Say cheese, red-light runners: Tickets will be $124
By JACINDA HOWARD
Federal Way Mirror Reporter
August 19, 2008 · Updated 10:55 AM
Cameras will soon scout for drivers running red lights at two of Federal Way’s busiest intersections.
On Aug. 25, red light enforcement cameras will begin watching the intersections of Pacific Highway South and South 320th Street as well as Enchanted Parkway South and South 348th Street. Running red lights at these locations will cost drivers $124.
The pilot program will last one year. American Traffic Solutions will operate the cameras, and data collected will be forwarded to the police department, which will decide if the violation earns the driver a ticket, Cmdr. Stan McCall said.
The cameras will be triggered by drivers entering the intersection after the traffic light has already turned red, city spokeswoman Linda Farmer said. Those completing a turn when the signal changes and drivers entering the intersection on a yellow light will not be cited, McCall said.
A short video of the violation and photograph of the vehicle’s license plate will be gathered by the cameras. The ticket, a photo and a link where the violation can be viewed will be sent to the
registered owner of the vehicle that passed through the red light.
“We know people are frustrated by the shear amount of traffic trying to get through some of our intersections, and we sympathize,” police chief Brian Wilson said in an Aug. 14 press release. “But this is a safety issue. We’d really like to see one hundred percent compliance.”
Drivers will be given a 30-day grace period before tickets will be issued. Signs alerting drivers to the cameras are in place at both intersections. Police hope the cameras will decrease traffic collisions.
Seattle, which contracts with ATS for its red light enforcement cameras, saw a 40 percent reduction in collisions where the cameras were placed during the first eight months of the program, McCall said.
During a testing period at the Pacific Highway South and South 320th intersection, 20 drivers traveling eastbound on South 320th Street ran red lights within an eight-hour period, McCall said. At Enchanted Parkway South and South 348th Street, 16 westbound drivers ran red lights within an 11-hour period, he said. In Federal Way, in the first 10 months of 2006, 1,621 collisions occurred and 43 collisions, or 2.6 percent, happened in signal-controlled intersections, according to a February memorandum.
The program is expected to cost about $228,000 for the year. The ticket fines are expected to pay for the cameras, Farmer said. A minimum of 1,839 tickets would need to be issued in the first year for this goal to be achieved. Any excess funding collected through the program will be used to benefit the Federal Way Municipal Court and public safety, Farmer said.
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