Red light cameras in city of San Diego could become thing of the past

Program up for renewal

SAN DIEGO - San Diego's red light cameras program may be on its way out.

City officials said stopping crashes from happening is the main aim behind the red light cameras, which were first activated in 2003 and now sit at 15 intersections.

According to city officials, red light-running accidents and rear-end collisions have dropped by about 50 percent in 2012, compared to before the cameras were installed.

The program is up for renewal, but San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said he wants to leave that decision to the incoming administration because they will be responsible for the cameras.

Mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner have said they would have let an already renewed program continue. However, they also said they would not support the program as mayor, citing the costly 490 fines and insufficient evidence that they promote safety.

Some say it's not unusual to see drivers approaching a yellow light at a camera intersection either speed up or stop abruptly.

In fact, studies show rear-end accidents tend to increase with the presence of red light cameras.

The program brings in about $1.9 million a year, and after paying the vendor and city expenses, that leaves only $200,000 in profit.

The city said the program is about safety, not about making money.

Last year, 20,000 tickets were generated by the program.

Currently, the city is crunching numbers to see how effective the cameras are.

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