New device installed on Poway traffic signals to help catch red light runners

POWAY, Calif. - The city of Poway has a new strategy in their effort to catch red light runners.

The city recently installed devices that are hardwired to the backs of traffic signals. When the light turns red, a small blue light on the opposite side is illuminated. A law enforcement officer can then determine if someone entering the intersection is doing so in violation of a red light because the officer is seeing blue.  

In March, the Poway City Council shut off the city's red light cameras to review their cost and effectiveness.

Every year, the red light cameras generated 5,000 tickets, but even at nearly $500 per violation, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department told 10News the program barely broke even.

In September, the Poway City Council will decide to replace the red light cameras altogether with the blue light system as it remains to be seen if the new blue lights will deter red light runners and collisions.  

Attorney Mitchell Mehdy told 10News his biggest concern with the blue light system is that an officer cannot focus on three things at once, namely, the driver's location relative to the intersection, the blue light and the red light for opposing traffic.

Mehdy said the light system "seems to be something geared to revenue."

The blue lights are now posted at three intersections in Poway at Poway Road at Pomerado Road; Poway Road at Community Road; and Scripps Poway Parkway and Pomerado Road.


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