27, 2011 at 5:24 am

The bill is junk. Simitian is not the motorist's friend. He is a long time SUPPORTER of cameras and always votes for bigger fines, more surcharges. This current bill is his devious attempt to give the appearance of doing something, to deceive the constituents who are calling his office complaining about the ticket mills in his district and north of it on the SF Peninsula. The bill actually makes things worse. For example, it reduces the number of warning signs, from four per intersection under current law, to just one or two. (Compare the bill's version of 21455.5(a)(1) to the current version.) The signs will be required only on the one or two directions (of the four) actually having a camera. Thus, a scofflaw who is inclined to run the red lights in town will no longer be unsure about which intersections, or which direction through them, he can run. He will know that if there isn't a big warning sign right in front of him, he can blast through without risking a ticket. If Simitian really wanted to help motorists, he would do a bill to cut the fine for rolling right turns, like what Assemblyman Jerry Hill proposed last year (vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger).

I am also concerned about some of other motoring legislation NOT going thru the legislature right now, and the fact that no one seems to be writing about it.
There is a bill (AB 3) that started out good, to do something about the 1.5 million cars with protected plates (these are the private vehicles of government employees and their families, and the plates make them immune to camera and toll tickets). AB 3 has just been amended into worthlessness, no doubt because of pressure from govt. employee organizations.

If you too are concerned, phone your legislators.

Like this comment
Posted by Stephen
a resident of another community
on May 27, 2011 at 8:08 am

Fight the RLC scam!

Check out:

and: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by James C. Walker
a resident of another community
on May 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm

The only acceptable answer to red light cameras is a total ban. Red light cameras are just a cynical means to make money with improper and/or unethical traffic management policies. Red light cameras only produce significant profits when the engineering is deliberately done in a less safe manner, usually with too short yellows, and/or tickets are given to very slow rolling right on red turns where there was NO safety issue (as is usually the case). With correct engineering and ethical traffic management policies, the entire predatory red light camera industry would go bankrupt. Cities have become business-partners with this unethical industry that has only profits as its motive. The lure of easy cash with unethical traffic policies is too strong for many cities to resist, so the only real answer is to ban these predatory devices. Note that cameras have NEVER survived a public vote - see Once citizens see the predatory nature of ticket cameras, they vote them out at every opportunity. The unbiased science is on our website. Maybe you will read it and join us to rid the country of the scourge of red light cameras. Then cities may return to doing engineering for safety, and not for cash. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association,, Ann Arbor, MI

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Couple brings Chinese zongzi to Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 5,931 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 9 comments | 1,735 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 1,464 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,151 views

Bobby in Naziland: A Tale of Flatbush
By Stuart Soffer | 2 comments | 526 views


Register today!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More