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Investigation: Are Red Light Cameras In Beverly Hills Violating State Laws?
CBS) ^ | July 19, 2012 11:46 PM

Posted on 07/20/2012 1:32:19 PM PDT by BenLurkin

BEVERLY HILLS (CBS) — Los Angeles pulled the plug on red light cameras after concerns about safety and fairness.

Beverly Hills still has the cameras in use, one of the last cities in Southern California to use the cameras to catch violators.

A CBS2 investigation says the camera at one intersection — namely Wilshire and Whittier — could be violating state law … and if that is the case, many of those tickets could be null and void. David Goldstein reports.

Barbara vividly recalls the changing yellow at Wilshire and Whittier. “Here’s the yellow right there. How fast was that?”

This intersection is one of nine in Beverly Hills enforced by photo red light cameras. In fact, it generated the most red light camera tickets in 2010.

There are the pictures Barbara — who doesn’t want us to use her last name — got when she was caught by the cameras back in February — going through the red at that corner. She was hit with a $479 ticket that she says is due to a quick yellow light.

Did you think you could make it through the yellow safely, I asked her.

“Oh, absolutely. The orange just seemed to be shorter than normal lights.”

And she may be right. We times it out and found the yellow is short — perhaps two short under state guidelines.

The California Department of Transportation sets minimum yellow change intervals based on the speed limit … to give drivers enough time to get through the intersection before it turns red. The standards are supposed to be followed by all jurisdictions.

The speed limit approaching Wilshire and Whittier is 30 miles per house. So based on the DOT chart, 3.2 seconds is the shortest time the yellow can be lit before it turns red.

We are standing at Wilshire and Whittier. We videotaped the traffic light. We took the video to our edit bay with editor Gustavo Sampaio.

We timed out the video: I told Gustavo to “time this out just when the yellow starts.”

We went frame by fame. Just when it changed to yellow, we started the counter. And remember, 3.2 seconds is the shortest time allowed.

Right there. Just about three seconds. Exactly. Right on the money.

Wilshire and Whittier came out to three seconds! Below the state standards by two-tenths of a second … which could be the difference between making it through safely.

I asked traffic attorney Sherman Ellison if it would be improper for police to write someone up in this instance. He said, “Of course.”

He said if our timing was correct, the tickets are not.

“If the situation is truly as you documented it, that it was under 3.2 seconds at Whittier and Wilshire, then those tickets would have been improperly issued.”

Beverly Hills Police Lieutenant Sean Davis heads of the photo enforcement program. I asked him if those tenths, hundredths of a second could be the different between someone getting a ticket and not getting a ticket. “Sure,” he said.

And more importantly, someone having a red light violation and having an accident?

We showed him our video. He said, “It appears from the information that you brought to us, that it would be either on the line or shorter than we would like it to be.”

We timed the other Beverly Hills intersections and found those yellow lights to be valid, within state standards.

All totaled the cameras generate nearly $2 million a years in gross revenues in Beverly Hills, with a portion of that going to the city.

The lieutenant says because of what we found, he’s going to get the city’s engineers to time it out and see for themselves.

I asked him if it’s possible that it’s under the limit if people have gotten tickets that they shouldn’t have gotten. “As you presented it, yes. And if they did, we would do everything to make sure that it was corrected.”

For Barbara it’s a little too late. “I will never forget that intersection.” She’s already been caught by the camera with the quick trigger.

TOPICS: Local News
KEYWORDS: driving; redlightcameras

1 posted on 07/20/2012 1:32:27 PM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: BenLurkin

When I visited Russia in the mid 1980’s I noticed that their traffic lights turned yellow twice... once before turning red, and again before going from red to green. Seemed very confusing.

2 posted on 07/20/2012 1:47:49 PM PDT by Cementjungle
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To: BenLurkin

I hate these cams, they are such BS.

There are two near my house and there is a certain distance from the intersection where, even if you are doing the exact speed limit, if that light changes to yellow, you cannot stop and you cannot get through the intersection.

You’d think it would be easy enough to make the green light flash a couple times before it changes to yellow to give drivers enough warning that it’s about to change, but then that would defeat the purpose of the camera altogether, wouldn’t it...

3 posted on 07/20/2012 1:48:32 PM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: chris37

vente y dos. subsonic.

4 posted on 07/20/2012 2:06:13 PM PDT by Coffee... Black... No Sugar (I'm gonna' BICKER!)
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To: BenLurkin
I've noticed many times at many intersections that the lights are red for both roads for a number of seconds before finally turning green for one side. Seems this is a much better idea for safety, if a city/county/etc. was really interested in safety and not ticket revenue.......
5 posted on 07/20/2012 2:25:11 PM PDT by jeffc (Welcome to the United Socialist States of America)
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To: BenLurkin
perhaps two short under state guidelines.

There are no competent editors left in America.

6 posted on 07/20/2012 2:33:34 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is, it is the only answer.)
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To: jeffc

That is the way they work in Chicago.

I remember thirty years ago people did not run red lights as a routine thing in Chicago. Then I moved to Detroit for a couple of years and noticed that the drivers ran red lights all the time. Moving back it slowly started to become more common here as well. I hate that.

7 posted on 07/20/2012 2:38:49 PM PDT by arrogantsob (Obama must Go. Sarah herself supports Romney.)
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To: BenLurkin

not the highest thing on my list

8 posted on 07/20/2012 2:47:05 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: BenLurkin; All
We times it out and found the yellow is short — perhaps two short under state guidelines.

That should be TIMED and TOO.

Is this the Tiffany Network's quality level now?

9 posted on 07/20/2012 3:41:41 PM PDT by newzjunkey (Pontius Pilate 'voters' are arrogant, delusional, lilly-livered collaborators.)
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To: Lurker
I liked this one....The speed limit approaching Wilshire and Whittier is 30 miles per house.
10 posted on 07/20/2012 3:51:04 PM PDT by Osage Orange (8675309)
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To: Osage Orange
I liked this one....The speed limit approaching Wilshire and Whittier is 30 miles per house.

It looks like someone was typing the closed captions while the show was being broadcast and that was just dumped on the site as an article without any editing.

11 posted on 07/20/2012 4:08:00 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (You only have three billion heartbeats in a lifetime.How many does the government claim as its own?)
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