LA city council ends red-light camera program

Traffic camera in Culver City, CA
Traffic camera in Culver City, CA
Steve Lyon/Flickr

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The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to pull the plug on its automated red-light camera program, because it's losing money amid questions about whether it actually saves lives.

The council voted to stop issuing photo enforcement tickets as of midnight Sunday, when the contract with an Arizona-based contractor ends. The city will work with the vendor to remove 32 intersection cameras and deal with existing tickets.

Some cameras under county transit agency jurisdiction will remain along rail and bus lines.

"It better to look at things like yellow light timing rather than hitting families with $500 tickets," city council president Eric Garcetti told KPCC. "At the of the end of the day we didn't see any data that it was making the intersections more safe."

After more than an hour of debate, all 13 council members present agreed to end the red-light program, which issues $480 tickets to drivers snapped running red lights.

LA was losing $1.5 million a year because many drivers weren't paying the mailed citations. The courts don't report most scofflaws to the Department of Motor Vehicles so failure to pay doesn't affect a driver's license or insurance.

Supporters say red-light cameras prevent accidents but critics say there's some evidence they actually cause fender-benders.

The Associated Press contributed to this story