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California City Expands Use of Traffic-Light Cameras

Reductions in red light violations and broadside crashes spur proponents.

The city of Murrieta, Calif. will not only continue to use cameras at stop lights, but to the dismay of some, it will expand the program during 2011, according to published reports.

Murrieta was reviewing the policy of using traffic cameras, with camera supporters saying the systems have worked as intended and there have been reductions in red light violations and broadside crashes at the three intersections with cameras. Those opposed to the program say there have been increases in rear-end accidents, unneeded surveillance and expensive traffic tickets at those intersections.

However, despite the opposition, Murrieta will keep cameras at three intersections, and cameras will be added to traffic signals at two Murrieta freeway off-ramps, the council says. Existing cameras will remain at Murrieta Hot Springs and Whitewood roads; Murrieta Hot Springs and Margarita roads; and at Clinton Keith Road and Nutmeg Street. While new cameras will be installed at the Interstate 215 south off-ramp at Murrieta Hot Springs Road and the Interstate 15 north off-ramp at eastbound Murrieta Hot Springs.

In a report to Murrieta’s City Council, the Police Department says there were fewer head-on and broadside collisions recorded at intersections with cameras, but more rear-end collisions than at similar sites. Since 2006, nearly 9,000 tickets have been issued at the intersections where cameras are installed and the city has netted $90,000 during the five-year period, police say.