Red-Light Cameras Put Brakes on Boycott

The contract with the Arizona-based company is extended for 10 months

The City Council made an exemption to its economic ban of Arizona Wednesday by extending the contract of a Scottsdale-based company  that operates Los Angeles' red light cameras.

City officials said it was necessary to ensure  public safety.

"The boycott never intended to impede public safety," Councilman  Richard Alarcon said. "It intended to, if anything, send forth a message to  Arizona, but not to the negative impact of the people of Los Angeles."

The council voted 13-0 to extend the city's contract with American  Traffic Solutions by 10 months. The contract had been scheduled to expire June  30.

The decision came after Sgt. Matt McWilly, photo red light coordinator  for the Los Angeles Police Department, testified about the program's  effectiveness.

"Every year, the photo red light program has showed a decrease in red  light-related traffic collisions, with a 40 percent reduction in 2008," he said.

During the two years prior to the installation of 32 red light cameras  across the city, there were nine traffic fatalities at those intersections,  five of which were caused by drivers speeding through a red light, McWilly  said.

Since the red light cameras were installed, there have not been any red  light-related fatalities at those intersections.

"That's a testament to the  cameras," McWilly said.

The council approved the economic boycott of Arizona on May 12 in  response to the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which has not yet taken  effect. The law gives Arizona law enforcement personnel the power to check the  immigration status of suspects they have stopped for other reasons, if there is  a reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally.

It specifically bars  law enforcement from racial profiling. 

Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: Twitter: @NBCLA // Facebook: NBCLA

Copyright CNS - City News Service
Contact Us