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The Madera Tribune

How to avoid a $480 ticket

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webmaster | 02/06/12

A San Francisco man is trying to get a movement going to “reform” red-light cameras in the Bay Area, where fines for running a red light and being caught by one of the cameras can be as much as $480. That is too high, he says; and besides, he says the red-light cameras are more for fund-raising than they are for traffic safety.

Some cities in the state agree with him. They have gotten rid of red-light cameras in some areas entirely, saying there are reasonable doubts about whether the cameras are calibrated correctly.

Without getting into that disagreement, I do know of one way to avoid getting a ticket by getting caught on a red-light camera: Don’t run the red light. Just follow the traffic rules. Don’t crowd the caution light. The yellow caution light doesn’t mean hurry up and get through before the light changes to red. It means slow down and come to a stop before the light changes. Busting the stoplight is a terrible habit, one that is dangerous enough to cause accidents.

Accidents at intersections in the Bay Area that have redlight cameras often go down by 40 percent once drivers learn the red light, like Big Brother, is watching them. To me, that seems like a good outcome, although I think I also would hate a $480 ticket for running a red light.

However, I would not like to be involved in an accident in an intersection with another car that had busted a red light — or worse yet, if I had busted the red light and caused the accident.

Making Hollywood turns is another bad habit that can lead to accidents. That’s when a driver decides to make a right turn on a red light without coming to a complete stop and giving himself or herself enough time to look both ways. A lot of pedestrians coming from the right get hurt from those rolling right-hand turns, and it shouldn’t happen.


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