GUEST WORDS - I join in praising for the Los Angeles City Council for "doing the right thing" in terminating the clearly unfair automated Red Light Photo Program, effective on July 31, 2011.
However, justice will only be served if the City declares an immediate amnesty for all Angelenos left in limbo with pending photo red light tickets . . . No one really understands the legal status of these pending photo tickets, a virtual no man's land.
An amnesty will relieve the uncertainty and anxiety of all Angelenos, who do not know what the consequences might be if they do not pay “pending” photo tickets. Even though payments have now been characterized by the City as "voluntary,” it is not at all clear what this means.
The City Council has an obligation to protect the public and thus finish the job of shutting down any further implementation of this program. There are simply too many unknowns, including a potential $476.00 in fines. The unknowns are causing financial and emotional harm to the constituents that Council members were elected to serve and protect.
By enacting an amnesty for all issued photo red light tickets, including those pending in the courts prior to conviction and those ignored in the past, as well as tickets issued between the time of the Council vote and July 31, the City Council will have properly served its constituents. As an integral part of the amnesty, the City should stop GC Services, Los Angeles County’s traffic ticket collection agency, from any further photo ticket collection activities on behalf the City.
In addition, it is important to note that the City is clearly aware of a simple remedy to promote safety at red light intersections. By increasing the time interval of the yellow lights for an additional one second and by delaying the green light for cross-traffic for an additional one second, a significant reduction in accidents and traffic conflicts will result.
The City's Department of Transportation traffic engineers have the experience to do this, if the political will exists to make these easy changes for the safety of the motoring public.
Note: Councilman Paul Koretz offered a motion on June 21 asking the Department of Transportation to determine appropriate changes in yellow and red light camera times to improve safety. Council File Number: 11-1015.
(Sherman M. Ellison is a California trial attorney whose practice is almost exclusively traffic ticket defense. Ellison testified before the Los Angeles City Council on the controversial Photo Red Light Program in April, 2011 and is a regular contributor to numerous radio, television and print media outlets. He is widely considered the pre-eminent legal authority on traffic ticket defense in California. He can be reached at: www.ShermanEllison.com ) Photo credit: LA Times -cw
Tags: red light photo tickets, red light, amnesty, traffic tickets, City Council, fines, Los Angeles County, GC Services, photo tickets
Vol 9 Issue 61
Pub: Aug 2, 2011