Roger Jones of Fremont got a ticket for running a red light about 2½ years ago. He’s been fighting to bring them down ever since. When Jones heard about a class action lawsuit against the Southern California city of Victorville regarding their red light camera program, he felt validated.
“There are thousands of us, but to know you’re not alone and that there are people, private citizens, showing that these things are not what there are supposed to be is good,” Jones said.
He objects to the cameras on the basis that they exist to increase profits, not safety. The class action suit claims that the evidence collected by the cameras should not be allowed in court because the infractions it wasn’t witnessed by a police officer.
Phoenix-based Redflex operates nearly all of the red light cameras in the Bay Area. Three North Bay cities, six cities in Alameda County and five cities in San Mateo County contract with Redflex. None of the police departments contacted by NBC Bay Area plans changes to their programs because of that class action suit.
“There have been many challenges but the courts have upheld our position and the right to make sure they stop at red lights,” said Deputy Chief Mike Callagy of the San Mateo Police Department.
While critics say the red light cameras are moneymakers for the city, the Deputy Chief says a red light ticket fine is $480. The city gets $119, part of which pays Redflex, the other part goes into the general fund.
“We look forward to the day that we don’t get a cent of revenue from the red light cameras because that’ll mean the motoring public is adhering to the theory that you must top when you see red,” Callagy said.
But back in Fremont, Jones says taking down red light cameras is just about his full-time job. As he painted signs for an upcoming protest against the ten red light cameras in his city, he said he’d keep fighting his city and watching that lawsuit make its way through the courts.
“I think we’re going to do the job eventually and get rid of the cameras or they’ll get rid of themselves,” Jones said.